After a visit to St Maarten in the Caribbean last winter, we saw and fell in love with the Caesalpina Pulcherrima; Pride of Barbados.
Imagine our pleasant surprise when we found it could grow here in Tampa, and that we were in need of doing some serious landscaping at our new home at the time. It's really what started the gardening bug in me!
Fast forward to May, I ordered some seeds for the red/orange, of which I've successfully managed to get 4 healthy 2 foot plants to date. (no blooms yet) Being impatient for that wonderful color, I also ordered a few mature plants which arrived and went into bloom literally weeks after arriving (in INTENSE may/june sun and heat here)
Through further research, I found the pink, lemon lace, and yellow varieties and thought I had died and gone to heaven, that is until the yellow I ordered turned out to be the C. mexicana. pretty, but not Amazing like the others.
Then, I started to see the Phoenix bird of paradise, and was awestruck by the deep orange/yellow/gold almost sunset color to them. With 2 spots that still needed 'something' in the yard, I began my search for them. Is this plant the most difficult thing to find here in FL or what? I have been in contact with growers in AZ, and none ship here, and the plant seems to be some kind of secret that Arizona wants to keep to itself. (???)
Question (long way around, I know) Is it truly different than the 'flava' and 'aurea' cultivars with just a fancy name? Are the colors truly as different, or are they all one in the same?
All plants in this family seem to be scarce around here, as i've only seen the Royal Poinciana trees around, but not any of the dwarfs.
Any comments/suggestions are welcome, and thanks for reading this long post!
Image attached not mine, but fair use from internet sites.
What a lovely collections of plants you have already aquired. Pleae post pictures when that rainbow of flowers bloom. I have a caesalpina that is quite healthy and had reliably returned for man years but it must be a bit too cold here, I have never seen it flower.
Phil, I have a red/orange C.pulchirimma planted a year ago that has bloomed and put up new shoots, despite the two hard winters we've had. See pic. I got it at Home Depot, would you believe?
There are lots of the full-size trees around here with the red or yellow flowers but I've only seen one dwarf type like mine in bloom. Looked like it had been severely pruned but it was a lovely shape and a real sight to behold in full bloom.
When I was buying mine, they also had some plain orange or yellow ones, but I liked the two-tone flowers better. No idea if the others were your Phoenix cultivar. But I'd advise you to go to a good nursery in your vicinity and ask somebody knowledgeable (usually the owner is the best person) if they can find one for you. They have resources that aren't available to us. I can't believe that amongst the thousands of nurseries in Florida you couldn't find that plant! Plus just think of the shipping costs you'd save if the local nursery gets it for you. It's always good to support your local businesses, as well jmho.
Ardesia...I definitely will! It's a race against the clock right now to see if the pink or lemon lace will bloom before Nov/Dec...I'm not counting on it as those 2 plants are both just about 2.5 feet high right now, and the sun is racing south daily. I do have the red/orange/yellow going strong now (pics below)...will have to pray and protect over the winter to get the rest to blooming next spring! From what I've read, I think that I can expect them to start doing so April or early May.
Elaine...I have a combo of seed-grown and bought, totalling 10 plants right now. The ones I bought came from Sarasota and Port Charlotte..so, kind of local. The 'Phoenix' cultivar, from the research I've done is patented to a grower in Arizona and just hasn't seemed to be widely distributed east yet. That, and this plant seems to go by so many aliases/names/varieties it is astounding!
The plain orange would be a great complement to the rest, and as near as I can tell, sounds close to the phoenix colors (yellow/orange)
I also found a picture from Singapore of a variety with yellow flowers and orange stamens...ahhhh! I'll run out of planting space before I find them all! lol
other differences i've noted...some are a nice mix or orange/red and are thorny, while others are without thorns, predominantly red/yellow and have a blue/green tint to the leaves, as well as a red tint to the stems. I'm conducting a botany experiment that I hadn't signed up for!
pic is of my one orange/red/thorny one going nuts on the south-facing side of the house. I've had 2 neighbors stop and ask me what it was, and say how different and beautiful it is.
and, because i'm lame and have nothing better to do today, here are some pics of the rest of the plants mentioned, and the placement of them. (Because I know you wouldn't sleep tonight not knowing lol)
Front of house, south facing.
from front to back,
Red/orange C. pulcherrima seedling that has struggled in the heat/rain/wind. planted in May...bad timing.
next, the pink which is doing much better and much fuller
3rd, a C mexicana...which I ordered as C. pulch. var flava...but this is what came. oh well...
4th...the 'big daddy' pictured above
Next, on the side of the house which faces west/northwest, are 3 more.
These are the 2 C. pulch that are thornless, with more reddish than orange flowers and the 2nd C. mexicana that was mis-labled as yellow C. pulch. also here is where the red tint in the leaves and stems occurs. odd
Here are the 2 in the back yard, north-east facing that I stuck in between some red hibiscus where a hole was from a bush that died in the winter of 2010. The one on the left is lemon/lace, and on the right orange/red. Both with thorns, and totally green coloring on all leaves/stems.
**side note...as the side and back of the house borders the pool, has anyone had any luck protecting their plants by keeping the pool heated to say 70-75 all winter? the plants are all about 6 feet away from the pool edge.
Phil they all look wonderful. I'm going to start some from my seeds after seeing your success.
I'm a bit worried about how close together you've planted the babies, though. They look fine now, but by next summer you're going to have a really gorgeous multi-colored hedge! If you want them to be 'specimen' shrubs they need to be at least 10ft apart. Also the big daddy is awfully close to the house there! Root incursion into your irrigation system or under the slab in future years will be an issue. Need to keep big shrubs and trees at least 5ft. away from the house.
Yes, my pool does create a bit of a 'micro-climate' around it in winter. We don't heat it but it stays fairly warm from the sun because it has a dark finish. Still, at 6ft. away from the pool your little plants aren't going to get much heat. Keep some old towels handy for the cold nights this winter!
My plant has survived the last two cold winters without any protection, though. It's on a northeast fence corner exposed to the cold winds, too.
Sure, but it's the diff between survival and thriving. They do a lot better if you can grow them somewhere without any frost in the winter - like down the Keys, out on the barrier islands or . . well, St. Maarten where Phil discovered them.
Mine would be a 10ft. tree instead of a scrawny 7ft shrub if it hadn't been hammered by two record cold winters right after planting. I wish I'd covered it. Veggies & fruit trees took priority, unfortunately.
We're predicted to have a more 'normal' winter this year. Here's hoping!
@dyzzy/Elaine...lol...'big daddy's root ball is planted @ 4ish feet from the house. But when the summer t-storms started in June, well the wind whipping between the houses out of the south knocked daddy down several times. Try as I did to keep him upright, he laid at a 45 degree angle and seemed to be no worse for the wear. True, it looked kind of funny but I figured I'd let nature take its course. turns out, 3 new 'power' stems came out from what would have been the straight 'base' stem and filled the area better than I could have hoped and increased the flowering 2 fold! happy accident? maybe!
As far as specimen planting..heck i'm a rookie and I just want the blank space filled in! the people that we bought the house from took out every single plant that was in the yard except the larger trees & palms (???) I like the idea of a mish-mosh of orange/yellow/red/pink all blending in. I intend to keep them at around the 5 feet mark by pruning every Jan/Feb. Plus, the 'flower fence' part is attractive as we live on a golf course and all the lookie-loos who make our dogs bark will be more blocked out! I've been an apartment dweller most of my adult life, so at 40 to become a homeowner with land to plant on...arrrgh! i'm drunk with power! lol
Do your C. pulch defoliate in the winter? how long does yours bloom? and how in the heck are you Zone 9B 50ish miles south? When I signed up here I put in my zip and the zone it gave me was 10A...I'm about a mile and a 1/2 from Tampa Bay...maybe thats it..?
@ecrane...I'm only cautious as this will be all of the plants' 1st winter, and while true it doesnt get mega cold here, all my babies went into the ground between May and July this year...you see how small some are. We do get dangerously close to 30 on a few nights here.
Last winter wasnt bad at all, but I'm still leary after the gauntlet winters of 08-09 and 09-10!
Phil, the zone lines are based on average temps so they're very arbitrary. i.e much more of a guideline than a rule. They run sort of parallel with the coast along this area. I am about the same distance from the water as you, but it's the Intercoastal Waterway. We're over 2 miles from the Gulf. Our barrier islands here in Sarsaota - Siesta, Longboat, Anna Maria etc. - are all zone 10. We are a bit colder in winter and warmer in summer because we're not getting the sea breeze as soon as those closer. East of I-75 is zone 9b so it gets colder faster as you go inland here. Tampa Bay is a much bigger expanse of water so probably keeps your 'average' temps up a few degrees in winter.
For that matter, a zone 10 designation in California is a lot different as far as what plants you can grow than a zone 10 in Florida. They have dry air, colder water along the coast, rocky soil, mountainous terrain, droughts, fires, and air pollution that makes it a different ball game than we have here with our high humidity, clear air and strong sun most of the year. Lots of plants that say 'full sun' on the labels really like some shade in the summertime here in Florida. eg. My roses have found their way to the south side of the bamboo clump so when the sun is low in winter, they get full sun, but when it's overhead in summer the bamboo leans over them and shades them in the middle of the day. They are so much happier!
Then, of course, you get 'micro-climates' around your house which make all the difference to your plants anyway. The south side of my house is firmly in zone 10 and in winter everything keeps blooming, but the back yard on the north side is cooler, especially after a cold front when the wind is out of the north. That's where I grow my veggies and fruit trees, and it's a tent city on the cold nights.
So, I don't put too much faith in zone designations. The challenge is to plant the right plant in the right place. If you push the climate envelope a bit, such as with a tender tropical like our C.pulch's you do need to be prepared to protect them on the odd cold night if you don't want them to be set back. Some extra mulch over the roots is always a good idea, and as I said, keep the old towels, sheets, cardboard boxes or whatever will insulate your plants on the few cold nights we normally get. Just don't use plastic - it traps moisture, and if it sits against the leaves they will get frozen then burn if the sun hits them. It's not a good insulator.
interesting stuff, and good tips, thanks! Am especially encouraged to hear your POB returns as happy as it looks being on the NE side of your yard. How late does yours bloom for you? I'm hoping they go until Thanksgiving at least, as it seems the big chill usually doesnt arrive til December around here.
It does vary, Phil. Mostly dependent upon the weather. As soon as the nights start to be cool, some time in October usually, that stops the summer growth, and the setting of new buds along with it. If you have healthy new flower scapes near the end of October I'd say there's a chance it will still be blooming at Thanksgiving.
Mine's only been through two winters, and as you said, last year we got a real chiller in December, but often the coldest nights are late in January. We can only hope the forecast for a warm and dry winter will pan out.
That poor plant was engulfed by a rampant passion vine until about 3 weeks ago, so it would actually look a lot better if I had taken care of it. It's outside the back fence, so sort of 'outa sight, outa mind' you know? I'm definitely taking better care of it from now on, considering how well it has responded to being rescued.
nice to see a fellow Tampa person here, and with such nice specimens! its going to be heart breaking seeing what winter does to my plants...but what can you do?
I ordered mine online, and paid a whole lot less than $50...I think $20 was the most i paid for the larger 3, and the smaller ones were only $5. the downside...having to wait and see if they bloom...but, its been fun watching them grow this summer.
your yellow and red look great together, cant wait til next year to see all mine put on a similar show!
Phil, the weather is the biggest challenge to gardeners. All you can do is be vigilant if we get cold nights, and cover them at night. Cardboard boxes are excellent, and anything made of cloth is fine. What you are doing is trapping the warmth from the ground around the plant, so it works best if you can put maybe a little stake in the middle but weight down the edges to keep the drafts away from the plant- like a tent. Weights keep the cover from blowing off if it's windy, too. But you must remove the coverings during the day as long as the plants have green leaves. They need the sunlight so they can continue to grow slowly and support themselves through the winter. Adding a little extra depth of mulch helps keep the ground and the roots warm, too.
If you're going to be away and cold weather is anticipated, you should invest in some proper 'frost cloth' from the nurseries, or I got mine online. It lets the light in during the day but protects from cold air at night. That way you could go away for a week or two and not come back to dead plants.
If you succeed in preventing any setback during the winter, they will reward you handsomely next year. But I really think even if they were completely killed back to the ground, they would very likely come back. This winter is supposed to be "warmer and drier" - let's hope!
For right now, a light dose of slow-release fertilizer, and don't forget to water them a little bit extra when the weather is warm and dry through November.
wow, can't believe a month has gone by since i've been here. been outside a lot with the cooler weather, battling an areca palm clump and chasing around maple leaves from tree next door.
I do hope they're right about winter...it's been pretty cool here for October...I dont think it hit 90 once all month, which as you know is common. I do still have some flowers going tho...but no new shoots coming out. I really hoped the pink would put out, as it grew from about 6" tall in July to well over 3 feet now. ah well...
I will go on your words "even if they get killed back, they will very likely come back" but if not, ive got a bunch of seeds and will start over again! I'm sure the ones on the south side will do fine, like you said about your S facing things that bloom all winter a couple posts back.
Hi Phil - my red/yellow one on the NE corner is still blooming, too. I've eased back on watering since the nights got cool, and won't fertilize again now until late February. Still regularly water, since it's dry between weather fronts, just not very much. Except the annuals that I grow from seeds to keep a bit of color going, and my veggies, of course are heavy drinkers.
If you want to interplant something, now is a good time to put in some nasturtium seeds for winter color. They're the same color palette as your C.pulch'es, too. They'll flower all winter, until about May unless we get a real frost. Then you can just yank them, having only invested a couple of bucks for a packet of seeds. Plant around your little trees, where you're watering a bit anyway, and then if you cover the trees against cold the nasties will be covered, too. They're my fav's for winter fill-in as the flowers are so pretty, and they're fairly drought tolerant as well.
Keep fingers crossed for a warm winter! Cheers Elaine
I ordered a dwarf red/orange Poinciana tree but received the tree that blooms yellow flowers instead. It is very very touchy.
If it gets too much water too frequently, the leaves turn yellow, ... if it does'nt get frequent enough water the leaves fall off, ... if it gets too little sunlight the leaves won't open up, etc etc. What a pain.
And in winter, (even though I brought it indoors on nights that got down to 34 degrees, it decided to lose 95% of it's leaves and flowers.)
The "regular" red/orange Poinciana tree will eventually grow to about 40 feet high and wide, but all Poinciana trees hate winters and cold temps and will lose their leaves for "many many many" months after a cold spell.
LF, sounds to me like your tree wants to be planted in the ground. These are not meant to be pot subjects.
The 'touchy' symptoms are most likely because it's in a pot, so not insulated well from temperature changes. It's totally dependent on you for water and fertilizer and if it's getting root-bound it would be easy to over- or under-water. It needs to establish a big, widespread root system to stabilize itself.
