"Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity. " ~Lindley Karstens

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Hot, The Loud and The Proud! -- Ornamental Pineapple, Copperleaf and Magnolia

Welcome to my "The Hot, The Loud and The Proud!" post, a meme hosted by Noel at "A Plant Fanatic In Hawaii"

With my recent out of ordinary busy working schedule, I thought I won't be able to make it.  Yesterday when I came home, it surprisingly still had daylight, which was not normal recently.  When I was wandering in my garden, I found after all I might have something to share.

Here is the HOT red ornamental pineapple!  It has been blooming for a couple of month now, recently the red color of the bloom as well as the leaves intensified even more, which made it looking really hot.  Don't you think?
Ornamental Pineapple
Here is the LOUD copperleaf (Acalypha Wlkesiana ).  It lost all the leaves in this past winter due to the strange long lasting cold weather in South Florida.  Now it is coming back better than ever with its magnificent tri-color, really making a loud statement, "I AM BACK"!

Acalypha Wlkesiana (Copperleaf or Beafsteak)
Here is the PROUD, the white magnolia!  Oops, this is actually not in my garden.  It belongs to my working place.  I have been watching these flower trees for a while since they set the first bud.  Since I recently spent so much time at work, does it make me deserve to use it for this post?!

Magnolia bud
Magnolia flower in half open

 Magnolia flower in half open (Top view)
Magnolia flower in full open
 Even this flower only lasts two to three days after starting unfurling, the scent is just heavenly!  When it fully opens,  it is about 7 to 8 inches across.  I found even its stamens are so fascinating with that unique shape and the color!

YAY, I made it!

For other "The Hot, The Loud and The Proud" around the world, please found the links at Noel's site at http://aplantfanatic.blogspot.com/.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

My Favorites -- April 2010

It is that time again!  On the 25th of every month, Susan at "Simply Susan" asks us to join her to show our favorites of the month. 

April is a month that made even more difficult to choose the favorites.  So I decided that it is okay to have many favorites :)

From top left clockwise:  Carolina Breeze Hibiscus, Sedum Gold, Double Impatiens,
Yellow Lantana Trailing, Vinca, Milkweed.
 Middle: Gazanias

Purple, Blue and White are my favorite colors in the garden.  Here are some of blooms in this category.

From top left corner clockwise: African Iris, Society Garlic, Purple Verbena,
Mona Lavender, Crape Jasmine, Blue Verbena
Begonia is my new favorite.  Since I bought the dragon wing begonia in January, I have been in love with this flower.  So I got more...  Only I don't have the names for the two shown in the first row of the following picture.  They have similar flower structure as dragon wing begonia (in cluster), but the leaves are different.  Anybody recognizes them?  The second row is dragon wing begonia and wax begonia.

Begonias (Enlarge to see the detail)
I don't have many orchids in my garden.  This month I have four of them in blooming.  My very first Cattleya bloom (Jewel Box)  opened at the end of last month and lasted until the first week of this month.  The two Phalaenopsis Orchids shown are the ones reblooming for me for the first time since I got them about two years ago.  As an inexperienced gardener, I thought orchids are house plants, only found out the indoor environment is too dry for them.  Only until last year, I realized that they do best outdoor in the shade. I guess these two  Phalaenopsis Orchids are the rewards to me :)  The new epidendrum orchid is still holding its brilliant orange flower heads. 
Jewel Box Cattleya, Phalaenopsis Orchids and Epidendrum Orchids
(click to enlarge)
This month my rose corner experienced the first flush of blooms since I established them early this year.  I know I have showed all these roses several times, but I am afraid with the fast approaching summer of south Florida, this month could be the one they look their best for many months following.  So, I have to show them again to remember them in their glory peak.

From top left clockwise: First Prize, Paradise, Double Delight, Queen Elizabeth,
'Burgundy Surprise', Perfume Delight and Peace (Click to enlarge to see detail)
Hope you enjoyed my favorites of this month.  What are your favorites this month?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spring Garden Progress

There were lots of rain this past weekend, but I did manage to get a little work done in the garden.
  • Divided some bulbine plants, and some Agave desmettiana 'Variegata' pups to pass along to my friend.
  • Potted some cuttings of dragon-wing begonia for the same friend.  This begonia should be fairly easy to root from cuttings.  This container of dragon wing begonia is at my front porch.  Really enjoying it every time I pass by.

