Thursday, March 1, 2012

Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes. ~Author Unknown

My garden is a conglomeration of plants & shells.

One thing I love about the  little apartment complex where I live is that it reminds me of "old Florida".  The landscaping is mature hibiscus, bougainvillea, & assorted palm trees.  Instead of mulch they have landscaped the beds with crushed sea shell.  Almost every resident on the bottom floor has a small garden space outside their screened-in patio door.  The existing plants are never good enough for any of us.  Each area has been customized to suit the taste of the frustrated green thumb who lives there. My little corner is full of my heirloom plants that I have been lugging around for 25 years.  My garden is also the final destination for any big horse conch or whelk that is too beat up to use for anything else.  So my garden is actually a seashell garden with lots of plants dispersed among it.

 Being on the dog walking route of the complex, my garden get perused quite frequently by seashell admirers who have never seen such big empty shells.  One lady  liked it so much she created  a facsimile in her front garden area.  She started laying out all her shells as a beautiful ground covering except...hey hey hey - what's this!  As I'm admiring her handiwork I notice she has a perfect lion's paw right in the middle of a bunch of traverse arks & calico scallops. That's like hanging a Dali painting next to a paint-by-numbers or parking a Harley-Davidson in the middle of a slew of Vespa mopeds.  Huge faux pas. 

 I rescued the little beauty & explained to the Florida newcomer that this was no ordinary shell & she should put it where she keeps any other treasured item.  I got the wide-eyed "really?" look but she complied and was very excited to have a special shell on her hands.  I felt it was my duty to expand her shelling grid so we went on a field trip to Boca Grande.  

Boca Grande is only 30 miles north up the coast from Sanibel so the beaches are very similar. My drive to Boca Grande is about 15 minutes give-or-take a few minutes for lolly gagging at garage sales & lookie looing at all the osprey, boats, & low-tide flats.

The water visibility  was  crystal clear.

I think the Boca Grande first-timer is happy with what she sees.  My new shell sistah Lisa is also a renowned chicken artist. Check out Lisa'a folk art here.

What every new sheller loves to see - the big honking shell pile.

We dug around in this pile of shell treasures until our hands said enough.

Tip - Once on Boca Grande follow the road to South Beach Bar & Grill. and park in the paid lot just past the restaurant.  Parking is $3.00 for the entire day .  Follow the path out to the beach and head south (left) along the seawall to the broken pier that looks like Stonehenge.  This is a great place for shells & fishing.

It's hard to believe it is a February day. 

Making the planet a better place one shell (sheller) at a time.