Home' The River Weekly News : RWN 120415 Contents THE RIVER - DECEMBER 4, 2015
by Gerri Reaves
Black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia
alata) is an evergreen perennial
native to tropical East Africa.
This plant with cheerful bright flowers
and twining stems is a fast grower and
will easily cover a fence, arbor, or trellis. It
also works as a rambling groundcover, or
cascading hanging basket plant.
In fact, a container might be the best
place for it, since it has escaped cultiva-
tion in Florida and is often weedy and
aggressive. It is not officially listed as an
The delicate twining stems reach up
to eight feet long, and the funnel-shaped
flowers appear singly on the stalks, or
petioles, which are slightly winged. The
term “alata” means winged.
The flowers are about three inches
long with an elongated corolla. They
open into five lobes that have somewhat
flattened outer edges.
The paired egg- or arrow-shaped
leaves of about three inches long have
toothed edges and a fine texture.
The flowers attract hummingbirds, but
otherwise the vine is mainly valued as an
ornamental, not for benefits to wildlife.
The fruit consists of a rounded base
with seeds in it and an elongated beak.
With its purple-brown throat, the
yellow cultivar superficially resembles
the native wildflower Black-eyed Susan
(Rudbekia hirta), but the two flowers are
quite different on closer inspection.
The vine blooms most of the year, and
cultivars in orange, white and pink are
It prefers sun to partial shade and
plenty of moisture.
Sources: floridata.com, ifas.ufl.edu,
Plant Smart explores the diverse
flora of South Florida.
Non-native Black-eyed Susan vine can be
weedy and aggressive
photo by Gerri Reaves
Local Roots Farmers Markets Opens
At Marinatown In North Fort Myers
Local Roots Farmers Markets
announces the grand opening of
their seventh Lee County market
at Marinatown in North Fort Myers on
Friday, December 4. Commissioner Brian
Hamman will be present for the ribbon
cutting ceremony and to welcome the
market to the community. The market
is located at 3446 Marinatown Lane off
Hancock Bridge Parkway, just west of US
41. The Marinatown Farmer’s Market will
be open Fridays through March from 9
a.m. to 1 p.m.
The North Fort Myers Civic Association
approached Jean Baer and Betsy Ventura,
market owners, to bring their outstanding farmer’s market to the North Fort Myers
“We are very excited to bring this opportunity to the North Fort Myers commu-
nity,” said Mike Land, president of the North Fort Myers Civic Association. “Our heri-
tage makes us uniquely suited for a farmer’s market which will be a positive addition to
Rose O’Dell King of Rosy Tomorrows Heritage Farms, added, “We are very excited
about being a part of this event. Come and see why our wholesome and delicious
foods are so popular.”
At press time vendors include Anita’s Guacamole, Bonez Brothers BBQ, Crepes,
Classic Cuban Food Truck, Hot Jams, Grumpy Grater, Happy Pickle, Jann’s Produce,
Doug’s Seafood, Ella Phantsy Scrubs, Fragrance Floral Cut Flowers, Heritage Honey,
Honey Bee Charmer Soaps, DoTerra Essential Oils, Island Seafood, JC’s Daily Bread
Bakery, JBT Farm, Jimmy’s Java, KoKoKahn, Madagascar Hats, Nivia’s Food, P
and J Nuts R Us, Paradise Gourmet Pet Treats, Exotic Mushroom Farmer, Rosy
Tomorrows Heritage Farm, Sift Bakery, Watermelon Iced Tea, Old Bridge Girls,
Larfina, Can’t Resist Pillows, Joyce Beardley and Painted Palms. Crafters and specialty
item vendors will be at the market on designated market days.
For additional information or to become a vendor, visit www.BuyLocalLee.com.
Tomatoes at the farmer’s market
Free Guided Nature Walk
At Prairie Pines Preserve
Afree guided nature walk will be offered at Prairie Pines Preserve, 18400 N.
Tamiami Trail, North Fort Myers, on Saturday, December 5, at 9 a.m. With
more than 2,600 acres, the preserve is one of Lee County’s largest open
space areas. Habitats include freshwater wetlands, pine flatwoods, scrub areas and
oak/sabal palm hammocks. The preserve is home to many varieties of birds and
The 90-minute walk is over an accessible crushed shell path. Participants should
wear sturdy walking shoes and dress for the weather. The walk starts promptly at 9
a.m . from the parking lot off Rt. 41.
No reservations for the walk are required. For more information, visit www.conser-
vation2020.org or call 707-2206 .
A wildlife observation blind overlooks a Prairie Pines pond
Organizers for the 27th annual
Christmas Boat Parade are count-
ing down to one of Fort Myers
Beach’s biggest nights of the year. The
dazzling lighted parade will commence
on Saturday, December 5 at 6 p.m .
from Salty Sam’s Marina. Decorated
boats will be judged and winners will be
recognized at the Winners’ Circle Party
at Salty Sam’s Marina immediately fol-
lowing the parade. VIP Judges will ride
along in the parade and will choose and
announce the winners of each category.
Prizes will be awarded to the winners in
their respective category.
Participants are asked to register to
enter boats by calling or visiting the Fort
Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce.
Registration forms are also available at
www.FMBBoatParade.com or by calling
454-7500 . All sizes and types of boats
are eligible to enter. There is a $25 fee
for boats and $50 fee for business spon-
Salty Sam’s Marina is offering free
overnight dockage to all participating
boats with advance registration based on
availability. Boats will only be required to
pay for electricity. Salty Sam’s Marina is
located at 2500 Main Street, Fort Myers
Beach, Florida. For advance reservations
at Salty Sam’s Marina, call 463-7333 .
“If you have a boat, I encourage you
decorate it and join us in the parade”,
says Ted Schindler, boat owner and boat
parade committee member. “It is a great
way to get into the Christmas spirit and
it’s the best party around!”
The vessels will assemble in front
of the docks at Salty Sam’s Marina at
5:30 p.m. At 6 p.m., the boats will
begin to leave Salty Sam’s Marina going
past Parrot Key Caribbean Grill and
Bootleggers Waterfront Barbeque head-
ing northwest passing by Doc Ford’s,
Bonita Bill’s Waterfront Café and under
the Matanzas Pass Bridge. They will
travel in and out of Siesta Isles and go
around Bowditch Point, turning in front
of the Pink Shell Beach Resort and
Marina. The boats will travel past Nervous
Nellie’s Crazy Waterfront Eatery and
Matanzas on the Bay on the return. The
parade will end at Salty Sam’s Marina
for the Winners Circle Party and awards
Other viewing areas include the fish-
ing piers under Matanzas Pass Bridge,
and Baywalk Fountain Square. The Salty
Sam’s Pirate Cruise and Sight Sea-R are
offering special evening cruises during the
parade giving passengers a bird’s eye view
of the parade while cruising along the
moonlit Intracoastal Waterway. The Sight
Sea-R will be traveling in the parade and
the Pirate Ship will offer a great view of
the entire parade from the water.
Sponsors of the event are Bootleggers
Waterfront Barbeque, Captain Bubby’s
Island Tours, Doc Fords, Joe Orlandini
Developer, Jungle Golf, Matanzas on the
Bay, The News-Press, Pink Shell Beach
Resort and Marina, Panther Printing,
Parrot Key Caribbean Grill, Semmer
Electric, Smokin’ Oyster Brewery, This
Creative, Truly Scrumptious Homestyle
Restaurant and Yucatan Beach Stand.
For more information, contact
the Fort Myers Beach Chamber of
Commerce at 454-7500 or visit www.
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