Moving plants to our new home

Moving plants to our new home

Moving plants, or should I say, moving with plants?  Moving itself is a torturous experience, but combine that with fretting about how you will move your great plants collected over the years and you’ve got your hands full. I am happy to write that Mike and I are now settled in to our new Zone 5 (okay, maybe 4) home in Iowa.  It was very tough to leave our friends and careers in Florida, but we are excited about this new adventure. I know this sounds crazy, but I was very stressed out about my plants and what would be able to move with us and what would have to be left behind. I established very early in our moving process that I would require one large Tupperware container to go in the trunk of the car we were driving. A moving truck would take our household items, but we would be making the twenty hour drive with our two dogs and kitty all in the car.  Believe it or not, I think it was very important to establish this expectation early so that when it looked like something was going to be left behind it wasn’t my plants. Moving plants from Zone 9 to Zone 5 requires some thought. We were in the thick of “plant sale season” in Florida as we approached our move, and although it killed me not to by things for our yard, it did limit my purchases to small plants in 3-4″ containers.  See the container here? It was jammed full of many small plugs and small pots of plants. The only thing that didn’t make it was the bat plant, Tacca integrifolia, which died a slow death when we got to our new home. I decided the vanda orchids were an easy “yes” when it came to moving plants. Due to their epiphytic nature, they are grown on wire hangers, sometimes with a small basket, but are generally a two dimensional plant. I was able to lay these out on top of each other a tuck them into that last remaining cavity in the top corner of our trunk. I felt like I was really starting to get the hang of growing these in Florida so I will keep my fingers crossed that they are successful here. Some things were too bulky to include in our car, so I took the risky move of sending them in my car being shipped. Risky? Yes, there was a two week delivery window and it is hard to say in early April if the plants in here would be toasted when they arrived or not. The good news is that the terrariums, succulent topiaries and “pot heads” all made it in five days in good condition. I started taking air layers of many of my favorite plants several months ago but very few of them were ready to go. I am hoping that when we visit later this summer they will be ready for a delayed move to Iowa! Will all of these plants survive here, even as houseplants?  Probably not. Moving plants always involves finding the right new place for these plants and with such a big change it is hard to say how everything will grow. Some of the smaller plants will be enjoyed this year as tropical annual color and add a great touch to our new gardens. Stay tuned for updates on our new Iowa garden!  Things like apple trees, asparagus and hostas are all making their way into our new home. Ahhh....
Formal Double Form Camellias

Formal Double Form Camellias

Camellia season is starting to wind down and I am left with images of beautiful camellias in my mind. Mostly, I picture the formal double form camellias. These little showstoppers are my favorites. Not always the largest, but with amazing form that only formal double form camellias can achieve. When I was first introduced to camellias, I was unaware of the different flower forms. I saw only beautifully saturated flowers of all different colors and sizes. It wasn’t until I saw one of my first formal double form camellias that I understood just how important the flower form is to camellias. Camellia Forms Camellia flower forms are divided into six categories: Single: One row of not over 8 petals and having conspicuous stamens. Semi-double: Two or more rows of petals and having conspicuous stamens. Anemone: One or more rows of large outer petals lying flat or undulating; the center a convex mass of intermingled petaloids (similar to a petal, but smaller and a bit irregular in shape) and stamens. Peony: A deep rounded flower of two forms; Loose peony: Loose petals, intermingled with stamens and sometimes petaloids. Full peony: Convex mass of mixed irregular petals, petaloids and stamens or with no stamens showing. Rose Form Double: Overlapping petals, showing stamens in a concave center only when fully open. Formal Double: Fully overlapping, many rows of petals, never showing stamens. The variation in formal double form camellias can vary. The ‘Brooklynia’ flower below shows a very “stacked” type of flower form. The petals line up one on top of the other to create really interesting layers.   Others, like Camellia ‘Miss Bessy Belville’ are a more loose type of petal arrangement. This variety is considered a medium size, but at 4-6″ in diameter are fairly large for the formal double form camellia category. Formal Double Form Camellias I enjoy looking back through my photos and admiring so many of the different images from the season. With formal double form camellias on my mind, I hope you enjoy these images of cultivars featuring this form.                ...
Yellow Flowers? Tabebuia Trees

