Oh Boy! Planted Some Mystery Seeds.

So, I picked up some seed on my walk this morning. The long pod (and smaller seeds from it) is from a tree that looks very much like a Royal Poinciana. It could be a jacaranda or one of those yellow flower trees.

The two bean-shaped seeds are from another mystery plant. The darker bean still had its pod attached. I planted all of them...we'll see.
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Trip to Botanical Gardens

I checked out Tropical Ranch Botanical Gardens yesterday. It's a home with a rather large yard that has been converted into a public garden. They sell plants and pottery. I enjoyed an hour or so there and the volunteers were very nice. I was thinking about submitting the butterfly photo to their annual photo contest. First place is $100 in plants...sounds good to me.

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The Well-Travelled Tomato - The End

This is the story of a very, very, VERY special tomato.

These photos obviously depict the end of the story. But what a sweet story is was...

The story is contained here, within 3 posts on my blog.
The Well-Travelled Tomato: Part 1
The Well-Travelled Tomato: Part 2
The Well-Travelled Tomato: Part 3

I grew these seeds in the wrong time of the season. Despite my seasonal experimentation, two tiny seeds from Hong Kong managed to produce excellent tasting fruit in our 80-90 weather. I will definitely grow these seeds again even though I disagree with their genetically engineered birth.

A Whole New House

Here's the before and after. In March 2006, the first photo was taken. This is how the house looked when we bought it.

Within the past week, we painted the house and replaced the old shutters. I absolutely looooove the new look!

Those Christmas Palms dure did grow alot in the past year.
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Where's the Grasshopper Superhero?

I guess he'd be more of a villain....not a super hero. It looks like he has on a mask. For his body size (less than one inch) he certainly can jump much farther than it looks like he should be able to.

He's pretty cute, but he's reaking(sp?) havoc on my plants. I grew up down here and this is the first season I've seen this type of grasshopper.
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Gardening Will Remain "Pleasure"

I always get great ideas of how to make a million dollars, then a few days later, I come to my senses. I was tempted today to try to sell orchid tree seeds online to make extra $ that I could then use to buy more plants.

My most recent gardening adventures have revolved around seeds and seed collecting. These orhid tree seed pods are littering yards across our area this time of year. They are germinating and I'm always weeding them from my flower beds. Then I thought, "some people would pay to have these seedings and I'm just throwing them away." I could sell them on the internet and make lots of money!

I'm over that million dollar business idea for several reasons.

I still took the photo though. Here's what I won't be selling on eBay because gardening will remain pleasure for me, not work.
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Espalier Confederate Jasmine

Here's an update on the espaliered confederate jasmine. I recently laid two rows of pavers at the base. I also recently trimmed 4 feet off the top. I like the bushy part at the base, so I'm keeping it for now. Here's an old post with a How To.

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Shutter Up

One of my most favorite garden bloggers has tagged me with a meme. So, here are 6 random things about me [drum roll].

I am a Christmas decorating fanatic
I have a "lifesize" ladybug tattoo
I would live in NYC if I could
I'm good at Jeopardy
I have three brothers (ages 25, 22, 5...yes 5)
I doodle around the garage with wood projects

Here are the six shutters that we'll hang up on the house tomorrow. They are decorative, not functional. I am so excited I can't contain myself.

So, check out A Yard in Ft. Pierce for great zone 9 tropical plant projects.
Also check out Another Yard in Ft. Pierce for great DIY orchid projects.
Sorry I didn't tag anyone else.
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Bare Root Blackberries Harvest in 4 Months

The bare root blackberries I planted 4 months ago have begun to yield delicious berries. I know this may seem like a blackberry blog with the non-stop BB postings (and I'm sorry for that), but I haven't been this organically excited in a long time.

Berries are commonly associated with northern climates. So are apples, peaches, and cherries. However, there are many tropical varieties that grow wild down here in zone 9 and higher. I am novicely growing a thriving peach tree, blackberries, raspberries, and three types of blueberries. They grow wight along side the citrus and aloe and I love all of it.
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Royal Poinciana Seedlings

The two photos below show a Royal Poinciana seedling. The second photo was taken exactly 24 hours after the first. The rate of growth for young seedlings (babies, puppies, etc.) is so much greater than for more mature living things.

