Heritage Tree Project
The Bloom & Grow Garden Society in partnership with the Winter Garden Heritage Foundation will celebrate Florida Arbor Day on Friday January 19, 2024. We will host a walking tour of the Winter Garden Heritage Trees in the historic district. We will start at the back of City Hall at 8:30am and will walk approximately 2 miles down to Lake Apopka and back up to the Winter Garden Heritage Museum. There are 56 Heritage Trees along the route each labeled with the name of the tree and a QR code that offers insight into the tree species as well as information on the history of Winter Garden and its people. Please join us to celebrate Florida Arbor Day!
Bloom & Grow Garden Society members have a great appreciation for trees. The Winter Garden Heritage Tree Project headed by Mary Zahl and Katy Moss Warner partnered with the City of Winter Garden in 2021 to collect information on the “Heritage Trees” they deem special in Winter Garden. These trees can be on public or private property. “Heritage Trees” fall into two classifications – “Historic Trees” are ones with a trunk diameter 30” or more and “Specimen Trees” which are smaller mature trees and take on the quintessential character of their species.
This Winter Garden Heritage Tree program includes the following components:
1. Bloom & Grow members nominated trees with the expectation that no fewer than 100 “Heritage Trees” would be identified in the first year. Once the tree was identified, B&G member Vickie Parrish and her husband Wes Parrish, a professional horticulturist, visited the tree and its owner to document the name of the tree, its measurements, photos and any additional interesting information.
2. Data was collected and entered onto an excel sheet formatted by City of Winter Garden staff Laura Coar, Mark Hutchinson and Alan Booker. All the data would later be entered into a software program owned by the City that has a special section designed specifically for trees.
3. Interactive plant labels were placed on the trees. These tree labels were sponsored by Healthy West Orange. Each label provides the name of the tree and has a QR code to deliver a “story” about the tree. The QR code refers to data on the “Heritage Trees” that has been input into a national database called “PlantsMap.com”. This database allows us to input as much information and as many photos as we like.
4. With the capability to include unlimited information and photos came the possibility of telling the story of Winter Garden and its people through the trees. Mary Zahl worked closely with Jim Crescitelli of the Winter Garden Heritage Foundation to include the history of Winter Garden and historic photos for each of our “story trees”. “Story Trees” are ones that have local names in double quotations.
5. A “Heritage Tree Walking Tour” was created through the historic district which includes 56 of our Winter Garden Heritage Trees, many of which have labels. This is a self guided tour that starts at Winter Garden City Hall, goes one mile to Lake Apopka and returns one mile to the Winter Garden Heritage Museum. A map can be downloaded from this website.
6. An inaugural “Heritage Tree Walking Tour” was held on October 22, 2021. A special t-shirt was created for this event with our logo on the fronts and an inspirational quote on the back: “Be kind to our trees, protect our heritage”. These were sponsored by Healthy West Orange. A special brochure was created for this day that included a map of the historic district and the “Heritage Tree Walking Tour”, a map of Winter Garden and locations of our “Significant Trees”, a list of “Recommended Trees of Winter Garden as well as some additional information. These maps and information are included on this website and can be downloaded and printed for future reference.
7. The Bloom & Grow website will have a unique page dedicated to the “Winter Garden Heritage Tree Project” with a nomination form that will encourage members to continually add trees and update information on trees. It is our intent that the Bloom & Grow members will become more knowledgeable and appreciative of the trees in our City and that together we can help our residents know, love and protect their trees.
8. Information on the “Winter Garden Heritage Tree Project” is available for all to see on PlantsMap.com. Just google “plantsmap.com” and enter Bloom and Grow Garden Society in the search field, hit the big yellow button and you will find a whole new world of trees in Winter Garden!