Florida Spring blooms and chit chat.....

Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

Hello to all Florida gardeners and anyone else that would like to join us, although it feels like summer is already here, I'm starting the Spring blooms and chat...we came from here... http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1383293/

Garden clean up time is here and I've been working hard, especially with leaves, already seeing some of my caladiums coming up. I'm so glad for the rain today, very much needed as my rain barrel was just about empty.

This message was edited Mar 30, 2015 10:57 AM

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Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

Here are some recent blooms around the garden now...

Amaryllis, Red flowering maple, A coral colored Epidendrum, Bromeliad, and the first flower on my Yesterday, today and tomorrow from Bonnie.

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Tampa, FL(Zone 9b)

Sherri, I also noticed a few blooms on the YTT that I got from Bonnie as well...although mine does have the abundance of blooms like hers does. Hopefully, over time ours will get to be as big and pretty as hers.

I was checking out one of my flowers beds this weekend and noticed all these tiny seedlings. I know I didn’t plant any seeds in there, and tried to get a decent picture of the biggest ones. Thinking back, I had a huge Celosia there last summer. When I say huge, this thing grew to be almost as tall as I am and seeded. Do you all think those could be celosia seedlings sprouting?


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Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

Well with the reddish/purple coloring I'd say they aren't weeds. I have read where other say the plant does re-seed very well, so keep an eye on them. I'll have to purchase one if they get that big and re-seed. Keep us posted.

I know Bonnie's YT&T plants is awesome. Mine stayed in the pot rooting until this past month when I finally placed it into the ground, it seems to be very happy now out of the pot, and has more buds on it.

Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

We are having a disagreement on what is all over my garden. I say they are the black & red nymphs that grow into lubber grasshoppers that eat up all the plants. They are everywhere this year and I have been spraying for bugs. Anybody else got them?

Neighbor brought down about a doz. sweetie tomato plants today. Charlie is going to plant a bunch is discarded county recycle boxes now we don't use them anymore. I'll put a couple out front in my garden cause I think our dog will pull his all out and destroy them. I love those little tomatoes and can't grow reg. ones anymore. Neighbor started 125 plants so if mine don't grow I sure know where I can get tomatoes this summer.

Happy gardening all.

BTW my YTT is spreading itself like crazy. Still blooming also. Noticed today calico pant is loaded with pipes now. Passion vine is also blooming.

Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

Bonnie how long does the YT&T bloom, is is just in the spring or all year long?

I sure hope you don't have lubbers, I know I've read of others having trouble with them on DG in the past. I've never had a problem, but last year when trimming our hedge a huge one flew out, it is the first time I've ever seen one in my garden. He met his demise with my hedge clippers. ☺

I do see lots of lubbers while on hiking paths though.

Nice to get free tomato plants. I'm not planting any tomatoes this year...just my pepper plants.

Tampa, FL(Zone 9b)

I have seen some people post on FB that the lubbers are hatching, but I have not seen any in my yard, yet. They usually make themselves at home in my crinums, so I have been checking them out almost daily. They are so much easier to kill if you can find them when they are in the nymph stage.

I have never grown Echinacea before, but my plant has a single bloom on it. Watching it, I have noticed that it started yellowish-orange color and has changed to red. I am hoping as the plane develops and grows, the blooms actually grow up, so they can be picked. Right now it is a single bloom right in the plant. The first 2 pics are the same flower.

My passion flowers are also starting to bloom.

Lastly, my YTT from Bonnie.

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Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

Oh I can attest to the Lubbers hatching.... the first sign was my "surprise lily" foliage was gone... then I saw them. I generally hate to kill anything in the garden, but after an hour I was armed with a large bucket of soapy water. Over 3-4 days I probably killed over a hundred or two of the buggers. The "groups" of them are gone, now it is just one here and one there. I do not like using "bug spray" -- so I've been stepping on them, squishing them or in the bucket they went.

Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

Thanks all.

Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

Wow Shauna your YT&T is much bigger than mine. Bonnie let me dig mine up and I had something else in the pot with it that I thought was YT&T.

Here's some more blooms around the garden...Begonia, Iochroma 'Purple Queen', milkweed. My miniature garden in my old fire pit.

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Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

By the way does anyone in Central FL have a Panama Rose, bush Penta plant? I've seen them in S. FL really big bushes. I found one at Lukas and thought I'd try it. I know it could freeze but wonder if it will come back like my other cold sensitive plants?

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Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

so nice to see blooms... the previous owner of this house really had nothing that blooms except shrubs. There are no flowers at all. I'm slowing working on that, but what I've grown by seeds are still way to small.

