75 Days of Blooms...and still counting!

Back on Jul 17, I blogged about the grapette ground orchid blooming. This one stalk has been blooming now for over nearly 3 months straight!

above: Jul 13 - Spathoglottis 'Grapette' had just begun blooming

above: still strong after 75 days, the grapette ground orchid is still blooming.

This plant bloomed this same time last year. See those photos here.


Fall Planting in South Florida

So, I just couldn't wait the extra two weeks for the nurseries to get in thier fall plants. I went ahead and planted these summer bloomers and am hoping they make it through our mild winter.

Here's the round up:
lime coleus - $1 each (3x)
mexican heather - $1 each (1x)
begonia - $1 each (2x)
dwarf juniper - $5 (1x)

The bougainvillea and morning gloery are still creeping up the trellis, but I severealy cut them both back, so they will hopefully be blooming in another month. Before planting the new stuff, I mixed some compost and rootgel into the tired, dried, dead soil. I couldn't change out the soil because it would have destroyed the bougainvillea root system that takes up 90% of the container. Finally, I laid a bunch of pinebark on top of the soil to try to help retain moisture.
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When to Plant Basil in Southern Florida

You can grow basil throughout the year in Florida. Shown here are three plants: coleus, basil, more coleus. Both coleus and basil will wilt mid-day in August and September if in full sun. They will also bolt (set flower) much quicker if grown in summer. Yet, they are still planted all over S. Florida year-round.

I planted seeds about a month ago. Yesterday, I transaplanted the seedlings into this handing basket. I used a thick layer of spaghum peat moss to line the basket. I also mixed some rootgel into the soil to aid in moisture retention.

Here, you can see the rootgel on top of the soil...it's not the correct way to use the product, but I had extra in my hand and just sprinkled it on the top of the soil instead of putting it back in the container.

I should mention my coleus and basil looked good all winter. Then in January, we had two windy freezes (weather in the 20's) , and they died within 48 hours.


'Variegated Pink Eureka Lemon' Rutaceae Tree (Citrus limon)

I went to Leu gardens last week and just died when I saw how big their pink lemon tree is.

This is what pink lemonade is supposed to be made of...not dyed sugar crystals. :) The leaves and peal are variegated!!! The fruit is pink and the tree looks silvery green until you get close neough to realize the leaves are half white and half green. Supposedly, the tree is from Asia.

Home Depot was selling small pink lemons last summer and I bought one. It hasn't set fruit yet, but it's growing very nicely in my zone 9b hot summer heat. It's in a pot on my pool deck, which is the hottest part of the yard. If the bottom of the pool gets 92, imagine how hot the deck top gets!

Before and After

Before: pretty horrible.

After: still not great, but tollerable.

So, this is the angel's trumpet I've been obsessing over. It's beautiful and smells really good, but only if you stick your nose in the flower. I feel like this is an end to a long journey. I've blogged about this plant from the time it was just a seed.
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Update on Orchid Tree

Here's a before and after shot of the orchid trees across the street from me. They are looking much better now after several months of blazing hot soouth Florida heat and a bit of a drought. Thomas recently asked me if he could see a photo of the seeds that literally burst from pods in these trees. Here are photos of Bauhinia variegata (orchid tree) seeds.
September 2008 Orchid Trees (Bauhinia variegata)
April 2008 Orchid Trees (Bauhinia variegata)
Want to read more of my posts on orchid trees? Type "Bauhinia" in the top left of my blog to query all posts with the keyword "Bauhinia."


Holy Whiskers Batman!

I had the opportunity to tour Leu Gardens in Orlando this weekend. I was most excited about seeing two very mature bat flowers (tacca integrifolia). They have both the white and black varieties. Shown here is the white.

They are also called cats whiskers, and they remind me of ground orchids. They like humid shade. These two plants were all of 4 ft wide by 3 ft tall. It's obviously all abou the bloom...not the foliage.

I've found that most plants, as is the case here, called "black" are actually deep purple...(e.g., poppies, orchids, roses). I've never seen a truly black bloom, but I'm sure they are out there.
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