My dwarf red one does lose its leaves when it's cold, but it lasted a long time into winter last year, and has bloomed like crazy for 4 months this year and still going. I'll post a new picture of it as soon as it stops raining. It's gorgeous, and very easy care for me. A handful of pelleted fert in spring and fall, and some regular water when the weather's dry, plus refresh the mulch; that's all I've done for it in two years. I did plant it right away, into its permanent spot.
thanks for the great idea about the 'nasties!' stopped and bought a couple packets the other day. You are right, they will def give that same warm weather color while the POBs sleep it off!
Your picture pretty much mirrors whats going on here...last couple flower buds are open, and there's a whole lot of seed pods everywhere. Interestingly, even tho no new flowers are coming up, there are quite a few places where new leaves and stems are popping out all up and down the main stems. And, they are almost purple!
LoveForests, I agree with what Elaine said about putting yours int he ground. Mine all LOVED all the rain we had during July/Aug/Sept, and are still a lush green even with cool weather and less hot sun. Maybe when Feb rolls around, find a permanent home for it and plunk it in. Also, if you feel like growing a red/orange the hard way, lord knows i've got the seeds over here across the bay!
I have found them at WalMart. In a normal winter, unlike last year, I can carry them over for 2 maybe 3 years before they decline. They die down in spring and re-emerge in the fall. After last winter I am afraid to try them this year. I think it is too warm for the hardy cyclamen but one of these days I will gamble.
got a nice surprise today while out doing a little yard tour...looks like the pink POB is going to bloom! I'd kind of quit hoping and looking as its gotten later into fall, but guess this goes along the lines of the watched pot never boiling =)
last few flowers and a lot of seeds on the orange, and the yellow has been blooming pretty much non stop since september. the yellow C. mexicana flowers dont seem to last as long, and the whole stem opens almost at same time versus gradually like the orange.
Phil, it will be interesting to see if next year when all your bushes bloom, they cross pollinate. You might collect some seeds next fall that have different characteristics than any of the original bushes.
On the nasties, I hate to rain on your parade here a little, but you do need to thin those seedlings so that they're maybe 4in. apart, or they'll crowd each other too much and not grow well. It's the hardest thing a gardener has to do, to pluck out baby plants. Sometimes if you're very careful, you can transplant them, though. IF you want to expand your colony a bit.
oyyy vey...I thought these were going to be tiny little things...lol then I see Dale's picture and they are the biggest plants in that bed! I just dont think i've developed my 'visionary' eye for gardening yet. I can't imagine what things will look like past next week. lessons...lessons...lessons.
elaine, when you suggested them and I did a little research, none of the pictures I came across looked like Dale's! well...i'll see where it goes. and, i will play godzilla and do some colony destruction. funny thing about that spot, i had about 4 packs of seeds and by the time i got there I was over trying to find good places and pretty much dumped the rest of the seeds along that border. they also germinated far better and faster than I expected.
Phil, They do like warm weather, but seedlings can be sensitive. Give them some extra water on the warm days if you have time. They are just getting their little roots down there right now, and our sandy soil doesn't hold much water.
By next spring they'll be blooming like crazy in 90deg. heat. (but they'll have nice roots by then) Don't feel bad if you lose some - I planted a whole packet of seeds two weeks ago and have zero seedlings coming up yet. =-(
seems that although the 1st leaves are drying up and falling off, the 2nd and 3rd sets coming up are much stronger looking and going for the gusto and the main stems are thickening up. Plus, we had some rain the other day so that probably helped too. I wonder why your seeds are being reluctant to pop?
That's great, Phil. At this point I usually give them an occasional drink of 1/2 strength Miracle-Gro just to keep them going strong.
My own fault on the seeds, I used a packet I had from last year, so probably stale. We've been away off and on, so they could have dried out once or twice as well . . . going away again next week, so will plant more seeds when I get back.
question for my 'pro' DG friends Elaine and Dale...
My pink POB has 6 flower stems right now, and the buds are turning dark pink looking like they are ready to open. However, the buds that have gotten to where they should have opened instead turned brown and fell off. I didn't notice that when the orange/red ones went into bloom so I'm curious as to whats up. I don't notice any insects when I look up close, and the plant has had a decent amount of water from the light rains we've had once a week or so the last month. This is also its first bloom, so is this something that happens in first-timers? Pic attached, and as you can see there are still many more buds to come.
thanks, you too have both been great sources of info and encouragement for me!
Phil, unless we have a wonderful spell of warm weather, I'd guess it's just too cool for the plant to open flowers. The buds are 'blasting' which means they are aborting themselves, maybe because of the cool nights. You might have some luck getting them to hang on if you cover the plant on any nights that get colder than about 55. All the home improvement stores have frost cloth on sale very reasonably right now. Just drape it over the plant on the cool nights. It's curious that your plant hasn't gone dormant, but possibly that pink variety is more hardy than the others and needs colder weather before it will stop making flowers and go to sleep. The foliage in your picture above is quite different - more coarse and sturdy looking - than the others. Buds can also abort from too much fertilizer, so you should not fertilize the plants at all until it starts to warm up, late Feb. or so.
We just got back from a week's dive vacation in the Caymans, and I saw lots of C.Pulch shrubs there. Every color from all red to red-orange, golden yellow and a lovely one that was quite pale yellow as well. No pink, though. (or maybe I did not recognize it) Did not get any pictures, though, as we were driving by whenever I spotted the plants. One garden had several colors together, like what you are doing and it sure looked pretty!
Yep, they need very warm conditions. All the Caesalpinia around here have stopped or slowed down. I still have one yellow blooming and it always seems to be the first to start in Spring and the last to go dormant in Fall.
Well someone needs to tell it that its December and its not supposed to be doing this lol. All i know is it came in july looking like a little charlie brown xmas tree...and now its 4 ft tall and wanting to bloom.
Its yellow mexicana cousin next to it is also blooming like crazy.
It really hasn't gotten 'cold' yet, so maybe the poor thing is just confused.
Yeah, I think we're just teetering on the edge of 'winter' now. There will undoubtedly be some nights this month or next that get cold enough to slow that little guy down. Meantime, throw a towel or an old sheet over the blooms at night and they might open.
Phil, this balmy weather should let your flowers open all right. I'm going out to check on my little tree, too!
Caymans are fun for us as we are divers, and there's truly nowhere better to dive that we've been. The fact that it's a 90min. flight fromTPA is another plus for us as my husband travels a lot for work so a long plane trip for vacation is just not fun for him. You can see a bunch of my pics from the Botanical Gardens on the Tropical Plants forum - thread is #114. Other than those, all my pics are underwater.
We were in the BVIs last spring and Grand Cayman has warmer water but not as much going on with history and night life ashore. jmho, most of the Caribbean islands are pretty similar as far as beaches, golf, etc.
Elaine, I give all the credit to MN. all i did was plunk it in its spot :)
Another surprise today, the sundown orange boug is also beginning to bloom despite getting maybe 2 hours of direct sun daily right now. Sure was sunny there in April when I planted it. It spent the summer getting pelted by neighbor's crepe myrtle debris, and lots of black moldy looking leaves. Its much happier now too because its dry. It's been a good plant day
Fear not, Phil. You are not alone - I have 7 "Easy Does It" rose bushes I am planting out in front of our house today - coral-orange flowers! Also the groundcover out there is a Barleria with the same color flowers.
You'll be able to see my house from space if they all get blooming at once! Elaine
Well .. I grew gorgeous roses in Utah for years, but once we moved to Florida I swore off them because they're really a bit of a headache being attractive to bugs, fungal diseases and nematodes, to name just a few woes. Besides there were so many other fabulous new plants to try.
But these new disease resistant roses like the Knockouts, and this line of "Easy' roses are proving much more successful here. So when I scored these for less than $4 each I thought I'd give them a try. My 'Sunny Knockouts' have been pretty good until just this summer the weevils attacked them. So you could say it's a cheap experiment in an area where there was nothing but weeds, and needs a thorny groundcover to help keep the squirrels away from my lychee tree.
If it works, it will be pretty and if not, well I'm only out $28 and a little sweat.
that's why roses kinda leave me with a 'ehhh' feeling. I grew up in Ohio and we had them there...and they were pretty, but after being in FL for 20 years I like the more exotic stuff! As i said tho, those colors of yours are right on the money!! Hope they do well for you
So, little POB update. I almost swore I had been bamboozled by mail order again as the more flowers that opened looked like the red/orange variety. But, this color pink is literally a notch away from either orange or red...very subtle difference. I had to wait until some of the blooms without yellow on them opened to really be sure
Thanks, Phil and the season's wishes right back at ya! Blue bougie, huh? That sounds like it might be similar to the quest for a blue rose - they turn out in insipid shades of grey/mauve from what I've seen. I'd stick to the warm color palette if I were you.
Your POB is really pretty! Once they're all blooming together, I'll bet you'll be able to see the subtle differences and it will be a gorgeous show. A real 'pinky' pink might have clashed with the red/orange/ yellow. It's not out of the realm of possibility that it will be pinker once the weather warms up, too. Mine is sitting sadly with just leaves and seed pods (up until this morning when I snipped them all off). Better than last year, when all the leaves dropped, too. Isn't this weather just outstanding?
Here's one of my landscape roses, very similar color.
Wow, that really is Bluuee! Not to throw cold water on you, but beware here. There are a lot of plants around these days that have been treated with some sort of dye to make the flowers blue. (you might have seen the shocking blue orchids at Home Depot?) When they re-bloom they revert to white or a pale color. Used to be they only did this with cut flowers, but now, it seems anything goes. IF you find one online, check if it says "re-blooms white" or something like that.
I really thought I'd seen every color there was in bougies - all in the parking lot of the condo we stay at in the Caymans. Here's the one beside our driveway here, where I have to drive my car under the hanging branches because I can't bring myself to cut off the flowers.
Phil, I am positive that blue bougainvillea does not exist, except in that photo. I have seen 'blue' orchids at HD & Lowe's that use that same dye trick. Florists use it too.
I did a web search, both general and images. Only one reference came up, the one photo you posted. I decided to check out the source of the photo. When I went to the blue bougie, the page that holds the photo and the web page grabbed control of my computer, told me I was infected with virus' and started checking all my files.
But if you really want bougainvillea, they do come in the full range of warm colors, plus pink, mauve and purple as well as the traditional magenta like mine.
The orange-y one is sort of a nice soft orange sherbet color, and there's a yellow that is a lovely soft pale gold. There's also a white one with beautiful variegated leaves. There's really every warm shade from dark red to pale pink, plus white, too.
Finally found the two shots of the bougies in the parking lot in Gr. Cayman. Colors don't really show up well, as it was very rainy when I took these.
One more warning, though - bougies are horrendously thorny!! You gotta really want one bad, and want it to get big or hire somebody with body armor to prune it for you. (you can see how big mine is - the wall under it is 6ft. tall)
If you stay on top of the pruning, and keep them shaped down to what you want, they're excellent shrubs, though. Great for keeping the neighbors' dogs out of your yard . . .
Thank you both for again guiding me down the straight and narrow, before I set off on a wild goose chase looking for something that doesn't exist!
Elaine...I do have 1 already, a Sundown Orange...its still a baby. The one in your driveway is WOW! I was thinking of another for a hot, sunny place in the front of the house that is a bed of rocks and when I saw that blue...well, you know the rest. That hedge in Cayman is great!
Dale, I'm so sorry that website tried to give you a virus. I didn't have that experience, but I sure would not reference that pic knowing there were dark forces involved.
Seems our little Indian Summer is up for now...booo...was sure getting used to swimming in December!
I even have some big ol' xmas lights under this one. And, for the life of me I can't find the package of frost cloth i bought...am hoping it didn't accidentally make its way to the garbage after the post-xmas garage cleaning and reorganization. Hrmph..
I use weather underground as my source for more concentrated local readings, and the station about a mile from our home reported a low of 33 this am. Even the things that I couldn't cover don't have immediately noticeable signs of any damage. Does frost burn show right away, or does it sometimes take a few days to present?
I uncovered everything about an hour ago when the temp passed 47, and aside from a few 'wonky' leaves, appears I didn't harm anything with the covers. I tried to be as gentle as possible, but some are still so small they bent a little under the weight. I used a few bamboo sticks where I could as a tent pole.
Tonight they are forecasting a low of 40...Do you think It's safe to not cover at that temp?
LOL, to pay for my 'tuition' from both of your tutoring i'm going to have to take you both to dinner and drinks someday! :)
Hey, this is what DG is all about. Fun for us to share our experience with you, too. Yes, your frost damage would have shown up right away. Leaves look sort of burnt, curled, hanging down or falling off. Flowers look kind of crushed. (the cell walls break when the water in them freezes so the plant tissue just collapses)
No way the temps went quite as low as predicted, for various reasons. Gulf water is still in the 60's so that keeps the temp up, ground is still quite warm from all the nice weather we've had, and very few cold nights until now. Also we still had a little bit of wind last night, so that also helps to mix the air and not let the cold air settle down to the ground as much.
Good job on the covering! I'm going to cover tonight again, just because if it does go down to 40 it will slow down a bunch of my veggies and stuff that I have producing. I just rolled up the frost cloth and left it in place so it's easy now to re-deploy the tent camp again.
Most likely your C.pulch plants are darn good and dormant already, so very likely no harm. But if you have time it wouldn't hurt. IF you can keep them warm enough to not drop their leaves, that will give them a head start in spring. Only another 6 or 7 weeks - yay!
Here's a pic of my angel's trumpet in full bloom as I was covering everything on Monday night. Most of the flowers are still on there now, so that's a good indicator that the temp didn't fall too far! These things are very tropical/tender. btw, I completely forgot to cover my C.pulch - once again the poor thing is out of sight, out of mind. Just checked and it still has all its leaves!
No way the temps went quite as low as predicted, for various reasons. Gulf water is still in the 60's so that keeps the temp up, ground is still quite warm from all the nice weather we've had, and very few cold nights until now. Also we still had a little bit of wind last night, so that also helps to mix the air and not let the cold air settle down to the ground as much.
**I find it very interesting how the overall warmer weather up til now helped ease the blow when the chill arrived. I was looking at soil temp data, and most stations still reported soil @60-65. Very nice
Good job on the covering! I'm going to cover tonight again, just because if it does go down to 40 it will slow down a bunch of my veggies and stuff that I have producing. I just rolled up the frost cloth and left it in place so it's easy now to re-deploy the tent camp again.
**So, if no veggies going you think 40ish is not a threat to everything else?
Most likely your C.pulch plants are darn good and dormant already, so very likely no harm. But if you have time it wouldn't hurt. IF you can keep them warm enough to not drop their leaves, that will give them a head start in spring. Only another 6 or 7 weeks - yay!
**Oddly enough, none of them have shown any signs of dormancy yet. Still full of leaves that open and close every day. I only covered the ones I've grown from seed last night. The few that I purchased which are 4+ feet tall I left open, because I plan to 'halve' them next month anyway so they are a little bushier. The only difference I saw on those today is that their leaves are closed up extra tight, actually looked kind of neat. Flowers on the pink look a little...pekid I guess. But, the un-open buds don't show signs of blasting-yet.
