SCCF Native Landscape & Garden Center to reopen Monday
Twenty-five volunteers gathered at the Bailey Homestead Preserve to help the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation clean the grounds Tuesday, Sept. 26, so the Native Landscapes & Garden Center could reopen for the public.
With the dedication of the volunteers, the center is slated to reopen Monday, Oct. 2 and resume normal business hours from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Saturday hours will be added in January through April from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Although the center will open, Garden Center Manager Jenny Evans said the observation tower and trails will remain closed until further notice because they are partially under water and there are still some downed trees.
“The trail was impassable,” Evans said, due to downed trees. “The lawn was still wet. There was debris on the lawn, so we couldn’t mow, or maintain.”
She said some of her staff lives on island, so they were able to pop into the center the day after Hurricane Irma passed through. She said she was thankful for her staff because the plotted plants needed water and to be stood upright again.
“They were able to water all the plants,” Evans said because they are hooked up to city water.
Although there was no structural damage, the preserve lost three very large trees, and many downed branches. One of the large trees lost was a Royal Poinciana, which was an existing tree when they purchased the property.
She said since that is not a native tree, and there is a sea grape next to it, it will most likely not be replaced. Evans said sea grapes break branches, that’s how they grow.
In addition, two strangler figs also toppled over during the hurricane. Evans said they are planning on cutting the figs back and letting them reroot.
She said the fallen trees took place in areas where there had been a lot of water.
The Tropical Hardwood Hammock demonstration garden area also underwent some cleanup. Evans said the area was recently planted about a year ago, so they were not completely rooted. She said they spent a lot of time staking the area.
“It will take a while for plants to recover, a year or so,” Evans said. “The natives are able to bounce back. They have adaptations for surviving through hurricanes.”
Evans invites the community to stop by the center.
“We only have natives to Florida,” she said of the tree, shrubs, ground covers and flowers. “We are happy to answer any questions. We are an informational resource.”
The Garden Center is located at the Bailey Homestead Preserve, 1300 Periwinkle Way. For more information call (239) 472-1932.
All of the sales benefit SCCF.