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The Art of Gardening

“My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece.” Claude Monet

 

Swathes of color and texture now sweep across the entrance to VISTA Gardens. The Wildflower Garden, so meticulously planned, is now a vibrant, lush reality. The Florida Wildflower Foundation, VISTA gardeners, community leaders and organizations and more than 100 volunteers have had a hand in bringing the Wildflower Garden to fruition.


Bruce Turley, the owner of Wilcox Nursery, designed the Wildflower Garden. After growing up around the plant business, Bruce earned a degree in Visual Arts. He parlayed his artistic skills back into gardening and now designs with a palette of blooms, berries, verdant trees and wispy grasses. A lifetime of working with Florida native plants gives Bruce an expertise perfectly suited to wildflower garden design.

Bruce Turley at VISTA’s Wildflower Garden site


VISTA’s Wildflower Garden presented several design challenges. First, it would be located on a berm at the entrance to VISTA. Designing for a berm requires the plantings at the top be suited for well drained soil and the plantings that flow toward the base be progressively more tolerant of wet conditions. Also, two existing structures—a pergola and the VISTA Garden sign—needed to be folded into the design. The final requirement was that the garden be wheelchair accessible.


Aesthetically, Bruce wanted to create undulating lines up and down the berm for a more natural look. Grasses in the design provide structure as wildflowers bloom and recede. The grasses also have a nursery effect, shielding and providing support to other plants. Bruce selected a diversity of plants to have something blooming throughout the year and to support pollinators like bees, wasps and butterfiles. Knowing that the bumble bee may be added to the endangered species list keeps pollinator plants top of mind for Bruce and VISTA gardeners.


The result of Bruce’s beautiful design is now on full display, and we invite you to wander through the Wildflower Garden to enjoy the native plants. To learn more about Florida native plants, please visit the VISTA Garden website at:

www.vistagardentampa.org/nativeplantsinformationsheets.


Byline: Mary Bryant