Plant Nursery Gallery

This Plant Nursery Gallery is a collection of photos taken at Shawnee Palm Tree Farm in Fort Myers, Florida. The photos were taken by Michael McKee, and Lee Baker and highlight the beauty of the nursery’s many plants, and palm trees. Most of these pictures were taken in the Spring, and Summer of 2016, the best time of year for growing plants in Southwest Florida.

Plant Nursery Gallery

Plant Nursery Gallery

This Plant Nursery Gallery is a collection of photos taken at Shawnee Palm Tree Farm in Fort Myers, Florida. The photos were taken by Michael McKee, and Lee Baker and highlight the beauty of the nursery's many plants, and palm trees. Most of these pictures were taken in the Spring, and Summer of 2016, the best time of year for growing plants in Southwest Florida.

[img src=http://shawneepalmtreefarm.com/wpdir/wp-content/flagallery/plant-nursery-gallery/thumbs/thumbs_kale-grows-well-in-fort-myers-florida.jpg]1040Kale Grows Well In Fort Myers Florida
We grow pesticide free vegetables in our 128 square foot screen house, and Kale is just one of the yummy vegetables that grow very well here in Southwest Florida.
[img src=http://shawneepalmtreefarm.com/wpdir/wp-content/flagallery/plant-nursery-gallery/thumbs/thumbs_kohlrabi-growing-like-a-weed-shawnee-palm-tree-farm.jpg]350Kohlrabi Growing Like A Weed At Shawnee Palm Tree Farm
Kohlrabi is a vegetable that was not on my radar at all. Somehow Lee acquired the seeds and up came this strange looking food that we ended up loving!
[img src=http://shawneepalmtreefarm.com/wpdir/wp-content/flagallery/plant-nursery-gallery/thumbs/thumbs_mexican-petunias-for-sale-shawnee-palm-tree-farm.jpg]400Mexican Petunias For Sale In Fort Myers Florida
Mexican Petunias happily growing under our 1500 square foot irrigation pergola. These attractive plants flower daily throughout the year.
[img src=http://shawneepalmtreefarm.com/wpdir/wp-content/flagallery/plant-nursery-gallery/thumbs/thumbs_mexican-petunias-love-it-here-shawnee-palm-tree-farm.jpg]400Mexican Petunias Love It Here!
These Mexican Petunias grow so well here in Southwest Florida that some consider them to be an invasive species. I disagree with this as they are easy to control.
[img src=http://shawneepalmtreefarm.com/wpdir/wp-content/flagallery/plant-nursery-gallery/thumbs/thumbs_mexican-petunias-surround-large-royal-palm-shawnee-palm-tree-farm.jpg]370Mexican Petunias Surround Large Royal Palm
One great looking application of Mexican Petunias is to plant them at the base of a larger plant, such as a Royal Palm Tree. This will help prevent irrigation water from evaporating and fill gaps in your landscape.
[img src=http://shawneepalmtreefarm.com/wpdir/wp-content/flagallery/plant-nursery-gallery/thumbs/thumbs_non-invasive-clumping-bamboo-shawnee-palm-tree-farm-fort-myers-florida.jpg]410Non-Invasive Clumping Bamboo
Many homeowners are afraid of planting bamboo in their yards. This fear is unfounded as Clumping Bamboo is non-invasive and will not run into your neighbor's property.
[img src=http://shawneepalmtreefarm.com/wpdir/wp-content/flagallery/plant-nursery-gallery/thumbs/thumbs_non-invasive-clumping-bamboo-shawnee-palm-tree-farm.jpg]400Non-Invasive Bamboo Is Cold Tolerant
Thankfully, the temperature in Southwest Florida rarely sinks below freezing. But just in case, there are many varieties of Clumping Bamboo that will tolerate the occasional cold snap.
[img src=http://shawneepalmtreefarm.com/wpdir/wp-content/flagallery/plant-nursery-gallery/thumbs/thumbs_the-cure-for-cold-fronts-shawnee-palm-tree-farm-fort-myers-florida.jpg]440The Cure For Cold Fronts
When the occasional cold front makes the outdoor temperature plummet into the low 50's, we do not fret. We simply fire-up the nursery's fire pit and toast marshmallows!
[img src=http://shawneepalmtreefarm.com/wpdir/wp-content/flagallery/plant-nursery-gallery/thumbs/thumbs_yes-we-have-bananas-fort-myers-florida.jpg]440Yes, We Have Bananas!
Banana plants are tropical plants that are not only beautiful to look at, but also make yummy fruit!
[img src=http://shawneepalmtreefarm.com/wpdir/wp-content/flagallery/plant-nursery-gallery/thumbs/thumbs_bamboo-zen-garden-with-water-features-shawnee-palm-tree-farm-fort-myers-florida.jpg]460Bamboo Zen Garden With Water Features
The Zen Garden was built by Lee Baker in his spare time. This corner of the nursery was empty when we first purchased it. Now it sports two water features, various tropical plants, and 3 different types of bamboo.
[img src=http://shawneepalmtreefarm.com/wpdir/wp-content/flagallery/plant-nursery-gallery/thumbs/thumbs_christmas-lights-in-palm-trees-shawnee-palm-tree-farm.jpg]380Christmas Lights In Palm Trees
This is Christmas, Southwest Florida style! What better place to string up your Christmas lights that a lush tropical Queen Palm? Gilligan never had it so good.
[img src=http://shawneepalmtreefarm.com/wpdir/wp-content/flagallery/plant-nursery-gallery/thumbs/thumbs_easter-lillies-in-full-bloom-shawnee-palm-tree-farm-fort-myers.jpg]410Easter Lilies In Full Bloom
Every April, the Easter Lilies come out of hiding and explode into full bloom. These were planted by a former owner. Imagine our surprise that first year!
[img src=http://shawneepalmtreefarm.com/wpdir/wp-content/flagallery/plant-nursery-gallery/thumbs/thumbs_firebush-is-native-to-florida-shawnee-palm-tree-farm.jpg]390Firebush Is Native To Florida
One of my favorite native Florida plants is the Firebush. This colorful plant alters it's color many times during the year. Leaves turn from green to orange, and every color in between. Flowers will vary from red to yellow.

