Pine Island Garden Club


Pine Island Garden Club Gala

2oth Annual

"Gardening for


will be held at Phillips Park

Saturday, February 19, 2022

from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm

Friday, January 28: Nature Can Heal Lecture

Dr. Joseph Blanda, a recently retired orthopedic surgeon who now helps people with wellbeing and mindfulness, will deliver a free, in-person lecture titled “Nature Can Heal” on Friday, January 28, at The Community House on Sanibel Island starting at 10 a.m. Doors open at 9 a.m., and seating is first-come.

By sharing his knowledge on how the outdoors can cure us, Dr. Joe hopes people will get more involved in helping nature heal. A member of the Sierra Club since 1989, he now sits on the executive committee for the Portage Trail Group of the Sierra Club promoting inclusion, sustainable living, and political awareness. He is an active board member of the Conservancy for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, where he leads mindfulness walks in nature. 

Dr. Blanda is one of three experts presenting during the Refuge’s upcoming Wellness Week, February 7-12. “Ding” Darling will record his January 28 lecture to present virtually that week on February 10. He will also be leading a Mindfulness Walk at Bailey Tract and other activities during Wellness Week.

“For my lecture, I will discuss my Big Year of birding, how it helped me heal from the loss of my son, how that deepened my love of nature and made me more of an advocate for nature,” said Dr. Joe. Photograph: Dr. Joe Blanda - Nature -healing expert

Sign Up for Wellness Week Activities

Sign-up for activities for Wellness Week: Mind. Body. Heart., February 7-12, is now live. Part of our 40th anniversary celebration, the week includes walks on the new Bailey Tract Mindfulness Trail, beach yoga, lectures, art activities, and other events meant to connect participants with the healing proponents of nature.

Upcoming Events

Artist-in-Residence Exhibition – Through February 28, 2022

Free Refuge Programs – Through April 16, 2022

2022 Lecture Series – February 4-March 25, 2022

Wellness Week: Mind. Body. Heart. - February 7-12, 2022

Go Wild for “Ding” – Year of the Anhinga, Soar for 40 More – February 9, 2022

2022 Virtual Film Series – February 16-April 13, 2022

Walk for ‘Ding’ Challenge – March 1-April 10, 2022

Lori Lawrence Art Exhibition – March 1 – April 30, 2022

Project Refuge: A Couture Fashion Show Using Trash - March 31, 2022

April No-Foolin’ Volunteer Appreciation Drive-Through - April 1, 2022

“Ding” Darling Day Conservation Carnival @ Lakes Park – April 24, 2022

Jim Bennight Photography Exhibition - May 1-June 30, 2022

10th Annual “Ding” Darling & Doc Ford’s Tarpon Tournament – May 13, 2022

Artist in Residence Exhibition - September 1 to October 31, 2022

Niki Butcher Art Exhibition - November 15-December 31, 2022 (sponsored by Wayne & Linda Boyd)

Do your Part to Conserve Our Water Resources

It's dry season in Southwest Florida. Each year between November and April, groundwater supplies are reduced due to limited rainfall. Conserving water at home can help reduce the stress on our aquifers and keep wells from running dry.

Visit for tips on how you can do your part to keep Lee County's water flowing. 

Citrus Irrigation and Nutrient Management Workshop-February 8, 2022

If you have any questions, contact:

Jamie D. Burrow

Extension Program Manager

University of Florida, IFAS

Citrus Research and Education Center

700 Experiment Station Road, Lake Alfred, Florida 33850

863-956-8648 direct line

863-956-4631 fax

Our work

Photo Gallery


Dues are $25.00 per year for individuals and $45.00 for a couple.  Dues should be paid by the end of May. First time guests are welcomed without charge; a second attendance at a charge of $5.00. Further attendance will require membership in the club and the second attendance fee will be credited towards the membership dues.

Exotic Plants

Link to Florida Exotic Plant List - Current

An interesting link with some printable lists of invasive plants.




See article below.



Best Management Practices 

Lee County has published
Lee County Landscape & Fertilizer
Best Management Practiced (BMP) Ordinance.
It has been in effect since May of 2009

Best Management Practices

  • Nutrient management to determine nutrient needs and sources and manage nutrient applications (including manure) to minimize impacts to water resources.

Best Management Practices

  • Irrigation management to address the method and scheduling of irrigation to reduce water and nutrient losses to the environment.

Best Management Practices

  • Water resource protection using buffers, setbacks and swales to reduce or prevent the transport of sediments and nutrients from production areas to waterbodies.

Best Management Practices

For the purposes of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Best Management Practices (BMP) program, a BMP is defined by law as a means, a practice or combination of practices determined by the coordinating agencies, based on research, field testing and expert review, to be the most effective and practicable on-location means, including economic and technological considerations, for improving water quality in agricultural and urban discharges. BMPs for agricultural discharges must reflect a balance between water quality improvements and agricultural productivity (Section 373.4595(2)(a), Florida Statutes).

I've gone "green" as a gardener, using only natural products in my vegetable garden, flowerbeds and on my lawn. Growing my own organic seasonal fruits and vegetables is a fun, economical way to eat healthfully. Plus, as any gardener will tell you, all of that digging and hoeing is great exercise and a wonderful way to spend time outdoors on these beautiful warm days. "Natural gardening is a growing area of interest among people who want to avoid the toxins in many mainstream gardening products -- plus, it really works," said Howard Garrett, a registered landscape architect, organic horticulturalist and author of The Organic Manual: Natural Organic Gardening and Living For Your Family, Plants and Pets. How is "natural organic" gardening, as Garrett refers to it, different? "Natural organic gardening is working with only natural materials to promote healthy gardens, without the use of toxic chemicals or artificial fertilizers," said Garrett. "It is not just a matter of using a different set of products, it's a whole different thought process and procedure." 

