Cool Planet Helps Wilmot Botanical Gardens Save a National Treasure
Cool Planet, an agricultural technology company that develops, and markets Engineered Biocarbon technology products for soil health, has announced that it is supporting the Wilmot Botanical Gardens at the University of Florida (UF) by donating Cool Terra (a soil amendment that works to improve key soil performance characteristics for greater plant growth and quality) to support the major transplanting effort of 120 camellias from a private collection originally established by Clarence and Lillian Gordy in Ocala, FL. Out of the Gordy’s collection of 2,000 plants and 700 varieties of camellias, the specifically selected specimens will now reside at the Wilmot Botanical Gardens for visitors to enjoy. To improve the transplant success rate, the team will utilize Cool Terra, an enhanced biochar that helps improve the health of a plant’s soil root zone.
“Wilmot Botanical Gardens was once a vibrant and popular place on our University’s campus, thriving with more than 500 different camellias,” says Dr. Craig Tisher, Director of Wilmot Botanical Gardens. “We’re excited to partake in the relocation of this collection and return it to the status it once was.”
The relocation project begins by using a tree spade to dig the handpicked, often rare and unusual, camellias from the former Gordy property. Next, each specimen is wrapped in burlap and placed in wire baskets in preparation for a 45-mile trip to the UF Environmental Horticulture Landscape Unit holding area in Gainesville, FL. Once on site, the camellias are offloaded and placed under irrigation. Finally, the camellias are transported to the Wilmot Botanical Gardens where they are strategically planted in slightly acidic, sandy soils beneath canopies of high pine trees. The team then applies 10 to 25 pounds of Cool Terra to the soil backfill to help improve the soil’s performance characteristics and reduce the mortality rate of the camellias.
“We are excited to support the Wilmot Botanical Gardens by donating our soil health product to help increase the success rate of this project. Cool Terra works to optimize soil and enhance a plant’s root zone, which is a critical component of successfully transplanting plants and trees,” says Jim Loar, CEO of Cool Planet. “Through cation and anion exchange capacity, extensive porosity, and high surface area, Cool Terra can increase water and nutrient retention, add structure to the soil, and provide an environment for microbial growth to support the resiliency and beauty of the camellias.”
To date, approximately 21 camellias have been successfully transplanted from the former Gordy property to the Wilmot Botanical Gardens, with an additional 100 specimens to be transplanted during the next two years.
New Leadership, New Web Series
Earlier this year, Cool Planet and Tim Hammerich, host of the Future of Agriculture podcast, launched a multimedia project called Stories From The Soil. The series features conversations with growers and experts from around the country who are utilizing or studying advanced soil health methods in their practices. The team traveled to California, Colorado, New York, North Dakota, and Texas to meet with farmers, land stewards, and researchers to better understand how they manage their soils to establish a strong foundation for growth and enhance the sustainability of their operations and the planet.
The multimedia series includes a website, videos, podcasts, and blog posts that tell the stories of innovative and leading soil professionals and offers practical advice to others interested in improving soil health. On-demand viewing is available now.