Here's a pic of my angel's trumpet in full bloom as I was covering everything on Monday night. Most of the flowers are still on there now, so that's a good indicator that the temp didn't fall too far! These things are very tropical/tender. btw, I completely forgot to cover my C.pulch - once again the poor thing is out of sight, out of mind. Just checked and it still has all its leaves![/quote]
**Very nice. And those are beautiful...I always remember those from that 'craze' a while back where people were trying to get some sort of psychedelic trip from them. Freaks
If it gets down near 40 tonight, it will certainly slow things up, but won't kill anything. Not a bad idea to give things a bit of a drink of water, too. Don't wet the leaves, or use ice-cold water if you can help it. Just a little water round the roots. It's been dry for several days now, and low humidity, too. I left the watering can in the sun for a while, then went around and watered things lightly.
Yeah, most people who used datura to get high are probably dead now. The seeds are highly toxic if you eat too many. It's one way to end a craze like that?? Datura is a close relative of Brugmansia, but Datura is sort of a hardy desert plant, (we used to see them in southern Utah, blooming by the roadsides!) and the blooms face upwards while Brugs are tropical and the blooms hang down. None of mine make any seeds, for some reason. Possibly they don't get pollinated or something. Still every part of the plants is poisonous, so it's not something you want in your yard if there are small children, or even pets who might try a taste.Mine are inside the fence, and the cat is not interested.
They do smell wonderful in the evenings. I have a white, several pinks and the gold/orange one above.
Dale, brugs are so easy to start from cuttings I don't mind not having seeds. Three of mine were started from cuttings and one from a little rooted plant last spring. All are well over 5ft tall now and bloomed all summer.
I was sent some Datura seeds - Black Currant Swirl - along with some cuttings on a trade with another DG member. They have gorgeous flowers, but I'm not sure they'll do well here. Going to get some going this week.
Actually saw some damage this morning, even tho the night before last was colder. Just a couple leaves here and there, nothing severe. I re-thought my decision not to cover again as I was leaving class and the temp had already dropped to 39 in St Pete by 10 pm. Raced home and covered like a madman. Interesting how some things just didn't even seem to be bothered...jasmine, gardenia, hibiscus, ixora...just another day, nothing to see here. lol
It was kind of weird. It got colder here last night than it did the night before! I was really glad I covered everything again.
Weatherman admitted they were wrong about last night - the high pressure didn't move off to the east as fast as they thought it would so the cold air stayed around and there was less wind. Go figure. Anyway, it's quite nice out there tonight. I might just cover up the veggies again to keep the tomato flowers from dropping.
Again, the plants on the south side of our house are just fine, thanks to the nice little heat-gathering micro-climate out there. I did lose most of my coleus that I had planted cuttings of all around the shady beds. There were just too many plants to go around and cover up. I'll start them again from cuttings and they'll be going strong by spring. Lasted a lot longer than expected in any case.
That's great Phil. They should bloom like crazy right through spring now. Then the C.pulch's will start again in May.
You did better than me - second batch of seedlings got eaten by some bird or critter, so I think maybe I'm not meant to have nasties this year. Can't complain really, I've had my Angel's Trumpets blooming right through the cold.
This has really been an exceptionally mild winter, and I for one am grateful that the predictions have come true. Some trees are already starting to leaf out/drop pollen...and all the plants around my yard are really starting to burst forth with growth. I love, love, love spring...and am so excited to see everything we planted last year really come into its own now that they have had almost a full year/growing season to acclimate.
Anddddd...If the c. pulchs are in bloom in May when I turn 41 that would be the best bday present ever :)
I cut a few of them down to about a foot from the ground about 2 weeks ago, and already there are new little leaf buds forming. Going to run to home depot later today and see if there are any gladioli bulbs in...last year we put some in @ the end of April but they didn't bloom...got too hot for them by then I guess. 6
This week's forecast shows 78-80 every day for the next 7, happiness!!
Phil, try the gladioli in big pots instead of in the ground, or really amend wherever you plant them with compost and potting mix. Bulbs like that need a lot of water when they're putting up flower spikes and blooming. The native soil just doesn't hold enough water unless you water them like 3 times a day. Also thrips really like gladioli, and they're tough to prevent.
I had better luck with Acidanthera - common name Peacock Orchid or Peacock Gladiolus. They are NOT orchids or glads, but the flowers are gorgeous and they last longer than glads. Beautiful white flowers with burgundy throats, and they're fragrant. You're also more likely to find the bulbs available around here. They still need lots of water while they're growing and making buds.
To be honest, most of those bulbs bloom for such a short time here I've given up on them. For all the work of growing them, you get about 2 or 3 weeks blooms then all you've got is the ripening foliage to deal with. Buying cut flowers is less work.
My favorite for this climate are cannas. They keep putting up new stems and blooming all summer and have gorgeous tropical-looking foliage. This year they've bloomed a little bit right through winter, too. But they really love the heat. They also come in all the hot colors that you like.
Glads are one of those must-haves for me, even knowing the difficulties of growing them here.They were the favorite flower of my grandmother, who passed away in 1979 at 54, when I was 8. She had them *everywhere* in her yard, plus cut and in vases in her house. They're just one of those undying memories of her for me, and are the 1st 'gardening' experience/knowledge I gained as a child.
We did amend the bed I planted them in last year with what seemed like enough cubic feet of topsoil to fill in a sinkhole! The same area was also heavily mulched...I really think we were just wayyy behind the curve on planting them when we did-as we were putting our bulbs in at the same time a neighbor had theirs blooming already.
We moved in here last Feb 7th, and were so busy doing things on the inside of the house that we neglected the yard until @ April/May---which I will never, EVER do again! Aside from nearly sweating to death lugging all that stuff around in 90 degree heat, we didn't do our newly purchased plants many favors by introducing them to the world then; our irrigation system wasn't in good shape (bad heads/clogged holes/pressure problem) and rain was pretty scarce til July. Luckily...everything we bought was pretty forgiving and is growing well now.
Anyway...(sorry for the long intro) I grabbed another bag of glad bulbs the other day, and they went in yesterday. Also, upon your suggestion, I decided to try some Cannas. We had the Chinese elm in front trimmed nearly in half (if it wasn't so cost-prohibitive I'd yank the thing out...what. a. mess.)--But, now that its smaller, I suddenly had @ 7 feet of exposed wall that was now in full sun. Cannas seemed to fit the bill after I did some research, and since your other suggestions have all been of the A+ variety I figured WTH :) They had the indica variety at HD, a bag of 7 bulbs. I read about this canna virus, and supposedly its prolific...but I'm not real worried since I only invested 9.99. Looking forward to seeing how they dress the area up.
We also grabbed 3 viburnum suspensum shrubs, wow do those smell amazing! We wanted to sort of try and achieve a layered look in the corner of the bordered bed in the front, under the elm. In front of the vib. we put some alternating green and maroon coleuses. (colei?) for some contrast, and i also plunked a few portulaca that came in one of those 'mishmosh' pots from HD last year that were overgrowing the pot.
To avoid paying 12.99+ for aforementioned mishmosh pots, I grabbed some seed packets to start pots of my own. Lobelia, cupid's dart, sweet peas, zinnia 'envy', texas bluebonnet, and red hot poker.
Here's to a more productive year via starting on time and continued good weather. If all goes well, my home, like yours, may be visible from space! lol
Well, I must admit to a new addiction lately - orchids. I have a lot of filtered shade due to 3 huge oak trees around the house. I was pretty happy growing bromeliads and a few begonias in big pots for leaf interest and contrast. But my daughter has started sending me orchids as gifts, and I must admit to being pretty fascinated with the darn things even though they're sort of cold tender, and some are fussy. A local 'hobby' grower just along the street from me recently retired to a nursing home and his son is selling off his collection, so I've picked up some wonderful ones for $7 each, which is good for orchids, because they run in the $15 to $35 range often. One of the oaks has a big, low branch so I'm going to adorn it with a few 'chids and see what happens over the summer . . . stay tuned!
Anyway, apart from my usual veggies - the tomatoes and peppers came through winter this year and are still bearing - I've also got a bunch of new types of begonias to try. Got them as cuttings from DG members, so no big investment, and I also got a couple more from the kids for Christmas. So that should be fun to try.
As to your seeds, most of what you bought will probably do pretty well, except the sweet peas. They're something that you really need to start in the fall, so I'd just save those seeds until next October. They need cool temps to grow big enough to bloom. (I just love them, too, but have had marginal success with them) Also the lobelia is a slow starter with extremely fine seed, so I'm kind of doubtful that you'll get it to blooming size before the heat sets in. But if you watch the big box stores, they'll have lobelia transplants pretty soon, or probably in March. There are some types that stand the heat pretty well, I forget the names, but you'll recognize them. Something like "Heat Wave" I think. Plant them in the shade of your C.pulch's? They'll take the sun through maybe March, but after that will need shade to last. I kept some going in a pot last summer through part of July, they were right up against the patio door where the cool from the house leaking through the glass kept them cooler. (it's known as a 'micro-climate') If you're looking for a low-growing flowering plant like lobelia for edging there's a perennial called "Blue Daze" that is a much better bet.
I think you'll be blown away by how great the cannas do. They're a plant that make you look like a real pro. Just try to give them LOTS of water (they'll even grow IN water) and be generous with the slow-release fertilizer around the end of May to keep them blooming through the summer. After each stem finishes blooming you have to cut it off near the ground to make the plant put up the next bloom stem. It's tough at first to cut off the beautiful leaves, but after you see how fast they shoot up again, you won't mind. (this is about a monthly cycle, not too burdensome).
I'm lucky I have my daughter's garden in Salt Lake to grow the things my mother (from Canada) and grandmother (English) liked. I still do try to grow lavender every darn year, and most years it poops out on me.
I have a whole bunch of different cannas - lots of red combos trimmed with yellow like the one above. A yellow one with white streaks and beautiful variegated foliage, and two colors, white and yellow, of dwarf ones that are only about 2ft. tall and the flowers have pink or reddish 'freckles' on them. I'm about to order some more this weekend as my favorite mail-order (well, online) nursery is offering free shipping! (it's my Scottish heritage, from my dad . . )
Here's a shot of that heat-tolerant lobelia I had last summer, in a pot with some coleus. (still can't recall the name, sorry)
Btw, coleus is the easiest thing to propagate from cuttings so if you really like the ones you've got, just pick some stems (strip off a few lower leaves) and put them in a jar of water for a few days until you see roots forming, then stick them in the ground, or a pot. I had one start last spring, and have a dozen big clumps all around the yard that lived through the cold weather!
Last one, you really got me going, and it's sure past my bedtime. This coleus I have changes color depending on the amount of sun or shade it gets, water, and also temperature. Through the summer it was just green and purple, but as the weather cooled, it regained its pink and cream accents. I think it's so pretty. It gets a nice blue flower sometimes, too.
Elaine!! Between creating my journal here, and chatting with you I feel like i'm writing a thesis for a master's degree! lol
But I love every minute of it, and so appreciate your feedback.
I'm going to try and reply to all your topics in order here:
Orchids: I've only ever really had one, and it was a part of a basket given to me when I broke my hip 3 years ago. Try as I did to make it happy, it always looked more dead than alive...but it did flower 1 time, and it was beautiful. After it flowered, it pretty much shriveled up and was never heard from again. I wish you well in your new obsession, and yes, I will stay tuned! :)
Oak trees: AKA leaf litter factories. We have a live oak in the back yard, its technically on the golf course's property but it dumps all its goodies on us. Surprises me how many leaves there are from an evergreen tree...not to mention the MOUNDS of pollen that will be coming soon. For as much good as trees do, they sure are messy buggers. The pool takes on a lovely shade of golden yellow, and the filter system constantly needs washing out.
Tomatoes: I also managed to hang onto 2 tomato plants over the winter, put them in in Nov and they are just now really starting to take off and flower/fruit. They're on the NW side of the yard, so sun was pretty limited there for a bit, and they were kinda just 'there' for most of Dec/Jan. These 2 plants are also the most resistant to any kind of tying/binding/staking i've tried. Ive used old cut panty hose, soft ties..etc. Every time I try, the tied part dies off and the plant makes a beeline in another direction. Instead of tall plants I have these wide, creeping monsters. i've let them do what they want...they aren't infringing on anything else...yet.
seeds: I gave a little mis-info here, the cupid dart and Lobelia i put in sometime back in early January. Haven't seen anything of the cupid, but the Lobelia is right up against the house on a north-east facing wall. the packet had me mix the 'seeds' with sand, and then sow them .I keep thinking they are weeds because they are sooo small, and look like a clover kind of. But i know its them, because there was nothing in that spot before, and I can still see the remnants of sand on the surface. This area only gets sun til at most 12 pm even during summer (it gets -0- right now) so i'm hoping I chose well putting them there, These stemmed from my blue bougainvillea fascination...had to have something blue!
As for the sweet peas...well, they're already in the pot...booooo! But, maybe they'll hold off til fall. If not, I'll shell out another $1.25 for a packet. I'm really hoping the rest of the pots do well!
Cannas: I can tell these things are ANXIOUS to get going! I put them in on Sat., and already 3 of the 7 bulbs have growth peaking out from the mulch. I am very much looking forward to this experience, both from what you've told me and the pictures i've found online. I need all the help 'looking like a pro' that I can get! Anddd...ain't nothing wrong with some good ol' thrifty Scottish blood! I am 1/4 Scotch myself, and love a good bargain! :) We joke with my grandfather that Geo Washington's eyes blink from the light whenever he opens his wallet.
Coleus: Thanks for the tip on easy propagation, which I'm sure I will do. We got the last 8 of these varieties from the local nursery, and the guy working there said they can barely keep them in stock. I saw many of the type you have at HD, but we were on a mission for solid green, and solid maroon. How tall/wide can I expect coleus to grow? I planted them in front of the viburnum so I'm hoping they stay under @ 2 feet.
Whewww...I think I covered it all! Oh! one more thing, I did finally buy another boug, got the 'dwarf' one on sale at HD for just $5. It's been in the ground since a few days after Xmas, and is already doing its thing. Supposedly only going to get 3 feet high...(fingers crossed)
Phil, You're right, gardening is just like a Master's thesis, except the learning never ends. Once you get the basics of Florida gardening down, if you have an urge to try orchids I'd be glad to help you. I'm doing my Masters in orchids right now, too. My collection has gone from 12 to 38 in the last month! (local grower selling out, great bargains, don't know WHAT I'm going to do with them all . . . )
The dwarf boug is really great! If it spreads its foliage over all that rock mulch before the weather really heats up, that will help, but it's going to need quite a bit of water out there in it's little desert. Rock mulch doesn't insulate the soil like an organic mulch does, it absorbs the heat and bakes the roots. So if it's in full sun, the plants need a lot of help. I assume there's irrigation there?
