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FLOR 500 Gardens
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500 Gardens (Public Gardens):

FLOR500 invites 500 schools and libraries from across the state's 67 counties plant 500 wildflower gardens and dedicate them to one of 500 important Floridians (selected by a team of historians) featured on this website. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to develop skills in art, history, and nature as they participate in celebrating 500 years of Florida.

Review the FLOR500 list of featured honorees in the their region and select a historic figure they want to honor when they plant their public wildflower garden.

For Title: Enter the NUMBER and NAME of Honoree from list,
For First Image: Enter MAIN Garden photo,
Add Credit Line for Photos if needed


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Ken Thompson (1910 – 2001)

Posted By alessandro luchetti, Thursday, April 24, 2014

Ken Thompson (1910 – 2001)

Mr. Thompson was born in the Isle of Pines, in the Caribbean. Descending from

a Scottish father and an Irish mother, he lived in Cuba for many years, until 1922

when he moved to the U.S. Mr. Thompson studied high school in Miami Beach and later on, earned his BS degree in electrical engineering at University of Florida. He was sent to Harvard and MIT for a semester to train in the field of advance military electronics. After serving in the Pacific during World War II, he went back to Miami Beach as city engineer and afterwards as City Manager.

In 1950, he was picked to be the city manager of Sarasota, where he stayed in charge for 38 years (the longest in history).

Mr. Thompson was key to the Sarasota’s development projects of the bay front, Island Park and marina. He also was a founding member of The Florida Shore and Beach Preservation Association and president of The Florida City and County Managers Association.

In addition, he helped with the development of the current city hall, and the upgrade of the police force and fire department.

He received, after many years of service to the community, multiple awards such as: Goodwill Industries’ Distinguished Citizen of 1986, Fraternal Order of Police’s Citizen of the Year and Veterans of Foreign wars’ Man of the Year.

I wanted to dedicate this garden to Mr. Thompson, because I believe he has been one of the main characters that made a change in the development of Sarasota.  Living by such values and principles, willing to help citizens and the community, creates a public image everyone should appreciate. It Is because of people like Mr. Thompson that we can live better nowadays, and specially for the services that a city such as Sarasota offer us thanks to him.

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Tags:  Garden 440 - Indian Blanket 

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352 - Jonathan Dickinson

Posted By Amy P. Perez, Thursday, April 24, 2014
Garden For Jonathan Dickinson at Crandon Park, Miami:
6747 Crandon Blvd, Key Biscayne, FL 33149

Jonathan Dickinson (1663-1722)


Jonathan Dickinson was a Quaker born in Port Royal, Jamaica. During his sailing, his ship was wrecked along southeast the coastline of Florida, where he, his wife and son, and ten of their slaves were then stranded. They were found and held captive by the Jaega Indians and eventually made the physically and mentally abusive trip up to Saint Agustine, Florida; five members died along the way. Dickinson and his remaining group members were greeted by Spanish authorities and there, they were treated for their injuries and set on their way to Charlestown (now Charleston) South Carolina, and from there set sail to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


I have chosen to place Jonathan Dickinson’s memorial here at Crandon Park in Key Biscayne because it is a public park where visitors come to spend their time, and Dickinson’s memorial would be easily noted and appreciated by many there. However, I chose this destination because Crandon Park is also a beach, and the memorial is close to the ocean. Originally, Dickinson arrived at Miami by sailboat, and I thought it most fitting that his garden be placed somewhere near the ocean. Dickinson’s intention was to sail from Jamaica, whence he came, to Pennsylvania, where the Quakers thrived, mostly. Placing Dickinson’s memorial near the water helps viewers to understand his voyage and arrival here in Florida, and gives them the opportunity to delve into his rich history. The memorial for Dickinson at Crandon Park is ideal, as he is always nearest the water.

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Tags:  Flor500 

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374 Francisco Pellicer

Posted By Adner Rios, Wednesday, April 23, 2014

                                                                               Kendall United Methodist Church
                                                                                    7600 104 Street Miami, Fl

I am dedicating this garden to Francisco Pellicer, who was a Carpenter and a Leader of the Minorcans. He was born in 1747 in Minorca, which is located in Spain. As he got older he left Spain and moved to New Smyrna, Florida, which at that time, the United States was still a colony, in the verge of liberating from the British. He arrived along with members of the Andrew Turnbull Colony of New Smyrna, which he was one of them. Soon he started to gain properties; he built a house in St. George St. along with a partner by the name of Jose Pesco de Burgo. Over the years, he would buy land, one of them was present day Orange Street. He along with his colony escaped to St. Augustine from severe circumstance the colony was facing. Pellicer moved his family to St. Augustine, where he owned a huge farm by the Matanzas River. Decades later the creek where he settled and owned a lot of properties was named after him, “Pellicer Creek”. Today Pellicer Creek is a campground where people can go camping, get reservations for a vacation in the outdoors, and family time. He was married twice, and his children and people who descend from him have carried the title of Leaders of Minorcans, just like their patriarch.

