Monday, March 16, 2009

Anya's Garden Wins Top Florida Environmental Yard Award

Anya's Garden of Perfumes is Named
a "Golden Oak" yard

for environmentally-sound practices

I'm honored to announce that the perfume-centric garden that surrounds my home in Miami Shores received the highest award that the University of Florida's Friendly Yards and Neighborhoods program. I was the 17th person to go through the evaluation process back in 2003, the first in my village at that time. They recently revamped the program to reflect three levels of environmentally compliant gardens, and the Golden Oak award is the highest. A yard has to achieve at least 50 points, and I had 65 ticked off my checklist.

Barbara, the State of Florida rep who came to evaluate my hard walked around asking questions about my irrigation practices, fertilizer use, grouping of plants according to water usage and function, and many other subjects. The program is meant to encourage water conservation, discourage the use of invasive plants, protect the waters of Florida from fertilizer and pesticide runoff, encourage wildlife refuge and generally show that it is possible to have an attractive, ecologically-friendly yard.

I had the original sign in a pot containing a sweet kumquat tree in the front yard until today, when the new sign I'm holding will replace it.

What does my garden look like right now? Well, the little bit of "lawn" remaining in the front yard is brown, almost dry. I'm slowly replacing it with bushes and trees that are fragrant. We're not in a drought right now, but we've only received .25" of rain since January. Nothing is irrigated except new plants, so they can get established. The property line plantings on one side of the front yard were recently replaced with flowering, non-fragrant, non-edible plants because the neighbors on that side began to use a lawn care company who applies noxious chemicals. The fragrant plants there were moved to the interior of my property, where they'll be the backbone of my new planting arrivals.

The back yard is shaded by two huge heritage Live Oaks, and the ground is maintained is a sort of natural woodland state - if a woodland was surrounded by a living wall of different jasmines, a vanilla vine, cherries and other fragrant shrubs. It's a very calm, shady, serene garden, with little lizards, hummingbirds, honey bees, butterflies and other wildlife.

I can harvest some fragrant or edible materials from my garden almost every day. This time of year is not the most productive - that will come in the summer. The University rep loved the scent of the Aglaia odorata tree in bloom, the musky, aldehydic liftof the Thai Life leaf, the minty zing of the Himalayan savory bush. Some jasmine sambacs were in bloom today. It's not the blooming time of year for most plants, at least the non-stop blooming period. That'll start in a month or so, and continue through until next November or December.

A small portion of the garden is being readied for the summer veggie garden, and that area will receive irrigation when necessary. I'm already looking foward to the cherry tomatoes, okra, summer beans and squash and others that I'll tuck in when the seeds sprout.

I just wanted to share my award with y'all, and most of all share my philosophy that Anya's Garden is a true reflection of my passion to grown as many plants for my life and for my natural perfumery business. All this is done in a way that truly shows that you can tred lightly on the Earth and harvest its lovely bounty.


  1. Anya this is wonderful news, and a fine affirmation of your work and passions.
    Wish we could get smell on blogger :)
    Margi Mac.

  2. That's amazing!! Congrats and keep on growing :-)


  3. Dearest Anya this is a testament to your way of life and ethos. I am so happy that you are getting the recognition here you deserve.


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