8/31/08

Harvested Date Palm Tree Seeds

I'm here in Orlando for Labor Day. The date palms up here are shedding like crazy. They make a big mess actually. Here's one date that had just fallen from the tree outside the Melting Pot on Sandlake Rd. I picked up three dates and opened them up. This was the only one with a seed in it. I guess I'll hurry home tomorrow to plant it following A Yard in Ft. Pierce's rules of success. Anyone else want some??? They are all over.
Here's the tree the date came from. I don't think it's a canary date palm. I think it's just a plain old Phoenix dactylifera.

8/26/08

Growing Carrots in South Florida

So, the carrot harveest was nothing to write home about.


These emerging angel trumpet (brugmansia) blooms are a big deal for my garden. 

This bush, now 6 ft. tall, is from the first group of seeds I planted in my garden back in '06. Once I see the blooms, I'll be able to figure out what variety it is by looking at the empty seed packet I saved.

I don't know why it's taken 2 years for it to bloom, but lately, I've been getting impatient. I've researched possible reasons for it not blooming and had become convinced it was getting too much run-off nitrogen from grass fertilizer. In fact, I was going to rip out 6 feet of grass around its base this weekend. Here's a long thread I posted about the plant.

8/21/08

The UF Sun Peach Tree Fell Over

No tremendous flooding here in Stuart from Tropical Storm Fay, but lots of wind. Two garden blogger buddies in Ft. Pierce (20 miles north) had a lot of flooding (buddy a buddy b).

During a break in the rain yesterday, I ventured outside to check on the garden and found the peach tree (which I'm OCD about these days) had fallen over. I propped it back up and all was well. I lost a few smaller plants that snapped in half, and John spent three hours cleaning out the pool.

Moss from Walmart

Here's my latest buy from the Walmart garden center. It's moss and I've got it growing on the kitchen counter.

I put the moss in a decorative pot and water it twice weekly. I've looked all over the internet, but cannot figure out what variety it is.
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8/18/08

Tropical Storm Fay Wind & Rain

I like this type of tropical disturbance...it's a tropical storm that's coming close enough just to stir up the beach, give us a good rain, and wash away the street litter.

I live in Stuart, so as you can see, we'll be feeling the first of the rain in about an hour. At this point, no one here or even in Tampa is really in any danger, so this will be a fun one.
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8/17/08

My Mystery Seeds are Sprouting!

What could this be? It looks like a royal poinciana, but it's not. It's grown like a weed. In less than a month, it's 4 feet tall and has began to show beautiful small round yellow flowers.
---UPDATE! A fellow gardener has identified this weed! See comments---

Remember those mystery seeds? I believe this plant came from one of the small seeds that came from the large seed pod shown below....my original guess was that the seeds were from a jacaranda. Since these flowers are yellow, I guess that rules out jacaranda. It's not a golden rain tree.

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Rubber Plant Root System

Back before I knew any better, I planted this rubber plant 12 inches from the house. Now that I know this is one plant that can crack concrete, I am toying with the idea of moving it.

Here's the thing...
I've kept the rubber plant pruned back to a 4 ft bush (not a tree). Does this mean I'm also keeping the root system at bay? Or will I be surprised to find a mile of roots under a 4 ft plant? I'm off to GW for advice. I'd love to hear from you.
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8/14/08

Orange Mint - Memtha piperita citrata cv.

Back in March of 2007, I purcahsed Orange Mint (Memtha piperita citrata cv.) from the local HD and have been taking cuttings from that one plant. Here's one planter that I started from a cutting.

Since mint spreads rapidly, I keep in confined to containers. I do have some under the garden bench that I cannot get rid of. Interestingly, this particular mint planter gets much more water than any of the others. It also produces the smallest, most undesireable leaves, and is the only mint plant I've ever had bloom. It gets blasted by the S. Florida sun all day too, as do the other mints I have. All this tells me it's another container plant winner because it prefers less water and full sun. Rememer, purslane was my other top choice for S. Florida summer container plants.
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A Mystery Mug and a Dendrobium

So, I found this mug/stein at a thrift store the other day and knew it needed an orchid.