Photo 1 – Kale Grows Well In Fort Myers Florida

We grow pesticide free vegetables in our 128 square foot screen house, and Kale is just one of the yummy vegetables that grow very well here in Southwest Florida.

Photo 2 – Kohlrabi Growing Like A Weed At Shawnee Palm Tree Farm

Kohlrabi is a vegetable that was not on my radar at all. Somehow Lee acquired the seeds and up came this strange looking food that we ended up loving!

Photo 3 – Mexican Petunias For Sale In Fort Myers Florida

Mexican Petunias happily growing under our 1500 square foot irrigation pergola. These attractive plants flower daily throughout the year.

Photo 4 – Mexican Petunias Love It Here!

These Mexican Petunias grow so well here in Southwest Florida that some consider them to be an invasive species. I disagree with this as they are easy to control.

Photo 5 – Mexican Petunias Surround Large Royal Palm

One great looking application of Mexican Petunias is to plant them at the base of a larger plant, such as a Royal Palm Tree. This will help prevent irrigation water from evaporating and fill gaps in your landscape.

Photo 6 – Non-Invasive Clumping Bamboo

Many homeowners are afraid of planting bamboo in their yards. This fear is unfounded as Clumping Bamboo is non-invasive and will not run into your neighbor’s property.

Photo 7 – Non-Invasive Bamboo Is Cold Tolerant

Thankfully, the temperature in Southwest Florida rarely sinks below freezing. But just in case, there are many varieties of Clumping Bamboo that will tolerate the occasional cold snap.

Photo 8 – The Cure For Cold Fronts

When the occasional cold front makes the outdoor temperature plummet into the low 50’s, we do not fret. We simply fire-up the nursery’s fire pit and toast marshmallows!

Photo 9 – Yes, We Have Bananas!

Banana plants are tropical plants that are not only beautiful to look at, but also make yummy fruit!

Photo 10 – Bamboo Zen Garden With Water Features

The Zen Garden was built by Lee Baker in his spare time. This corner of the nursery was empty when we first purchased it. Now it sports two water features, various tropical plants, and 3 different types of bamboo.

Photo 11 – Christmas Lights In Palm Trees

This is Christmas, Southwest Florida style! What better place to string up your Christmas lights that a lush tropical Queen Palm? Gilligan never had it so good.

Photo 12 – Easter Lilies In Full Bloom

Every April, the Easter Lilies come out of hiding and explode into full bloom. These were planted by a former owner. Imagine our surprise that first year!

Photo 13 – Firebush Is Native To Florida

One of my favorite native Florida plants is the Firebush. This colorful plant alters it’s color many times during the year. Leaves turn from green to orange, and every color in between. Flowers will vary from red to yellow.

 

Queen Palm Row

The Queen Palm Row is finally finished, and is already home to over 100 Queen Palm Trees.

Queen Palm Row

Queen Palm Row - Adjusting Irrigation - Shawnee Palm Tree Farm.jpgBaby Queen Palms Outgrow Pergola

When Lee planted the young Queen Palm sprouts 2 years ago they were only 6 inches tall. During the first year in the irrigation pergola, huge fronds shot up 3 feet into the sky. These first fronds acted like solar panels, collecting energy to help the young trees build root structure.

The Queen Palms surprised us again this summer when they launched numerous fronds over 8 feet into the air. This last growth spurt caused the shade cloth roof of the irrigation pergola to bulge upward. Looking like a circus tent, it was easy to see the trees wanted out.

