Monday, May 27, 2024

June 2024 Meeting - Dr. Craig Huegel - Creating a Pollinator Garden

Join us Monday, June 10th, 2024 at 7pm.  

Harlee Building/County Fairgrounds, 1303 17th St W, Palmetto, FL 34221

Our June Speaker - Dr Craig Huegel

From the Program Committee:

Our June speaker will be Dr. Craig Huegel, Director of the USF Botanical Gardens and author of six books on Florida native plants and wildlife and two popular blogs related to gardening in Florida and native Florida plants.

Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, he earned a BS in Zoology and a MS in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Wisconsin, and PhD in Animal Ecology from Iowa State University. He has served on the faculties of the Universities of Kentucky and Florida, as Administrator of the Environmental Lands Division for Pinellas County, and as an Adjunct Professor at St. Petersburg College and Tampa College.

He will speak on Pollinators and Creating a Pollinator Garden. There is worldwide interest in the decline of pollinators, and a critical need to create landscapes to benefit them. In this program, Dr. Huegel will provide practical information on how to do this.

Friday, April 26, 2024

May Meeting - Florida's Neighborhood Bats by Shari Blissett-Clark

Join us Monday, May 13th, 2024 at 7pm.  

Harlee Building/County Fairgrounds, 1303 17th St W, Palmetto, FL 34221

Florida's Neighborhood Bats
Speaker: Shari Blissett-Clark 

Our May speaker will be Shari Blissett-Clark, President of the Florida Bat Conservancy. Shari has dedicated 40 years to private and public conservation work, including fire management, invasive species management, and natural areas management. She is a long-time member of the Florida Native Plant Society, Xerces Society, Bat Conservation International, Southeast Bat Diversity Network, and the North American Bat Network.

Shari owns and operates Bat Belfrys, a Florida non-profit organization that designs and builds bat houses. Proceeds from bat house sales directly support the initiatives of the Florida Bat Conservancy. The houses are scientifically designed to attract and protect bats, and have been extremely successful in Florida.

Shari’s visit is an opportunity to purchase these bat houses and pick them up at the meeting, saving the cost of shipping them from Shari’s location in Citrus County. However, it will be necessary to pre-order them. Details of the houses, prices, and pre-ordering information are available on pdf at this link: Bat Belfry's. Please consider supporting the bat population and Shari’s non-profit organization by taking advantage of this opportunity.

Shari’s presentation, Florida's Neighborhood Bats, will take us on a journey to uncover the myths and reveal the truth about these amazing flying mammals. We will explore the important roles bats play in insect and disease control, food production, and human health, and reveal the true value these unique mammals bring to our daily lives. The presentation will even include some live Florida bats.

Monday, March 25, 2024

April 2024 Meeting - Bananas - Celeste Welch

Link to Slides from Presentation

Join us Monday, April 8th, 2024 at 7pm.  

Harlee Building/County Fairgrounds, 1303 17th St W, Palmetto, FL 34221

Speaker: Celeste Welch

For April we are pleased to feature one of our own members, Celeste Welch. Along with her husband, entomologist Craig Welch, she owns and operates Sulcata Grove, a tropical fruit farm in north Sarasota County. In addition to fresh homegrown tropical fruit and vegetables, Sulcata Grove produces and markets fruit trees and other plants, seeds, pasture-raised eggs, honey, dried fruit, Sulcata tortoise food, and more. More information is available at the Sulcata Grove website and Instagram page.

Celeste is also an important contributor to the MRFC. As webmaster and social media master for a number of years, she has maintained our ever more important online presence. Sulcata Grove has been a vendor at several of our tree sales, including this year’s, and is active on social media and has produced numerous informative Youtube videos.

At our April meeting, Celeste will speak on one of her favorite tropical fruits, bananas. Her presentation will cover all aspects of banana horticulture for the home grower, including varieties, propagation, and disease management.

Sunday, February 25, 2024

2024 Rare Fruit Tree Sale


 2024 Rare Fruit Tree Sale!
New Earlier Date
Join us for the area's largest rare fruit tree sale 
Saturday, March 23rd, 2024 
Premier Sports Campus 
5895 Post Blvd, Lakewood Ranch Florida 34211
Bring a Wagon and Cash
No ATM on site

MRFC Fruit Tree Sale Flyers to Print and Share
These are great to print and post in areas where fruit/gardening enthusiast may frequent like international grocers, restaurants, and more. 


Friday, February 23, 2024

March Meeting - Alex Salazar - Mangos

Join us Monday, March 11th, 2024 at 7pm.  

Harlee Building/County Fairgrounds, 1303 17th St W, Palmetto, FL 34221

Speaker: Alex Salazar

This month we welcome back one of our most popular speakers, Alex Salazar.

Alex founded Tropical Acres Farms. Initially the farm was begun on 5 acres of land in Loxahatchee Groves, FL. In 2012 he began a partnership with the Sturrock family on their historic property in West Palm Beach, on which mangos have been grown since the 1920’s. Since that time all production has been moved to this location. 

Over the years Alex has collected hundreds of cultivars of mangos and is still planting more. Alex also grows avocados and sapodillas, along with other tropical fruits. Tropical Acres Farms sells mango budwood, trees, and fruit. More information can be found on his website , which also has a wealth of information about mango and avocado varieties.

Alex always provides us with the latest news from the Florida mango world, plus a forecast of the upcoming mango season. Because the long trip from West Palm Beach would take too much time from Alex’s busy schedule, this month’s presentation will be virtual. We’ll see Alex’s presentation live on screen, and will be able to ask questions interactively.  If this is successful, we hope to have occasional virtual presentations from other experts who would not otherwise be available to us.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

February 2024 Meeting - Alyssa Vinson - Mushrooms

Join us Monday, February 12th, 2024 at 7pm.  

Harlee Building/County Fairgrounds, 1303 17th St W, Palmetto, FL 34221

Speaker: Alyssa Vinson - Mushrooms

Our February 12 speaker will be Alyssa Vinson, an environmental science educator for the past 15 years working in Alaska, Oregon and now Florida. She holds a master’s degree from the University of Florida in Ecological Restoration. and is a certified arborist through the International Society of Arboriculture. Her current role as Residential Horticulture Agent in Manatee County allows her to work with the Master Gardener Volunteer program, the Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program, and the Florida Master Naturalist Program. She will speak about mushrooms: their biology, identification strategies, cultural significance and contemporary uses.

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

January Meeting at Palma Sola Botanical Park - Kenny Coogan - Florida's Carnivorous Plants

What: MRFC Monthly Meeting - MRFC Partners

When: Monday January 8th, 2024 at 7pm

Where: Palma Sola Botanical Park, 9800 17th Ave NW, Bradenton, FL 34209

Please note that our January meeting will be held at Palma Sola Botanical Park, as our regular location is unavailable due to the Manatee County Fair. Members are encouraged to bring a dish or a raffle plant if you can.

Our January speaker will be Kenny Coogan, author of the new book "Florida's Carnivorous Plants." Florida has dozens of native species of carnivorous plants – more than any other state in the United States.

Kenny has a Master’s Degree in Global Sustainability and is passionate about Florida’s wildlife and plants. He is the Education Director for the International Carnivorous Plant Society, and runs a successful carnivorous plant nursery in Tampa, Florida.

Kenny's book and a selection of tropical carnivorous plants will be available for purchase after the talk. Please join us for the unusual and fascinating topic!

You can now pay 2024 dues (still only $12). Please click here for more information about dues and to pay online.  You may also pay with cash or check (made payable to MRFC) at this or a future meeting. If you are not sure whether you have paid yet, please check at the membership table at the meeting.