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Beck's Botanical Masterpiece

David and Jane Beck work together in this garden. She does the containers and is the chief weeder. He does the heavy work and both work out the design and decoration.

David Beck and his wife Jane have lived in their Seffner home since 1985 and have put down so much mulch and compost that they now have 8 inches of rich topsoil throughout the garden. He is a Master Gardener and she adds her talent for color and design, especially with the containers, to this fascinating garden.

"This was part of a citrus grove and there are still some of the original trees," says David, who has also planted new ones for an impressive harvest every year. There is no grass here. The front yard has mulch and ground covers: sensitive plant, perennial peanuts and jasmine minima in separate sections, but most of the color is found beyond the fence where the property widens in a pie shape.

An amazing number of citrus trees, banana plants, blooming cassias, gingers, and other in ground plantings grow along a well mulched and wide path with an edging make from wine bottles buried nose-down in the soil. His friends save their bottles for him.

The path along give a feeling of form and order that David carries farther by binding up with special circular green wires the stems of any ginger or shrub that tends to over-sprawl. And when plants spread too far, her digs up the extras and plants them in his neighbor's yards.

They do entertain friends in this garden and have solar lights and glowing bulbs for evening. In the daytime they are entertained by the wildlife. David has bird feeders strung along a wire held by a pole with a squirrel barrier that works well. He also uses fallen fruit, cut in half and stuck on the prongs of a fence and both birds and squirrels love this treat.

They both enjoy watching for items of possible garden art in thrift stores, and they have a knack of placing them for maximum color and interest.

Although both are retired, their various volunteer projects make them possibly the busiest gardeners I've ever met, but they enjoy all of it to the utmost, especially since Jane's bout with cancer. Praise God, her doctors and her smile declare her completely cured and she is gaining more and more strength every day.

Above left: One of their friends had the Botanical Masterpiece sign made for them. Notice the border made from wine bottles buried nose-down in the soil.

Above right: Both birds and squirrels come to enjoy this clever use of fallen fruit.

Right: This Café Garden is Jane's sanctuary. David painted the stone slabs under the pots.

Spread mulch

David Beck has large piles of extra woodchips than he will share with anyone who is interested in small or large amounts.

County homeowners can also take a truck to the Falkenberg Road Landfill, along with a driver's license and your last property tax receipt and they will scoop a pick-up load up for you for $15. If you have a small truck, take a large tarp and tie it over the hump. What we've gotten there has been decomposed almost enough to add to potting soil.