SYNTHETIC GARDENING PRODUCTS ARE HARMFUL There is plenty of proof that synthetic gardening products, including pesticides (herbicides, insecticides, fungicides) and fertilizers aren't good for us, nor our earth, whether they're used by commercial farmers or individuals. First, let's look at synthetic pesticides: An abundance of scientific evidence demonstrates their harmful effects. In 2004, a study was published by scientists at the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute for Environmental Health Science who conducted a review of more than 300 studies and found a link between pesticides and cancers such as non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, leukemia and prostate cancer. In addition, researchers found that chronic low-level pesticide exposure is associated with a broad range of nervous system symptoms such as headache, fatigue, dizziness, tension, anger, depression and impaired cognitive function. They also found that pesticide exposure may increase Parkinson's disease and could be associated with Alzheimer's disease. It turns out that pesticides don't do much good for plants, either. "Synthetic pesticides do not even work," said Garrett. "They kill beneficial insects and microorganisms more effectively than the insects and microorganisms that you're trying to kill. There are natural organic alternatives that work much better." Now let's look at fertilizers. While synthetic fertilizers have not been linked to specific human diseases, many contain nitrates that can leach into the ground, affecting our environment and our drinking water. Perhaps not surprisingly, synthetic fertilizers also don't work well on plants. In fact, said Garrett, these products often "fool" people by creating impressive growth initially, followed by a "pooping out" period that encourages people to apply more product, which perpetuates the cycle. "Most people are surprised to learn that synthetic fertilizers are basically salts," Garrett explains. "When you put salts on plants over and over again, it throws the plant's biology out of balance, which eventually kills it. The salts also cause the soil to harden and get so compact that it won't drain water well." 

Natural gardening is immensely better for our health and our environment, and it turns out that it's great for plants, too. Natural gardening creates stronger plants that can withstand stressors such as extreme changes in temperature, insects and disease. "The most significant benefit you will notice is your plants have greater tolerance for dramatic weather," said Garrett. "For instance, plants aren't as vulnerable to frost, and therefore can enjoy a longer growing season. These plants are also more resistant to insects and disease." A common misconception is that natural gardening is more costly -- but Garrett says it actually saves money in the long run. For one thing, you never have to rebuild the garden beds -- they just continue to get better and better. You'll also need to fertilize less often, because the natural products are slow-releasing and longer-lasting. GOING GREEN IN YOUR GARDEN Stop using all synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals that harm living organisms. Don't try to combine natural and conventional approaches, as it won't work, says Garrett. Fertilize with only natural products such as compost or natural fertilizer products two or three time a year. Feed the soil in which your plants grow with liquid fertilizer or compost "tea" (see recipe below) during the growing season. Create a compost pile, nature's own living fertilizer. It can be started any time of the year in sun or shade. Anything that was once alive can go in the compost, including grass clippings, leaves, vegetable and fruit food scraps, bark, sawdust, rice hulls, weeds, nut hulls and animal manure. Mix the ingredients together and simply pile the material on the ground. The best mixture is 80% vegetative matter and 20% animal waste, although any mix will compost. Build soil health with natural organic products and techniques. Apply compost, rock materials such as lava sand, granite and basalt and dry molasses (which you can find at gardening centers that cater to organic gardeners) to all planting areas. Mulch bare soil around all shrubs, trees, ground covers and food crops. This protects the soil from sunlight, wind and rain, inhibits weeds, decreases watering needs and mediates soil temperature. Native cedar is the best choice. Water only as needed. Natural gardening reduces the frequency and volume of water needed. Water when plants begin to wilt. Mow lawns only as necessary and leave clippings on the lawn. This returns nutrients and organic matter to the soil. Put occasional excess clippings in compost pile. For weed control, hand-pull large weeds and cultivate soil health. Mulch all bare soil to keep weeds to a minimum. Avoid all synthetic herbicides. Spray weeds as needed with vinegar-based herbicides. Control pests the natural way. Use natural products to encourage beneficial insects and spray plants with compost tea mixtures such as Garrett Juice, which is a mixture of natural ingredients including compost, water, apple cider, vinegar, molasses and seaweed (see below). If you aren't experienced and want to get started, Garrett says that vegetables and herbs such as garlic, chives, radishes, beans, peas and okra are easiest for beginners. "Also small tomatoes, most greens, including spinach during the cooler weather, and beets and sweet potatoes, which are almost foolproof especially for those with sandy soil." Note: If your plants are already growing strong, it's likely too late to go all the way green this season... but you certainly can start planning for a naturally healthy, environmentally friendly garden going forward. Recipe for Compost Tea and Garrett Juice: Make Compost Tea by soaking compost in water. Fill any container half full of compost and finish filling with water. Let the mix sit 24 hours, then dilute and spray on the foliage of any and all plants. Be sure to strain the solids out with old pantyhose or cheesecloth. For Garrett Juice, mix one gallon of water with 1 cup of manure-based compost tea. Add 1 ounce apple cider vinegar, 1 ounce molasses and 1 ounce liquid seaweed. For homemade fire ant killer, add 2 ounces of citrus oil to the gallon of Garrett Juice. For more information, visit Garrett's Web site at You can also e-mail questions to Garrett at Source(s): Howard Garrett is a registered landscape architect, organic horticulturalist, broadcaster and writer with extensive experience in landscape contracting, greenhouse growing, golf course planning and maintenance and organic product development. Garrett is author of several books, including The Organic Manual: Natural Organic Gardening and Living For Your Family, Plants and Pets, a non-regional guide to organic gardening (Tapestry). For more information go to

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