I want to dedicate this garden to him because of work and legacy. Although he was a person with no education background, he had skills, and along with the rest of the Minorcans to form plantations and form a community. Even though they were going through persecutions from the English, diseases, and issues with the government they never gave up. So all of this got him to become abundant, achieving, honorable and a successful person.

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Garden 489 - Dr. Henry Perrine

Posted By Steve W. Delicat, Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Dr. Henry Perrine, born April 5th, 1797 in Cranbury, New Jersey, was a teacher, medical doctor, and botanist, who did plenty in order to help better society. As a youth while growing up, he taught school for two years, and studied medicine, and at the young age of 22, he moved away from home to Bond County, Illinois in order to put his studies to work. A turning point in his life was in 1821 when he was a victim of arsenic poisoning which he never fully recovered from, but moved to Mississippi leaving his family behind in hopes of improving his health due to the climate.

Continuing, after three years he was appointed U.S. Consul (representative) at Campeche, Yucatan (Mexico) and this is where his fascination with tropical plants grew. The U.S. Treasury had requested al U.S. Consuls to find useful plants that could be introduced to the U.S. but Perrine was the only one who responded to this request. Dr. Perrine became interested in establishing a colony to grow these tropical crops, & he would collect and ship seeds to acquaintances in South Florida, one of them Charles Howe at Indian Key. He received a land grant and was able to form The Tropical Plant Company of Florida along with Judge James Webb of Key West, and Charles Howe, postmaster of Indian Key being its director. He was advised of Indian hostilities on the mainland, those of the Seminole, due to the second Seminole War, so he moved with his family to Indian Key in 1838 on Christmas, and 2 years later died during the August 7, 1840 Indian attack.

Dr. Henry Perrine is responsible for introducing about 70 exotic, but useful tropical plants into the south Florida area and although he died an early death, his name still lives on today, with both a community, and an elementary school named after him.  

As for the location, I remember walking through the FIU Nature Preserve and feeling as if I was in a different environment, like I wasn’t at FIU anymore, away from everyone and out in the nearby wilderness, and I feel as if it kind of relates to the Indian Keys, which was where Perrine lived before he died. The Indian Keys today is pretty much an isolated island where people can go to get away and visit the Historic State Park there, and do water activities such as swimming or kayaking; although the nature preserve is not an island and within the FIU civilization, it is a place of its own. 

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Garden 387, Abiaka (Sam Jones)

Posted By Brooke Englert, Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Garden Site 387 dedicated to an inspiring seminole war chief, Abiaka, often reffered to as Sam Jones, was located at Tree Tops Park in Broward county, Florida. Surrounded by suburbs, the park resides at 3900 SW 100th Ave, Davie FL 33328; Abiaka was a Seminole Indian in which he was most known to be a very inspiring and powerful war chief and also as the medicine man. His high spirits and influential role kept the Seminole people together and surviving through war times to peace times. I chose this location for the garden site ironically because this specific park has an actual statue of Abiaka. The statue is conveniently placed behind the main office of the park, in the front of the woods in which the beauty of nature surrounds the statue. The park possesses this figurine of Abiaka because of the impact he made in the Second Seminole War is the reason for the presence of all Native Americans here in South Florida grounds today. His relevance to the Seminole people is almighty, therefore the statue displayed is there in honor of Abiaka and his bravery. Every Seminole still residing here today owes a big thanks to Abiaka and his determination for fighting for the Seminole land to remain here. The statue is Abiaka alongside a woman and her child, in which Abiaka is pointing ahead for the mother and child to go. This statue portrays Abiaka pointing and leading a mother and child to some sort of safety, displaying the times in war when he kept the Seminoles safe during rough war struggles. Im very pleased with the garden location and am excited for those to visit and check out the site and to hopefully learn more about the great Abiaka. 

Abiaka Portrait provided by the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

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FIU College of Architecture + The Arts

Xavier Cortada
Florida International University
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