  • Planted some caladium bulbs in one of my containers.  After seeing so many amazing pictures of caladiums (especially at Hoe and Shovel), I decided that I will give it a try for the first time.  I bought a package of 24 mixed caladium bulbs this year.  Since I will be out of the country for a long period of time (3 weeks) this summer, I want to save most of them for the fall garden.  I only planted five in a container this time.  Can not wait for them to pop out of the soil...
  • Sowed some seeds of Nasturtium (Jewel, Mixed colors, from Ferry-Morse).  Love the leaf shapes and the flowers.  It would be interesting to see how they will grow.
Here is some spring progress in the garden:

The frangipani cutting is finally shooting out the new leaves.  Still not decided where to put this in my garden...

Angel's Trumpet is growing very fast after I planted the cutting in the ground.  This cutting came from my friend at work, the same friend who brought me the initial bulbine plants and the frangipani cutting.   I have been removing some new growth on the lower part of main trunk to force it to form a small tree instead of a bush like.  We will see how it turns out to be.

Newly purchased bromeliad is about to set the bloom.  Isn't it just gorgeous?!  Love the deep pink color in the center. 

Sedum is now all showing its yellow flowerings.  It really made the garden looking more "Spring".

Sedum Hybrid Florida Friendly Gold

I have been mistaking this Crape Jasmine as "Star Jasmine" until recently FlowerLady at FloweLady's Musings made a post about it to ask for the identification.  Thanks, Flowerlady!

Crape Jasmine

Various Pentas are really in full bloom.  Wondering why I still don't see butterflies visiting them, or maybe I am just not around when they pay the visits??  Envy all those wonderful butterflies shots my fellow gardeners proudly show in their posts!

This Purple Verbena is a new addition to my garden.
Purple Verbena

Self seeded mounding buttercup (Turnera ulmifolia) is showing its first flower.  I have been transplanting the seedlings around the garden.
mounding buttercup (Turnera ulmifolia)

Dipladenia pink is really putting on a show, although it never really stopped blooming the whole winter.  This plant is basically care free.  I don't see any pest problem.  Just some water, it gives me non-stopping blooming all year long.  Got to love that!
Dipladenia pink

White Voilas is still hanging on...
Stock (Matthiola) is about to come to the end.  It is producing lots of seeds to continue the life in another form.  I will try sow these seeds for the fall garden.
Stock (Matthiola)
Now here is something fun for you all.  Can anybody guess what flower it is?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Its Name Is Paradise!

For those of you who have read my blog for a while, you may remember that I got one surprise rose at my rose corner that I don't know the name of.

Thanks for many of you who tried to identify this rose for me, especially Titania at "Yesterday, today and tomorrow in my garden" and Gippslandgardener at "A Year in a Gippsland Garden", who checked their rose books for me to see any match.  The possible matches are: "Angel Face" and  "Love Potion".

Unfortunately, after I compared my mystery rose with the pictures and descriptions of these two roses, I think they might not match.  Although their color do match, but the pedals of both "Angel Face" and "Love Potion" are "ruffled", and mine is not.

However, when doing the search, I came across one rose named "Paradise", and I think they look very close to the one I have.

Here is the description of "Paradise" (Synonym: Burning Sky, Passion ): 1978, USA.  Lilac mauve center with magenta/dark pink edges.  Parentage - 'Swarthmore' x 'Angel Face' seedling, 30 pedals.

Here is a picture of 'Paradise' from the web.  Since 'Angel Face' is one of its parents, it does show some resemblances, doesn't it?

Paradise Hybrid Tea Rose
(Source: San Joaquin Valley Rose Society at  http://www.rainforest2548.org/)

Here are some pictures of my mystery rose on different stages (not the same flower, but all from the same bush).   Do you agree that this could be the 'Paradise'?

Since I know that I will never be able to be sure of the name of my mystery rose, I will settle for this closest match for now... 

So, 'Paradise' it is!  One less nameless rose in my garden :) 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Epidendrum Orchid

When I was visting a local nursery a couple of weeks ago,   I was immediately attracted to a plant that bears densely flowered head of red/orange flowers, that rises above the dark green foliage.  The owner told me that is Epidendrum Orchid.  It was fairly priced compared to other orchids I know, and the flower is just so beautiful that I can't leave without.

