Mark’s Blog

  • Hopefully back on-air soon. This update: May 9th, 2020


    The above photo was taken at WZAB-880 our home for 9 years until September, 2019.


    UPDATE:  May 9th, 2020

    Correspond with me at:

    As you heard recently I’ve had some serious trouble with my vocal chords.  The treatment I’m undergoing seems to be working.  We’ll see.  It certainly is a slow process.  Meanwhile I don’t have anyone to step in to do the show.  The radio show is suspended until I’m better.  But, I can blog here to keep you informed.  Check back often if you’re interested.



    “This Covid-19 thing (otherwise more correctly identified as CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY VIRUS) is getting old.  Hopefully we can get back to normal soon.  Our prosperity will return and the next five years should be good.  Just Hold On.  Our hearts go out to the victims of this, the seasonal flu and all the other diseases and conditions that claim so many more lives than this for which we have disrupted all our lives to an extent never before experienced.”  MB


    Unbelievable Acres is currently closed by Palm Bach County rules, but hoping to re-open for tours around mid-May.  Gene Joyner, still the best person God ever made, is well, and with the help of some serious volunteers, is maintaining the garden in pristine condition.  You and I know he can’t wait to swing the gates open and welcome guests again.  Blessings to him, Larry Grosser, one of the premier tour guides, and Jane Sample who maintains the wonderful web site.  By the way, the web site is still constantly updated with news and beautiful photos of the garden.


    Our “dry season” is giving way to much-needed rain.  Winds continue to dry things out very quickly between rains.  Be aware when plants and lawns need water.  The leaves will speak to you.

    Folks who enjoy veggie gardening are reporting to me they have fewer problems this year with caterpillars and stinkbugs on tomato plants.  You can still plant a few things this time of year if you please.  Peas, okra and everglades tomatoes will do pretty well.  Best results so far this season have been Big Boy and Better Boy tomatoes, but its a little late if you don’t already have them in.  Herbs are a good idea all the time.  Basil, cilantro, rosemary are all good.

    Our  Jackfruit are maturing nicely.  A few up to 40+ pounds so far.  Another abundant year.  While a lot of the mango blooms were wiped out by February winds, as often happens, we should be in good shape.  Lots of fruit developing.

    I know from your correspondence and my own experience that weeds are a major problem.  At this time we can apply weed & feed products as well as any other weed killers.  Always read and follow label instructions for safety and best results.  Irrigation is important to make these products work.

    People keep writing me about leaves falling off trees “this time of year.”  As we head into summer many of our subtropical and tropical trees shed old leaves.  They are literally being pushed off the tree by the new leaves that are ready to take their place.  You’re not in New Hampshire any more.  What you’re witnessing is how things happen here in Zone 10.  Not to worry.

    I see people raking leaves and discarding them in the trash.  If possible turn them into mulch.  At the farm we grind them up with our new zero-turn mower with the special mulching mower deck and blades.  Essentially the blades and underside of the deck are designed to pick the leaves up (and grass as well) and throw this stuff up to hit the deck.  Then it falls down into the path of the blades where it is chopped up so small it all virtually disappears.  Beats raking, keeps everything on the property and out of the trash and provides nutrients.  No leaves go into the trash anymore.  Even if you don’t have this kind of mower, just mow them until they are gone.  That’s what we used to do.

    Our many Citrus trees are beautiful and bearing plenty of fresh oranges, limes, grapefruit and those Meyer Lemons.  Key limes are abundant.  We apply palm special fertilizer now that some rain is falling and we are irrigating regularly.  Check out the fertilizer tutorial.

    Let me know what you’re up to.

    Ornamentals, including all our roses (hydrid Ts, antiques and knock-outs) are all looking fine.  We do have to keep up with deep watering at least once a week and the BioAdvanced Rose & Flower Care product we are applying every 6 weeks.

    The Seagrape that form a backdrop to all the other plantings at the entrance to our Jupiter property were the ones we cut back rather seriously in October and they’re now putting out new leaves nicely.  They were getting too leggy.  I like more bushy.  They can take serious pruning and come back strong.  Right now our maintenance includes shaping some non-flower bearing plants and making the butterfly garden more and more beautiful.  We still have cool late afternoons and that’s helpful for getting those harder-to-do projects completed so that’s our concentration right now.  With the stay-at-home directions, we all have more time to do this stuff.

