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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,
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Garden #202: Cedric Donald Atkins

Posted By Lance Saturday, Monday, April 21, 2014

Cedric Donald “C.D.” Atkins

Citrus Industry Researcher


Garden # 202


My Historic figure is Cedric Donald “C.D.” Atkins (1913-2000) a native Floridian Atkins was inducted into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame in 1983. He was born in Winter-Haven Florida in 1913, the only child of James A. Atkins and Christina Atkins. The family lived on a one hundred and twenty ace plot of land that the family inherited in 1887. They used this large track of land to grow oranges for a source of second income.  

In 1942 while teaching summer school, Atkins took a part time job at the Florida Citrus commission. Joining a research team lead by Dr. Louis MacDowell and Dr. Edwin L. Moore. Shortly after taking the job he gave up teaching for good focusing most of his attention working at the U.S.D.A lab which at the time was investigating on better methods for making concentrated orange juice primarily for the U.S. Armed forces. Additionally the team wanted to produce a system to make more efficient use of Florida’s Citrus crop. What they came up with is a method of adding a small amount of fresh juice to the concentrate making it more flavorful and nutritious, replenishing some vitamins that are lost when the juice is boiled to make the concentrate.

            For my Flor500 garden my group choose to create an event that would make a visible impact on a local community. What we came up with was the landscape of the historic James “Cracker” Johnson house in West Palm Beach Florida. At this residence we planted a garden of native Florida Fire Bush in honor of Cedric Atkins. These tropical plants have blossoms of beautiful orange flowers, which cover this hedge like plants. I choose to plant Fire Bush because the orange blossoms represent the Oranges trees that surrounded Atkins his entire life as well as the orange concentrate recipe, which he worked so tirelessly to perfect. The garden was placed along the western edge of the property line; each Fire bush plant was placed exactly two feet apart and sixteen inches from the wall centered.

This garden commemorates the life’s work of historical Floridian. The results of which produced a recipe for concentrate that is still used today. The results of Atkins work produced two major results; first the new concentrate recipe provided more nutrition. The fresh juice added a multitude of vitamins to the concentrate including Vitamin C and Vitamin A. This helped to provide vitamins and minerals to the diet of a malnourished population still recovering from the great depression. The second major advantage of Atkins work at the U.S.D.A. lab was that the new concentrate recipe was able to make a more productive use of Florida’s Citrus crop. These efforts were ahead of their time in terms of making the best use of Florida fertile soil as well as producing the most vitamin rich concentrate. 

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Tags:  art  Citrus  Community  F  Florida Frie-bush  Florida history  native trees 

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