I did pick up a few plants last week at Grassroots Nursery in Gainesville that are blooming, so it's a start.

I have a lot of tiny Scarlet Milkweeds ... my guess is they wont bloom til summer, or fall if I'm lucky.

I'm searching for Lemon Grass.... Is that something I could find locally, or will I have to mail order or get seeds?

We cut a palm out of our courtyard yesterday, and I'd like to fill it in with cat friendly plants.

Tampa, FL(Zone 9b)

Sherri, do you have monarch caterpillars on your milkweed? I have it planted in a couple of different spots throughout my yard and every spot has caterpillars. They ate one area down to nothing but sticks! LOL

The first RU I went to, Bonnie handed me a basket plant (Callisia fragrans) and told me to take it home. Well, it was planted in the ground around the pond and 2 years later has a great bloom spike. I happened to catch it when it was open and it reminded me of tiny, little fireworks and smelled phenomenal!

The second bloom is off my schizopetalus hibiscus.


This message was edited Mar 30, 2015 10:03 AM

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Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

Shauna I cut all my milkweed back, that flower is on one I missed when cutting back, so no cats yet, although I saw a monarch flying around last week.

That is an awesome bloom on the Callisia fragrans, don't you just love when a plant that hasn't had any blooms in years surprises you like that? Nice hibiscus. I have one that you gave me that survived and although still in the pot, I've moved to a sunny place now and it is growing a bit daily, I have no idea what kind it is, but when it flowers I'll get a photo and you can tell me. ☺

Terese, I got my lemon grass from an online order, it was given to me as a free sample. I did see some recently at a garden center, but can't remember where. I'll keep my eye out and if I see it will let you know. I frequent them weekly this time of year. It might have been S. Seminole nursery on Lake Ave. here in Winter Springs. You can call them and they will hold it for you if they have it. (407) 695-2930.

Taylor Creek, FL(Zone 10a)

Hi all, I am still kicking around down here in Okeechobee, but going back up to Jacksonville to finish emptying my house and putting it on the market.
That's about the middle of April. I hope I find some die hard lemon grass there. I had a huge stand and was "helped" to get rid of it. They thought it was a weed. I also have a bay leaf tree I will take cuttings of to root for my culinary garden. In that same garden I had a dill that grew to about 6', yes, six foot plus. When I chopped it down last August it screamed dill. I hope to find some of those babies too. Then my Gloriosa lilies need to come south.
I am getting closer to being ready for a RU. Possibly in Sept.
Does anyone have any idea about what a pocket pond is?


Tampa, FL(Zone 9b)

Sherri, I have had different monarch carts on my milkweed off/on for several months; which is great since Monarchs have been put on the Endangered Species list. I have more milkweed seeds that I am going to get started so I can have more throughout my yard.

Sidney, the only pocket pond that I am aware of is an iPhone app. LOL

Speaking of the RU…has there been any discussion on having a Spring RU?


Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

what types of milkweeds does everyone grow?

in addition to A. curassavica,
I have A. tuberosa, but I'd imagine they need a cold stratification and I jsut have not had the time yet. and also common MW; A. syriaca

I used to have a bunch of swamp, A. incarnata but the one year I did not collect seeds, all my plants died. I really liked that one.

Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

Hi Sydney, nice to see you pop in, a September round up sounds good. I don't think Bonnie is having a spring round up this year, she has family coming to visit and lots of other things going on. But she can chime in on that herself.

Terese, I did stop by S. Seminole nursery yesterday and they have lemon grass, small pots were $6.50, they said they had large pots in the back but I didn't ask how much they were or see them. I asked about holding and they now require a payment over the phone to hold. They only had two of the small pots, about four X six inch pots, if you want I could pick one up, but Sydney might have some free for you, just let me know.

As far as butterfly weed, I have A. Curassavica, and A. incarnata (swamp), although only have the swamp for a year that I bought at the native plant show and still hasn't flowered, I'm going to move them to a sunnier spot, but they are water hogs. I did buy seeds from the online native plant site for A, tuberosa and planted last year, but they never came up, they are native to FL. The Scarlett re-seeds all over my garden, but seems to favor the flower pots with better soil than the ground.