We Need Another Tree Row

It was clear we needed to build another palm tree row. We had built the Royal Palm Tree row exactly one year earlier. This first palm tree row has Queen Palm Row - Shawnee Palm Tree Farm - Fort Myers.jpgworked out so well, we copied the design exactly.

A high tension coated steel wire was run along the top of 4 x 4 posts, placed 5 feet above ground. This is needed to prevent the queen palms from falling over in the wind. Each palm tree is loosely tied to this wire using nylon mesh strapping.

Wood Pallets Again?

Ideally, we would have used plastic pallets. Plastic pallets do not rot when constantly exposed to water and dirt. However, this is an emergency. The trees will not wait.

Plastic pallets are not readily available, so we were forced to use wood pallets again. In an earlier experiment, the wood pallets we placed the potted plants on turned into sawdust after only one year. Learning from these past mistakes, we did things differently.

We placed the 14 wood pallets on top of brick pavers so they are not sitting on the damp ground. Next, I nailed heavy gauge tar paper onto the top surface of each pallet. The tar paper should help keep the wood pallets dry, even with wet dirt filled pots on top. This is our first time trying this method, so we are keeping our fingers crossed.

Queen Palm Row - Starting Irrigation - Shawnee Palm Tree Farm.jpgMoving Day

Christmas morning was moving day! After some irrigation system modification, over 100 of the tallest Queen Palms were moved to their new home. Once trimmed and tied, each tree was fitted with it’s own drip irrigation line.

At last, the Queen Palms can now grow as tall as they want.

 

 

 

 

Royal Palm Row

Royal Palm Row

The Royal Palm Row is complete! It’s been years in the making, but we finally developed the ultimate palm tree growing system.

Shawnee Palm Tree Fram-Plastic Pallets - Royal Palm Row - 005
In the beginning we simply placed the pots on the ground.

In the beginning, we simply placed the small potted palms on the bare ground. This was fine until the rains came in June, quickly followed by the weeds. Ever try weeding between 1000 plastic pots? Not fun, and it takes forever.
The next attempt involved nursery cloth. Nursery cloth is similar to tarp material, only it allows water to flow through it. It also allows ants to tunnel through it. The ants pile the dirt on top of the nursery cloth, the weeds grow in the dirt, and we’re back to the original problem.

The next idea involved wood pallets. These are basically free, and would raise the pots off the ground. We drenched 10 pallets with wood preservative, stapled nursery cloth to one side, and crossed our fingers. At first this seemed like it was going to work, but as time went by dirt and water from the pots rotted the wood. After only one year the pallets were literally crumbling.

Shawnee Palm Tree Fram-Plastic Pallets-Royal Palm Row-001
Plastic Pallets lined-up in the new Royal Palm Row.

Surfing Craigslist for farming supplies, I stumbled onto the answer: Plastic Pallets! The pallets in this ad didn’t have any holes for weeds to grow through. They were also UV stable, heavy duty, and best of all – would not rot. That weekend I hitched up the trailer, drove to Fort Lauderdale, and bought 30 of them! And not a moment too soon.

Two years ago we had rescued 86 baby Royal Palms from the landscaper’s weed whacker. They were potted and placed in a shaded irrigation pergola were they could grow in peace. And grow they did! After only two years the Royal Palms were growing through the top of the 8 foot high structure, sending spears through the shade cloth. It was time for a move.

Shawnee Palm Tree Fram-Plastic Pallets-Royal Palm Row-002
Plastic coated wire used to tie-up the Royal Palms.

We already had an irrigated row ready to go thanks to MattyB! Only a couple custom mods were needed to make it perfect for the fast growing Royals. When planted in the ground, Royal Palm roots spread out wide before they grow tall. While in pots, the roots can not spread out, so they are very top-heavy. Because of this, they need to be tied to something to keep from being knocked over by the wind.

We sunk 4 x 4’s into the ground every 20 feet and ran a plastic coated wire along the top. This provides the needed support, and at the perfect height, 5 feet above the ground.

Shawnee Palm Tree Fram-Plastic Pallets-Royal Palm Row-003
86 Royal Palms moved into their new home.

After placing 20 of the plastic pallets in the row, the 86 Royal Palms were moved out of the pergola to their new home. Each tree was plumbed with it’s own spot spitter, a water metering device used to deliver the right amount of water to each tree without overwatering. Next, we tied all 86 royal palms to the coated wire using nylon duct strap. This inexpensive strapping is used by the HVAC industry to hang flex duct from wood roof trusses.

Shawnee Palm Tree Fram-Plastic Pallets-Royal Palm Row-004
Mist from the irrigation system surrounds the royal palm tree pots.

With that last step, the new Royal Palm Row is complete! This latest project has been the result of much trial and error , but hopefully our new palm tree growing system will allow us to spend more time growing, and less time weeding.