About

The Apollo Beach Garden Club is a group of like-minded individuals who share their successes and failures about gardening. People will exchange ideas, suggestions and innovative best practices. The club will focus on cultivation and propagation of: endemic species, edibles, epiphytes and Florida-friendly varieties. Members will be exposed to various speakers, how-to activities and dynamically engage with their local community.

Join the Apollo Beach Garden Club for a monthly meeting every 3rd Tuesday of the month from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Apollo Beach Recreation Center at 664 Golf and Sea Blvd., Apollo Beach, FL. Every month, the garden club hosts a speaker and plant exchange. A tasting table is provided by the members.

Mission: To enrich outdoor garden experiences and education through programs, public awareness and expert’s recommendations.

Vision: Residents, friends and guests will learn about various plants, local environmental issues, and become more observant of nature.

Our Story

From wandering through the creeks and wild exploits of Wellington and Altamonte Springs, Florida, I developed a fascination with reptiles, air plants, sprawling live oaks, and crystal-clear water. Such clarity was easy to sight in the early undeveloped 90’s of Florida.

When we were transplanted to Grapevine, Texas some of my earliest memories consist of garden time with my father, sister and mother. I soon found myself wandering through creeks, catching crawfish and western fence lizards, as well as eating my first chickasaw plum. My father, sister, and I grew a 14-foot-tall sunflower amongst many other large sun gourds and found ourselves on the front page of the local paper! That sowed sunflower seed had a significance on psyche. I was hooked. 

As grade and middle school progressed, I continued to learn about plants and animals and further aspired to be like my idol, Steve Irwin. The passion for conservation and respect for animals bestowed upon Irwin inspired me to do more for our green world. 

Many other important mentors would be of utmost interest later in the development of the gardener I am today. Family, friends, professors and members of clubs like: Tampa Orchid Club, Sarasota Bromeliad Society, Selby Gardens, Friends of the Fakahatchee, The Forida Permaculture Covergence, Tampa Bay Coalition of Community Gardens, Manatee Rare Fruit Council, and the Apollo Beach Garden Club helped create a network of information to share. 

In the Fall of 2016, as the Apollo Beach Recreation Supervisor, I created The Apollo Beach Garden Club as an educational, inspirational and community-driven entity. It has evolved drastically from a loosely organized group to a recognizable 501(c)3 nonprofit club responsible for the creation and maintenance of the Apollo Beach Community Forest Garden. All this with the help of many wonderful Apollo Beach Community members. My thanks to them for making this vision a reality.

My name is Raleigh Barnes, and I love to grow.