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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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Garden 442: William Whitaker

Posted By Keandra Maragh, Wednesday, April 23, 2014

In honor of William Whitaker I, Keandra Maragh felt it was necessary to plant Garden 442 in his remembrance. Whitaker brought one of the biggest accomplishments economically to Florida. This major outcome first started with him trading dried salt mullet and dried roe to Cuban traders from sailing overseas. This in turn caused one of the first economic booms for Florida. In addition, Whitaker planted the first commercial citrus groves in the state causing the blooming of the renowned Florida oranges. Florida now provides 75% of the country's oranges. In all, with his experimenting of grafted oranges, he acclaimed himself as "Whitaker Sweet".

William Whitaker’s accomplishment for the state of Florida made me curious as to why Indian Blanket seeds were chosen to celebrate the historic mark he paved the way for. Looking into research about Indian blanket seeds I saw that they were native to North America and can pretty much grow in most conditions. The brilliant and radiant assorted colors of red, yellow, and gold translate to me as powerful colors that symbolize strength and dignity as to describe the actions of Williams Whitaker’s impact on Florida.

Even though my location was not as public as designated I made the best of the situation by finding a private home to plant it in. Planting in the night was best for the plant to have a moist and comfortable setting of soil, as well as, a comfortable setting for my assistant seed planter. Consequently, I chose the backyard of the private house because of the enriched atmospheric environment that was contained by the dazzling massive amounts of different plant and flower life within the backyard area. Nonetheless, I felt that the environment would promote growth of such bright and delightful flowers.

 In short, the flower project was fun and choosing the private home to harvest the Indian blanket seeds in was a great choice because it had an intimate and appreciative environment, as well as, an appreciative flower lover that loves art in any shape and form. Expressing the importance of William Whitaker’s role in Florida’s history and being able to make a difference by causing awareness was a pleasure and a great way to build bonds in an artistic way, as well as, cause restore historic awareness.

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GARDEN 480 Marvin Umphrey "Red” Mounts

Posted By Jazmin Colon, Wednesday, April 23, 2014

3115 SW 52 Ave.
Pembroke Park, FL 33023
Raymond P. Oglesby Park 

Jazmin Colon

Panther Id 3520727

Artistic Expression

                                                FLOR500 Essay


Marvin Umphrey Mounts was born in Tonkawa, Oklahoma. In 1925 he graduated from the University of Florida and was hired to work as an assistant agricultural extension agent. Mounts Was Palm Beach County’s first assistant and was hired to educate farmers in modern farming methods and latest scientific research. Then, Mounts would educated and instruct young farmers to grow and eat fruits and vegetables that would improve their health. He also created a grass for cattle that tested soils to prove what fertilizers worked best for crops. I originally wanted to travel up to Palm Beach to find a park to plant a garden in since that is where Mounts is from. But because of the distance I chose a park that had many plants and gardens. In Pembroke Park, the grass is green and there are many plants and flowers already in the ground. I only received permission to plant the seeds given to me in class. I was able to plant those seeds in a field they have. Because Marvin Mounts taught the importance growing your own fruits and vegetables, I thought it would be a great idea to grow something of my own that I can eat. In my back yard, with the help of my father, we planted a culantro herb that we cook in our rice. (Puerto Ricans call it recao.) In the attached photo, you will see a picture of the culatro plant. I really enjoyed planting the recao plant because it is a family tradition. My grandma used to grow these plants in her own backyard when she was learning how to cook. Learning about Mr. Mounts really hit home for me because it sparked an idea to learn how to plant my own food.  

Image of Mounts provided by © 2014 Cox Media Group.

My Garden photo 
Displaying Screenshot_2014-04-23-13-02-30-1.png

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Posted By Franger Flores, Wednesday, April 23, 2014

