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Who is St. James?

Saint James the Just, also called James Adelphos and James the Brother of Our Lord (died AD 62), was the first Bishop or Patriarch of Jerusalem. St. James is my patron saint.

What is Permaculture?

From the Permaculture Research Institute: Permaculture integrates land, resources, people and the environment through mutually beneficial synergies – imitating the no waste, closed loop systems seen in diverse natural systems. Permaculture studies and applies holistic solutions that are applicable in rural and urban contexts at any scale.

What is St. James Garden

The St. James Garden is the implementation of the design that I submitted to achieve my PDC. This site will serve as my own resource as well as a location for research, observation, propagation, and demonstration for future Permaculture endeavors.


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About Us

The St. James Garden is located on the Lake Wales Ridge in Central Florida. These relic sand dunes created over thousands of years by the dynamic movements of sea, ice and wind now provide refuge for rare and endangered plants and animals. Although consisting of a variety of habitats from low and wet bayheads to high and dry sandhills, the ridge is most famous for its scrub habitat. Wildlife and plants once isolated on these islands evolved extremely unusual characteristics. This forest in miniature consists of clusters of shrubs scattered between patches of open sand. The lack of canopy cover and very deep porous sands create a hot, dry, desert like habitat. Due primarily to a long period of isolation, plants and animals that live on the Ridge have developed ways to deal with their harsh environment.

Most of the vegetation in the Lake Wales Sand Ridge consists of (or has evolved into) scrub plants with thick waxy coated leaves that are drought tolerant. The leaves of the sand live oak are thick and leathery, rolled in at the edges to help retain as much water as possible during the blazing hot days of summer. Species of Opuntia, Yucca, Scrub plum, and scrub Serenoa repens palm dot the landscape and are well adapted to the hot sun and fast draining soils.

In the early twentieth century parts of the ridge were converted to citrus groves. More recently, some of the citrus groves, particularly in the north of the ridge, have been redeveloped for residential housing. Today several areas of the Ridge are protected National Wildlife Refuges and State Forest.

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