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