“Magical” is the word Jesse Druko uses to describes his garden and ten acres of grounds, which also happens to be one of the top nurseries in the Miami area. I also found the gardens romantic, wistful, and serene, with their meandering paths that lead to new discoveries at every turn, the koi filled pool that could have been plucked from Savannah, and the ponds that he also “choreographed” with lush vegetation. He’s a font of knowledge, advice, and is a great story teller. So you won’t want to miss his upcoming talk at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden this month either.
Besides all of this, Jesse applies his degree in fine arts with a minor in horticulture at landscaping and a retail and wholesale nursery that is the “go to” place for garden centers. He also fields calls from botanical gardens around the world. If you’re looking for landscaping services or even some trees or flowering plants, this is the place to go. It’s in Davie, which only was a 30 minute drive on a Saturday from Brickell Avenue.
Jesse travels the world in search of new plants – climbing mountains from one coast of Africa to another, exploring tropical rainforests in Central America, as well as Singapore, Australia, Cuba and Thailand. He brings his cuttings back to Miami and has them pass through all the inspection processes, no small thing after a long journey, and then propagates them in his nursery. Clients are the winners, able to buy everything from Cuban baby’s breath and an African Lamplighter plant, to Australian ixora and more.
He knows the soil conditions from the Keys to Weston: rocky soil in Weston; sandy in Hollywood; soil requiring low water usage in the Keys; great soil in Plantation and rich black topsoil in Davie . Unlike many nurseries, he uses no pesticides and focuses on challenges to Florida gardens, doing trials along the way. Just ask him about iguana resistant plants and he can talk for the next hour.
Probably his stars besides the exotic species he has found in his travels are the several hundred varieties of palms, his flowering trees and shrubs, antique roses, and his collection of wild flowers.
A native of New Jersey (he traded “the Garden State for the Sunshine State”) Druko has had his nursery for 25 years. Previously he was Director of Horticulture for Flamingo Gardens. He is an advisor to the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens which is where I met him.
Jesse Durko’s Nursery, 5151 S.W. 70 Avenue, Davie. T (954-873-4563).
He’ll be giving a lecture at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden, part of their second Saturday seminar series, on November 10 from 10 a.m. to Noon. It’s free. Don’t miss it! And when you’re there, check out the wonderful shop.