    Learn which of our food products are coming from CHINA or owned by that government and please avoid them.  I’ve talked about Smithfield, Green Giant, etc before.  BE CAREFUL!  You may say that Smithfield processes a lot of their pork in the U.S.  True, but not all.  And, Chinese managers and techs are always coming and going to and fro all their facilities.

    About my health:  Thanks for caring.  I’m making progress on this long journey.  I admit I’ve rearranged my schedule to some extent.  I maintain my management duties at UME and do all the stuff I usually do.  We still produce 22 other shows about sports and finance and lately tons of commercials since so many companies are doing change-ups to reflect their offerings relative to the China virus matter.  However you may be surprised to know that I do my usual preparation for the Garden Show in anticipation of getting back on track soon.  I have to admit that I do devote more time to the stock market and so far this is a terrific year.  This coronavirus thing is a temporary setback being exaggerated by the hate-Trump usuals.  We’ll probably lose more folks to drivers impaired by newly-lawful drugs this year than the virus.  I wish Trump were more sophisticated but I understand its hard to change old ways, especially if you like how you are.  I’ve had plenty of employees I didn’t really “like”.  But, if they did a good job  I certainly kept them around.

    A special thanks to our special caller Carol’s husband Gus who sends me emails with great jokes.  I’d share them here but its a family web site.

    Hey, if you subscribe to Southern Living magazine, check out the monthly writings of The Grumpy Gardener.  I always do and its worth it.  Much of what he writes about relates to climes to the north of us a little, but his wit is contageous.

    Thanks for joining me here on my blog.  Write to me at and please put something like “Garden Show” in the subject line!!



    Blackberries on the vine

    Blackberries in Florida?   Yea, why not?   Blueberries are also becoming a somewhat important Florida crop.


    With the illegal entry into our country of persons from many parts of the world we must be as prepared as possible for diseases we haven’t seen here in decades and longer.  Hepatitis, measles, chickenpox, plague, mumps, tuberculosis, chagas disease and typhoid are all present in a large percentage of these people.  We must be careful with our food supply, thoroughly washing produce, being careful where we purchase food and especially where we dine outside our homes.  Almost every day we hear reports about workers in kitchens being discovered to have one of these diseases.  We must be alert and use caution !



    Roses are looking great, thanks to BioAdvanced.  Check out their great Rose & Flower products.

    If you would like a BioAdvanced/Natria 2019 product guide, mail a self-addressed No. 10 envelope to me at Universal Media, PO Box 31113, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420 and we’ll mail one to you.  We’ll take care of postage, no worries.



    Multiple fruit on one of our 20 Ft. tall Jackfruit trees back in summer 2018.

    Be Aware:

    • Mowing should be no less than a height of 3 inches, preferably 4.  Fertilize new sod now thru July.
    • Noticing some leave curl and a generally shriveled look to some citrus leaves?  Probably leaf minor.  Insecticidal soap about once a week, 3x,  should halt it.
    • Need to trim back the gardenias?  Always do that after the flowers fall off to give time for renewal prior to next bloom.
    • Remember, full size (not dwarf) Red Pentas to attract butterflies and hummingbirds.
    • Use natives where you can.  Remember, just cause they’re native doesn’t mean they don’t need water.  A big mistake people make is they plant red tip cocoplum and don’t realize they’re an everglades plant and actually need water.  Otherwise, dieback will occur and entire plants will die, leaving you with holes in your hedges, etc.


    Coconut Oil:  It plays an important role in good health and other things.

    • For smoother skin – Exfoliate by mixing coconut oil with sea salt or sugar.  This gives you exfoliation and moisturizer.  Or combine 3/4 cup room temperature coconut oil with 1/2 cup of white sugar.  Then add the zest on a grapefruit, 10 drops of peppermint oil and 20 drops of grapefruit oil.  That’ll give you an uplifting exfoliation sure to energize!
    • To sooth a scratchy throat – Just swallow one teaspoon up to three times a day to sooth a sore throat or a lingering cough.  Anti-inflammatory, pain alleviating and antimicrobial properties all wrapped up in one.
    • Pet help – Cats with furballs?  Dogs eating leaves and other yard debris?  Add coconut oil gradually into the diet. Mix a teaspoon into the dry food.  More later.  Also works as a topical spot treatment to calm skin irritations.
    • Remove and prevent rust on household and garden items:  Simply rub coconut oil on metal objects to prevent corrosion.  Rub it on, wipe it off.  For items that are already rusted, soak in coconut oil for an hour and rinse with warm water or just wipe off.