Shauna, my scarlet milkweed was so tall and lanky I needed to cut it back, I also read somewhere that you should do that in the winter months, they are now nice and bushy and full so hopefully I'll have flowers soon, certainly a lot more healthy looking greenery on them for the cats.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

Thanks for checking... I googled the trip and it would be about an hour ride for me, so I'd really have to think about that.

as for the Swamp MW, I had it in zone4, and I was surprised how well it did "not" in a swamp area. Our soil is sandy, sorta like here .... and I had them in a flower bed that is pretty much only watered when it rained. I think the plants survived for 4-5 yrs... then we had a really cold winter and it did them in.

Interesting about the Scarlets liking pots better.... I plan to do them in a few areas of the yard to see where they do best. When I have been planting in the flower beds, I've been amending the soil with MG potting mix, compost and that bagged Humus / manure and hoping for the best.

A. tuberosa has never done well for me either, germination wise... though I will try again. A bunch of years ago, I purchased seeds from Swallowtail, and split them with a gal in IN; mine never germinated but hers did... so this past seed swap she gave me a bunch of seeds, so I will keep trying.


Taylor Creek, FL(Zone 10a)

A. Tuberosa aka Butterfly weed is one of my all time favorites and here is what I've learned. If it needs to be stratified, put it in the freezer on your refrigerator. That will be cold enough to wake them up. My upright freezer maintains about five degrees so that's too cold. Plant them where you are going to leave them. They do not move well and have a tap root over a foot long. Let the seed pod dry on the bush. Bush will come back once established if it gets minimal care. Just protect that no one disturbs that tap root.
The name "Swamp Milkweed" is just a name. I have the beautiful yellow and I harvest and plant all I can. The Monarch cats strip the leaves and then the leaves come back. I want to establish a good stand of those in my Monarch/cutting garden. So I need many to feel okay to cut a few. When I cut them I sear the cut with a flame and stick them into some water. I am going to establish a year round cutting garden so I can have pretty flowers
in the house. (If it kills me).
As far as the RU goes we can have it here at the rec hall.
We can also go ahead and have it this spring, but it will have to be after May 15.
The Rec Hall has AC and a good sized porch to put our trades on. Also a kitchen and ample room to do what we want. Also plenty of parking close by.
If any one has a RV they can arrange a spot to park that in and stay a night or two.
Well I just checked the RUForum and suggested May 24th.

Delray Beach, FL(Zone 10a)

Hi, everyone.

I thought I'd pop in and show you a picture of an adenium obesum I grew myself, from seed. I bought seeds from a seller in Asia. They were supposed to be purple. The picture clearly shows they are on the pink side. I ordered 100 seeds. Only 2 germinated. Those seeds were not fresh. I complained to the seller who promised a refund that never materialized. Of the 2 seedlings, one died, so I only have this one plant from 100 seeds I ordered. The plant is 3 years old now and this morning, I found this bloom on it. Yeah!

Take care, everyone.

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Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

Sylvain... that is beautiful.


Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

Sydney, thank for the tip, I'll give them a try again knowing that. As far as the RU, I'm confused are you in Jax or Okeechobee? Or Both?☺

Sylvain, how beautiful, such a nice bright shade of pink, but clearly pink. I've never seen a purple but sure would like to own one. I have a deep red and light pink. The red got a seed pod last year.

Tampa, FL(Zone 9b)

A few new pics taken this weekend:

1. Purple Tiger Rose
2. Gloriosa Lily
3. African Iris
4. Purple Walking Iris
5. Yellow Walking Iris

I also noticed that I have my first amaryllis bloom forming!


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Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

I'm glad to see the yellow walking iris, I just planted som last year, but haven't had a bloom. My white are blooming.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

that 3rd image... the African Iris... i have one that just bloomed, it is coming out of my Bird of Paradise... have not located the foliage for it yet though... but obviously, it is not a BoP.

I'm trying to get into "native" Milkweeds for the butterflies. I guess "they" are saying if you have the Tropical / Scarlet [curassavica] to cut them back in Sept so the Monarchs do not stay here too long, and move on. And of course I just had about 40 seedlings. I have seeds for Tuberosa and the "common" syriaca, but here they do not grow here.

We had a speaker at our Garden Club meeting this morning that talked about Butterflies and Milkweeds... so I did learn a little bit. [He is a Master Gardener, but for Sumter county, not lake]

Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

Terese, I just learned this winter about cutting back the milkweed, which I did in December. Here's a link to why:

I wouldn't cut it back as early as September because it would be blooming again by Dec. I think I'd wait till Nov.

