Florida Finds

The whimsical and the practical for sale at Garden Gate

 

IF You Go

What: The Garden Gate

Where: Pompano Citi Centre, 2251 N. Federal Hwy. (on the north end of Sears), Pompano Beach

Phone: 954-783-1189


Special to the Miami Herald

At The Garden Gate, everywhere you look you’ll find something special. “I like being the little urban garden center that offers a little bit of everything,” says Donna Torrey, who has owned the store at Pompano Citi Center since 1997.

As you wander you’ll find racks of Florida-friendly rose bushes ($12.99); metal shelves of ground covers; a red worm composting farm complete with worms ($139; worm castings and tea are also available); the varied lavender flowers of a yesterday, today and tomorrow ($14.99); a nice variety of garden flags including one with a margarita-sipping flamingo on it ($11.99); wooden bat houses and orchard mason bee houses for these blue solitary native bees ($19.99); and colorful plastic hummingbirds with wings that bobble in the wind ($5.99 and $7.99).

Although the shop is attached to the north side of Sears in Pompano Beach, it’s not affiliated with it. Instead Torrey uses her personal touch to display an eclectic mix of merchandise that changes frequently.

“People who come here think they are in a garden,” says Torrey, a master gardener.

She sells only plants that do well in South Florida. For example, in winter she stocks annuals such as geraniums and lobelia that will grow for six months; up north annuals last only about three months.

You’ll also find purple and pink water lilies ($29.99) as well as bacopa ($3.99) and fairy moss ($3.99) that will attract butterflies and bees to your water garden. “A lot of people come here for aquatic plants. It’s a niche market,” Torrey says.

Elsewhere her native options include coral honeysuckle ($4.99) that attracts hummingbirds; milkweed ($4.99) that brings in the monarchs; and then there is fire bush. “If you plant it, they will come,” says Torrey, who also carries packets of native wildflower seeds ($3.49).

For the cook, there are plenty of herbs ($2.99) as well as moringa ($9.99 or 50 cents a seed) the nutritious leaves of which Torrey uses to flavor chicken soup.

Fruit trees including mango, pomegranate, macadamia nut, mulberry and hog plum get their own little area. Although the trees cost $19.99 to $49.99 depending on the size of the pot, most people don’t realize that the smaller specimens tend to adapt to the native soil and grow faster than the larger ones, says Torrey.

If you have a question about a purchase don’t hesitate to ask the staff. And if you have a gardening problem, Torrey is happy to have an e-mail conversation. Send her pictures and she’ll try to find a solution.

“I like to help people learn to garden. It’s trial and error, but I try to make it a little easier by letting you avoid the mistakes I’ve already made,” she says. “It’s really not that hard.”

Deborah S. Hartz-Seeley is a master gardener who can be reached at debhartz@att.net.

Read more Home & Garden stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
The Sahara fire table from Oriflamme.

    Outdoor living

    Fire tables are the newest in outdoor furniture

    Fire bowls were a great idea; they were just a little low to the ground and not especially attractive. Well, that has changed.

  •  
This convex mirror could be 200 years old or it could have been made much later.

    Treasures

    Convex mirror antique or just a family heirloom?

    Q: We have a convex mirror that has been in our family well over 50 years. There is some damage to the frame but the mirror itself is in good condition. The mirror is heavy and the frame is made of wood. What can you tell us about our mirror?

  •  
Michael Peter Balzary, the musician better known as Flea, has listed his home in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park area for $6.8 million.

    Hot Property: Los Angeles

    Ellen sells trophy home to tech billionaire

    Ellen DeGeneres has sold the A. Quincy Jones-designed Brody House on Los Angeles’ Westside to Napster co-founder Sean Parker for $55million in an off-market deal.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category