I think it looks pretty good. It'll go out under the new tiki bar. The tag on the orchid says, "Dendrobium Ban Yen." I looked it up, but couldn't find anything about it. It's from HD and was supplied by Kerry's, a very popular local orchid and bromiliad supplier.

I tried to research the mug and ended up emailing a collector to find out what this thing is called. The thrift store lady told me it was British. We'll see.
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8/12/08

Queen Palm Seeds - Syagrus romanzoffiana seeds

All my queen palms are dropping seeds like crazy. If they weren't so tall, I'd cut off the clusters before they begin to drop.

I returned home from vacation last week to find 2-3 inches of bright orange seeds choking out the grass. The fleshy pulp is now rotting and smells. I've been spending 5-10 mins per day plucking them from the grass. What a pain.

On second thought, I wonder if I can use them for mulch.....nah, they'll begin to attract bugs and are getting pretty mushy.
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Every Plant in My Garden

Installment #4 in my quest to document and name each plant in my garden.

I frequent the Florida Forum of a popular gardening website. Today, I learned the name of a mystery plant we inherited from the previous homeowners. It's a lemon lime dracaena deremensis. Shown here, it's the variegated plant to the right of the gold mound.Woo Hoo!

Installment #3 - click here
Installment #2 - click here
Installment #1 - click here
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8/9/08

UF Sun Peach Tree - 5 Month Update

I planted a gorgeous UF Sun Peach Tree in April 08 and have wonderful success to report.

May 08 - grower/nursery topped off the young tree
April 08 - i bought and planted the tree
Jul 08 - i topped off again
Aug 08 - i removed all growth under on bottom 3.5 ft of tree


I've been following strict instructions from two Florida nurseries.


Plan for First 6 Weeks:


  • Let the tree try out the location for 2 wks before planting

  • Use peat, compost, stakes when planting

  • No pruning / fertilizing for first 6 wks

  • Water daily via drip system in "burst irrigation" pattern

  • Begin pruning once established


Fertilizing Plan:


  • July, April, February using 10-10-10


Pruning Plan: was a little difficult to understand


Florida Blackberry Canes Grow 20 ft.

The triple crown blackberries are not doing all that great in the hot August sun. They were looking great last month. Leaves are burning and I used the wrong preventative pesticide so they're stressed out.

Here's a neat story....
I've been weaving the canes in/out of the trellis. One 20-footer had grown so long that it draped over the trellis and touched the ground. The tip of the cane appeared to have been grabbed by some sub-terranean force and pulled beneath the grass and into the soil.
I pulled the cane from the grass to find a very healthy new root system. So, the cane was growing both ends into the ground!


This is not unusual, just kind of neat. Many other plants (e.g., mint) do the same thing.

So, I chopped off the top 12 inches fo the cane and had myself a new plant. I just planted it and will track its progress.

Hint: Type blackberry in the search bar for more posts on these plants.
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8/7/08

My Trip to Washington DC

Just got back from a long US trip. I was surprised to find ornamental sweet potato vines all over DC. They grow beautifully and no signs of those black ants that I hate.

Here's a non-tropical hibiscus that looks very similar to our tropical varieties. The leaves were the only give-away.

I'm so jealous. Here are neglected blackberries growing along side the road.
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8/6/08

Miracle Fruit Growing Poorly

Back from vacation and checkin' out the garden status. I'm struggling with this young miracle fruit (synsopalum dulcificum) and I need some advise.

It's supposed to be a very slow growing plant; it indeed is. However, it should be a bushy, healthy plant given all the attention I pay to it.

The lower leaves are typically half brown. Is this how it's supposed to be during summer in zone 9b? It gets a quick mist of water every 30 minutes and filtered sun all day. It's grown nearly 12 inches in the last 6 months I've had it. I'm off to the Florida forum of GardenWeb.com for an answer.
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