In Bloom: The Historical Society’s site

The Historical Society's gardenNow is an ideal time to stop by the Historical Society of Sarasota County garden at the historic Bidwell-Wood House and enjoy the local color.

Have a seat on a bench and feel all stress disappear.

Our members’ garden is a lovely spot for relaxing and maybe reading a book or enjoying a beverage. Everything is in glorious bloom. You’ll find pentas, rain lilies and gerbera daisies as well as a young American holly tree, a gift from a local master gardener.

We also have bromeliads, yellow lantana, iris, spider plants, Indian Hawthorne, ferns, fire spike (red and purple), dwarf heliconia, and a bleeding heart vine that struggled the year we planted it, but seems to have taken off recently. Three pineapples are growing under a pine tree and it will be a race to see who harvests them first – us or the squirrels. Phil Stevens planted pineapple tops from fruit he bought at Publix.

If you’re thinking about planting a Florida-friendly garden at your house, our HSOSC garden is a good one to replicate or to study for inspiration. Everything here is Florida-hardy and does well with erratic or minimal watering (except for the gerbera daisies which wilt if you look at them funny). The large and sheltering tree at the entrance to the garden is a pig nut hickory. We did not plant it. That tree was at Pioneer Park long before we arrived in 2006. It sheds its leaves in winter and looks so frail we always think it is on death’s door. Then in the Spring, it surprises us all and it’s glorious all through the summer providing shade for part of the garden and a gigantic playground for squirrels, birds and lizards.

The members’ garden at HSOSC is always growing and expanding. Lynn and Alex Harding recently donated a small grove of Lady Palm trees to the east side of the house that are thriving and at the back of the house, bromeliads and orange dwarf heliconia are staking a claim to the sandy soil. Within the next two years, we are planning to redesign the parking lot on the west side of the Crocker Memorial Church and install a car park arboretum of Florida-friendly flowering trees. Parking will be convenient and the view will be lovely. Board member Bill Kleber is working on that with a survey and preliminary drawings. If you have suggestions for flowering trees you’d like to see in that space, let us know and if you’d like to

donate a tree or plant to the garden in memory of a loved one or as a gift

to a history-garden-loving friend, the Landscape Committee is ready to make that happen. Contact Marsha Fottler, Landscape Chair at

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