For my project, I decided to go ahead and plant a very uncommon yet very well-known flower called "the sunflower". The sunflower is an annual plant grown as a crop for its edible oil and edible fruits. Sunflower is also used as bird food, as livestock forage and in some industrial applications. The plant was first domesticated in the Americas. Wild Helianthus annuus is a widely branched annual plant with many flower heads. One of the main reason why I picked this flower is because the hurt my mother volunteers at on the weekends, El Rincon de San Lazaro, is known for their fund raiser of selling Sunflowers. The reason why they sell this particular flower is because tibia the saint's known flower for it's itchiness in vitamins and gifts of food and nutrients. I spoke to the priest of the church, Armando Mendez, who gave me permission to plant a sunflower seed in one of their gardens where they grow this flower. He also agreed that since this particular flower is for a good cause that he will keep it there to showcase the children who are currently going through Catholicism on Sunday school. On August 7, 1840, Chakaika led a second successful raid on the island community of Indian Key. Afterwards, on a hidden island in the Everglades, Chakaika felt he and his people were safe, but an early morning attack by Colonel William S. Harney proved fatal. Today the island is known as Yatcasask in Mikulski, or "Hanging People” in English, because of Harney’s display of the enemy’s bodies after his victory. I grew up with this flower around the house because back in my country, this is a very well-known flower. As explained before, not only it serves as a flower, but it can also give seeds to feed others and rich in oils and vitamins. I had a great time doing this project and participating in Fflor500 because I truly feel that I made a change in the community by planting this seed.  

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Garden 223, John Michael Gonatos

Posted By Kamilah Williamson, Wednesday, April 23, 2014

John Michael Gonatos was one of south floridas well-known sponge divers. Born of Greek parents in the city of Tarpon Springs, Florida, attended the local Greek and American schools in this community and the University of Florida. He became active in sports and a became nationally known heavyweight boxer. He also mastered the diver’s suit and worked up to being one of the Greatest Sponge Diver’s in the world. It was during his diving career that he photographed the famous motion picture "The Story of the Sponge" shown daily at his establishment. Gonatos also had small roles in five films including 16 Fathoms Deep, about the Tarpon Springs sponge divers. When a devastating fungus nearly wiped out the sponge industry, Gonatos helped fight to preserve the historic docks and other reminders of Tarpon Springs’ unique history. He has posed for MGM, Fox and Paramount companies and also appeared on CBS broadcast, coast to coast, giving some of his experiences as a sponge diver.

Mr. Gonatos followed closely in his fathers foot steps. He was dedicated to saving the sponge in Florida. His movie made such an impact, it led other to want to help in preserving the dying off sponge in Florida.

I myself am glad I had this opportunity to learn about this important figure in south Florida. He left a great impact in helping the community to save the sponge. His legacy will be remember through his film and his experienced diving abilities.

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Theodore R. Gibson

Posted By Luis Burbano, Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Luis Burbano III

April 21, 2014

IDS 3336-U01

Professor Schoen, PhD

FLOR500 Project

            Theodore R. Gibson was an active member in the black community of Miami who served as a priest, civil rights demonstrator, and politician. Gibson was born in Miami, Florida in 1915. After receiving his Bachelors of Divinity in 1943, he was ordained as a Deacon, and later a priest in 1944.  He devoted more than half of his life serving at the Christ Episcopal Church in Coconut Grove, which was known as Miami’s oldest neighborhood and the first black settlement on the South Florida mainland. It was here in Miami that Father Gibson began to use his time, energy, and voice as an active member of the civil rights, filing lawsuits that desegregated popular public facilities around the city. Gibson served as the president of the Miami Chapter of the NAACP between the years 1954 and 1964. With the help of a colleague, he was able to transform the city of Coconut Grove to a more sustainable community, seeing as how there were heavy advantages of making allies in the white community. His hard work and dedication superseded beyond Coconut Grove, reaching as far as Dade and Broward County. Even up until his death in 1982, he was and still is known and remembered for his love and commitment to improving the human welfare of the African American population in Coconut Grove.

            I decided to plant my seeds at the house directly across the street from the Christ Episcopal Church of Coconut Grove, the same exact church that Theodore R. Gibson served for more than half of his life up until his passing. I was outside walking in front of the church about two weeks ago to see it for myself and I took a picture of the church. I saw an old woman living across the street and asked if she knew of Father Gibson and she said that she used to attend service with him back in the day. I asked if it would be okay to plant seeds on the church property itself and she didn’t think so, so then I asked if I could plant it in front of her place instead. She didn’t mind one bit, and it is on the small batch of grass against the fence line directly facing the church itself. Her granddaughter joined me in taking the picture, which was very much appreciated. It was beautiful and humble, just like the life of Theodore R. Gibson.


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