Part of a national organization originally founded to emphasize agricultural education, Orange County 4-H now supports young people with developmental programs to help them achieve their full potential in a variety of areas. 4-H programs engage more than 900 youth in Orange County in a range of activities, including robotics, public speaking, horseback riding, and gardening.
Knox Nursery, Inc. started in 1962 on the Knox family's porch. Although the family-run nursery has grown to encompass more than 23 acres since then, the second-generation owners haven’t forgotten their humble beginnings, still emphasizing the down-home customer service that made the business what it is today. They and their staff lovingly harnesses the Floridian sunshine to produce plugs and liners, cultivating more than 5,000 plant varieties ranging in size from young ones destined for greenhouses to 4-inchers perfect for landscaping.
At the retail center, staffers stand ready to help green-thumbed shoppers to navigate the selection of annuals and perennials or pick out shrubs to block views of money-filled swimming pools from jealous neighbors. Palms, trees, and vegetables await their chance to fill out gardens or finish landscapes.
Pawsh Pet Resort and Spa was designed from a pet's perspective to provide its furry visitants with homely comforts amid a safe, fun, and personalized environment. The facility is managed by Holly Kierski, whose credentials for the job include certifications in pet CPR, first aid, and as a bark-to-English translator. Holly heads a staff of professionals that supervise all of Pawsh's day-to-day activities, ranging from exercise-packed daycare services to upscale boarding options, some of which feature password-protected webcams so traveling owners can peek in on their canine or kitty. Meanwhile, on the spa side of Pawsh, professionally trained groomers spruce up shaggy styles, and outside the facility, Pawsh employees jet off to clients' houses for in-home sitting of more exotic pets, such as horses, birds, and freeloading cousins.
On Friday and Saturday evenings, it’s not uncommon to hear Johnny Cash tunes echoing across Showcase of Citrus farm’s 2,500 acres as members of the Arnold family shake off another satisfying workweek with their friends and customers. Fourth-generation grower John Arnold and his family can usually be found caring for their groves of citrus trees, collecting fruit, making juice, feeding farm animals or greeting visitors from around the globe.
Located just 15 minutes from Disney World, the Arnold family farm produces more than 50 varieties of citrus fruit and blackberries without using pesticides, herbicides, or magic beans. The fruit–as well as jams, jellies, marmalades, and honey—are all available onsite at Farmer John's Old Time Country Store where guests can sample sauces, jellies, marmalade, and honey. Guests can spot native or exotic wildlife such as alligators, zebra, water buffalo, watusi cattle, or scarlet macaws on one of the farm’s monster-truck eco-safari tours.
The licensed pest-control technicians from Florida Pest & Lawn shoo away a wide range of critters such as termites, bedbugs, ants, or rodents from inside and outside homes. The pest-control team takes its orders from Richie Kidwell, an industry veteran who learned from his father Fred, also a pest-control specialist, that bugs require more stern evacuation measures than a polite cough or a cease-and-desist letter. On each visit, a team member makes sure that no bug slips through cracks by performing treatments on both the interior and exterior of the home, inspecting and spraying popular pest hangouts such as around appliances, bathroom fixtures, windows, and garbage cans. To ensure that colonies don’t return, the technician also sprays a six-foot barrier around the home’s exterior, which effectively keeps all but 6’1” bugs at bay.
In addition to their pest banishing specialty, the team trims and cares for lawns and shrubs to keep yards healthy and verdant, wielding environmentally friendly products to fertilize plants or snuff out unwanted weeds.