I can’t believe its been almost a year since I planted our bare root apple trees! Where has the time gone? And, why haven’t I written about it on here yet? Its been a very busy year but I am glad that I took the time last spring to order and plant three bare root apple trees. Growing up I remember having two apple trees alongside our driveway and I knew that one way of embracing our new zone 5 growing zone was to plant something that I couldn’t grow in Florida. Apple trees fit that requirement! I started this process by checking out the Iowa State Extension website for variety recommendations. I love looking through plant catalogs and I knew I would be easily distracted by beautiful photos of bright red apples.… Read Full Post
It’s hard to believe that it is that time of year already, but the warming weather means it is time for picking blueberries in Orlando! On a beautiful Sunday afternoon we took the time to visit one of the local blueberry farms near Orlando. I haven’t done this before– it seems like something I mention every year and before I know it the short blueberry season is over and we’ve missed it. Not this year! Where to pick blueberries near Orlando There are several places to chose from and we went to Beck Brothers blueberries U-Pick near Windermere. A few others to chose from include: Tom West near Winter Garden Pappy’s Patch in Oviedo BlueBerry Hill Farm in Clermont A Patch of Blue right between Orlando and Winter Park Southern Hill Farms in Clermont I would recommend checking the Facebook page of the farm or their website before visiting to make sure they are open.… Read Full...
Bixa orellana, or Lipstick Tree, isn’t supposed to grow in Central Florida. It is extremely tropical in nature and shouldn’t tolerate temperatures near freezing as we occasionally experience in Orlando. Don’t tell that to these lovely Lipstick Trees! With the right care and a slightly warmer microclimate, Bixa orellana is a very interesting small tree for the home garden. Lipstick Tree, also called Anatto in some cultures, can be grown as a large shrub or as a small tree. Grown from seed it naturally has a strong stem to support the tree form, but can be pruned to a multi-branch shrub easily. The large heart-shaped leaves are almost 10″ from top to bottom and form a dense canopy up to 20′ tall.… Read Full Post
When my cucamelon vine failed to produce any fruit in the past season, I decided to take matters into my own hands and do some hand pollinating. As I was talking about this to a friend I could see the puzzled look come across her face. “How do you tell the female flowers from the male flowers?” she asked. Good question! Now not all plants will have separate female flower and male flowers. In fact it isn’t many at all, but the ones that do are important to us agriculturally. All of the plants in the Cucurbit family will have separate male and female flowers on the same plant. This includes cucumbers, loofah vine (shown above), watermelons, squash, zucchini, and of course, my little cucamelon vine. … Read Full Post
As I am sitting down to get this written I have to laugh at myself because, with the best intentions, I feel like I only got half of what I planned to do completed. Two weeks ago I said to Mike that we were going to try to make as many different loquat recipes as possible. Well, we only got two things completed and they both involved alcohol. Huh. Botanically, loquats are in the Pome family, along with roses, apples and pears. The scientific name for loquat is Eriobotryae japonica. Loquats are sometimes called Japanese Plums as well and in addition to producing these tasty little fruit they are a beautiful small tree for Florida. Loquat trees are one of my favorite elements to an edible landscape because the plant itself is quite attractive.… Read Full Post