Community Service

readying a flower bed at Hospice

Grandiflora Employees Plant Butterfly Garden at Hospice

In memory of Lynn Gaskins, a former Grandiflora employee who died tragically due to a car accident, workers from the nursery planted a butterfly garden in October 2008 at Haven Hospice in Lake City, Lynn's home town. After being taken off life support, Lynn received wonderful loving care at Haven Hospice for several days until she finally passed on.

Gainesville Nursery Notorious for Lending a Hand

 

Some of Grandiflora's past community service activities:

  • Our retail wing, the Plant Shoppe, regularly donated flower arrangements to the Harn Museum and Performing Arts Center
  • Plant Shoppe employees led by Ellen cleaned-up the I75/Newberry Road Overpass
  • The Plant Shoppe sponsored the Weekend Gardener (Gary Brinen Show) and Victory Garden on local Public Television
  • Loaned plants for decorating the Thomas Center for the City Beautification Board Awards Program
  • Procured donations of plants for the Thomas Center Lanscaping and arranged volunteer installers
  • Loaned plants for the Children’s Home Society annual fund raiser, “Putting on the Ritz”
  • Loaned plants for numerous high school proms, Women’s Club functions, and school ceremonies
  • Ellen Shapiro co-founded the Gainesville Junior Women’s Club Festival of Trees
  • Procured donated plants, volunteer labor, and arranged the installation of the Camellia Garden at Kanapaha
  • Donated Christmas trees for the Festival of Trees and decorated the hall
  • Organized the Secret Garden Tours as a fund raiser for Kanapaha Botanical Garden and later for the Garden Club
  • Donated plants for the new Rose Garden at Kanapaha and helped find a major benefactor
  • Helped organize the Garden Party Fundraising Auction for Kanapaha’s Summer House
  • Procured donations of plants from local growers to re-landscape the Ronald McDonald House in November 2007
  • Donated plants for the new Children's Garden at Kanapaha in 2007
  • Arranged nationally known speakers Felder Rushing and Carol Reese for fund raiser for Kanapaha Botanical Gardens

Grandiflora Works with Local Horticulture Clubs and Plant Societies

Alan and Ellen Shapiro, The Plant Shoppe, and Grandiflora have always supported and worked closely with local horticultural clubs and plant societies - the Orchid Society, The Rose Society, the Gainesville Camellia Society, the Gainesville Bonsai Society, the Water Pond and Koi Club, the Gainesville Garden Club, and the UF Environmental Horticulture Club.

Picture at right was taken at the Kilberg's yard in Haile Plantation, a recent stop on one of Ellen's Secret Garden Tours, a fund raiser for the Jasmine Circle of the Gainesville Garden Club.

Grandiflora/San Felasco Nurseries has won several local and statewide awards for recycling.

The Alachua County Commission presented San Felasco Nurseries with a Commisioners' Challenge Award for its recycling efforts. A few months later, SWANA also recognized San Felasco at its annual meeting for its strong recycling efforts.

More recently, Grandiflora was highlighted in a 2008 cover story in a national horticultural trade magazine, Grower Talks, for its recycling efforts. The story was entitled "Grandiflora Gets It", and included many pictures of the nursery and its employees.

Nursery Owners Support North Florida Botanical Society

The Shapiro’s are strong supporters of the North Florida Botanical Society which oversees the operation of Kanapaha Botanical Garden, the state’s second largest botanical park. Grandiflora (San Felasco Nurseries) has donated plants, supplies, a golf cart, and hundreds of hours of volunteer time to plant installation, maintenance activities, and fundraising for the Garden.

Alan was one of the founders of the Spring Garden Festival and is still active on the committee that brings 10-15,000 visitors to the park in two days each March, providing a good share of Kanapaha’s annual operating budget. The Shapiros also have donated profits from Grandiflora's Perennial Field Day to the Garden.

