Floridata Article


Catfish Pond
A springtime sunrise over Floridune's catfish pond and behind a sabal palm.

Welcome to Floridune

My name is Jack Scheper, I am the publisher of Floridata. The name of the place where I live and garden is Floridune. It is thirteen sorry, hard-scrabble acres of sand, swamp and sinkholes that lies fifteen miles southeast Tallahassee, Florida's capital city. In the center sits a crappy house that I share with five Great Danes and one great beagle. The best that can be said for the house is that it doesn't have a dirt floor. Surrounding us are the hundreds of palms, pines and plants that sustain my soul and serve as 'models' for the web site.

About the name...

Ok, it may be a bit much to bestow a name on such a redneck ranchero kind of place. But I realized that if I wanted to write about where I garden it would be a big convenience to have a way to specifically reference it. A named domicile suggests a grandeur and elegance like O'Hara's Tara, Hearst's San Simeon and Trump's Mar-A-Lago. Unlike these, Scheper's Floridune is a (much) poorer, scrubier, rougher, more natural landscape of logged out longleaf habitat, swamp, sand hills, mysterious sinkholes and the home of hundreds of my precious palms and garden plants. The name was created by combining part of the name of my web site and state (Flori) with a descriptor of the sorry sandy soil in which I garden (dune).

drought tolerant garden at Floridune
This is a view from "the hill" looking toward the front of the property. Planted in this sunny fast draining area are drought tolerant plants like rosemary (lower left corner), chaste tree (purple flowers at left) and deodar cedar (at right).

In 1996 I originally planned to do a virtual tour of Floridune on the web. The concept was that while touring my gardens one could click on a plant to learn more about it. It became quickly apparent that a reference would be more useful, specifically a photo encyclopedia of plants - and so Floridata was born. Still I resolved to someday do the tour when I had a sufficient number of plants in the reference. So six years and over seven hundred Plant Profiles later [Update Aug 9, 2015: we're now up to 940 Profiles!] I'm finally getting around to realizing the original concept. I plan to introduce each section of Floridune in semi-periodic updates over the next year. Drop by from time to time to see how it's going because it's really pretty here and I think you will enjoy the tour - uh, if I ever get around to it!

Update August 2015: I left Floridune in February 2012 to return to my Northern Kentucky hometown, a suburb near Cincinnati, Ohio. I came to help care for my nephew who had become paralyzed from a serious spinal cord injury. Shortly thereafter my Mother suffered a heart attack, so it became obvious that my place, for at least a while, is here in Kentucky where I can be helpful to my family. I dearly miss Floridune and my garden but it's great being back at home with Mom and when I do eventually return to Floridune I'll appreciate it even more!

John "Jack" Scheper 6/3/01; updated 1/6/02

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