This seedling will double in size at least 4-5 times over the next two weeks. After that, the rate of growth is still fast, but is nowhere near what it is now.

I planted the seeds on June 4th. The first one sprouted June 9th. I did boil and soak them overnight to ensure successful germination.

John and I were talking about our favorite trees the other day. His favorite is a banyan tree...good tree. Mine is royal poinciana. Shown below is the Sunfest annual poster from 2007 that depicts the Madagascar native. Artwork by Kevin Hutchins from Stuart, FL.
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3-Month Update on Blackberries & Raspberries

About 3 months ago, I planted eight-inch twigs that looked 100% dead. Today, the main canes are 10 ft. tall and there's actually fruit on both the blackberries and raspberries.

The raspberries are on the left; the blackberries are on the right. Here's more info about what variety I planted and how I chose them for my zone 9B.

I really think I need more bees. I have purslane growing around the bases (not intentionally) which should attract bees. I have still noticed some flowers going unpollinated or partially pollinated. Yet another thing I need to research and fix.

New Coleus Corner Bed

I found 4" coleus on sale for $8.50 for 10, so I got a few I don't normally see at the box stores. I also picked up a new Kaskel day lily. This garden spot has been dominated by fallen queen palm seeds and sandy soil.

I hit two nurseries to support small local business. It felt good. Observations: a bit more pricey, and the quality looked about the same. However, the big payoff (and what will keep me going back) is the unusual variety of cool plants that box stores just don't have.

I got a yellow day lily bred by a guy named Kaskel who has made it his mission to grow healthy day lilies in tropical climates. I still don't know how I feel about this whole breeding thing.

I pinched off the top 1/2 of each coleus just after planting. I HATE doing that, but it will make the plants much more bushy and much stronger. I planted each of the coleus tops in potting soil and placed in the incubator to make myself feel better.
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Blue Hibiscus - Blue Rose Of Sharon

Well, I might regret this, but I just bought 40 Blue Hibiscus seeds on eBay. Here's the auction photo. I have never heard of blue hibiscus, nor have I tried growing them from seed. We'll see......
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A New House Guest

This is so cute, I just can't stand it. I finally made a gnome door for the side of the house. I can't wait to make another one for the new tiki hut. They are selling on eBay for $5-$20 + shipping. I could buy a fairly nice plant for $20, so I can't see spending the $$ on a gnome door.

Mine isn't as nice as some of the eBay gnome doors, but I'm enjoying it. I had the wood, water sealer, brown paint, saw, and brushes. All I had to buy was a package of brackets and a door latch. The moss was planted back in mid-April and has grown in alot. The pebbles were left-over from the tiki hut post holes.

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How (Really) To Propagate a Royal Poinciana Tree

So, the other day, I planted what I THOUGHT were royal poinciana seeds. Turns out, I planted unbloomed flowers. So, the photo shown below is a new photo of new (real) royal poinciana seeds that I collected yesterday and soaked overnight. Also shown are two orchid tree seeds (the round flat ones).

Before I soaked them overnight, I boiled them for 4 minutes....that's right, boiled. The outer portion of the seed is very hard, and so boiling is recommended. There is a white skin-type film that is pealing off the seeds now. I guess this is how it works. The seeds I collected were found on the ground still inside a cracked open seed pod. The seed pod is hard, woody, and about 18 inches long. They can be found all over the ground during time of year.

P.S. - thanks to those bloggers that told me I had accidentally planted the blooms!
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Hibiscus Propagation Project

Well, I don't know if this will work, but I planted parts from a very pretty hibiscus plant I recently purchased. The parts included the petal and some green parts where the petal attaches to the stem.

I was just too lazy to spend an extra 2 minutes to look up hibiscus propagation on the internet. We'll see if this works...if it doesn't work, then maybe I'll spend a few minutes.

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