Great growing on starting the tiny Lobelias! Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to now thin those little delicate guys out to clumps at least 3in. apart so they can grow big enough to bloom. OR, I did see the Techno-heat Lobelia in gallon pots at Lowe's for $3.98 last weekend. They had both light and dark blue.
Nice going on the tomatoes! Yes, they do need full sun to produce any fruit through winter. Mine are doing the same sprawling act. You have to buy a "bush" variety to get one that will stand up, or look on the label for one that says 'Determinate' which also means it only gets about 3ft. tall then bushes out. In Florida it's really more important to look for disease resistant varieties, and also heat tolerant varieties. Disease resistance is marked as a bunch of letters and numbers on the label like it will say 'VFN123' or something like that. Heirloom varieties don't usually have a lot of disease resistance, it's modern hybrids that have been bred to resist the fungal and bacterial wilts that we get here with our humidity. I probably told you this already, but be prepared for them to just suddenly die in May or June. It's not anything you did wrong, it's that the nights get so hot they can't suck up enough water and they just expire. Once the night temps get into the 70's they stop setting fruit anyway. Plant again in Sept. or Oct. with an eye to a spot that will stay sunny. If you want to start from seed, start them indoors in August in a sunny window.
My coleus tops out at about 2ft. tall, but it did a similar sprawling act as the tomatoes. Trying to tie it to stakes will have the same result, too. Very brittle stems. Just break it off (and root the cuttings) to keep it the size you want. Those puppies are so vigorous!
I planted the Cupid's Dart from seed in my garden in Salt Lake, and every time I visit that house in summer, it's there blooming. It's got beautiful blue flowers and nice foliage. But I haven't tried it here, so don't know how you'll do keeping it going. Often things that thrive in a low humidity place can't take the constant wet of our greenhouse summers.
The really good blues for this climate are Plumbago (see pic), a nice easy shrub that blooms at least 9 months of the year, and the 'Blue Daze' evolvoulus - a low groundcover-like plant I mentioned earlier. Both are available everywhere.
Oak trees, yes I have 3 huge ones and get buried in leaves and pollen, same as you. Small price to pay for how wonderful they are the rest of the year. Plus they're wind-resistant trees known to protect your house in the event of a hurricane. Best plant by far for color under oaks are bromeliads. Talk about your gorgeous, easy care plants! You throw them on the ground and walk away. Go over to the Bromeliad forum to see the thread I did just recently called "Some Beauties just for fun". You may develop a new obsession. Here's the link http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1241055/
Lesson over for today! I've got to get the trash taken out and piles of prunings picked up for collection tomorrow!
Elaine...I will keep that offer in my back pocket if/when the orchid bug strikes :)
Yes, the boug is irrigated. And, that area in the summer actually gets a little more shade than it does now, so prob just at 6 hours of sun all day...a 9ish ft robellini palm is about 3 ft in front of it, and the front overhang of the house starts shading @ 4-5 pm in summer.
the lobelia are so incredibly tiny i'm afraid to touch them! there really arent clumps...more like an open moss over 2 ft of bed. if they are even 1/8 of an inch tall thats giving them credit. maybe this last day and a half of rain will give em a boost. ...speaking of that, we had a thunderstorm on Monday...not summer-severe, but still..peculiar in Feb.
thanks for the warning to prep for the tomatoes to drop...there always seems to be inexpensive starter plants at all the stores, I wouldn't waste the anxiety of seeds for toms :)
I'm going to let the coleus establish for a few weeks before I start cuttings, although you make them sound pretty tough.
cupid's dart...never saw anything come up, and its been a month. Ah well...the zinneas are practically jumping out of the ground...whats up with that??? Love it, but surprising...also, some of the cannas are already up. both went in last Sat, attached a couple pics of the canna.
Question about nasties...in the 3rd pic (love this multi-pic upload capability now, btw) you see nasties in the same little border with the orange boug. One of them has actually looped stems around one of the boug branches and seems to be climbing it...is it pretty much harmless for the boug? I realize they'll die down as it gets hotter, so I kinda want to see what its capable of, but not at the expense of this boug i've babied along.
Ah, yes, the nasties you planted are a vining/sprawling variety. Some do that and some stay in neat little clumps. To protect the bougie, just re-direct the long stems away, or under it's branches. Or snip them off and they'll branch. OR just pinch off any leaves that shade the bougie. The leaves will last a week in a flower vase, and the nasturtium flowers are nice as cut flowers, too. They're also edible, btw. A sort of a sweet, spicy flavor that's nice in salads.The nasties will not twine or climb, but they may get big leaves that will hog all the sunlight, which would set the little bougie back.
A handful of slow-release fert should keep everybody happy in there until you're ready to remove the nasties (most likely May or June) and you can give the bougie another bit of fert then to carry it over the summer. It will most likely take off through the summer weather. They like the heat and humidity.
I am surrendering and admitting it is spring already. Hauled out my bag of Osmocote and am touring the yard this week giving everybody a light dose. I'll do the same again at the end of May and that's all my garden gets (except the veggies, of course). When you're spreading granular fert, don't forget that the plant's roots go out a little further than the spread of the branches, as a rule. So don't put all the fert in by the stem of the plant.
With the oak trees dropping leaves and putting out blooms this week, it really feels like mid-March! That's when we usually have to clean out the gutters after the oaks finish dropping all the leaves, and blossoms. To be honest, if we did get one more cold night while the oaks have flowers going, it wouldn't break my heart. Actually might cut the annual agony short by zapping the flowers so they didn't make pollen. Wouldn't that be worth the little headache of covering the tender plants! (I can dream . . )
Yeah, HD and Lowe's continue to sell tomato starts right into summer, only because I'm sure their suppliers up north send them - not realizing that in Florida tomatoes just do not survive the summer heat. They really should send them back, come May or so. Some peppers will struggle through, and eggplants don't mind the heat.
Basil is a great herb that goes through summer, and there sure are some pretty ones available - have you seen 'Pesto Perpetuo'? It has dark stems and lovely variegated leaves - white, light green and dark green. Tastes wonderful, and I get it at HD. Last year I grew one called 'Cardinal' that had huge red flower heads well into summer, although I had to order seeds for that one. Thai basil has little purple & white flowers all the time.
Keep in mind the idea that you will succeed if you can get "The Right Plant in the Right Place" most of the time. For example, rolling back to our original discussion about your C.Pulch plants, you know you're pushing the climate envelope a bit on those, but to be honest, it's MUCH easier to succeed with a tropical plant that loves the heat, and you have to protect from the cold than trying to grow temperate plants that will struggle with the heat. The cold weather is usually spotty and transient, but you can depend upon months of hot, humid weather every year. It's discouraging to a novice gardener to nurture plants and then have them fail. What you have to tell yourself when something dies is "well, that plant sure wasn't in the right place" and don't try that plant there next time. Give it more shade, or more sun, or less water or . . . like the lobelias and sweet peas, start the seeds in October not January.
I'm hoping to steer your sights more towards things that are likely to succeed, to make a basis for your garden. You have a lot better chance of keeping the C.pulch's going for years than you have of making those baby lobelias survive through June, let alone bloom and be beautiful. Go get some already in bloom at Lowe's, and enjoy them until they poop out. Get some plumbagos if you want a nice blue background shrub. They're dirt dependable and bloom 9 or 10 months of the year. Pentas are a lovely, dependable summer flower that comes in some nice reds that would accent your C.pulch shrubs, and both large 3ft. and dwarf 1ft. varieties.
Back to the gladiola discussion, trust me, I love them too. My mother grew them faithfully up in Canada, and I grew them for sentimental reasons every year in Salt Lake City. Luckily for me, I still have a garden in SLC at my daughter's place. But honestly, now that you live here let somebody else grow them for you! Although I almost never buy cut flowers I do buy glads at Publix for $4.99 for a bouquet that lasts in the house for a week or 10 days. Yes, the cut flowers just coming into bloom cost less than buying bulbs! If you plant them as bulbs, you'll nurture them for 3 months, and I'd be willing to bet the flowers wouldn't last 4 days outside in late April to May heat. Then the foliage gets attacked by thrips and looks awful for the rest of the summer, standing there taunting you every time you see them. If the bugs get to the foliage before they're ready to flower, then they won't flower at all. Don't set yourself up for failure, there!
Speaking from long, hard experience at murdering thousands of plants that I couldn't find the right place for, here. That's the real reason they call us Master Gardeners - we persist even though we kill so many plants . . . LoL. On the up side, every failure is a learning experience.
Hm, I just put a couple in an Earth Box in a spot that's pretty shady by May or so. Will have to take note of how long they last. Don't you sacrifice some flavor in the fruit if they're not getting full sun, though?
Dale I just scrolled all the way back to Nov. 9th to find the picture of that lovely cyclamen you posted. I saw them at Lowe's in a 6-pack last evening, and was getting ready to bring them home, but thought better of it and want to ask you about them.
I'm thinking most likely they'll stop blooming once it warms up, right? Then they'll be dormant over the summer and maybe . . maybe come back in the fall when it cools off? If I keep them in a relatively dry shady bed?
They are best as annuals. I have never tried them as perennials here. I did have luck in TX (near Austin) under the shade of a Live Oak, it lived for years and bloomed every winter. Their summer temps are the same as ours, but, they are much drier and a lot less humid.
1st photo is a job I did years ago here in Tampa, this is in early Feb.
2nd photo is at the Mouse House in Orlando in early Jan-they have buckets of money for plants.
Sorry i'm a bit tardy on replying...was out of town a few days for a funeral, and then between work and the 'no fun' kind of yard work (leaves, gutters, sprinklers, etc Vs. 'fun' = seeds, plants, etc) I haven't been on here much.
That sprawling nasty has hoisted itself up to almost 2 ft above the rest of the plant! lol i'm just enjoying watching what it can do...I checked to make sure the boug branch it has attached itself to isn't showing signs of suffocation, and its not. As long as the nasty seems to have a gentle, non-threatening grip its all good. I believe you said nasties will kind of die off when it gets hot, right? They are a definite do-again this fall...and I feed one of my dogs the flowers as 'treats'...he loves them. I tried a leaf and a flower...meh, too much like mixed greens! Give me romaine, or nothing :)
For fertilizer, last year we bought those bottles you attach to a hose. Do you think its safe time for me to give everything a drink, like you are the slow-release? I was going to wait til March, but as you said, it pretty much already feels like it's here. I'm hoping that boug does some vertical growing this summer. Its only now coming into slow bloom, as opposed to its dwarf cousin on the other side of the yard that is just going insane. (pic #1, gets more sun)
Ya..the oaks need to get it over with already. Or the good rains in the forecast this weekend could help out. Ah-chooo!
My edible gardening experience has been pretty limited. Have the tomatoes, a few pepper plants from last summer are waking up from a nap, and we had a cucumber vine that flowered and grew like a maniac, but never produced so much as a gherkin. The dog I told you I feed the nasty flowers to, well hes kind of a terror to small plants...but in a sweet, curious way. He just likes to eat roughage...thats why I'm handing him nasties to hopefully curb his appetite. He loves ixora leaves, impatien blooms, and sago palm fronds...has never gotten sick from a thing...and the bitter/pepper/etc sprays we've used dont deter him. He's a year old...he's fun, even tho I want to punch his lights out when he takes a big bite out of something, lol. The lesson to us? only plant outside the patio enclosure, and hope he grows out of it. That's the "Beast" in the 2nd pic
Definitely subscribe to the right plant/place theory. And luckily, I don't have many favorites from the North that I'd have to have here...(although a lilac tree sure would be cool) ---aside from the glads. I promise myself, and you!, that if they fail again this year I will just buy a bunch like you suggest, and never get sucked into planting them again. The variable is that I got them in 2 months earlier this year, and those things are already 5-6 inches out of the ground and counting! lol...I'm hoping to have pretty pics to show you in April :)
really like the plumbago, and may get that down the road. Also, I planted some pentas from a combo pot from last year...they are kind of lite purple-ish. But, they flowered all winter, and that in my book is a winner. I am in 'watch and see' mode with the yard for the rest of the year. Most things have a lot of growing/filling in to do, and I want to be wise and let them do that before I get out of control and crowd them all. Its time to test my abilities as an amateur landscaper and see how well/poor I did. Updates to follow :)
I'm happy to report all 7 of the canna bulbs have sprouted, and I can already see how cool the leaves are going to look! (pic #3, can you spot all 7?) And, out of nowhere my MIL came out with an old amaryllis bulb she's had stashed away since 05-06. She doesn't remember what color it was, just that it was pretty. Well, I researched and saw that Jan/early Feb is better for planting them here...but stuck it in anyway. After 6 years dormant, maybe it can't still grow anyway..or can it?
MVP of my yard this month: Confederate Jasmine. going BONKERS with growth, i can't wait for that sweet aroma. Who's your MVP?
Insomnia is winning tonight, so thought I'd use the time to ask you Masters another question.
Going back to the C. pulchs... I successfully managed to grow 3 from seed last spring/summer, and 2 of the 3 are doing quite well.
However, I've got one thats in the charlie brown xmas tree category. It germinated in May in a glass jar, and in my haste/excitement (pre DG membership) I plunked it into the ground--in full sun, 90+ weather-- a week later. Its alive, surprisingly, but it behaves very differently from the other 2. All summer long, it would no sooner put out a new leaf stem, and the leaves would yellow and fall off. It managed to get @ 11-12 in. tall, but as a bare twig with yellowed, sparse leaves.
Fast forward to January...the bottom of the stem started leafing out with new growth, slowly making its way up. I covered it with a pillow case for the frosts, and the new leaves all look green and healthy. Can I become confident that this little guy is getting ready to shoot up when real warmth gets here? Or, ...? I realize you may not have grown these particular plants from seed, but from the viewpoint of seedling behavior in general, what are your thoughts?
1st pic is 'charlie.' other 2 are the other seedlings from last year, all germinated within 2 weeks of each other.
I did not look back to see if I have mentioned this before but the Gladiolus Byzantinus does very well in the hot and sticky parts of the south. It blooms much earlier than the regular ones. The ones you find in bags in the box stores and the nurseries are rarely the real thing, they are even a different color. You need to spend the big bucks at places like Old House Gardens to get the true Byzantines but they are worth it and they do multiply like crazy.
Phil, you're sounding more like an addicted gardener each time you post! Glad you're having fun with this. I've got so many favorites it's hard to put my finger on an MVP, but maybe my variegated 'Dr. Moy' gingers, for nice foliage, beautiful fragrant flowers and a very vigorous plant all told. (see pic) I'll send you a start if you'd like to try them. I have lots! They like a spot with about 1/2 day of sun, maybe an east side of the house spot?
