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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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GARDEN 382 Dr. Howard Thurman, Civil Rights Leader

Posted By Gabriela Roque-Velasco, Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Epiphany Catholic School

5557 SW 84 Street 

Miami, FL 33143



Dr. Howard Thurman, November 18, 1899-April 10, 1981, born in Daytona Beach Florida. A self made man graduated with honors from Morehouse College and the Colgate Rochester Divinity School. Thurman extended his ministry by serving as Director of Religious Life at Morehouse and Spelman Colleges. He was selected as the first dean of Rankin Chapel at Howard University.

Throughout his career, Thurman traveled heading missionary trips. One of his most memorable was a meeting with Mahatma Ghandi, where Ghandi told him he regretted not having made nonviolence more visible as a practice worldwide and suggested some American black men would succeed where he had failed. He left his post at Howard University, to establish the Church of the Fellowship of All People in San Francisco, the first racially integrated church in the United States. Dr. Thurman was invited to Boston University, and became the first black person to be named tenured Dean of chapel at a majority white university.

A prolific writer, Thurman wrote about 20 books of ethical and cultural criticism. His books influenced leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, such as Martin Luther King Jr. He later served as spiritual advisor to Martin Luther king Jr. Howard Thurman left a legacy. Thurman was named honorary Canon of the Cathedral of Saint john Divine. He was named one of the 50 most important figures in African-American history. Life magazine named him one of the 12 most important religious leaders in the United States. 

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Tags:  382  BostonUniversity  civilrightsleader  flor500  flora 500  garden  Ghandi  HowardThurman  MartinLutherkingJr. 

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Matthias Day

Posted By Diandra Ortiz, Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Matthias Day was a very important man during his time. He was native to Ohio but his greatest accomplishment was here in Florida. I decided to plant my garden close to a lake to represent how Matthias purchased a piece of land nearby the Halifax River in Florida. Now this trip of land is known to be Daytona Beach.  However he had many other accomplishments throughout the years. He received a Medal of Honor by the American Army for his performance during the American Indian Wars. During battle Day and his men were ambushed by the Apaches, and they had to step back from the fight. But Day noticed to men injured unable to move and he stopped and ran back to help them before they were killed by the Apaches.  He risked his life to save another. I took the pictures at night because I wanted to demonstrate the darkness that was happening at the time during the American Indian Wars. But I wanted the flowers to be with light to show how Matthias W. Day fought for his land and was rewarded for it. For my art piece I decided to draw his gravestone I used fire to make it look like ash on the cardboard. I wanted to create this effect to represent the ash from the fire during the wars. I felt connected to this project because I would always take family vacations to Daytona Beach and it is a beautiful part of Florida.

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GARDEN 390 Josie Billie, Seminole Medicine Man

Posted By Naidy Escobar, Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Josie Billie was born on December 12th, 1887 He was a member of the Florida Seminole people whom lived his entire life on the Big Cypress Indian Reservation in Hendry County, Florida. Billie was the son of the first Indian man to receive education in Florida, His father’s name was Connie Pajo. Josie a Seminole medicine man and long public spokesman for the Florida Seminoles became a Baptist minister and also a participant in the Florida Folk Festival that was founded in 1953 which still exist today.  I am dedicating this garden to this important Floridian because he was great man. The location in which I choose was in front of my house right by the mail box. The reason why I choose this area was because everyone that walks by during their jog can admire the little garden that I created. Not only those people but also the mailman can see it, people whom park their cars on the sidewalk. I just felt like it was the right place. People would not expect for something to be dedicated to someone on their mail box. This would cause people’s attention to stop and maybe learn something new. I really enjoyed doing this project and being able to share it with the people that live around me and teaching them about an important Floridian.

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Garden 193: Harriet Beecher Stowe

Posted By Demi P. Pinkney, Wednesday, April 23, 2014

In dedication to Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896), I planted this garden to honor her work. Not only was she an accomplished author—famously-known for “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”—she also was an abolitionist who fought to help African-Americans with their fight for freedom. She published many books, but out of all, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” is the one that inspired many because she dedicated it specifically to slaves and it became her best-seller in the U.S. and a couple of other countries.

"I wrote what I did because as a woman, as a mother, I was oppressed and broken-hearted with the sorrows and injustice I saw, because as a Christian I felt the dishonor to Christianity - because as a lover of my county, I trembled at the coming day of wrath."—Harriet Beecher Stowe.

I feel really honored to be assigned Stowe as the person I dedicate my garden to because I didn’t know of her before, but now since I have researched about her, I look at her as one of my inspirational leaders. As an African-American, her efforts to abolish slavery doesn’t go unnoticed to me because I know that my ancestors were probably slaves and if not for her and other anti-slavery leaders, we all would still be someone’s slaves. So, now every day I watch my plant grows, it will be a reminder to me of Stowe’s efforts and her dedication to the abolishment and her many trials she had to go through during the fight. Just like Harriet Beecher Stowe, the flower will have its weak days, from the heavy rain and the cool nights, but in the end, it will strive to become something beautiful.

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Garden 477 J.C. Mitchell Politician and Community Leader

Posted By Nathalie Chevalier, Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Garden 477
1601 SW Realty Street 
Port St Lucie, FL 34987

J.C. Mitchell was a great Politician and community leader. He moved to Boca Raton, Florida in 1922 to develop real estate but his popularity had driven him into civil leadership instead. His career leading him into civil leadership was a great benefit for him and his community. He founded the Boca Raton community Church, and was a founder of the First Bank of Boca Raton. Later on he also founded the local chapters of the American Legion and the lions Club. These were all stepping-stones for his career because he then became mayor of Boca Raton for a great amount of 11 years. Mitchell was also the city’s councilman for three terms. Named after him was the second elementary school in town in 1958, which is still here today. Mitchell was also inducted into the Walk of Recognition, which are plaques to residents of Boca Raton who have made extraordinary influences to the city in 2001. J.C Mitchell is notorious for his many accomplishments but is most notable for making his city Boca Raton the location for an Army Air Corps base. This accomplishment has shaped this part of Florida’s economy during World War II. He was a man that everyone appreciated and having a school named after him, and this garden named after him as well, will keep him in sight of the people he worked hard for. For all his accomplishments throughout his life he will truly be remembered as an important Floridian to Florida residents and especially those who reside in the proud city of Boca Raton.  

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Xavier Cortada
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