September 22, 2008

That’s Huge!!!!!!

Habranthus x floryii ‘Amazing Jumbo’ Zone 8-10
Giant Rain Lily

I purchased this bulb earlier this year and am very pleased that it is blooming already. Habranthus and Zephranthes are commonly known as rain lilies. Both of the genera flower a few days after a rain event. The flower on this one is literally 4-5 inches in diameter. I will be interested to see how quickly it multiplies, and can’t wait until it flowers again.

September 21, 2008

First Time Flowering

Oxblood Lily or Rhodophiala bifida
Zone 8-11

I was so excited to be working in the landscape and see that my oxblood lily was finally going to bloom. I purchased and planted this lily over two years ago and have been waiting for the first blooms. This member of the Amaryllis family is not very common and is more often a pass-along plant. You can occasionally find them available in catalogues and nurseries, but they can be pricey. They do multiply in time. Flowers show-up in late summer or early fall and are followed by strap shaped foliage which persists through the winter before going dormant in spring. This pattern is similar to the Lycoris. I have seen that there are pink forms of this plant as well. I might have to invest in one to add to the collection. If you are looking for a unique easy-to-grow bulb that will reward you with bright flowers at the end of summer, give this bulb a try.

July 16, 2008

Starfish Cactus

The Stapelia gigantea also known as the Carrion flower is now flowering in my yard. I have been growing these plants for most of my life and think they are amazing. These large blooms up to twelve inches across, are stunning to look at, but do have a rather foul odor. The bad smell is so they will attract flies to pollinate the flowers. They will do best if located in a sunny location and grown in well drained soil. This is also a great plant to share as they are easy to propagate by cuttings.

February 12, 2008

Flowering Cherry

Every year I look forward to my Taiwan Cherry putting on a show and brightening the landscape. I have had this tree in the ground for about five years and it really attracts a lot of attention.

Taiwan Cherry (Prunus campanulata) is the best pink flowering cherry for north Florida. Native
to southern China, Taiwan Cherry grows as a slender tree up to 25 feet tall. It produces bright pink flowers in late winter. Flowers can be showy for three weeks if freezes don't damage them.

February 6, 2008

Passalong Bromeliads

Bromeliads make great landscape plants because they offer bold foliage and hot colors, and are easy to take care of. They can be a bit sensitive to cold, though, so be sure to cover them if cold temperatures are in the forecast.

A little while ago, I did some routine maintenance in my yard and removed some of the extra bromeliad pups that had popped up. The Bromeliad Society International offers tips on how to separate pups from parents.

It's normal for bromeliads to produce youngsters at the base of the mother plants, and they make great passalong plants.

I took the extra pups to the office and shared them with the gals that I work with. The picture on the right is one that Kim took of the bromeliads she transplanted into her yard. She tells me that she's now caught the bromeliad bug and can't wait to plant more!

January 23, 2008


Encephalartos ferox
Last week the girls from the office traveled to South Florida to attend the Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition. While they were down there, they also went to Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden--a favorite garden of mine because it has a sizeable cycad collection. Cycads are a group of plants that have been around since the age of the dinosaurs.

The girls took a picture of an Encephalartos ferox in the gardens. I'm still waiting for my own E. ferox to get this big. I started it from seed about a year ago and it's slowly but surely getting bigger.

Encephalartos ferox
I have a few other cycads in the mini-nursery on my windowsill and desk, including Zamia skinneri (the wider-leafed cycad toward the right of the frame) and Macrozamia riedlei (the feathery looking cycad near the center of the frame). The Macrozamia can be planted outdoors in the freeze-free areas of Florida. They'll eventually grow to be 4 to 6 feet tall and wide.


January 10, 2008

Fall (and winter) color in Florida

Bradford pear
crape myrtle
Many residents of Florida long for the beautiful fall foliage that they experienced in other parts of the country. Contrary to popular belief, we have plenty of plants with great fall color--you just have to know what to look for.

Here are some plants that can offer Florida gardeners some fall (or winter) color

Crape Myrtle (top picture, taken 11/25/07)
'Bradford Pear' (bottom picture, taken 1/9/08)
Sweet Gum
Red Maple
Oak-leaf Hydrangea
Japanese Maple
Shumard Oak
Chestnut Oak
Bottlebrush Buckeye
'Okame' Cherry
Chinese Pistache