I'd strongly advise against using the fertilizer in a bottle that you attach to the hose. Those are generally highly soluble fertilizers that will last only a few weeks, or even less if we get a heavy rain. It's ok for use on pots, but for the general garden it just doesn't feed constantly which is what your perennial plants and shrubs need. A good pelleted fert like Osmocote will last at least 3 months, and then if you repeat the application about the end of May that will carry everything through with strong growth until fall. It also doesn't send a lot of your expensive fertilizer washing away down the gutters and out into the Bay when it rains.
I had my prayers answered this week, as I was seriously thinking about putting an ad on Craig's List or somewhere for someone to help me with my spring cleanup around the yard. Last Monday a young fellow came by offering to "weed the garden for $20".. hhoo, Boy! I walked him around the whole yard, and told him I'd pay him a lot more than that because it has now taken the two of us 3 stints of 4 hours each to clean up my jungle. So I have space in a lot of beds that I didn't have a couple of weeks ago, and a ton of stuff I'm ready to plant. Long story short, I've held off the fertilizing just because I want to do it after I've planted everything. But yes, right now is a great time to put down fertilizer and give everything a kick-off!
Sprinkle the pelleted fert all the way out as far as the branches reach on your shrubs. That's generally how far out the plant's roots are, too. Scuffle it into the mulch so that it's not lying on top exposed to the sun and rain, too. The pellets release best if they're covered and in contact with the soil.
Your little bougies look great - yes, the one in more sun is definitely happier. Not much you can do about that. Keep a close eye on your jasmine!! It is just lovely but it will consume whole buildings over the course of a summer if you don't keep it in check. btw, when you're pruning it, wear clothes you don't care about because it leaks a white sap that stains your clothes brown. (no idea . . ) Wear gloves, too, the sap can be irritating!
The cannas look great. Don't forget they really like lots and lots of water, and are heavy feeders, too. Be generous with your fert there. Lowe's had some fabulous cannas in pots when I was there on the weekend, with beautifully striped and colored leaves. The flowers are great, but the leaves on some can be magnificent! (see pic 2 - burgundy brushed leaves and red flowers)
As for your Charlie Brown it looks like it's probably developed some good roots over the winter, so just give it TLC and I'll bet it will catch up. That's the hazard of starting things like those C.pulch's from seeds (did you collect the seeds down in the Caribbean? I forget) Anyway, if the bush that the seeds came from was a cross, (or hybrid type bred for a certain color or flower form) the seedlings can have variable forms and traits. It also may depend upon if the bush the seeds came from was cross-pollinated by another color or a 'wild' sport of the same plant. This is why seedlings vary in their traits unless you buy guaranteed seed from a reputable grower.
I'm saying that the seedlings might grow up wonderfully, or they might be something you don't really like. Be brutal and yank the plant out if you don't like it. (wait 'til it blooms) You can possibly start cuttings from the ones you do like to replace it. Some of those shrubby plants will start just from sticking a cutting in the ground and keeping it watered for a few weeks. A cutting will generally grow true to the parent plant.
Your gourmet salad-eating pup is so cute. My cat is not interested in the garden except as her private preserve.
LOL...finally, an addiction worth having! It is fun, and I'm very excited to see how everything we've planted (@ 40 plants) over the last year go thru a full spring/summer and do some maturing. We cleaned up the area around the water softener/ac unit on the side of the house and made a little bordered bed. And...it faces east! So yes, I'd love to try those gingers. The bed is probably @ 2 ft wide and 6 ft long. Enough room for a plant there?
Ardesia, those glads are beautiful! Never heard of them before, and the color is amazing! Not sure if there's 'old house gardens' around here tho...? I promised in my last post to abandon planting them if they dont do well this year...but maybe if the byzantines are designed for the hot south...hmmm
I will convert to pellet fert. when I finish the 2 little bottles I have. I gave most things a good drink on saturday, and will again next month to get it gone. (back to that scottish 'thriftyness' thing) luckily, its a bit before rainy season so hopefully some of the goods get a chance to soak in. That stuff sure seems to dilute slowly in the water...after doing the whole yard the bottle barely seemed less than a qtr. emptier.
Lol to your unsuspecting weeding helper...bet he wishes he picked a different street! Also why I want to sit back and see what I've done to myself in the maintenance dept before going further crazy with planting! You know my taste pretty well by suggesting that ginger :)
The jasmine has a whole fence it can claim. Its a less than attractive white thing that previous owners put up to deter golf balls (we are forever in a hail storm of golf balls. I'd think real hard before living on a course again, a public one at that!) The flower buds are everywhere...cant wait for that scent drifting in the bedroom window...ahh. Will remember about pruning when the time comes, they're still pretty small. (pics 1/2)
I've been giving the cannas lots of water, and they are really on the move. Cant wait til they really get tall! (pic 3) This week of 80-85 degree temps should really get everybody rock and rollin' I think!
The seeds for those 3 c. pulch plants were ordered as a 10 pack from J Hudson (?) in CA last year. I collected some off the larger plants too, and am starting a few for some friends and one of the grounds guys on the golf course. He cuts our lawn and noticed how well the larger ones did last summer. He wants to put a few out there on the course in full sun places where other things have fried.
Sam, the nasturtium-loving pup, will be 1 next month. When he sees me pick a flower he gets all excited like most dogs do if you are getting them a cookie.
Lobelia- Finally 'big' enough that I could take a picture. Still ridiculously small. (pic 4)
Sweet Peas- These little guys, along with the zinnia seeds, are just growing like mad! Seed packet said 60 days to bloom...which would be @ April 1st. I'm hoping they win the race before its too hot! (Pic 5 - will def re-do these in the fall)
Phil, Mia's tail is actually quite long, that's just an anomaly of the picture. She was a kitten of a feral cat, and was given to us before we left Salt Lake to move here. No idea of her parentage, but friends have said she looks like she has some Russian Blue in her. Pretty white shirt front, little white slippers and a snowy belly.
If you'd like to send me a private D-mail with your address I'll be glad to mail you some starts of the 'Dr. Moy' ginger. To do a D-mail just click on my handle at the left of the post and it will offer you the option. I have a big pot of them that desperately needs to be divided and spread around.
Or if you're down this way any time soon, you can come and get the plants.
You really need to thin those little lobelia seedlings a bit more. Also I'd water them with half-strength soluble fertilizer every time you water, to keep them growing strong. Again, I really don't think they'll be worth your trouble in the long run, when you can buy a pot of heat-tolerant Lobelia in bloom at Lowe's. Here's mine, lower part of the pic with a little orchid that just opened.
Second pic gives a better view of the variegated foliage on the gingers. And a couple of better shots of the cat.
Your kitty is a beautiful color Elaine. Love that charcoal/slate gray. We had a rag doll cat that died last spring. He was only 3 and feline diabetes set in hard and took him in less than a month. He was the coolest cat ever. Aside from the 1 yr old pup, the 'ruler of the roost' is our 6 yr old dachshund 'Weenie.' She, like your cat has no interest in the plants, just the occasional half-serious chase of geckos, and going insane when a squirrel comes by.
I will Dmail you my address, don't know when I'll be down south again anytime soon. (But would definitely love to meet you in person some time!) If you have paypal I can pay you for the postage that way if you'd like. Am also attaching a picture of the area where I'd like to put the gingers, hopefully the area is large enough for them. We're also thinking of putting in some cuttings ('bitings') of the white ixora in there after the roots get going. Last time Sam yanked a good chunk off we plunked 2 in some water. Since the poor thing won't be left alone where it is, at least we can start new ones that will be allowed to live and grow without threat of daily destruction.
I'll thin the lobelia some, and if i ever want to try them again I will def look for starts instead of seeds. They are going on being in the ground for 2 months now, i can't believe how slow they are. This must be what its like to grow cactus..grrrr
Aw, Weenie is so cute, Phil. Love those daschunds! They think they are big dogs.
Hm, I've got reservations about the area in your pictures, on several points. The white marble-chip rock mulch will make the soil increasingly alkaline, which is not conducive to good growth of most plants. It makes a good weed-deterrent for this reason. Don't plant a thing in that border, it's great just as it is.
These gingers are similar in growth habit to the cannas, in that they love LOTS of water. It's never advisable to plant water-loving plants (or anything that needs regular irrigation) against the wall of your house in this climate.
Moisture attracts termites, and can cause mold/mildew issues even on cinder block construction. So it's actually recommended that you keep a perimeter of unplanted area next to the walls of the house all the way around. If you wanted to make a bed of the gingers maybe 3 or 4 feet away from the wall, that might be fine, though. Or put them in a big pot so you can move them around?
Also, you might want to keep them as far away from the a/c unit as you can. These are beautiful tall flowers with neat foliage, but their best trait is their fragrance. It is just heavenly. In summer when your a/c is running, you're not going to want to be out there to enjoy the scent of your gingers with the fan blasting hot air and making noise. My garden shed is next to the a/c here, and I can't stand to be in there when the a/c is on.
Well I am def glad I showed you where I was thinking of going with them before I made a(nother) mistake!
Do they bloom nonstop all summer? I have another part sun place in mind on the NW corner of the yard, and it would be right outside the pool area so they would be both highly visible, and their fragrance would waft onto the patio where it could be enjoyed. I'd rather have them in the ground where they can really be at their best, instead of in pots where they'd be at the mercy of me remembering to water them enough!
"They're bbAAAAAccckk!" lot of regrowth in the last week on 'big daddy' and most of the other c.pulch. Quite quick considering i chopped him down a good 2/3 of his size from last summer.
Yes, the gingers bloom off and on through the summer and fall. Mine do a big flush of bloom, then rest for a few weeks, then put up more flowers. They are somewhat like the cannas - each big stem only blooms once, but they last for a couple of weeks each. Then you cut them back to stimulate the next batch of stems.
I didn't get to the post office today, sorry. My husband is taking off for Japan tomorrow, and I was sent on a bunch of errands for him this afternoon. His flight leaves SRQ at 6am tomorrow so I will have to be up at 4-ish to deliver him to the airport. arg.
Will have to send them out on Monday. Sorry to make you wait.
Hm, favoring honeysuckle over jasmine, I'd have to say. Jasmine is more of a soft, sweet fragrance and the gingers is more fresh than that. Did you ever smell a perfume they used to sell called "Hawaiian White Ginger"? It's actually a fairly close scent to these flowers.
Sam is so cute, just hope he doesn't figure out that he could eat the flowers right offf the plant! You could see all your flowers disappear suddenly, and have a pup with a tummy ache.
Off to my 4 hours of sleep . . . oh well, I can sleep in after I get home.
...quickly realizing that the words "I'm not going to plant anything else this year" are little lies one tells themselves, akin to "I'll quit smoking when i'm 30...35..40.." or, "I'm going to lose 20 lbs by this summer"...it just isn't happening.
So, along with the gingers you sent up Elaine (thank you again!), I also got some seeds from a neighbor who has a bloodwort (?) milkweed, and some 'duet rose improved' portulaca from the green thumb nursery where I pop in from time to time jumped into my car. is there an end? or is this just the beginning...???
The absolute most beautiful nasty opened the other day, I'm continually surprised at the variety in these. (pic 1)Patterns, colors...just great. Makes it easy to forgive them for trying to take over the yard...this over-achiever is about 4 feet away from its parent plant! (2)
I will miss them! When i'm in that part of the yard their fragrance fills the air...it's wonderful
OK, so nervous papa here...haven't seen any action from the gingers yet. Frame of mind I'm referencing: a few of the cannas were through the ground 3 days after planting. Are the gingers slower growing than canna? I followed your instructions to a 'Tee', ease my mind Dr. Elaine!
No worries, Phil, this is a plant I've been unable to kill. Short of running over them with a truck or some critter taking a liking to the taste of the rhizomes (very doubtful) I'd bet my boots on them. (hm, do I have any boots?)
They do like the weather a bit warmer than the Cannas. (my cannas have bloomed off and on all winter) Nights still getting pretty cool, they may take another few weeks to make their debut. Just keep them damp! These are summer/fall bloomers although mine have started blooming as early as June in the past. The one in the second pic was in bloom June 21st last year, but it's in a pot on the south side of the house, so gets warmer sooner.
Also the cannas are in full sun, but where you put the gingers is maybe a bit more shady? So, the ground isn't getting warmed up quite as much.
Mine in the main clump aren't making any new leaves yet, either. Still dormant. (see pic) I've left the stems from last fall on them since they were still green (due to the warm winter) but they're really scraggly looking now so I'm going to cut them all off this weekend, fertilize, add some compost to the bed and mulch. That will let the sun get to the soil and get them jumping up. If the winter weather had been colder, they would have died right back to the ground (and I would have cut them off long since).
We've been in mega-clean-up mode in my garden the last couple of weeks, and I just didn't get to them yet.
Alright, as long as you would bet your illusory boots on them :)
Yes, the 2 places I put the gingers are on the SE and NW sides of the yard, both in about 4ish hours of sun. I guess I was just 'spoiled' by the cannas that went from this (#1-2.18.12) to this (#2-3.18.12) in a month's time.
Decided to try and do something creative with a big old terra cotta pot that was left here by previous owners, and has spent the last year on its side in a front bed. (#3) crown of thorns and a 'sensation' cordyline. they apparently both like it hot and dry, so in the front they'll stay.
It also needed to move because the neighbor who gave me seeds to a butterfly bush last week showed up at our door with a plant in hand (#4)! nice surprise, but i'm running out of space on the south side where the b.bush needed to go. Hence, a 'project' was born.
I'm ready for this east wind to lay down and swing to the south! ready for some humidity, and no longer being downwind from the live oaks...grrrrzzgzgzgz. lol
Hey, all looking good, Phil. Increase the water to the cannas as the weather gets hotter. They'll take every bit of water you want to give them. Bet you'll be seeing buds soon!
I love the pot with the cordyline and crown of thorns in it. The CoT might crowd a bit, looks like you have two or 3 in there? They get to be shrubby plants, 16in. or so high and wide. And yes, super thorny! One might turn out to be enough. Get some armored gloves before you try to prune. OR use a pair of long loppers.
Butterfly bush will be pretty and smell nice, too. I haven't tried one here, but I grow them in my daughter's garden in Salt Lake.
Looks like you're having fun, there! Cheers Elaine
Really? buds on the canna already?? I thought they had to get 5-6 ft tall. that will be fun. i've been giving them water every other evening, sure wish it would rain! Love the hot tho, and so do all my rooted kids :)
those crown of thorns (3) are allegedly a dwarf, with 'supple' thorns according to the nursery guys. I described the size of the pot and said I didn't want a crowd in there. I forget the cultivar he called it...
are those pics you put of those knock off roses? gorgeous.
Actually, my Knock-outs are pale yellow, and not as double as those. (I'll see if I have a pic from before) They've all just finished a bloom cycle. The coral one is called 'Easy Does It', another landscape rose bred to be disease resistant etc. I got these for a steal last summer when my local nursery was clearing them out for $3 each and planted 7 of them in a big clump out front to see how they do. Interplanted with some pentas to give the roses a bit of relief in the height of summer, but the rest of the year, and when the pentas are resting they should bloom like crazy. It's another experiment - we'll see how it pans out through the year.
