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Monday, Jun 25, 2018
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Temple Terrace's Woodmont Park a special place

Woodmont Park in Temple Terrace is a lovely place, largely shaded by tall and spreading oak trees pruned to high canopies so there is plenty of air and light beneath them. It was an ideal place for our recent family wedding. Elizabeth and James Good got ready in the clubhouse but walked over to the gazebo for the actual ceremony. Had it rained, the ceremony could have been held in the clubhouse but we were all glad that it didn't that day. I was very impressed by the sign that said, "Flower beds developed and maintained by the Temple Terrace Garden Club." That is quite an accomplishment and commitment for volunteers. The club has been helping with the park for a long time, but the responsibility was formally turned over to the organization in 2004. When I contacted the club for details, I learned from member Karen Smith that this is the only park in Temple Terrace maintained by a club or organization. The city does the mowing but weeding, trimming, planting, fertilizing and mulching are paid for and done by Temple Terrace Garden Club members.
On May 2, The 65th anniversary celebration of the founding of the garden club took place in the park. "Before I became president, I was Woodmont Park chairman for TTGC since 2004," Al Latina said. "The park was due for major renovation of the landscaped beds and for additional plantings. "With the advice of members, I designed new flower beds throughout the park, including around Tribute's Patio where bricks are laid commemorating veterans of the U.S. military. The entire length of the west side of the park was redesigned with new plantings, and new flower beds were added along the back of the park. "Later we designed a butterfly garden in the southwest corner of the park and our memorial garden in the southeast corner. More recently, we added to our butterfly garden to introduce bee-friendly plants in a joint project with the GFWC Woman's Club of Temple Terrace to call attention to the declining European honey bees." Most of the plants have labels giving common and scientific names and country of origin. There also is a plant guide that visitors can take home, with descriptions of 40 some plants, and a fun fact sheet in the butterfly/bee-friendly garden for youngsters to learn about some of the animal visitors to the park. There are posts with engravings erected in this part of the park for youngsters to make rubbings of insects and other creatures. The nearly 1.9-acre park is located on Woodmont Avenue across from the Temple Terrace Golf and Country Club. The clubhouse and gazebo are available for weddings and special events. For reservations call (813) 985-7769. Today's pick Blue butterfly bush, Clerodendrum ugandense, is one of the most beautiful of flowering shrubs. The blue/violet flowers resemble butterflies, and the shrubs can grow 12 feet tall. They prefer light shade but will tolerate full sun and bloom all through the warm months. This plant has low salt and drought tolerance and can be zapped by cold weather, so take cuttings to be safe. Now's the time to ... •Remember Bill Bradley, a volunteer with the county jail plant sales who died recently at Tampa General Hospital from complications of cancer. He was a Vietnam-era corpsman who risked his life to save Marines wounded in action. Allen Boatman, who is in charge of the jail's horticultural therapy program and all the plant sales, wrote this about Bradley: "Hopefully, more than once in a lifetime you come across someone who smiles and breaks open your day with hope and joy. My friend Bill Bradley was just such a person. A good friend, a selfless volunteer, a cheerful companion, a FANTASTIC father and husband, and a man who handled incredible pain and misery with grace and courage. He never complained, he always looked at the upside, he commiserated with friends, he colored and warmed the world with his presence. I will miss you, my friend. If ever there was one whose salvation would be a sure bet, it would be this man, who exemplified Christ with his life.''

Monica Brandies is a freelance writer who can be reached at [email protected]
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