The Garden Club of DeLand has presented Jason Schley of Schley's Bonsai and Supplies at 2745 Audubon Ave., DeLand with The Garden of the Month award for October. Recently featured on Fox 35's Good Day Orlando program, Mr. Schley's property, located beside Lake Woodruff National Wildlife refuge, encompasses 12 acres which include multiple gardens, event venues, and a bonsai nursery. Prior to the freeze of 1984, this land was home to a citrus grove. Outlying areas retain historic Florida charm, filled with native plants including old growth live oaks and saw palmettos, which will remain intact and serve as habitat for native wildlife.
Jason purchased this property in 2011 and has since been working tirelessly, along with his team, to build the gardens of his dreams. His interest in the art of bonsai began in 1991 as a teenager. Schley’s Bonsai and Supplies is now the largest bonsai nursery in central Florida, and hosts the monthly meetings of the Kawa Bonsai Society. Meetings are held on the 3rd Saturday of each month and are open to the public.
Serene Asian inspired garden areas include a large koi pond, 10 species of bamboo, as well as specimen bonsai featured throughout the property. Shaded paths allow for easy access through tropical garden areas showcasing philodendron, ginger, lilies, orchids, and other lush tropical plants. Each bed is tastefully decorated with cute surprise details, creating wonderful photo opportunities for guests of all ages to enjoy. An edible garden can present a challenging endeavor for homeowners in west Volusia, but Jason is successfully growing an array of crops which add visual interest and yield tasty treats. Peaches, nectarines, pears, mangos, pecans, guava, blueberries, bananas, blackberries, grapes, and more are currently growing. Schley’s goal is to create a 3 acre botanical garden, with Asian and eclectic themes, which will be open to the public.
The Garden Club of DeLand commends Jason on his ongoing efforts to add beauty, culture, education, and art to our community.
An annual Fall Festival will be held on Saturday November 9th from 10:00 a.m to 3:00 p.m. This family friendly event will include a sale, demonstrations, raffles, and free food and drinks. For more information, visit Schleybonsai.com
Submitted by Erin Miceli; Garden of the Month Chairperson
The Garden Club of DeLand recognizes Vicky Shanley's Florida friendly cottage style garden as September's Garden of the Month. This well maintained garden surrounding this 1923 craftsman bungalow style home located at 223 S. Salisbury Avenue, has been evolving since purchased in 2010. All turf grass has been removed and replaced by lush plantings, coquina shell pathways, and raised bed planters. A self described “lazy gardener”, Vicky's garden concept included a low maintenance yard with Florida native plants, which would live and self seed with no need to be pampered, heavily pruned, repeatedly watered or excessively fertilized. In 2012 she hired local firm Evolving Landscapes LLC. to help bring her vision to life. Ironically, after selecting this local business whose focus mirrored her personal landscape goals, she learned that her home was previously owed by the firm’s landscape architect and owner!
As her garden continued to grow over the course of the past 7 years, several unique features have been added to Ms. Shanley's property to form a cohesive space with points of interest visible from each angle. The front yard faces east behind a low wrought iron fence. On the sunny southern side butterflies flitter in abundance, attracted by dwarf firebush shrubs and purple passionvine. A Zen rock garden planted with succulents and plumeria adds an eclectic touch. The north side receives dappled shade courtesy of a shared tree line with her neighbors. Plantings have been expertly arranged to thrive in the shade here including both Florida native and Florida friendly plants. Ferns, bromeliads, dwarf mondo grass, wild coffee, blueberries, gingers and caladiums bloom and grow, where traditional turf grass once struggled from lack of sufficient sunlight. A seating area nestled under the trees provides a wonderful respite to beat the heat, and enjoy the view.
Entering the backyard through a garden gate, one is again treated to a flurry of butterflies that come to feast on the nectar provided by a variety of flowers planted for their benefit. An extensive coquina shell pathway adds a distinctly Floridian flair and does much to simplify maintenance. In 2018, a stone raised bed with quadrant planters was constructed in a circular pattern. At waist level, Ms. Shanley can tend to and harvest her impressive herb collection with ease. In the center of the circle a single loquat tree provides both tasty fruits in season as well as lovely dark green foliage year round. Ms. Shanley, her family and friends enjoy this backyard oasis from her newly installed paver seating area.
The Garden club of DeLand congratulates Vicky Shanley for her efforts to beautify her corner of our town.
Erin Miceli, Chair
David Diaz, Photographer