They looked really good last week when they were all in bloom and now they're putting up new canes. We got a bit of rain last evening, so nice!
Btw the zinnias are something you could seed along with the nasturtiums in the fall. If we have a mild winter like we had this year, they'll bloom from February, maybe even before. Don't forget to thin them out so they'll be big plants! Each of those seedlings could be in a 6in. pot now. OR they make a great window-box plant, too. Keep an eye out for mildew on the leaves - things with fuzzy leaves like that are prone to it. A spray bottle with 1/2tsp. of baking soda per quart of water will keep the fungal diseases from ruining your plants. Spray often, it is soluble so it washes off easily.
Elaine, I will be curious to hear how the easy does its do for you, I spoke with the grower at a conference and he did not recommend them for this area but strange as it seems, we have far more days in the 95 - 100 range than you do. We also have humidity that probably exceeds yours due to your proximity to the gulf. Even though we have a breeze, it blows over the marsh and brings moisture with it.
The knockouts are another story, they can take the most glaring sun, they are even used in highway plantings up here.
I'm curious too, Alice. As I said above, I got them last summer. They 'suffered' through September all the way to January in their pots before I got them situated in the new bed out front. They were in partial shade and got a bit leggy, but bloomed faithfully all the same! Now, they're coming on strong, and at least will have a good root system by summer. They are in the full, blazing sun out there, but I'm hoping the pentas will hurry up and fill in around them to help keep the ground cool, at least. I'm hunting for 'Indigo Spires' salvia to put along the edge in front of the roses, too. It will get tall in the summer to help shade a bit, but I can cut it back for the winter.
I know you're right about the temps. I've never seen it get over 97 here in 10 years! We do get a nice breeze off the Gulf most summer afternoons, and also some cloud cover each afternoon, even though not always does it come through and rain like it used to.
It was easy to grow fabulous roses in Utah even though the summers were much hotter, regularly over 100 for weeks on end in summer, but no humidity of course. Plus the sun is not as intense there. (air pollution as well as further north) My daughter has an 'Easy Does It' bush that is a real prize winner, so it must be the humidity more than the temps that give them problems down here in the South. We'll see.
That is what the grower said, it would not be resistant to black spot in extreme humidity. I wish you luck, it may just like Sarasota and be happy there. I remember seeing roses in Boulder, CO, the lack of humidity makes all the difference. The one in the first picture was a full 6" across.
Pinning some hopes on the good air circulation where they're planted. The afternoon westerly breeze blows right along the street out there, so hopefully that will help keep the leaves dry most of the time.
I got another yellow Knockout on the weekend on a clearance at Lowe's for $7. I think I will plant another bed of the yellow ones in the same area as the 'Easy Does It' bed. That will make a direct comparison. Should be interesting.
Elaine, thanks for the tip if the zinneas get funky looking! I'm going to let them fill up the pots they're in, i'm pulling, pinching, and thinning to keep them happy! Believe it or not, I haven't seen seeds on any of the nasties yet...but there are sooo many flowers I can't keep up with looking at them all! LOL Seems butterflies do like them tho, which has been a nice sight.
WOW did we get a good rain last night, too. It felt like a mid July day with the thunderstorms we had. Then after the noise and light show was over it lightly rained a good 2-3 hours. I would swear that some things grew a 1/2 inch overnight!
Speaking of which, one of the gingers is poking up today, and the glads are looking...well, glad after the rain! B-fly bush also happy today.
Wow, that's some macro shot of the ginger shoot! Good that you finally got rain, too. Isn't it amazing how things jump up after a natural watering? One of the gurus at Extension said that the early thunder storms in the springtime actually release nitrogen from the air, so there is fertilizer in that rain, too! Cool, huh?
The milkweed is so pretty . . BUT . . if you planted it for the butterflies, it is a good idea to plant something else around it. Once the monarchs lay eggs and you see caterpillars on the plants (green, yellow and black stripes), very shortly you will have just sticks sitting there. The monarch caterpillars are absolutely voracious and devour everything - flowers, leaves, da works! Amazingly, it doesn't kill the plant, but it doesn't look nice either. If you have something else planted around the milkweed plants, the other plants will hide the naked stems until they recover.
Pentas (full size, not dwarf), salvias (get one called 'Indigo Spires' if you can) beach daisies, or beach buttercup all interplant nicely with the milkweed. About the same height, so they don't smother them, but tall enough to hide the milkweed's exposed stems.
Would you believe the camera I use for all these pics is just my cell phone?
That is very interesting about the nitrogen in spring rains. Must be a little shot in the arm to get things going this time of year...our planet never ceases to amaze!
I'm kind of limited with what I can do where the milkweed is. Its between two concrete borders that are maybe 2 ft apart. (#1) To the left is one of the c. pulch (which is going to get BIG this year) and to the right falls the shade of a 3-headed robellini palm. I guess we will have to take solace knowing when the plant is fugly looking, we helped nature! What time of year do the monarchs do their thing? --Also in the pic, can you tell what that creeping stuff is on the lower right? We bought it last year, and I forget its name. Because of the all day shade there from the rob. palm, this creeper was recommended to us. I'll get a better pic tomorrow.
I don't know why...but I have a 'crush' on portulaca!! lol
Hm, the groundcover creepy thing might be prostrate jasmine of some kind (there are 3 or 4 different kinds). I've got Texas Longleaf under the mango tree and also Tricolor (see pic) planted under my robellinis out front last year. It's great once it takes hold, covers well, smothers weeds, eats up leaves (works well under oak trees) and needs very little water or fert. Only down side is it can take a while to cover. Get yourself a really cheap serrated knife (mine was $2.95 from WalMart) for trimming it. Works great. I go along the edges of mine about every couple of months in the summer to keep it from creeping across the walkway. That might be ok for disguising the milkweed plants, too. Once the monarchs have lunched on them, you can cut them down to the level of the jasmine groundcover (once it's established, it will be 7in. or so deep) to hide them.
I love portulaca, too. Great colors. Did you know you can eat the leaves and they're very nutritious? They have Omega-3 (or something?) in them. Tasty in a salad - slightly tart as I recall. The weedy sister of your pretty hybrid portulaca used to grow wild in my garden in Utah. Until I started putting it in salads, that is.
Cheers Elaine ps. Confession here - the serrated knife is actually my favorite garden tool, I have several of them hiding around the yard stuck into pots. You can prune, edge, dig, transplant, work plants out of pots and cut open bags of compost and mulch etc. with it. I once felled a 12ft. banana plant with my old bread knife! (watery stem, not really a woody trunk like you might think . . . )
LOL, I use a bread knife too! It is really great for dividing overgrown potted plants, just slice it in half or more then I have lots of new plants. My very favorite tool is the Cobrahead, I use that for everything that does not involve slicing.
Oh, yeah! How could I have forgotten dividing plants - I used the bread knife to divide those gingers that I sent to Phil a couple of weeks ago. Also use it to cut back the big fat invasive iris in my fish pond, rhizomes the size of my wrist!
Haha, sounds like I need some cheap serrated knives, been using old boxcutters here.
Got a few snaps of that groundcover this am, tough to do since its so shady under there. It has just in the last month started to get that vertical behavior going, and only in a few places. But boy it sure did move outwards quickly! After you mentioned Jasmine last night Elaine, it rang a bell in my head that may be it. The leaves look just like the confederate, only smaller.
...after a little searching, turns out I have 'oodles' of nasties going to seed. Do the seeds need to 'age' on the plant a bit, or are they ready for picking as is? They are pretty lite-green and soft yet, which is what made me hesitate before pulling them. I'm referencing in my head the c. pulch seedpods which needed to get brown and fat before they were ready.
Hm Phil, if you want your plants to keep blooming, you actually need to pick off any seeds you see for a while. IF you let too many seeds mature on the plant, then it says "phew, my job is done" and tapers off with the flowers.
Towards late April, you can start letting the seeds mature. Mine self-seeded from last year, it turns out. I even got some of the pretty pale yellow variety that I had planted. Sometimes they cross with other colors and you get flowers of a color you've never seen before, too. Sort of fun, actually. The dark red ones I really loved didn't come back, though.
Elaine, I took the time yesterday to really go thru all the nasties and pinch off spent flowers and seeds. It took me a while! Also, a lot of the leaves appear to be showing signs of sunburn now that the area where they are is receiving more sun. (and heat) I think somewhere in the mix are some of those deep red you showed.
I have a question about a weed that seems to be spreading rather quickly all of a sudden. It looks like some kind of clover, maybe? I am 100% against using chemicals for weed control (except in driveway/sidewalk cracks where it doesn't harm any other plants) But it seems the more I try and pull them the more they spread. Any hints as to what it is, and ways to control without chemicals? Thanks!
It's a type of oxalis, which they do sell another variety around St. Patty's Day because it looks like clover or shamrocks.
Yup, it's an easy spreader, because it spreads by underground stolons or little bulblets, so even if you yank off the tops of the plant sometimes the little bulby things are left underground to pop up again in 2 days.
There are limited ways to discourage weeds without chemicals. Hand pulling is the most effective, but as you say it's really hard to get them all, and endless. IF it gets sun for some time during the day, try spreading clear plastic over the leaves and letting the sun burn them. Plastic bags or painting drop sheets work great. Just be sure to remove the plastic after a couple of days, then watch for the plants to re-emerge and do it again. Don't leave the clear plastic on too long or it will heat up the soil under your C. Pulch and other permanent plantings.
This is the downside - weeds will grow wherever you water. If you can tune your sprinklers to only water the plants you want, that's the ideal way to limit your weeding chores. That's why micro-sprinklers work so great. You can really fine-tune them to just water the plants you want.
Sorry for the delayed reply, just got back last night from a week of sailing in the BVI's. Didn't see the C. Pulch's in bloom but really didn't spend a lot of time on shore either. Best thing about going away is coming home to the garden with new treasures in bloom! Daylilies, agapanthus, amaryllis.
Boy, its tough keeping you in the country! lol sounds like you had a nice time down there. I was up in Charlotte for a few days...not quite as nice as the BVI's i'm pretty sure.
Sooo..it sounds like i'm pretty powerless against the oxalis. Haven't gotten to try the plastic yet tho. They are right where all the splashed-out water from the pool drains under the screen frame-with the dogs, it is an endless stream of water. As far as weeds go, I think I am beginning to sort of get used these in a way, they aren't as ugly as sandspurs or the other zillions there are.
Fun stuff you came home to see! The amaryllis bulb I got a while back finally sprouted after 2 good rains a week or so ago...but, someone stepped on it and broke off the leaf. (We suspect the softener salt guy) Hoping it grows another and gets to bloom.
1. the one ginger on the move...2. glads soon! 3. yummy new hibiscus
Yup, your ginger is right at the same stage as the other pieces I planted at the same time as I sent them to you. About 8in. tall and moving slowly. Don't worry, they will jump up. The ones in the ground are taller, as they didn't get set back by being divided. Remember, water a LOT!
That's a pretty little hib you've got going there. Keep your soapy water spray hand, some of them are very prone to aphid and spider mite attack. Especially young ones like that who will be putting on a lot of luscious new growth. If you're going to plant it in the ground, they like acid soil, so lots of amendments before you plant.
I'm heading for an orchid sale down in Venice today, hope I can keep control of myself!
Elaine, how many carloads of orchids did you bring back? I went to some friends' in Lakeland to watch to sun'n fun fly in 2 weeks ago. They built an entire 'shed' for orchids! At least 40 kinds, and a few that were(n't) smuggled here from Aruba.
The yellow hib did go in the ground, i'm behind in my DG pic duties. I gave it coffee grounds, vinegar, and a banana peel to munch on :)
1-1st glad that opened. lavender/white-ish. happy camper!
2-gardenias starting to pop. WOW are they strong smelling compared to jasmine!
3-discovered evolvulus to satisfy my blue craving.
4-for as small as it still looks, noticed buds forming on this c. pulch. Yay for a hot spring!
5-cannas pushing past 2 feet tall
Wait until that gardenia bush gets to be 8ft. tall and wide, you'll be smelling it from a block away. Glad you found the Blue Daze, I think it's a great plant. And those Cannas need more water MORE WATER! (just kidding you, they will take as much water as you give them).
The orchid sale was a bit of a bust, as it seems they had sold off most of the 'good stuff' before they opened their greenhouse up to the public. So I only came home with one new plant. But, I have another grower just down the street from me who has been selling off a big collection (his father's, now in a nursing home sadly) and there are fantastic bargains to be had there. My collection was only about a dozen at the beginning of the year, and I'm up over 40 orchids now, too. Lots of fun, and a lot to look forward to, if I can just keep them all alive!
Here's a Canna that will pique your interest, with the dark foliage setting off the blazing flowers.
8 ft tall, AND wide? wow! there's 2 of them out there...we'll be suffocating in it!
I swear I've been giving the cannas enough water to float a battleship!!! lol..rainy season needs to get here and do its job, i've got 'hose burn' from being out there so much. That dark one is definitely 'pique-worthy' and I think you called it before, what appears to be a bud is forming on one of mine. (Thick pod emerging from top, rather than the hollowed, swirl of new leaves) I think the package said assorted colors, so no idea what i'm in for.
I found that blue daze for just $1.50 in a 4 in. pot. Its already noticeably growing, and has been in flower since the day it got here.
Wow 40 orchids! If any of them have those feet long spikes like I saw in Lakeland a few weeks ago, I'm wondering where you're putting them. I didn't know they were a relative of those air plants we have in trees here. Learned a lot about them that afternoon! I don't dare take on such a fickle plant at this stage of my career lol
So, talk to me about Coleus, please! I have 3 diff kinds I put in in Feb and March, and I've managed to get them established (i think) because they are filling in and finally gaining height. How tall can I count on them to get? (apologize if I've asked before, this thread has gotten long!) I'm hoping @ 2 ft. One I think i've narrowed down to 'sedona', another 'limelight' and the 3rd...well, still trying to pin it down. They all look so similar, and mine are just now not so faded looking because they are receiving more shade than they were. (They also get hosed regularly with the canna)
Oh, coleus is a great plant. So much fun and easy to grow and such a range of interesting colors. Unfortunately, it's hard to tell how big it will get, as the different varieties grow to different sizes. BUT the good news is you can just pinch it back and keep it where you want it.
I'll entertain you with my latest coleus story here. I ordered a fancy colored hybrid last spring called 'Florida Sun Rose'. Got a little plant in a 3in. pot and put it in a big pot with a couple of other plants. Well! It sprang up and overflowed that pot, completely swamping the other two plants. So I pinched it back. In my misplaced Scottish frugality, I stuck all the cuttings in a jar of water. A week later I had a dozen rooted cuttings ready to plant. Long story short, by the end of last summer that one little coleus plant was everywhere around the yard, at least wherever there was a bit of shade in the middle of the day. No, they don't seed themselves (at least not much) but they sprawl when they get big, and wherever the stems touch the ground they will root. So they "walk" all over.
