October 14, 2009

What a Show!

I was climbing into my truck to head to work and had to pause as I got a glimpse of something blooming in a nearby garden. The culprit was this Persekia aculeata that I recently received from a plant give-away. This unusual looking spiny plant is known by many names including West Indian Gooseberry, lemon vine, sweet Mary, leaf cactus, blade apple, Barbados gooseberry and many others. The plant is an erect woody shrub becoming vinelike with age. The plant is deciduous and has waxy leaves. The greenish white flowers are about one to one and one half inches in diameter and are quite numerous. The small tart fruits have a yellow to red leathery skin. This plant thrives with very little care and is very drought tolerant. If you find a neighbor that has one, you can propagate it from seed or cuttings. This is a tropical plant, so keep it protected from freezing.

August 27, 2009

What More Can I Say!!!!

The Angels Trumpet plant in my back yard is now in flower and is absolutely gorgeous. This plant was grown in a container for one year and was added to the landscape in the fall of 08. It is now 6-7 feet tall and across.

These plants belong to the genus Brugmansia and make great container plants or permanent landscape plants in warmer parts of the state. In north and central Florida, plants in the ground are often damaged by cold weather, but they are quick to recover. They come in a wide array of colors and even variegated forms. A little searching online will turn-up a great selection.

Brugmansia plants are fairly easy to start from cuttings so don’t be shy about asking your friend for a small clipping to start your own. There are a few select municipalities that prohibit the planting of Brugmansia plants, so be sure to investigate this prior to adding this plant to your collection.

August 25, 2009

Holy Hoya Batman!!!!!

My Hoya carnosa “Variegata’ has just started blooming in my office. This large hanging basket has grown by leaps and bounds and is threatening to chase me out of my office space. I think Hoya plants are easy to grow foliage plants and should be used in the interiorscape more often. There are a wide variety of species and cultivars to choose one. Visit your favorite nursery in person or online today to add to your collection.

February 17, 2009

February in Bloom

Despite all the cold we had over the past month there are still quite a few things flowering in the landscape. The azaleas are just beginning to pop and the redbud trees are starting to show color. You may have to look a little harder at this time of year to find the color, but there is still plenty to see. Enjoy.

Bright Pink Poinsettia Still in Color

White Poinsettia

White Asiatic Lily - This was a Valentine's Day gift. It really is brightening up the breakfast nook.

Walters Viburnum (Viburnum obovatum) This hardy native shrub is a great addition due to its spring color.

Mixed Pansy Bed (I wish there were more colors!)

Coral Bells Azalea

Crown of Thorns

Redbud about to Bloom

Colorful Aechmea Inflorescence

Tropical Bulb (I am working on an ID)

Coontie Seeds (Zamia floridana)

White Shrimp Plant

Red Buckeye New Growth (Aesculus pavia)
While not in flower, it is a sign of spring!

White and Pink Camellia japonica

White Camellia japonica

Southern Charm Azalea

Formosa Azalea

Camellia japonica 'Pink Perfection'

Red Camellia japonica

Pink Camellia spp.

Vinca major 'Variegata' This easy to grow groundcover is one every gardener should try. It roots very easily and has never had a pest problem.

Small Purple Azalea

Hybrid Crown of Thorns

Hybrid Crown of Thorns

New Guinea Hybrid Impatiens

Vanda Orchid

Clivia miniata

Scilla peruviana

February 5, 2009

How Crazy is This!!!

The above picture shows the campus Horticulture Sciences fruit research area iced-up to protect the trees from the freezing temperatures we experienced last night. I recorded 18.9 degrees Fahrenheit at my home in S.W. Gainesville. While the ice was beautiful, I could not help but think what damage all our landscapes were experiencing from the cold.

February 4, 2009

This Is Why I Hate Winter!!!!!!!!!!

Large Leaf Begonia Damaged Under a Cover

The 2008/2009 winter season has been a very bad one. Plants that froze early and began recovering have been damaged again by extreme cold temperatures. I have recorded a low of 19.8 F at my house in SW Gainesville. Tonight it is forecast to get down to 16F. This is not why I live in Florida. The following pictures are of some of the devastation in my landscape. I hope that spring gets here soon!

Canna Lilies in Large Container

Cycas taitungensis Damage

Crinum asiaticum var. procerum After Freeze

February 3, 2009

Another First Time Bloomer

I am very excited to see that my Scilla peruviana or Cuban Lily is blooming for the first time in my landscape. I first saw a flowering Scilla four years ago in a friends landscape and had to have one. I searched all my local retailers for a bulb and was never able to find one. So I ordered one online and planted it three years ago. The first couple of years it would come up with strap shaped foliage in the fall and go dormant in the spring. While the plant did not flower, it did grow and multiply. This year the plant has seven bloom stalks and is gorgeous! The clusters of purple-blue flowers are real showstoppers. The foliage gets about one foot tall and references say it can grow from zones 7-10. You can propagate it by division and seed. I plan to collect seed and see if I have any luck. I am very interested to see if the plant flowers again next year, so will leave my plant undisturbed for at least another year. I have also seen reference to this plant being used as a foliage plant, so may give this a try in the future.

January 15, 2009

January in Bloom

Things are quite a bit ahead of schedule this year. The Taiwan Cherry is a full month ahead of last year. Even though it is still winter, the garden still has plants that are putting on a show and with containers, the possibilities are endless!!!!

Amazon Lily (Eucharis amazonica) Putting on a Show

Taiwan Cherry Flowers

Taiwan Cherry Tree in Full Flower

Camelia japonica

I Hate Winter!!!!!

This year the weather in Gainesville has been very unusual. We started the cool season with a freeze in late October and it was followed with a very cold November. December came and was unseasonably warm with many days in the 80’s. Plants that were damaged in those early freezes have already started to put out new growth that will be damaged in the upcoming days. Most plants in my landscape are at least a full month ahead of where they would normally be. The following photos show some of my plants with their new growth and some of my cold protection efforts, including a garage full of tropical potted plants. I think I have too many tender plants!!!!!!

Salvia madrensis that froze and was regrowing

Taiwan Cherry in full Flower

Tender Plants Covered

Bromeliad Garden Under Cover

Garage Packed Full!!!