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In Memoriam: John Sibley, All Native Garden Center & Plant Nursery

On Saturday, February 6, 2021, Florida lost a native plant leader, John Thomas Sibley, founder of All Native Garden Center & Plant Nursery in Fort Myers, Florida, and a past president of FANN. FANN feels fortunate to have had John with us for our Annual Members Meeting in December 2020, where we presented John with the Mike Kenton Award for his many years of service to the native plant industry.

John served FANN as president & co-president for eight years and has spent the last couple of decades beating the native plant drum. He first found FANN long ago at a native plant society conference and of course we persuaded him to go all in with native plants, which he did. John had moved from Connecticut to Florida to start a landscaping business and readily embraced native plants.

John was a force for nature in Southwest Florida, particularly for native plants and the wild creatures they support. He worked with WGCU on a popular televised native plants landscaping documentary series, served on county advisory boards for extension and roadways, served for years as president of the Coccoloba Chapter Florida Native Plant Society and was personally involved in hundreds of native plant sales and award-winning landscape and garden projects throughout Southwest Florida. As FANN’s president, John was a huge advocate for FANN’s very first Native Plant Show in 2013,┬ádonning a suit and tie to stroll the aisles at other industry events and sell exhibit spaces. He was a great ambassador and loyal supporter, advertising in every publication, exhibiting at every show and hosting a fundraising plant sale for FANN.

John is remembered as a very likeable, funny colleague who worked hard for our cause. On the rare occasions when he got a little personal time, he enjoyed reading mysteries and for several years, was able to “get away” to Guatemala for some much needed peace and quiet. Despite his penchant for dropping the f-bomb at every frustration, John was really a sweetheart, and particularly admirable was his care and affection for his employees — a phenomenal crew and the envy of any green operation. Thanks to John’s leadership, All Native Garden Center & Plant Nursery will continue into the future under the management of Joaquin Herrera.

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John in a relaxed setting among friends, with his ubiquitous Guatemala bag, floppy sun hat and a pink sweater for an extraordinarily cold day  in Sanibel, 2016, at our first Native Plant Industry Retreat.

John in a relaxed setting among friends, with his ever-present Guatemala bag, floppy sun hat and a pink sweater for an extraordinarily cold day in Sanibel, 2016, at our first Native Plant Industry Retreat.