This message was edited Apr 7, 2015 7:17 AM

Tampa, FL(Zone 9b)

I have Asclepias Curassavica in several places in my yard and I have had Monarch caterpillars off and on since around Christmas. I know they are supposed to winter in Mexico, but their habitat there is being destroyed, hence why they have become an endangered species. I also found an interesting article at the University of Florida site: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw311 stating because of Florida’s mild habitat, much of Florida’s Monarch population stays in the state instead of migrating to Mexico. Kind of makes me wonder, if Mexico continues to destroy their migratory habitat…will Florida become the winter home for Monarchs? Imagine how neat that would be to go outside and see hundreds/thousands of Monarchs roosting in trees around your yard.

Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

I've wondered the same thing Shauna when reading all about migration and environmental changes.

I will say my milkweed gets so leggy by mid winter, and aren't really growing new leaves. Usually I don't even have to worry about cutting back as nature takes care of that for me, but the last three winters we haven't been cold enough to freeze it back and I'm left with the decision to cut it back or not. So this year I cut mine back the new growth is so lush and full compared to previous years. So at least I'll have more for the cats to eat when they do show up now. ☺

Maybe a cut back in September of some wouldn't be such a bad idea, then I'd have fresh growth for the winter visitors.☺

I sure wish it was easier to find native milkweed to plant in the garden. I only found the swamp milkweed at the Native plant place. Seeds I've planted of A. tuberosa haven't worked, but will try again with Sidney's advice above.

This message was edited Apr 7, 2015 8:40 AM

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

As a test... if you have the Scarlets in various locations in your yard, cut some back in Sept, and the others later... that way, if you get the new flush of greens - you'd have good food for the winter butterflies.

this guy who spoke to us yesterday.... he was from the villages where they do have colder weather than we do.... and IMHO, I did not find him to be the best speaker. He was a childhood friend of someone in our club.

Delray Beach, FL(Zone 10a)

Bad speakers: what a drag!

Sometimes, people have no idea what they are saying, but they stand up and start saying it anyway, come what may.

Other times, people are extremely knowledgeable about their subject, but they just can't communicate it. I had college professors like that. They were like textbooks locked inside a safe.

But I believe the buddy-buddy system for choosing a speaker is not the best way to go about securing a good presentation.

And worse yet for me, there are those times when you have a knowledgeable speaker that communicates his material well, but his presentation was photographed with a cell phone: no contrast, no detail, blurry, overexposed, underexposed, bad framing and all, are we looking at an orchid, or a Norfolk Island pine here? It could be both, I swear. In such cases, I have to fight the urge to get up and leave. It's always a struggle to stay put. If you're going to show the group a PowerPoint presentation, please use half-decent pictures, already. Sheesh!

Plumeria are currently blooming in my yard. A picture for you all.


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Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

Sylvain.... with some subjects he seemed to know what he was talking about.. maybe just a bad communicator... he did have is Ipad to look things up if he did not know the answer.

I guess I just did not agree with cutting back Scarlet MW's so early.

Ugggg. I'd better get out of this chair... the day is getting away from me.

OH Sylvain... I have seen some of the most beautiful snakes in the yard. Yesterday was a small, not baby Scarlet King [my sister had one when we were growing up] it was in the process of shedding. A few days ago I saw a Ringneck... cute as a button. Thought it was a baby, til I looked it up to see that's it's normal size. ~~ Haven't seen the Diamondback - thank heavens.. only the shedded skin.

Delray Beach, FL(Zone 10a)

One day when I was volunteering at the Master Gardener's desk, a woman came in with a 12-ounce bottle of drinking water. She handed me the bottle and asked to me identify the snake she had drowned in there: A pitiful little ringneck snake, about 4 inches long. I was not a snake owner at the time, but I didn't like the fact that she had needlessly drowned it in a bottle. I asked her why she had done that. She said it was threatening her kids in the garage. Big deep breath here: something the size of an earthworm was threatening your kids in the garage. Let me just ask you: how big are those kids of yours to be threatened by this poor little defenseless creature? Anyhow, she had her snake identification, so she left, leaving the water bottle on my desk. Awful woman!

We see Indie, an indigo black racer hanging out near the hedge here. Sometimes he crosses the carport. He leaves me alone, I leave him be and everybody is happy. Don't I catch anybody hurting Indie, though.


Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

Glad Indie still shows up, I recall last year you talking about that snake. We have one too, it's about 30" and super fast. He lives in our flower beds.

Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

Sylvain, Beautiful Plumeria. I love when we take trips south to see the huge trees of Plumeria in all sorts of colors. I did buy a yellow one a couple years ago and keep it in a pot, so far no flowers, but read it takes two years till they bloom. Fingers crossed I see blooms this year.

