With a noticeable uptick in green thumbs, an interest in home gardening has peaked thanks to a pandemic. Local nurseries are not complaining. Sparse, shabby, derelict lawns saw lush summer makeovers—filled with vibrant colors, fragrant florals, butterflies, birds, edible treats and soil-filled fingernails. The best part of this newfound affinity. The gorgeous greenscapes and outdoor sanctuaries we’ve created during those months of isolating will outlast long after COVID-19 and reap benefits to the environment. Someone who knows a thing or two about sprucing up landscapes with greenery is Kathy Crowley of Crowley Nursery and Gardens. As the family business grew out of its backyard facility, the Crowleys moved to larger operations out in Old Myakka. Since expanding, she and her family have been bringing beauty to backyards for close to 30 years now. Kathy weighs in on the most popular plants flying off the shelves and the most sought-after garden additions this spring–summer season. Edibles are experiencing even more love than usual at the nursery: Avocado Florida Haas, Brogdon, Lula, Marcus Pumpkin and Mango Dwarf varieties like Mallika Nam Doc Mai and Maha Chanook are among popular purchases. In addition, citrus trees such as Persian limes (the bartender’s lime), Key limes to make pie, juicy Meyer lemons for lemonade, Ruby Red grapefruits and, of course, Florida orange trees to make world-famous orange juice are setting roots in neighborhoods all over for personal picking. There are also new citrus crosses Kathy says, such as Sugar Belle, which is honeybell crossed with clementine (Little Sweetie), and a new mandarin/tangerine cross called Matango, which is a sweet, tangy and tart mix. “It’s one of my favorites, which surprised me, being a sweet freak.”

Crowley Nursery & Gardens Inc., 16423 Jomar Rd., Sarasota, 941-322-0315, crowleynursery@gmail.com.