Tropical Florida Gardens - What's in Bloom at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates?

Tropical Florida Gardens

What's in Bloom at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates?

Edison Garden Festival 2015

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On November 14th
  • November 21, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; November 22, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

    Garden Market 2010  The annual Edison Garden Festival will host dozens of vendors from all over the state of Florida, selling thousands of exotic and tropical plants and trees, along with garden art and supplies. Plants available for sale will include palms, vegetables, bromeliads, hibiscus, orchids, air plants, succulents, cactus and many hard-to-find species. Vendors also will have garden supplies and gift items, including mulch, trellises, pottery and jewelry.

In addition, master gardeners will be on hand to answer gardening questions. FREE event admission and parking.

Hypertufa Class

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On November 11th

● November 14, 9:00 a.m. – Noon AND November 21, 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Join Jim Hopton, our volunteer and artist, in this two-part workshop to learn how to make a molded hypertufa bowl out of Edison’s Portland Cement mixed with peat moss and perlite. The first Saturday participants will make the hypertufa bowl and the second Saturday they will be cleaned and ready to take
home. The finished pot is great for growing succulents which you can purchase in our Garden Shoppe. The class will be held in the Propagating Greenhouse. The class is limited to 10 participants.
Cost: Edison Ford Members $50; non-members $55. RSVP to Leeanne Criswell, Edison Ford Registrar at or call 239-334-7419.hypertufa pots 001

November 2015 Garden Talk

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On November 4th

Garden Talk: Growing Orchids

  • November 14, 10:00 a.m. – Meet at the Information Booth

      When Mina Edison lived at the Estates, it was her desire to place orchids in trees as they  grow in nature. Come learn how and where to grow orchids in trees and on various wood, cork, or hypertufa slabs. Guest speaker, Marilyn Vidussi, of Marilyn’s Exotic Orchids, along with Debbie Hughes and Janice Schmidt Staff Horticulturist will take you on a tour of what is growing in the trees. Marilyn has grown orchids for over 30 years and she will share all of her do’s and don’ts – making growing orchids easy and fun. Orchids will be for sale and also hypertufa slabs made by Jim Hopton, our volunteer and artist.

Participants will receive a 20% discount in the Garden Shoppe. Cost: Edison Ford Members $5; non-members $10. RSVP to Leeanne Criswell, Edison Ford Registrar at 239-334-7419 or orchid




Edison Ford Garden Visitors

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On October 18th

garden bee on blue pea vine As our gardens expand, so does the variety of visitors we see here. Our Blue Pea Vine has caught the attention of the Long-tailed Skipper (Urbanus proteus) as evidenced by the eggs and larva we have found on the leaves.  Shown below, the newly-hatched larvae are no bigger than a mosquito larva.

barden blue pea vine long tailed skipper larvae

Long-tailed Skipper larvae on the Blue Pea Vine

garden tropical sage

  Tropical Sage


Attracting butterflies to your yard is easy when you have the right larval host plants. Visit our Garden Shoppe for a variety of host plants, as well as showy nectar plants. We are open from 9:00am to 5:30pm seven days a week.

October 2015 Garden Talk

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On October 2nd

Garden Talk: Vegetable Gardening for Southwest Florida

  • October 10, 10:00 a.m. – Meet at the Information Booth

      It is a very special month for Edison Ford’s Garden Talk with Guest Speaker and Master Gardener Karen Harty. Staff Horticulturist, Debbie Hughes and Janice Schmidt will join Harty for a morning dedicated to learning about vegetable gardening in Southwest Florida. Harty created “Grow a Gardener” program and is leader of the VegHeads 4-H Youth Club devoted to growing edibles. She also started the Edible Gardening Exchange meetings, where once a month they discuss edible gardening topics from strawberries to potatoes. Besides many of the unusual vegetables Edison Ford’s Garden Shoppe sells, Harty will have special seeds and small plants, and might even bring some strawberries.

HUGE RADISH     Don’t know what to grow? Unsure how to get started? Come to Edison Ford community garden to see what can be done and how to do grow garden edibles. Raised beds, raised berms and mounds will all be discussed, as well as organic controls for pests, and the best variety of plants to grow.

Participants will receive a 20% discount in the Garden Shoppe. Cost: Edison Ford Members $5; non-members $10. RSVP to Leeanne Criswell, Edison Ford Registrar at 239-334-7419 or


Annual Fall Plant Fair

November 20 – 22

      Dozens of vendors selling unusual tropical plants, workshops and special discounts in the Edison Ford Garden Shoppe. More to come!


Edison Ford Community Garden Season Begins in October

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On September 22nd

     The Community Garden is ready to start again for the season. We have been growing sweet potatoes which we started harvesting, and a few brave gardeners have kept up their gardens during the summer.

The beds are already being taken at our new prices for the October 1, 2015 – September 30, 2016 season. New this year is a yearly fee to make it easier. Visit our Web site to download the form for garden plot registration.

To help you become more successful in growing your garden, Garden Talk on October 10th will have Karen Harty of “Grow a Gardener” speaking about vegetable gardening in Southwest Florida. As always a 20% gift certificate is given to all participants in the Garden Talk.

