A place for Veteran Gardeners and friends...
Thank you for visiting Vet Gardens
We are a group of Master Gardeners with a passion for nature. We also enjoy building gardens and sharing our knowledge with veteran gardeners and friends. Many of us are veterans and we enjoy the peace and calming effects that gardening can bring.
Here you will find many resources and useful links for gardening in the hopes to increase interest to the program. There is a wealth of information out there and we want to help bring it to you.
The Veteran’s Garden Project at the William “Bill“ Kling VA Clinic, 9800 W. Commercial Blvd., Sunrise, Florida 33351 was established in November 2014 by Veterans Brendan Doyle, Errol Simmons, and Michael Thomas, who are also Broward County Master Gardener (MG) volunteers. The Veteran’s Garden Project is sponsored by the Florida Master Gardeners of Broward County INC., a 501 (3) (c) organization. Duke Realty Company, the management company for the VA clinic, has endorsed all of the Veteran’s Garden Project’s plans.
The goals of the project were two-fold: (1) to create a wildlife habitat for birds and butterflies for visitors to the clinic to enjoy and for Veterans to participate in the creating and maintaining of the garden and (2) to offer monthly classes teaching various horticulture topics to veterans, their family members, and clinic staff. Some of the topics presented to far included growing herbs in south Florida, how to make compost, and growing vegetables in containers. The classes are offered at 12:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month.
The initial phase of the project created a Broward County NatureScape and National Wildlife Federation (NWF) certified garden in the rear of the clinic’s grounds. Numerous members and friends of the Broward County Butterfly Chapter cleared the area and then planted native host and nectar plants for attracting butterflies. A bench was installed so that visitors can relax while enjoying the butterflies and birds checking out the garden.
Donations for this garden from Ms. Lori Parrish and Ms. Cricket Deyo included plants, mulch, and tools. Plantation Garden Club provided some financial assistance, and Miami VA Veterans Services provided the garden’s bench.
The National Wildlife Federation, Broward NatureScape and Youth Environmental Alliance (YEA) co-sponsored grants for pollinator gardens primarily in honor of Broward County's 100th Birthday Celebration this fall. The goal was to add 100 more NWF and NatureScape certified gardens in the county.
The Veteran’s Garden Project applied for the Centennial Garden grant and was awarded the funds to plant another wildlife habitat garden this Veteran’s Day to attract birds and butterflies in the area surrounding the clinic’s flagpole near the building’s entrance. Valley Crest Landscape Maintenance Company is providing the mulch for this additional garden.
Other volunteers who have devoted considerable time and energy to the Veteran’s Garden Project, since its inception, MG Rebeca and Jeremy Copeland, a family member of a veteran and creators of the vetgardens website, MG Andrea Larson, Wayne Barnes, who has contributed to many of the photographs on this site, Kristen Hoss, instructor for the Master Naturalist program, and Janice Malkoff, a retired Broward County teacher and former president of Broward County Butterfly Chapter.
Meet the team
A little more about who we are
Bill is recently graduated from the Master Gardener Program and has completed his 75 volunteer hours. He has a passion for vegetable, fruits and container gardening, in his own words he says if "I cant eat it, I wont grow it."
Brendan was in the in the first Master Gardener program that was offered in Broward County and is the original founding member of the Veteran Gardens. Brendan was in the army infantry and served in the Vietnam War. He says the best thing about gardening for him is that it reduces the "triggers" associated with stressful memories of war.
Michael is retired from the US Army and has been a Master Gardener for the last five years, he graduated with Errol S. Michael credits his passion for gardening to his Grandfather, who was renowned for growing Azaleas in Northern Florida. Michael is also involved with the urns for vets program which along with the South Florida Woodworkings Guild, builds urns for forgotten and indigent military veterans.
Errol has been a Master Gardener with Broward County for five years. He served as the unit personnel clerk at the Armed Forces Network in Europe. This Army unit ran the radio stations. Errol's greatest satisfaction about gardening is helping people to get their plants and vegetables to grow. Errol was recently voted Vice President of Master Gardeners of Broward County.
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