Plant Spotlight

What does poison ivy look like?

What does poison ivy look like?

What a way to start a blog post, eh?  “What does poison ivy look like?” has been heard a few times around here lately. We are clearing out an area of old trees, shrubs and underbrush and my lack of familiarity with some of these plants is prompting this question.   So, what does poison ivy look like? Leaves of three, let them be… Leaves of five, let them thrive.  This little rhyme is keeping me in check these days with my poison ivy “sightings.”  Look for plants with leaves in groups of three as an initial indicator. Not to get too technical, but I have to put in here that technically these are leaflets, comprising a single leaf. As a vine, look for hairy roots that are holding on tightly to a tree or wall.… Read Full Post
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 ‘Pink Perfection’ Camellia Forms Camellia flower forms are divided into six categories: Single: One row of not over 8 petals and having conspicuous stamens.… Read Full Post
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.… Read Full Post
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.… Read Full Post
Best Winter Flowers for Florida Gardens

Best Winter Flowers for Florida Gardens

What beautiful weather!  Now is the time to enjoy the outdoors and get some flowers planted for the winter months. Not sure what to plant? Here are my top five best winter flowers for Florida gardens:   Geraniums: Large balls of flowers held high make this one of the most catching of our best winter flowers. These are easy to see from a distance, so areas like the mailbox or front yard are great places to plant. Plant geraniums now and they will last well into May. Sweet Alyssum: These flowers will fill the air with their soft, sweet fragrance. Reaching just 6” tall, alyssum work great in containers or in the front of a flower bed. Although flowers are small, about the size of a pencil eraser, there are so many it will look like a patch of white.… Read Full Post
Visiting Classic Caladiums

Visiting Classic Caladiums

Have you seen photos of Dutch bulb fields and been amazed at their beauty?  Florida’s very own version of that spectacular scene can be found in the caladium fields at Classic Caladiums. Most of the world’s caladiums are produced in Florida among a handful of growers. Unique to Classic Caladiums is the breeding program that produces new and exciting varieties of caladiums.  The photo below shows a test field at Classic Caladiums, featuring thousands of crosses with varying colors, habits, and vigor. Among the thousands of beautiful plants seen here, only a handful will pass the rigorous testing to make it to the market. Probably the most exciting part of the this visit is seeing these test plots and knowing the future of caladiums is going to feature such beautiful plants.… Read Full Post
Polyalthia longifolia ‘Pendula’ or Mast Tree

Polyalthia longifolia ‘Pendula’ or Mast Tree

Polyalthia longifolia ‘Pendula’ or Mast Tree, has been on my mind lately. This tall, narrow tree caught my eye last year and I have been plant lusting for it ever since. I first saw it at the FNGLA Landscape Show and then I started to see the Mast Tree everywhere. Okay, not quite everywhere but I have seen it more and more.   During a trip to Miami I saw it several times, tucked into narrow areas where it provides the perfect vertical accent. This spot at Viscaya Museums and Gardens in Miami is a perfect example of planting the Mast tree in a narrow area. Mast Tree Characteristics Mast trees are an extremely upright, columnar tree with leaves that hang in a weeping nature.… Read Full Post
Hostas in Florida

Hostas in Florida

Hostas in Florida?  Well, I am sorry to say it really isn’t going to happen the way you hope it will. These are not hostas in Florida! I had the pleasure of attending the Garden Bloggers Fling in Minneapolis and it opened up the wound on my sore spot for hostas. While some Florida nurseries may be selling hosta, they just aren’t the plants you think of from the midwest or the northeast. These puny plants would be quickly scrubbed from most gardens!  Below is a photo of the “hostas” being sold at a local nursery. They really don’t look like the beautiful plants in the other photos, do they? Dennis Carey and Tony Avent from Plant Delights Nursery shared information on the science behind our crappy hostas on their site.  … Read Full Post
Ixora hedges: Beyond the Basics

Ixora hedges: Beyond the Basics

What are those shrubs with orange flowers around Orlando right now?  These are ixora hedges! Easy to ignore most of the year, this is the time of year when they burst with deep orange flowers and it seems everyone is asking for the name of this plant. Ixora,  Ixora coccinea, is native to southeast Asia. It’s evergreen leaves make it an excellent hedge plant, but the real show for ixora hedges is when they bloom. There are many different cultivars of ixora, with a wide range of colors from yellow to soft pink to the vibrant orange we see most often. Most common is ‘Maui’ the form shown here. The leaves tend to be smaller, more like a boxwood when hedged.… Read Full Post
Dorstenia bahiensis- A plant you need to know?

Dorstenia bahiensis- A plant you need to know?

Dorstenia bahiensis is native to forested areas of eastern Brazil.  Its unusual flowers first caught my eye and it is noticeably different from any other plant I know. Is this a plant worthy of your garden? Read on to find out more.   I was first drawn to the unusual flowers of Dorstenia. The 1-2″ flowers look like an odd fungus held above the leaves. Varying in color from deep purple to a light lavender, the slightly cupped flower is hard to the touch although it looks as though it could easily be a slimy mass. With a nod to its fig relatives, the flowers look kind of like if you turned an edible fig inside out. Top Tropicals cites “At maturity, seeds shoot ballistically from the mature flower/fruit heads, and they germinate readily whenever the land on soil or other moist substrate.”  It sounds violent but these are not an aggressive type of spreading plant.… Read Full Post

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My name is Keri and I am as comfortable speaking to a group about color in the garden as I am covered in dirt.

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