Fun thing was, it changes color according to how much sun it got, and how warm or cold it is. Oh, yeah, it survived the winter and is taking off again in a few clumps now.
All the pics below are the same variety, as it changed color through the summer. Now it is back to calico green/purple/pink/yellow. What next? Have fun with that one. Try some cuttings in a glass of water when the plants get big!
ps. the orchids are growing in all the shady spots around the yard, too. Well, a few are still in the pool cage . . . but I'm purposely buying types that will potentially naturalize.
Welll...guess we won't have to water for at least a week after today! Woo hoo, Got at least 2 inches here after a few lines of storms came thru today and tonight. But there sure is a chill in that air behind it!!
...hit send instead of preview, oops. oh well, had lots of pics anyway.
So, upon another look today, what almost appeared to be a banana growing out of the canna today looked like this (1)
and, you know im excited for this...c. pulch flowers in about a week I'd guess :)))) (2)
Sounds like you def. got your money's worth for that fancy coleus then! Yours looks a lot like what someone ID's for me as 'wandering jew', at least in the coloration.
I took pics of the 3 diff. kinds I have, and I'm really glad you also mentioned how yours have changed shades, because I almost thought I was seeing things.
(3) what i think is the limelight
(4) " " " " " " sedona
(5) very similar to above, but the leaves have a definite more defined cream/white outline to them.
For as much as I seem to have read that its rare for them to flower, I've pinched off little lavender-ish blooms on almost every one of them, and the flowers look the same on every type.
Yup, they do bloom, and the flowers are pretty blue to lavender spikes but very fleeting. Seems to me I saw one on mine a few days ago, too. Maybe it's a spring thing, or a dry weather thing ... They even sometimes seed, but probably won't 'come true' which means that the seedlings may revert to one of the parent plants of your hybrid. i.e. they may be the same or completely different. Better to nip them off, really.
Here are mine this morning:
1. in the shade, soft delicate colors - this is what it looked like when I got it.
2. in about 2hr. of sun, mostly red
3. green with purple centers and remains of a flower spike near the bottom
The last two are right side by side, in 1/2 day morning sun, no clue why they look so different. I need to prune them to shape now that they are all leafed out nicely. These are all still cuttings of the original one.
Yours are so pretty - I like the lime green one, but have had trouble getting it to 'fit in' with other colors. I always end up with a pot of it away on its own, if I buy those. Love the reds!
Ooo, I love the Black Gamecock iris and I have lots of them, too. Mine did not bloom this year, at least not yet! I think I need to divide them and spread them around. Maybe they like more chill, too? Here's my B. Odorata Alba happy in its big basket with white caladium and a variegated liriope for interest.
Phil, just caught this canna doing it's reblooming thing - see the new 'banana' bud on the right of the flower scape that is nearly finished. (lousy pic, I know.) Anyway, as soon as the first flower scape is over, (all flowers have flopped) I'll cut it off so the second one can come on. See last pic, where I've already cut off a spent flower scape.
Phil, here's a better picture of my second bud on this canna. It just popped out of the calyx (sheath) a day after I cut the other spent flower stem off.
So, I'm just saying, don't give up after the first flowers go, give the sheath a gentle squeeze with your fingers, which should tell you if there's a second flower scape on the way. Sometimes there are even three!
After you're sure the last flowers are done on a stem, cut the flower stem down to the first set of leaves, and then when the leaves start to look a bit ratty, cut the whole stem down at just above ground level. This will stimulate the rhizome to put up another stem. I know it seems drastic, but that's what works with cannas.
Once they are well established, you can cut the stem right off immediately after the flowers finish. But at first, the rhizome will do better if you leave it some leaves to re-nourish it.
That's one of my fav's too, it's a dwarf so only gets about 2ft. high. I have white ones like that, too. Got them both a Lowe's last year, I think, maybe the year before. But I've seen the dwarf cannas there every spring.
Look what I snagged at Lowe's today - Canna 'Tropicanna' with the most gorgeous striped leaf variegations in red, yellow and green. My daughter has grown this particular one for 3 years now, in a huge pot on her patio in Utah. Used to be called 'Durban'. It has orange flowers, too, but the real feature here is the leaves. It's a big one, gets 5 to 6ft tall if you water it enough.
The blazing sun washed the colors out a bit in these pictures. They're more vivid than shown.
Absolutely fantastic! Elaine, you did it again...made me a fan. For that, and so much more, I thank you ;)
The next one that opened is quite a bit bigger of a flower, similar to the 3rd pic of yours 2 posts up. You were right, I feel like a pro and all I did was dig a shallow hole :)
Is it usual for them to keep sprouting up more and more stems? I planted 7, but I think i've got to be up to almost 15 separate plants by now. No complaints! keep em' coming.
Other surprises, 1 of the sweet peas managed a flower. And, what i thought was a white/yellow single hib turned out to be a double solid white. (Kind of partial to the single-flowered, they don't 'hang their heads' like doubles do)
Yes, the cannas will keep putting up new stems all summer, and they sort of 'creep' along as they do this, too. Each stem only blooms once, but sometimes will have 3 flower scapes before it's done. When it finishes, if there's another stem coming you should cut off the one that bloomed.
IF you were to dig up those rhizomes next winter you'd be amazed - where you planted a little 2 or 3in. piece, there will be a huge long rhizome that looks like a cow's horn. In fact, if there is a particular one that you like best, you can dig up part of it, put it in a pot, and very likely keep it blooming all winter, even if the others don't keep going. You just have to keep it warm and sunny, and keep watering and fertilizing. They grow more slowly in winter, of course, but those glorious flowers sure are welcome in December and January!
Way to go getting the sweet pea to bloom! Don't they just smell fabulous. I see a gladiola in the background there, too. Next year plant the sweet peas in October for a better chance at blooms.
Cool, thanks for that! They can fill all the space they want, and its in the front of the house on the south side, so in winter they will be bathed in sun and out of the majority of the cold wind.
Didn't get much scent from that one little sweet pea unfortunately, and then those high winds earlier this week ended its bloom kind of abruptly. Will def try them again this fall.
I'm pretty happy with the results of the glads...even tho they were all planted the same day, they spaced themselves out and I've had some nice colors. Sure wish they kept blooming!
Found a new fun plant a few weeks ago (well, new to me) called Torenia. Its beautiful, but even in just morning sun that poor thing dries out and droops quickly! Its a pretty purple and white. andddd...it was cheap! :)
Yeah, I had a whole border of those adorable Torenias one summer. They were gorgeous, but divas and about September they gave up the ghost altogether.
They really like dappled shade under trees, or something a bit cooler than any direct sun. Also need generous water, fert, and need deadheading. (keep the spent flowers clipped off) I think you might keep them going longer than I did if you keep it in a big pot, and move it around to give it the optimum light, and cool situation.
Still my hands hover over them when they're on sale at the garden center . . . but I don't have room for them any more. My dappled shade border is all full of orchids and begonias . . and bromeliads and caladiums . .. and, well, you get the idea. It's a pretty wild jungle out there.
I thought I was safe putting it in with the 'morning sun club' where I put some geraniums, petunias, and those lobelia, (which have actually achieved almost 3 inches in height since January) I'll keep em watered...there's something somewhat therapeutic about hand-watering in the evening after dinner. Don't know why, I like to think of it as quality time with my kids :)
lol, I'm guessing by 'divas' you mean the toneria were a little...testy?
So, I'm wondering if you know about a certain kind of weed I have that I lovingly call the 'stinky vine of death.' It's all up in the red hibiscus in the back yard, and when I pull it it releases this stench of rotting food, or even a dead raccoon/squirrel/etc. Downright noxious, and has little heart-shaped leaves along the lines of morning glory. It's easy enough to pull off the hib branches, but the roots are ANCHORED in the ground. I should have taken a pic today while I was at it, but honestly didn't want to touch my phone with that funk on my hands. Any ideas?
Hm, doesn't ring any bells, how 'bout a picture of it next time you're out with the camera? When you pull it, and it breaks off at the root, go back in a few days and hit the new leaves sprouting from the root with Roundup or something. I use a paper cone so as not to hit any good plants with the spray. I honestly hardly ever use Roundup, but I do keep it around for certain weeds. We have gravel driveways and pathways. It's just too tough to keep the weeds out of them, and REALLY miserable to hand-weed.
You should wear gloves when you're weeding, btw. It's too easy to grab something that will bite or sting you, or there is poison ivy, oak and prickly stuff around as well! Speaking from experience here . . . I buy 6pr. of nitrile gloves with mesh backs (about $6 from gardeners.com) each year and keep pairs of them sitting in strategic spots around the yard so I'll put them on when the spirit moves me to weed.
Elaine...sorry a few days always goes by between replies, sometimes I just cant look at the computer after a day at work!
So, got a pic of the stinky vine/weed (1) and that's good advice about using gloves to weed. I haven't run into anything so far other than a small orange ringneck snake in my travels in the yard. I find i step in those (&*(^ sandspurs more often than anything!
unrelated, but fun...
(2) the next canna (3) glad (4) and its c. pulch time :))
Hm, I am still stumped on the weed. But . . well, kill it, man! Kill it! Seriously, "any plant that is growing where you don't want it" is the definition of a weed. (but I will be at the Extension office all afternoon tomorrow, so will pick some brains on that puppy) Meantime, I'd be very careful of getting the stinky juices on your hands, arms, or skin in general. Lots of those sappy things are allergens or irritants. Even some of the various jasmines have milky sap that sticks and stains clothes and is a major skin irritant.
Glads are gorgeous and that's a luscious pink one, Pulch's are pulchritudinous (is that a word? spell check says it's ok - huh!) and the cannas look like Las Vegas showgirls with too many feathers on . . . if you want to buy more next year, look for the "Futurity" hybrids. They flower the same but tend to be more "self-cleaning" which just means they drop their spent flowers so they look nice longer. If you can't find them I'll send you some of mine.
This one is a hybrid named 'Stuttgart' that was supposed to have variegated foliage, but it never has had anything but lovely blue-green leaves and these pretty, delicate flowers. They're very small for canna flowers, and look a bit gangly since the plants are nearly 6ft. tall but I like them. And another shot of my stripey circus one.
I met up with an old co-worker friend today who also now is into gardening (seems a few i know have come to it late 30s/early 40s) and we did a little trade. She admired the pics I put on facebook of the C.pulch blooming last year, so I took her some seedlings. In return, I got a foot tall rooted plumeria, and a desert rose cutting. From what I've been reading, the plumeria shouldn't be too hard to please...but the desert rose...?
I've read conflicting stories online tonight, some say they basically plopped the cutting right into sandy soil (in sun) and it will do its thing, others describe these elaborate methods to root it. As its a succulent, I'm tempted to believe the plopping proposition, but I need advice. The look of it really caught my eye...yes, the flowers...but that strange, almost potato-y stem with a thick base was just way too cool. I'm branching (ha!) into unfamiliar territory again and seek guidance for success.
Back to the smelly weed, a neighbor who stops by every few nights so our dogs can run around together called it 'skunk weed.' Yes, it does stink, but really smells nothing like skink...and I remember a skunk weed from Ohio that was anything but a vine. hear anything around the office?
Your stuttgart canna's smaller flowers are like the coral ones of mine.The 'Las Vegas Showgirls' surrounding those 2 have flowers nearly 3x the size. Being that I prefer random to rhyme or reason, I like the contrast. But, I could see some being unhappy with the irregularities. And...where did you pick up the striped one again? The more I see it the more I likey.
Hey Phil - congrats on your trade! Yes, the plumeria is pretty easy, and will be beautiful in a few years. I got one from my daughter as a gift - it was just a big thick stick in a plastic bag that she bought in Hawaii. This year it will be 4, and it is 5ft. high and wide, and covered with lovely fragrant flowers.
Desert rose, I have not ever tried. The name implies it is drought tolerant, but I think you should get it going in a pot until you're sure it has roots. The big potato-y thing is a caudex, which is a water-holding body part, like an above-ground bulb. It will sustain the plant for a while but not forever. So, if it were mine, I'd pot it up in cactus mix for now, put it somewhere sunny where the sprinkler will hit it, and see what happens. You don't want it to stay wet, but it shouldn't dry out for more than a day or two, either. Once it starts putting up new growth, then you can "plunk" it where you want it. I looked it up on the "other" forum's plant database, and the two comments that stuck with me were "cuttings will root but rarely form a caudex" and "prefers to be under-potted". Neither bode really well . .
I got the Stripey canna "Tropicanna" at Lowe's. They had come in the day I was there, and it seemed like every customer in the place had one they were buying. So . . . they might be gone, it was a couple of weeks ago. But more than likely they'll get more at some point.
I had no luck with a name on your stinky weed. The one guy, Urban Hort. agent who knew all that kind of stuff has just up and moved to Chicago taking his wealth of local knowledge with him (where it won't do anybody any good, I might add). So . . . as I said, doesn't really matter what its name is. Yank it, cut it, spray it, kill it! Wear your gloves and don't get the stinky sap on your skin.
If you really REALLY want to ID it, you're probably going to have to let one plant flower and maybe even go to seed. Then take it in or send digital pics of foliage, flower and seed pod to your Pinellas County Extension. Or to me.
Thanks! I guess I'll just have to hope for the best on the desert rose. It's in a sandy/stony pot now (my own cactus mix) and I let the 17 raindrops we've had in the last few days get it 'damp.'
The plumeria is just about a foot tall, and has the beginnings of a few leaves on it. My friend said it should immediately perk up after getting into the ground..where it now is as of yesterday. I hope I can make them both happy.
No, I don't really REALLY need to know the ID on the weed, its just that I don't remember being graced with its presence last year, while this year it is prolific. Does Hillsborough not have its' own extension office too? Not that its a biggie...I'm pretty much 2 miles from the Hills/Pinellas county line.
And..who moves TO Chicago from FL??? God, that seems like a sentence to me. If I ever have to feel it colder than we get here someone please shoot me!
To continue picking your brain, I saw what had to be the biggest grasshopper of my life today. Pretty colors, but I'm wondering what it is this guy is destroying of mine...?
Phil, that's a lubber grasshopper. They get to be the size of your thumb, 3in or even larger. Seems like we're having a heavy year for them. When it suddenly gets especially dry they move into suburbs where homeowners are irrigating their plants.
Yes, he's pretty too but he will eat just about anything he lands on that's green and juicy, except a few plants with strong essential oils (smell and flavor) like rosemary and basil. So keep your eagle eye out for those guys or foliage with big bites out of it, and stomp them if you find them! If they find something they're especially fond of, they can do a lot of damage in a short time, too - voracious is the word. In some cases, where you have a neighbor who (illegally) waters his grass way too often, the lubbers will chow down there, and do huge damage. (serves the lawn grower right imho) Trouble is, then if he doesn't kill them all off for destroying his precious grass (I'm not a fan of grass, did you guess?) they have to move onto somewhere else when they get hungry again.
