Home' The River Weekly News : RWN 081415 Contents THE RIVER - AUGUST 14, 2015
When students at Florida
(FSWC) Charlotte return to
class this August, they will a find new
addition to their campus. This summer,
FSWC Charlotte faculty and students
built 10 gardens that will be incorpo-
rated into their instruction beginning this
“We had some free space where two
portable classroom used to sit,” said Matt
Catanzarite, principal, FSWC Charlotte.
“We wanted to use the space for some-
thing positive both for our students and
“The gardens will be tended to by
students in the Personal, Social and
Career Development Skills class,” said
FSWC Charlotte chemistry teacher Blake
Schmidt. “Our plan is to grow different
crops including flowers, which we can
then deliver to people living in nursing
homes, and vegetables, which we can use
in our cafeteria school lunches.”
The four-by-36-foot gardens were con-
structed using 1,160 cinder blocks and
46 cubic yards of soil. With the help of
Team Punta Gorda, FSWC Charlotte was
able to obtain the cinder blocks and soil
through a generous donation from The
“I was excited to work with this proj-
ect because it is eco-friendly and all of
the students will get to be involved,” said
FSWC dual-enrolled student Haley Saine.
“They will get to be hands-on, and they
will get to see how their efforts benefit
not only their school but their community
Students will begin planting their
crops when the growing season begins in
Blake Schmidt, Matt Catanzarite and Haley Saine construct the FSWC Charlotte gardens
FSWC Charlotte gardens
by Gerri Reaves
The extravagant beauty and easy cultivation of cri-
num lilies have long made them a favorite in the
There are approximately 130 species in the genus
Crinum, called crinums or sometimes spider lilies.
Despite their lily-like flowers, however, they are members
of the amaryllis – not lily – family.
Generally, the base of these plants is a rosette of
whorled smooth strap-like leaves that can be as long as
Large fragrant funnel-shaped flowers with six arching
petals cluster atop the stalks that are three to five feet
The popular native swamp lily, or string lily (Crinum
americanum), is the only crinum species native to the
state, indeed, to North America.
As its common name suggests, it grows wild in
swamps, marshes, ditches and wet hammocks. It is pol-
linated by the sphinx moth.
Two to six white flowers cluster on the stalks. They
bloom throughout the year in South Florida.
Orange River lily (Crinum bulbispermum) is one
of many non-native crinums common in Florida. This
native of South Africa is also called hardy swamplily
because it is cold hardy and tough.
Other species common in Florida include grand
crinum lily (Crinum asiaticum) and Ceylon swamplily
Crinum flowers come in shades of white, pink, red,
or rose. Some cultivars are striped, like the festive “Stars
and Stripes” Cape Coast lily.
Left to themselves, the bulbs form large clumps that
can be divided if desired.
They will grow in sun or shade or in dry of moist
spots but need full sun and regular moisture to bloom
Crinums are reputed to “never die.” Specimens plant-
ed decades – even a century – ago at cemeteries and
home sites still thrive unattended. The onion-like bulbs of
these old specimens can become enormous – as heavy
as 40 pounds – and difficult to transplant.
A bed of crinums will provide lovely cut flowers for
little gardening effort. They also make good container
But be cautious: all parts of the crinum lilies are poi-
sonous if ingested and the sap can irritate the skin.
Sources: 500 Plants of South Florida by Julia F.
Morton; floridata.com; and ifas.ufl.edu.
Plant Smart explores the diverse flora of South
Swamp lily is the only crinum lily native to Florida
photos by Gerri Reaves
Orange River lily, a native of South Africa, is especially
Eye-catching “Stars and Stripes” Cape Coast lily is a pop-
ular crinum hybrid
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