I am now in the sixth week of my horticulture internship at Naples Botanical Garden. I have covered topics such as irrigation, turf grass, palms, aboriculture practices, pruning, mulching, weed management, fertilizing, and planting.
My summer project is devoted to anything that is related to orchids. So far that has included managing and cleaning the orchid greenhouse, setting up an irrigation program in the orchid greenhouse, re-potting, setting up displays, educating guests and visitors at the garden, de-flasking and flasking orchids from seeds.
Some of the biggest projects this far have been:
Fixing a cracked main irrigation line. When the pipe was cracked, water was shooting taller than the trees! And after the main water line was turned off, water continued to leak. Naturally this accident happened during a week where Naples accumulated six inches of rain. So, while we were simply trying to lay french drains to help increase irrigation in one-two acre tree holding area, we got a week and a half long lesson on trench digging by hand! Needless to say, the work was back-breaking. However, I am confident in the work that we did and proud to see the outcome of it today.
Planting annuals! This has got to be my favorite thing about this internship. I love flowers, and I especially love the bright, happy colors of annuals. We use a machine called an auger to dig the holes which makes planting especially easy – considering we plant about fifty pallets of one type of flower at a time!
Transplanting a 500 lb Royal Palm. Wow! We dug the palm from the back side of the Naples Botanical Garden visitor sign on Bayshore Drive and moved it to the “Field of Grass” behind the “Asia” part of the garden. Digging the palm was quite a chore! We (5-6 people working on this project together) were careful to leave enough roots so that the tree would survive, however we were hoping to knock away as much from the root ball as possible to make the tree lighter to transport. With the use of the ASV and some golfcarts with trailers attached, we hauled the tree through the garden. Then, we loaded the tree onto a dolly and wheeled it to the spot where we decided to plant it. So, we were about five shovel-fulls into digging the new hole for the tree when of course we hit an irrigation line! The water did not shoot very tall, it was more of a slow and steady, taunting leak. Since we (the interns) are now all experts at irrigation repair, we were able to make a quick fix! We then moved the tree about five feet from the original spot and began digging a hole. It felt so good to stake up the tree at the end of the day and take a look at what we had done!
This is the week of rain & fixing the cracked irrigation line in the tree holding area.
And a gator just hanging out to see that we are getting the job done!
Annual planting! And penta heaven!
Digging up the royal palm
Moving it with the ASV
The interns! Tyler, me, & Bryan
Me & Tyler taking selfies!
Irrigation line FIX
Checking to make sure that we planted it straight HAHA
Untying the top – We tied to together so that it would be easier to transport
After a long day of hard work!