I'm sure Hillsborough has an Extension office too. Whichever is closer to you, that's where you can go to get your questions answered. I know a guy - DG member "hawkarica" real name Jim Hawk - who lives in Odessa and is a Master Gardener, too. He works at least one day a week at the Pinellas Extension office answering phones. Last I heard he was there on Mondays. If you want a wealth of information, see if you can call there when he's on duty. He's a great guy with a terrific sense of humor, too. Inside scoop on Master Gardeners, sad to say not all are created equal. Sometimes you'll get somebody on the phone who only wants to give you a web address to look up yourself and get you off the phone. That's not what sociable types like Jim and me do. In Sarasota we started having an annual plant sale, and we have a big group of our MG's who only work on running the plant sale so they really aren't much use as helpers for the public (like we're supposed to be). It's a sad state of affairs, again just my opinion.
As far as the new stinky weed appearing where no weed had gone before, all it takes is for one animal or bird to drop a seed . . and there you go! RRgg! Right?
17 raindrops huh? I am in Salt Lake right now and it's, well, a desert. My lips are cracked and my hair is a haystack. Dry as dust here. But I really was hoping my garden would get a little rain while I'm away.
Not all MG's are created equal???? Elaine, say it isn't so. Almost 30 years here and I have seen 'em all. LOL It gets harder and harder to find qualified volunteers who want to work in the extension offices and more and more folks are going back to work also. That and the universities are cutting back on their support, it is a sad situation.
Sometimes we see those lubbers up here, they must come in on plant shipments.
Alice, we're pretty lucky that UF has been generous with their support all along. They don't send live people to give talks to us so much, but we have many great opportunities for CEUs with their polycom presentations, and they're excellent.
But so true about finding people with the right mind set to be volunteers these days.
Happy days, I just called my cat-sitter and she says we got over an inch of rain yesterday. Fantastic! We even got rain here this morning, in the deserts of northern Utah.
Don't know if you're still out west or not, but we probably got another inch+ tonight...after a record high of 96 today the seabreeze was active! Best thunderstorm(s) so far this year, at least here in my area.
Was down your way last week, tried to go to the Amish restaurant on my bday. The wait was over an hour...too hungry and hot to wait, so perhaps another time. Have you been there before Elaine?
I'm with you on your opinion of grass...even though I live in a community that currently forbids other yard 'filler.' It's ridiculous that a stone yard is a no-no, but patchy, half dead lawns are ok. I'd love an 'Arizona yard' here, and the lower water bill to go with.
I'm way late with pics, but wanted to show you my newest acquisitions. These are all from 5.17
1...the plumeria, which the leaves have already grown since it went in the ground almost 2 weeks ago.
2. desert rose, which hasn't dropped anything other than its spent flowers after getting cut and potted.
3. Dr Moy coming along :)
Looks like your green thumb is growing, too Phil. Way to go! Don't you love the leaves on Dr. Moy? Mine are nearly 5ft. tall now. Way bigger than they ever got last year. You could give them a good dose of time-release fertilizer for the summer about now. We have an ordinance here against fertilizing between June 1 and Sept 30 so mine all get fed this week.
We are getting 'washed' nicely tonight, too. Lots of flashing and booming going on right now. I got back from Utah last night, and it had not rained in a week, so this is very welcome watering.
"The" Amish restaurant?? There are at least four in my immediate vicinity. Yoder's on Bahia Vista and Dutch Heritage are the two we've been to in livid memory. We go occasionally, but it is very Plain food. Great in winter when you want comfort food. In summer I go for more California style and I like things I can't cook at home when we go out so . . the more creative stuff appeals more often.
So if you want to reduce the area of lawn at your house, and install what is defined as "Florida Friendly" plantings the state backs you up. Generally any drought tolerant shrubs, perennials and groundcover plants are included in the definition, but you can get an excellent book from any County Extension office that will guide you on that score. It's online here:
I currently have no lawn. I just nibbled away at it until it was all gone, a square yard or so at a time. Now that we have a well, I'm not quite so water-conscious but still all my irrigation is micro-sprinklers on timers, and our water bill this last month (hot and dry as it's been) was just over $22. OK, I'm done bragging and will jump off my soap box and go to bed now.
Alice, there are still raging bargains to be had in the housing market here, just saying . .
Our water bills will more than double once they see fit to link us to the sewer system. We are on a septic tank still. They charge times 1.5 for outgoing water, go figure. So a $22 water bill would be $55.
Can't wait to see your new begonias! I am just getting up to speed from my trip again, and finding spots for all the great ones you sent me last fall.
Elaine, I am liking the Dr Moy's leaves...They're lightly variegated, which appeals to me. More than that and it looks like someone spilled paint all over the leaves. Once they get out of the ground, they are pretty zippy growers, too!
"The" Amish restaurant we tried to go to was Yoder's. Haha...didn't know there was a collection near you...The Amish and Florida just don't seem to mix in my mind. But, after seeing the place on man vs. food a while back, me and my gf have been meaning to get there. We were stunned there was such a wait, for plain food! I'm usually all about anything that's spicy enough to burn my tongue off, but we thought it would be akin to a Bob Evans-ish experience, and she (country girl) likes all that meatloaf/dumpling/noodley/potroast/gravy type stuff...me..eh.
Thanks for that info about the F.F.L.! I'll arm myself with that when the time comes that I'm able to make that decision. Although our water bill isn't as high as Alice's (ouch!)..even with a pool, I still just get pissy watching the spray hit the sidewalk and road, no matter how much I try and adjust them. I water the absolute bare minimum that I can get away with, and think I made good choices with Xeric plants...but that stupid grass just dries up like mad. Thankfully we don't have a really large yard, just enough to be a pestilence.
Time for the random question...Shouldn't the confederate jasmine be done blooming by now? Trust me this is not a complaint, but back in April they bloomed big time, but ever since then there are still occasional shoots with 3-4 blooms on them. Just a nice bonus, or...the unexplained...?
Hm, I had a huge mass of that jasmine at our last house. Trying to remember . . . I know it put on a fabulous bloom each spring, but I think it actually did bloom again sporadically through the rest of the warm weather. I believe it blooms on new growth . . . puts on a big spurt when the weather warms up in spring, and a big flush of bloom, then if you keep watering and fertilizing it, it keeps growing and blooming more.
Funny story - that thing finally "ate" a whole shed, really it was an old, old garage in the back yard that I used for my garden shed. When DH and I finally armed ourselves to prune it back, it was all entwined with a humungous bougainvillea, and we ended up with a truck load of prunings out on the street about 3 weeks in a row. The jasmine vines were leaking sticky, irritating staining white sap, and the bougie was full of those evil 2in. thorns. I felt so bad, I waited for the pickup guys to come by the week after they finally took it all away, and gave them all gift certificates for Einsteins. The punch line came at the end of that summer when the jasmine had grown back almost to where it was before we pruned it. That was a wet, rainy summer and we'd just stimulated it to grow and bloom by all that pruning!
We paid somebody the next time it needed taming. Beware the wild, uncontrollable jasmine! It's great if you have a chain-link fence or something else really ugly to hide, though.
You were right, Yoder's is quite akin to a Bob Evans, but well, more plain. Capital P Plain. Great desserts, though. Homemade pie. That house with the jasmine was about 6 blocks from Yoders. We used to walk over late-ish for pie and ice cream. Then waddle home.
Dyzzy the flower is nice but the leaves are incredible.
Ardesia, ouch! mine just doubled from 30 -to 60$ every 3months and I thought that was bad. Of course we have a septic and a well for all the irrigation. I have eliminated all grass wiith crushed coral walkways lined with bromeliads. Rerouted all the sprinkler heads now it is alot more efficient.
Yea, it is a real ouchy each month. We only have a tiny, 20" strip of grass along one side of the driveway and I do not water it. It is just that our water rates are over the top. When our home was built we were able to have a separate meter for irrigation and there were no sewer charges but along the way the rules were changed so although I still have the two meters, we are charged for sewer on all water usage now. Criminal IMO. Sadly, no wells allowed on our neighborhood island, all the ground water is dedicated to the golf courses. Although I use drip for my many. many containers, because of the nature of our soil, drip irrigation does not always work well for the landscape. On the upside, contrary to what a lot of South Carolinians say, we do not pay any property taxes to speak of. Our taxes are only a tiny percentage of most around the east coast pay.
Elaine, both the tropi-canna and Dr Moy are looking good! The 2 of mine that are up are about 4 and 2 ft tall, so I hope to see that bud soon too!
Not even thinking about irrigation right now, over 5 inches of rain have fallen here since Monday. Much as the water was welcome, its kind of getting depressing not seeing the sun this long, in June to boot! I guess the upside is both fire season and the drought are history. once again, I'm amazed at the reaction of all the plants to the rain. Even one of my bougainvillea, which I understood to be dry lovers, I swear is growing an inch a day.
Alice, I didn't know there was no property tax in SC, interesting.
Yup, I think they getcha one way or another on things like property tax and utilities.
Phil the term "dry lover" and also "drought tolerant" on plants is a relative term here in FL and sort of misleading. Our sandy soil drains and dries out extremely fast, so drought tolerant plants do great when it rains buckets. They will survive with little or no water, hence the word "tolerant" but they won't look beautiful. I've seen people bringing dessicated plants back to Lowe's, whining "but the label said drought tolerant!" so they had just thrown it in the ground and left it to its own devices. Those labels should read "drought tolerant once established". It's virtually a desert here in April-May and October-November when the sun's hot and it doesn't rain.
Now it's June, and when the sun's out it's a blast furnace, plus the days are long so the plants will grow inches per day with good water. They'll survive, but can't use all that heat and solar energy to grow unless they have enough water. You should think about increasing your irrigation times for the weeks ahead if it doesn't continue to rain. Your bougies would take this much water right through the summer and do fine mainly because they drain between the rains. If we had heavy soil it might be another matter.
Our "normal" summer pattern in years past was a downpour every afternoon, and all those dry lovers (really dry survivors) grow and bloom and thrive if it does that. Maybe we'll actually see that pattern a little more often this year . . . sure would be nice!
Out taking pics of some other plants today, and encountered this sport amongst the Dr. Moys - a lot more white variegation than the other stems. The flowers are opening like crazy now, and the scent is all over the garden. Yum.
I've been tied up with work the last couple weeks, sorry I've missed your nice pics and posts! Can't wait til my Dr Moy looks like that, and 2 of my c. pulch are blooming beautifully, (red/yellow) no signs yet from the pink or the yellow/white...Then this little B***h Debby blew into town, and I'm amazed at the amount of damage to my babies from the wind and rain! We had about 15" of rain here between Thurs and Sun...the pink CP is over on its side, and the well established red one next to it's roots are pulling up. I'm in shock...these are well established plants! Oddly, no notice of any dying of the branches yet...so I'm hoping when the wind finally calms down they might right themselves some. Any tips? No use trying to stake them or anything yet, we're still having 40-50 mph gusts every few minutes. Its really disheartening, to say the least. Any damage down your way>
We've had lots of rain and wind, too. Still honking out there but not too much rain today. I haven't had a really good look yet, but as far as I can tell, no damage.
If it's any comfort to you, I had to stake my C.pulch when it started to up-root in a wind storm last year. It is permanently attached to the fence behind it now. Seems like they're fairly shallow-rooted, and when the ground gets saturated like it is from all this rain, it's easy for them to pull out of the ground. Get some sturdy stakes, hammer them well down into the ground, and set your plants back up.
Meantime until the wind lets up, you need to pile some mulch, loose soil, or even an old wet towel or something over the exposed roots so they don't dry out if the sun comes out for too long. Get a jug of Quick Start root stimulator for when you re-plant them. When you get them staked and set to rights again, give them a little bit of a pruning. Reducing the leaf canopy will compensate a bit for the torn up roots. Then water them in with the Quick Start fert right away, and again in a week or so.
Mine never even wilted after its uprooting experience. Have faith! Meantime, your gingers and cannas will be loving all this water!
Elaine...thanks for the tips. Once again, weeks have gone by and I haven't been back to DG...how does that happen?
As it turned out, most of the plants righted themselves to a degree. And, the one that didn't is no worse for the wear. It's putting up a new large branch to balance itself, or so I guess. The first of my seedlings from last year has finally bloomed for me. (pics) However, as irony has it, it isn't red. I only bought red seeds...hmmm. No complaints tho, I like it just the same. Now, the pink and yellow/white...(tapping foot) come on!
How is your summer going for you? I am busier with work than I was this time last year, and I miss playing in my yard :)
Hey Phil, good to hear your garden recovered from the deluge. The yellow C. pulch is really nice. They're such elegant flowers, who cares what color they are? And when you get a whole shrub full of them, it's over the top.
I've been collecting some seeds from mine lately, and what a funny story! Had a few of those brown seed pods in a plastic container on my sewing table. It's across the room from where I sit at the computer. A couple of days during Debby's wrath I was stuck indoors, kept hearing this odd crackling sound. I thought maybe the cat had brought in a mouse, or something. Then one night as I was in bed reading, I heard a couple of distinct "pops" and the sound of things bouncing off the windows and walls. When I pattered out to find out what the heck it was, found one side of a seed pod on the floor by the table. Turns out those pods twist and pop open throwing the seeds all over the place when they dry out! What a riot. I'm going to put the lid on the container next time I collect some so they don't all fly away. I'm finding those seeds everywhere.
Anyway, I have lots of gingers and cannas blooming like crazy now that they're all standing up again. I finally cut down the huge Mexican sunflower plant that was looming over my little C. pulch so it is coming on like gangbusters now, too. Once I hack through the waist-high weeds (brought on by the rain) with my machete, I'm finding lots of lovely things out there in the jungle.
I haven't ever heard the seeds popping yet. and this year i'm letting them just do their natural thing and leaving the pods on after sept or so. maybe the birds will eat some and start them in random places.
Can't believe summer is almost over already, got a job promotion in June, which was nice, but I haven't had much free time anymore. Happily, since most of the hard work was done last year everything has pretty much come into its own this year and I'm very satisfied with how it all looks. Me...a landscaper. Who'd have thunk it?
All the pics of your blooms (from a month ago) were beautiful. Especially the white/orange one. Can't stop loving orange.
Speaking of orange, had a nice surprise this week. I'll let the pics speak for themselves. :)
Also broke down and bought some morning glory seeds...good childhood memories attached.
Hey Phil, I just got home myself from a trip up to Canada to visit family. My body clock is all messed up and it feels like 10pm instead of 1am. Congrats on your job promo, I figured something mundane like that had interfered with your gardening career. But it's fun to just let the garden develop sometimes, too.
The gingers look fantastic, helped on by all that rain we got in June, of course. Mine have never been so tall. Hope you got to smell them, they really do smell just divine. Don't forget when the flowers are spent, to cut off the stems that have flowered to encourage the plant to put up new stems. Sometimes on new starts, I cut the flower head off and wait until I see new growth at the base before I cut the stem and all the leaves off.