Yellow Flowers? Tabebuia Trees

Tabebuia Trees are starting to steal the show… again. It seems like each March the most commonly asked question is, “What are those yellow flower trees all over town?” Those, my friends, are Golden Trumpet or Tabebuia Trees. Well, maybe that isn’t entirely true. The name “Tabebuia” has now been replaced with “Handroanthus.” Just when people were starting to learn real plant names they went and changed it. This is why people stick with the common names! According to Wikipedia, “the name Handroanthus was established in 1970, but was not generally accepted. In 1992, its species were included in Tabebuia in the most recent revision of that genus. Handroanthus was resurrected in 2007 when a comparison of DNA sequences by cladistic methods showed that Tabebuia, as then circumscribed, was not monophyletic.”  Huh. I am sticking with Tabebia.   These trees are relatively easy to grow and it seems that everyone wants one when they are flowering. This deciduous tree is native to South and Central America, and has been introduced to the Caribbean islands, United States, Kenya, and India. It grows best in warm and moist climates when in full sun. Sometimes evergreen but most often deciduous, golden trumpet tree has four-inch-long silvery leaves with tan, fuzzy undersides. These leaves drop for a short period in April to May, and it is at this time that the trees put on their heaviest flowering display, the trumpet-shaped, bright yellow blossoms appearing in clusters. Some trees produce a small number of flowers sporadically throughout the warm season. The eight-inch-long seeds which follow are brown, hairy, and persist on the tree through the winter. And one very important question: How do you pronounce Tabebuia Trees?  tab-eh-BOO-yuh I love the history of these beautiful, yellow flowering trees. From the Orlando Sentinel: Garden expert and Orlando Sentinel columnist Tom MacCubbin attributes Central Florida’s first tabebuia trees to late Orlando resident and horticulturalist Mulford Foster, who discovered their seeds along a Brazilian railroad in the early 1900s. Also marking tabebuia history 51 years ago was Martin Andersen, former owner, publisher and editor of the Sentinel-Star, now the Orlando Sentinel. He promoted a sale of tabebuia trees, each two or three years old, for $1.50 ($11.30 in today’s dollars) to raise cash for Edgewater High School’s band trip to the World’s Fair in New York. The Sentinel doors opened at 8 a.m. and 2,300 trees sold in an hour. Demand triggered a “mammoth traffic jam for blocks on all sides of the newspaper,” according to a Sentinel-Star account. Nearly 6,000 trees were picked up by early afternoon, a complete sellout. “We could have sold 25,000 trees,” a newspaper vice president, Charles Brumback, said afterward. He became chief executive for Tribune Co. after it bought the Sentinel.   The flower show is spectacular, but short lived. Enjoy our few weeks of these spectacular...
Add the Best Office Plants to Your Space

Add the Best Office Plants to Your Space

Is your work office feeling a little stale these days?  Let’s liven it up with the best office plants. The folks at Quill.com have created this great infographic to get you going. Hmm, perhaps you could just leave this sitting on your boss’s desk? I have to admit, I love the ZZ plant, Zamioculcas zamiifolia.  This plant has glossy, shiny leaves, grows upright and actually thrives on neglect. The fastest way to kill this plant is by giving it too much attention (i.e. water).  Chinese Evergreen, or Aglaonema, is also one of the best office plants for adding a pop of color. New varieties of this old plant are now introduce bright pink, red or even orange into the leaves. Aglaonema prefer bright light, but don’t really need direct sun. Is this concept confusing?  I was recently writing an article and my husband (who does all of my editing) put a big question mark next to the term “bright shade.” For an office or home, I would describe this as an area near a window but without very much direct sunlight. Save those sunny windows for plants that need lots of direct sunlight! While your office may not be your sanctuary, a few simple changes can positively affect the way you feel and work. For starters, you can add a little life to your workspace with plants. Office plants not only make a space more aesthetically pleasing, but can also reduce stress, deter illness, remove air pollutants, and improve concentration, memory, and productivity. A little green goes a long way: Plants perfect for your officeInfographic by...
Golden Trowel Award from LawnStarter

Golden Trowel Award from LawnStarter

I am so happy to share this with our readers! MissSmartyPlants has been named with some of the Top Gardening Blogs as one to follow!  Do you follow other gardening blogs? This list includes some really great writers and gardeners. Enjoy the full list of top gardening blogs here. There are thousands of incredible bloggers who share stories, photos and knowledge about gardening and sustainable living. LawnStarter’s editorial team scoured the internet to put together a list of winners for LawnStarter’s Top Gardening Blogs of 2016, taking into account blog posts and other online activity during the year. Winners were judged on their reputation on Google, influence and popularity in social media, and quality and consistency of posts. So without further ado, in no particular order, allow us to announce the winners of our first-ever Golden Trowel Award. Here’s to another great year of...
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