Community Garden 1 Community Garden 2

Edison Ford Butterfly Garden

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On September 16th

Eastern black swallowtail croppedThis is a female Eastern Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes astarius), newly emerged from the chrysalis. She was one of a large number of caterpillars feeding on our dill and parsley in the Edison Ford gardens back in late June and early July. Unlike some of our local butterflies which normally remain in the pupa form for only around ten days, swallowtails often wait months before emerging as an adult butterfly.

Eastern Black Swallowtail larvae feed on a variety of items of the Apiacae family commonly found in herb gardens, including parsley, dill, fennel, coriander, and carrots. Mock Bishop’s Weed is a native to our area and is usually found in wetland areas, providing a native host for these beautiful creatures. Common Rue (Ruta graveolens) also grows well locally as a Edison Ford Butterfly gardenperennial and will serve as a host for the Eastern Black Swallowtail, as well as the Giant Swallowtail. Care should be used when handling rue as some people report skin irritation from contact with the foliage.

If you missed our September garden talk on pollinator gardens you can stop by anytime to see our butterfly garden and talk to our garden experts about options for your garden. Our gardens and garden shoppe are open seven days a week from 9:00am to 5:30pm.


Moonlight Garden Tour on September 27th

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On September 8th

Cereus3     The gardens and estates of the Edison and Ford families are especially beautiful by moonlight. Many flowers just bloom in the evening and are visited by nighttime insects and pollinators. Because the September 27-28 Harvest Moon is also a “supermoon” it will appear even larger than usual and produce higher tides. Weather permitting, there is a fall Harvest Moon on September 27 which rises around dusk.

Harvest Moon is just a name but it was used by farmers to kick off the season for gathering the vegetables and getting ready for winter. It’s the name for the full moon nearest the autumnal equinox. In the Northern Hemisphere, the Harvest Moon most often falls in September but sometimes will fall in early October. Nature is particularly cooperative around the time of the autumn equinox to make the full moonrises unique around this time.

On average, the moon rises about 50 minutes later each day. When a full moon happens close to the autumnal equinox, the moon (at mid-temperate latitudes) rises only about 30 to 35 minutes later daily for several days before and after the full Harvest Moon. Why? The reason is that the ecliptic – or the moon’s orbital path – makes a narrow angle with the evening horizon around the time of the autumn equinox. The narrow angle of the ecliptic results in a shorter-than-usual rising time between successive moonrises around the full Harvest Moon.

The Moonlight Garden walk will be led by Edison Ford horticulturists. Participants are urged to bring cameras and telescopes.

Call Leeanne Criswell, Edison Ford Registrar, to register at 239-334-7419. Cost: Edison Ford or Calusa Science Center Members $10; $40 non-members. The program will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Pinchers Marina Room downstairs at The Marina at Edison Ford.

Garden Talk: Learn about Pollinator Gardens

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On September 3rd
  • September 12, 10:00 a.m. – Meet at the Information Booth

Pollinator Logo      Edison Ford Gardens has become a partner with the National Pollinator Garden Network called “Million Pollinator Garden Challenge.” Pollinators including bees, butterflies, bats, and birds are needed to continue the food chain and wildlife corridors. The challenges mission includes growing sustainably without pesticides, encouraging planting pollinator gardens in the communities, supporting pollinator friendly businesses, spreading the word and educating about pollinators, and visiting gardens for ideas.

Edison Ford has been growing plants to attract pollinators since Edison built his home, nurtured his gardens, and initiated research for a domestic source of rubber along the Caloosahatchee River. Many of the trees, shrubs, perennials, and edible plants were dependent on pollination to continue reproduction of their species. The Garden Shoppe at Edison Ford has created a specific butterfly/bee garden for all of the community to learn from.

Join Horticulturists Janice Schmidt and Debbie Hughes to learn how to grow specific host/nectar plants for the pollinators in your garden. We will unveil our new Educational Butterfly Sign and the Certification of our Butterfly Garden through the North American Butterfly Association.

Participants will receive a 20% discount for use on purchases made in the Edison Ford Garden Shoppe. Cost: Edison Ford Members $5; non-members $10.

August 2015 Garden Talk

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On July 27th
  • August 8, 10:00 a.m. – Meet at the Information Booth

      Propagating new plants from your favorites is an inexpensive way to expand your plants at home and from the plants you love.  Learn the many ways of how to propagate plants in your garden from the specialists at Edison Ford.

At Edison Ford, horticulturists need to be able to propagate new plants from the growing plants to continue the historical stock in the old gardens. They have learned which plants thrive and how to create new plants from the old ones. The Garden Talk will include dividing plants, grafting and taking cuttings. The result will be an identical plant to take home.greenhouse garden talk janice

     Participants will also be planting their own seeds to take home. The seeds provided will be harvested from plants growing in the Edison gardens.

Participants will receive a 20% discount in the Garden Shoppe. Cost: Edison Ford Members $5; non-members $10.

Participants may want to park at the new Edison Ford Botanical Garden Shoppe gate at the corner of McGregor and Larchmont. Look for the new walkway and the new wood pergola and enter through the bougainvillea hedge.