    Check my Fertilizer tutorial for info about what to feed what and when.  I’m giving our citrus a light application every few weeks.

    Check our EVENTS page for all the seasonal garden activities throughout our listening area.


    We returned on June 28th, 2018 from Peru, specifically the Ancash province 12 hours by car from Lima.  Felicia’s birthplace.  Unbelievable area at up to 14,200 feet elevation.  I’m going to post some pics here asap, so check back soon for those.    

    We enjoyed Italy in 2017, in August.  Rome, Milan, Venice, Florence, Naples, and Capri comprised our itinerary.  Its always a walking adventure and this trip was no different.  It was hot, about the same as here.  I lost 15 Lbs. so I think I should return for another month or two.  They’ve suffered drought and tomato, corn and other crops have taken a hit.  Venice was especially heavenly this year.  The Grand Canal, our water taxi over to Murano and Burano, dinners along the canal….. fairy tale stuff.  We both work very hard all year long, for many years never vacationing, so we are determined to get our bucket list moving before some health issue arises or something else happens to clip our wings.    

    Remember the importance of personal care not only for summer but all the time.  Sun protection and hydration are paramount.  Look further down my blog to read more on this important subject.

    Its still a good idea to remember the importance of cactus and succulents in our landscapes.   They don’t mind drought and can do just fine without us.  Check out a brand new book by Robin Stockwell, nurseryman and long-time succulent expert.  

    •                  SUCCULENTS- The Ultimate Guide to Choosing, Designing and Growing 200 Easy-Care Plants

                                                                                                                                               Available now wherever books are sold.


    There’s a new Knock Out coming to a garden center near you.  The Peachy Knock Out Rose (RADgor) is a semi-double, peachy pink shrub rose with a mounded plant habit.  Bred by William Radler and introduced by Star Roses and Plants.  Ask your local garden center to get it in.

    Also, there’s a new petal-packed, vibrant colored orange hybrid tea called Double 10 (LIM10) bred by Ping Lim and introduced by Altman Plants, a company that grows many fine roses in Boynton.  This is a gorgeous plant with exciting flowers.

    Check out my tutorial “THE RIGHT LAWN” under Plants & Trees,  Grasses

    Herbs are on our minds all the time as we use them to add flavor to foods we love.  Most common herbs can be maintained now through summer by keeping an eye on the sun.  Basil and rosemary like the sun.  Most others don’t.  But, partial shade and enriched well drained soil is recommended to keep them feeding you.  Fertilize with fish emulsion or manure tea or just use MiracleGro on a regular basis.   Water when the soil is dry to the touch. Don’t over-water.

    Fertilizer Time generally March, June and October.  BioAdvanced Triple Action Lawn Fertilizer is now at Home Depot stores.  Use BioAdvanced 3 in 1 Weed & Feed for Southern Lawns for your St. Augustine, Bermuda and Centipede.  Read the label and follow instructions for best results.  For Chinch bug which may come early this year use BioAdvanced Complete Insect Control. This product also controls all the other bugs in your lawn including fire ants.  For information about fertilizing all trees and plants go to the aforementioned FERTILIZER tutorial.

    TSFG_7655My recent finds at the Pinecrest Gardens Farmers Market-  Joy’s Gourmet pasta sauces in 32 oz. re-usable Kerr mason jars.  Also garlic spreads, salad dressings, olive oils, etc. This is excellent product in several flavors, no cholesterol, no sugar, trans fats gluten or dairy.  Low carbs and low salt.  Great products made in Melbourne, FL.  See .  I discovered Keez-Beez, fabulous honeys from The Keys.  My favorite is their Black Mangrove Honey.  What a different taste.  Now available in most Publix.  Find fresh veggies from several organic growers as well.  Every Sunday 9am to 2pm.  Free parking and admission. TSFG_7656


    What Do SCENTS Do For Us?  Scent delivery can be via a few drops of essential oil in water sprayed in a room with a spritzer.  Add a few drops to your bath water.  Add some drops into boiling water or a steamer.  However you use essential oils, here is which oils accomplish what objective:

    Eucalyptus-  Helps with bronchitis, relieves congestion and can even help clear and energize your mind.

    Lavender-  Creates a sense of calm and reduces anxiety.  My wife utilizes this as the primary scent in her spa operations and has for many years.

