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So for those of you who don't know, The Serene Forest and Fruit of the Labor Landscaping Service LLC have been on a hiatus since fall of last year. As an National Guardsmen, some of my time gets sacrificed to Uncle Sam. Since last fall, I have been serving overseas in Northwest Africa. I am glad to be back and look forward to revamping and expanding The Serene Forest and Fruit of Labor.

The Serene Forest got hit hard by Hurricane Ian just before I left the country last October. Water came all the way up to the foundation of our home giving us our own private island! Unfortunately, this standing water caused pretty severe damage to The Serene Forest. Not only did I lose over 50% of our plants, but we also had to rehome our chickens since their coup and run flooded.

Water Flooding the Shed and Chicken Coup

Even with all the destruction, it has been neat to come home and see what survived, what reseeded, and what died back before growing again.

Plants we lost:


Corkey Stem Passionvine

Maypop Passionvine

Blue Curls


Black-eyed Susans



Sunshine Mimosa

Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa)

Native Blueberries





Persian Lime


Peanutbutter Tree

Miracle Tree

Strawberry Tree

Navel Orange





Tree Kale


And those are the only ones I remembered!

Private Island Status - Boating to and from the house

Things that bounced back or wasn't even damaged:

Fakahatchee Grass

Muhly Grass


Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)

Wild Petunia

Sunshine Mimosa (in some areas)

Perennial Peanut



Luffa Gourd

Pigeon Peas

Some citrus that had high ground

Bidens alba (like anyone would ever doubt bidens alba!)

Society Garlic

Cranberry Hibiscus

Dune Sunflower

Buttonsage Lantana


Wild Front Garden

As you can see in the picture above, some things pretend that Ian never happened. This picture is what our front garden bed looks like right now in June of 2023 - 8 months after Ian. Also, this bed has received no maintenance. No grooming, no fertilizer, no weeding, no nothin'. Just look at those dune sunflowers thriving and the sunshine mimosa sprawling. Cranberry hibiscus in the back reaching for the clouds. Now, this area was the least flooded in the whole property. But it was still pretty abused by water. When you compare it to the picture before it, you can see the difference in explosive growth.

On the Horizon:

So now that we are getting back in the swing of things, we want to get back to more regular posts in our journey to groom and reconstruct The Serene Forest.

We also want to start doing "What Is It Wednesday" posts again giving readers a chance to win weekly prizes.

On our Gardening Forum, we will continue to expand our free resources to anyone who needs it while also beginning to build our more specialized threads like propagation. Feel free to join the conversation by commenting or even starting your own post on our Gardening Forum.

Soon we will restock our inventory for our Online Store where we sell Florida Native Plants from a reputable grower.

Stay tuned to see what else we have going on!

See you ..........................................

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