I've only seen the ring necked snake in my garden once, honestly I can't even imagine a person fearful of snakes killing them.

Terese, FYI, I saw some Lemon grass n gallon pots at the Oviedo Lowe's yesterday. I didn't see a price, maybe some in your area have some.

Some new blooms around my garden:
Scutellaria longifolia aka: skullcap (hot pink flower), Guzmania Bromeliad -Orange Crush, White shrimp plant.

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Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

Actually heading to HD today.... I'll see if they might have some. will have to write it down or I'll forget. ~~ It's errand day.... lots to take care of.

Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

Sorry haven't been on for a while. Finally finished with medical tests for both of us for a while.

Wasn't planned but due to impact fees going sky high son is starting his new house and we haven't even deeded the land to him yet so have to get that done. Now it is $6,000. and in a few months it's going to be $11,500. for a single fam. home. I think it's just ridiculous. Business impact fees are cheaper. Doesn't make sense to me but what do I know. We are gong to put up new pasture fence this weekend and unfortunately it's supposed to be in the 90's. Ug. He has a year to build thank God. Charlie is 80 and I'm 77 so digging post holes will be slower now I'm sure. Son is coming with his 2 sons and they will also help. A man stopped by the house that has contract for roadside work with county and offered us 20 dump trucks of good clean soil and boy was I ever happy. Charlie and I removed some fence over a culvert so all the trucks could get it and dump. My son was very happy cause that will save him a bundle. Wish we still had our big bulldozer we had up north. Charlie could level it all out for a house pad. Anyhow, we are very happy that we will have our youngest son right next door on 5 acres. We still have another 5 acres we could give to other son in Cal. if he would come home and build but I doubt it as he has 2 homes there and a good job since he got out of the air force.

I'll try to answer questions if I can remember them correctly: Sherri YTT blooms only in spring and mine is done for now. It has really spread itself along driveway fence.

Shauna: that basket flower has spread all over the place. I am always pulling some up to get rid of them.

I've had panama rose for about 3 years and it always comes back in the spring to bloom.

So glad to hear Sidney is back on and settled into new home. Whenever you have RU I will try to be there. Maybe Sherri and I could come together. I'm sorry but my legs just would not let me handle a RU right now. Maybe in the future. I do know the way to Okeechobee.

Sylvain and Shauna: I didn't forget my promising a sky vine to you both. I had to move it and lost all but a little bit but it looks like it is growing now. Hopefully it will all come back one day and then I can try rooting some for you two.

Sidney you threw me a curve with a pocket pond. Will have to find that out and get back to you.

Hope all are getting gardens pruned and cleaned up for the summer. Son and I just finished cleaning both ponds and that was a job. I lost 4 fish due to ammonia spike from oak blooms in small pond. Pumped it all out and pressure washed it and then went and bought some little tiny shubunkins. At least it's got a little color. Large fish in large pond are doing well right now no brag just fact. Fish can get sick in an instant I've learned that over time. Leaves and oak bloom dropping had me scooping them out 3 times a day. What a mess it was. Better now.
Got to come up with some form of netting on a frame that I can move when needed. I have some ideas and hope one of them will work.

Well it's late so I'm off to bed.


Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

Looked up pocket pond. Got same thing Shauna got. An app on iTunes.

Also, small container of water to support small animal life such as frog pond.

I've heard it all now.

Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

Wow Bonnie, you've been busy. I think it is wonderful you're going to have your son right next door to you, and that is crazy for impact fees for residential. You and Charlie take it easy and let those young Bucks do most the hard work. ☺

Thanks for the answers on the YT&T and Panama Rose. Made a difference of where I'll plant the PR if it only blooms in the springtime.

Taylor Creek, FL(Zone 10a)

Bonnie, fees like that bring out the boilermaker in my language. Glad you are able to jump thru those hoops and save that much.
After reading the FL article, maybe scarlet milkweed shouldn't be encouraged at all. It's not native.
I have been harvesting the bright yellow milkweed and will start several this month for a R.U.
I'm in Okeechobee and selling the house in Jax.
I will be having one last garage sale there the second weekend in May.
Everything will be priced to move, or free.
Praying I can get a decent price for my house.
Must get the house ready to sell. And make tough decisions.
Also the RU date I was considering May 24, is right around Memorial day, so I'm wondering if you all have better to have it the next Sunday, May 31, 2015 is okay?
If I have a RU it will be down in Okeechobee, not Jacksonville.

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