    Chamomile-  This scent promotes sleep and relieves anxiety.  Its also an anti-inflammatory.

    Lemon-  Known to repel viruses, lemon also energizes and uplifts the human mind.

    Peppermint-  While peppermint is just simply an enjoyable scent, it also relieves nausea, reduces migraines, is found to be energizing and serves as an analgesic for various aches and pains.

    We enjoy Lemon in the kitchen area and Lavender in the bed/bath areas of our homes.


    Mosquitos can be a problem any time of year.  Forget citronella candles, wristbands and “all natural” products.  Look for products that contain 20 percent picaridin or 30 percent oil of lemon eucalyptus.  They are safer than those with deet.  SAWYER Fisherman’s is the absolute best.  Available from Amazon, WalMart, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Bass Pro Shops.  Inexpensive and 2nd to none.

    TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF…..   Read this information carefully…….

    Skin cancer is a killer!  When outdoors always wear sun-protective clothing and a hat that will protect your nose, ears and neck from the sun.  Use a good quality sunblock as well.  Sunscreen:  The very best is:  Vichy Capital Soleil 50 Lightweight foaming lotion (foam.)  It’s available at Walgreen’s and CVS.  Also, as I have mentioned here before, I find that showering with CLEAN & CLEAR Essentials foaming facial cleanser by Johnson & Johnson, available at Walgreens, is helpful PRIOR to going out to work in the garden.  It removes oil from your skin  and allows it to breathe.  You stay cooler longer.  When you finish outside, shower again with this simple and inexpensive product for a cleaner than clean feeling.


    Be sure to go to our EVENTS page to see all the things happening in our listening area in terms of festivals, plant and tree sales and educational opportunities.

    FEED your BANANAS every MONTH.  Good Fertilizer to use is:  6-2-12.  Apply about 1-1/2 Lbs per stalk per month, like salt on a hamburger out to the drip line.  Water at the rate of at least 1 to 1-1/2 inches per week, 4 to 6 inches of water depth per month.  Good drainage is essential.  Bananas do not like flooding or standing water even though they are perpetually thirsty.  We will soon be adding a tutorial on bananas here on the site.  Actually the button at the top of every page will be “Plants & Trees” with a drop-down menu including bananas as a separate category.


    My Gardening Essay:    I enjoy gardening.  And I mean gardening as opposed to the hard work of maintaining a large property which gets to me sometimes.  I like grooming.  I mean going over one tree or plant and slowly cutting all the little dead twigs out.  Shaping plants and trees.  Removing any weeds or grass from the area under t6he canopy of grove trees with a scuffle hoe.  I like observing everything slowly to determine the answer to my constant question:  can anything out here be made better?  The answer is always “yes.”  Then its just a matter of adding another chore to the ever-present list.  I like things to be smartly maintained, I like everything to be as near perfect as we can make it.  If its in my garden, anywhere on the property, I want to be proud of it.  The layout, the health of every plant and tree, the appearance of every leaf.  This is what gardening is to me.  As you have seen everywhere you go there are hundreds of trucks plying our roadways that have signage like “Landscaping” and “Lawn Service” or maybe “Lawn Maintenance.”  These are hard working folks who do valuable services.   But, when is the last time you saw a rig that said “Gardening”?  That’s probably because in our country we think of gardening as getting down on hands and knees and pulling weeds or some other activity involving hard work in the dirt.  The British are real gardeners.  I like the way they, the French and for that matter many other nationalities of gardeners approach the subject.  They don’t look down at gardening.  As a matter of culture they look at gardening as a hobby of the privileged.  Perhaps that’s because they often employ others to do the ‘heavy lifting.”  I confess that I do that to a great extent.  My Diego, Jose and Pancho do all the mundane stuff.  Those are the chores that one should be paid to do since those things don’t exactly bring smiles to the faces of the ones providing the labor.  But I do teach them why we do the things we do out there and give them ample opportunity to observe and admire what we all accomplish on our little piece of ground.  I think they get it.  I think they have a sense of satisfaction similar to mine.  I also encourage them to take home bananas and other fruits from the grove and they really do treasure those things knowing they have had a hand in making them grow.  I know the mowing, trimming and related work that makes you sweat is not enjoyable.  Try the gardening part.  Slow down and pay attention to the WHY part of your work.  If you can’t lay eyes on anything out there that really pleases you, start planting the trees and shrubs that will give you a sense of satisfaction every gardener deserves for his or her labor.A

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