A couple’s desire to re-landscape their yard led to good luck for Calusa Garden Club of Marco Island in
connection with their Third Annual Plant and Thanksgiving Arrangement Sale to be held November 21,
2023. In August, Diane Charvat sent an email to Calusa Garden Club offering a huge number of staghorn
ferns to the club and its members. Diane and her husband Dennis Charvat had recently purchased a
home that had a large mahogany tree stump in the front yard on which many staghorn ferns grew. The
Charvats planned to re-landscape their new home and wanted to give the staghorn ferns to new
That generous offer was happy news for Calusa Garden Club of Marco Island because the timing was
perfect for the club members to remove the staghorn ferns and cultivate them for sale at their
upcoming November 21, 2023 plant sale. The Plant and Thanksgiving Arrangement Sale features over
150 plants grown by members and beautiful fresh floral arrangements perfect for Thanksgiving. In
addition to Charlette Roman’s wonderful orchids, over 150 tropical plants grown by members, and
about 40 Thanksgiving fresh flower arrangements, the Plant Sale could now feature over 35 exotic and
healthy staghorn ferns.
Kimberly Korb Porter, President of Calusa Garden Club, eagerly responded to the Charvats’ offer and
worked a plan to acquire the staghorn ferns. She recruited Janice Engel, a garden club member whose
staghorn ferns are a prominent feature of her garden, and they went to look at the ferns. They were
unable to remove the ferns from the mahogany tree stump because mahogany is a very hard wood.
Porter contacted other garden club members, and Debbie Kuhlman and Kelly Ponder volunteered their
husbands to assist. Roger Kuhlman and David Ponder worked on removing the staghorn ferns from the
mahogany tree stump with a curved tree trimming saw. Their combined efforts yielded over 35 fantastic
staghorn ferns. Several members volunteered to keep some of the ferns for two months. In addition, a
friend of the garden club generously provided needed space for the ferns on racks, as shown in the
photo of larger staghorn ferns on racks.
The photos show the original mahogany tree stump with its multiple staghorn ferns. Some of the
harvested ferns are shown in a photo of Kuhlman and Ponder, who offered to keep the smaller ferns
healthy for two months until the November sale. Another photo shows member Donna Kay with one of
the rescued staghorn ferns mounted in a tree where it receives shade and moisture, the two elements
that make the staghorn ferns grow well.
As a result, Calusa Garden Club will sell over 35 beautiful, healthy, exotic staghorn ferns at their
November 21, 2023 Plant Sale. The sale will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the parking lot of
Marco Lutheran Church located at N. Collier Boulevard and Holly Court on Marco Island. Included in the
plant sale are orchids, landscape plants, potted indoor plants for home decor, fresh floral designs for
Thanksgiving, and the amazing staghorn ferns.
Calusa Garden Club of Marco Island is a Section 501(c)3 organization and is a member of the Florida
Federation of Garden Clubs. Membership is open to persons interested in horticulture, floral design and
environmental matters residing 5 months or more in Collier County.