San Felasco Nursery Participates in the Morningside Nature Center Native Plant Sale

Local nursery aids with the Morningside Nature Center Native Plant Sale that raises money forimprovements to the Nature Center and raises awareness of native plants

Grandiflora/San Felasco Nurseries has long been a participant in the Morningside Nature Center Native Plant Sale that raises money for the Nature Center and raises awareness of native plants. The nursery is also a supporter and member of the local and state chapters of two native plant groups, the Florida Association of Native Nurseries (FANN, formerly AFNN) and the Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS). For many years, Alan Shapiro worked with members of the Exotic Pest Plant Committee and representatives of the FNGLA to educate Florida nursery owners and discourage them from growing invasive species.

Grandiflora Donates Plants and Expert Advice to Numerous Schools and Other Educational Facilities

Grandiflora (San Felasco) is a Partner in Education with the Alachua County School System. The company has donated plants and expert advice to numerous county schools for projects ranging from butterfly gardens to native plant demonstration areas to Arbor Day memorials. Alan has also spoken to many classes of youngsters (as well as groups of oldsters) on the importance of plants and trees.

Other educational and research institutions have benefitted from the nursery's generosity as well. The Lubee Bat Foundation has received truckloads of plants from Grandiflora to be used as "browse" for the bats to feed on. The Alachua and Marion County Extension Offices have received plants for their display gardens. And, the University of Florida Environmental Horticulture Department has  been given many unusual varieties for their Plant ID classes and for student plant sales.

Local Nursery Participates in United Way Drives

Since 1999, employees of Grandiflora/San Felasco Nurseries have been participating in United Way Drives, contributing thousands of dollars out of their paychecks for community charities. As part of the 2000 pledge drive challenge, Alan swam the retention pond after the company’s goal was met. For 2001, the supervisors took pies in the face for each employee contribution.

In 2007, owner Alan Shapiro agreed to have his head shaved if the company goal was met. It was, and each conributing worker had a turn with the scissors, snipping off chunks of Alan's locks. For 2008, a Nursery Olympics competition was held with employees participating in games of skill for valuable prizes. Over $2500 was raised for United Way, a nursery record.

In 2009, despite the slow economy, employees raised a record amount of money by combining a sports competition with a Halloween costume contest and company party.

Grandiflora (San Felasco Nursery) Teams Up with the Keep Alachua County  Beautiful Program

 

Local nursery donates crape myrtles for medians

Grandiflora has been working closely for decades with the Keep Alachua County Beautiful program, supplying plants for their Plant Bank and Crape Myrtles for the NW 39th Avenue medians and other landscaping projects.

Making Gainesville a Beautiful Place

Grandiflora/San Felasco Nurseries works with the Gainesville City Beautification Board to spruce up Gainesville.

For many years, San Felasco Nursery worked closely with the Gainesville City Beautification Board. Alan served as a member of the board and was involved with the annual Azalea Sale, the Dogwood plantings along Eighth Avenue, the City Beautification Awards Program, and early Neighborhood Clean-ups. San Felasco also donated plants for Paint Your Heart Out Gainesville, Habitat for Humanity, the Thomas Center landscaping, and the landscaping of Downtown Gainesville.

Pictured is Ellen Shapiro winning an award in 2009 from Habitat for Humanity Women's Build for being volunteer of the year.

 

Grandiflora Decorates the O’Connell Center for the SCC Fantasy Event

Grandiflora (San Felasco Nurseries) has decorated the O’Connell Center for the Stop Children’s Cancer gala fundraiser since 1999. Each year, the party is planned based on a different theme. One year the landscaping and props were designed to look like a street in New York. The next, the scenery and plantings were reminiscent of Paris, complete with a 35' tall replica of the Eiffel Tower. The picture at left was taken the year that the theme was "An Elegant Evening in the Swamp". The Shapiros brought in plants and trees that gave guests the illusion that they were in a north central Florida swamp. (The outhouse was later auctioned off and fetched a pretty penny).

Alan and Ellen also serve as Fantasy Event committee members, helping with the planning of the party which raises hundreds of thousands of dollars yearly for cancer research.

In 2005, Ellen was asked to join the Board of Directors of Stop Children's Cancer served on the board until 2012.

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