The plant came in a three-gallon pot, and had about seven flower heads like the one shown above. It easily stands out in any place it was situated.

What I love most about this plant was the shape and color of their flowers. Each has a fringed lip surrounded by five petals. The petals are red/orange, and the lip has shades of yellow and orange.

Epidendrums are native to Central America, and they also go with common names like Crucifix Orchid, Rainbow Orchid, Fire-Star Orchid, or Reed-stem Epidendrum . So far, I found it is very easily taken care of, and the flowers are so long lasting (they are still like new after two weeks). 

It was said that in their native environment they often grow alongside other flowers such as milkweed and Lantana – mimicing the shape and color of those flowers. 
Lantana Camara
MilkWeed (Asclepias curassavica)
Hmmm, can you tell what are common in these three flowers? It was suggested that these three tropical "weeds" comprises a so-called "Floral Mimicry Complex".  If you are interested, you can read more here.

For me, it interestes me because I have all of these three in my garden, and they all bring the brilliant color into my garden, and the potential butterflies!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Spring, please stay a little longer!

Seems just not long ago, I was longing for the Spring's coming to wake up my garden.  Now it finally came, but why I almost felt it is summer already?  (The highest reported today is 87 F here in South Florida!)

Only when sun went down, we still have some cool breeze in the air to enjoy.   Okay, I guess we still can call it "Spring" :)

Let me show you some of my spring foliage/blooms in my garden.

I planted this African Iris last year after I moved to my house, and now it finally opened its first bloom.
African Iris (Fortnight lily, Dietes iridioides)
Orange Marmalade Crossandra is in full bloom again after experiencing the severe frost bite in the winter.
Orange Marmalade Crossandra and Diamond Frost
I did not expect this "Brazilian Red Hots" could recover after frozen to the ground back in January.  What could be a better way to have something this colorful back to the life to celebrate the spring?
Brazilian Red Hots (Alternanthera dentata)
This Bird's Nest Fern is the new addition to my garden.  After seeing so many beautiful pictures in different bloggers' posts, I just had to have it...  It is still a very young plant now.  Waiting for it growing to a nice impressive garden staple for me...
Bird's Nest Fern
Marigolds are one of my favorite spring/summer annuals.  I bought the yellow one from nursery, and the bi-color one is what I started from the seed (Dwarf Bolero, Ferry-Morse).  The picture on the seed package shows the bi-color double layered, not sure why I got the single layer bloom only.  The color did not disappoint me though.

I love this purple fountain grass,  and the way how all those soft arching purple plums gracefully waiving in the breeze. It is cold-hardy, and heat/drought tolerant, which makes it a perfect ornamental grass for Florida.
Purple Fountain Grass (Pennisetumsetaceum 'Rubrum')
Newly planted Ground Orchids are gradually adapting to its environment, and setting the second round of the blooms.
Ground Orchids (Spathoglottis)

Even the Tillandsias is stretching its flower bud out to feel the spring...

Snapdragon is considered as winter annuals here in Florida.  This is the second set of blooms, more beautiful than ever.  These all started from two little plants in 3 inch pots.  Wondering if it can hold long enough to give me the third round of flowers before it melts away in Florida's heat?
Snapdragon (Antirrhinum)
Gazanias continue growing bigger and stronger, and it not only adds bright color for my winter garden, but also seems loving the warm weather as well.
Lantana yellow trailing finally started blooming following Lantana lavender trailing and Lantana camara.
Lantana Yellow Trailing
This colorful bush is one of those I inherited from the previous owner.  It lost all the leaves after the freeze, and now they also bounce back nicely.  Anybody knows the name?  I see the same kind of plants planted in some public landscaping as well, just have not found the name yet.
Even the sedum blooms out of my surprise! In the cold weather, this plant has reddish/brown color of leaves and grows low and hugs the soil tightly, trying to hold as much warmth as possible close to the body.  Now they change back to that chartreuse-gold color again, and they are all stretching talller and opening the little yellow flowers for the first time! I am so amzed by how plants change their appearance to different weather.

Sedum hybrid Florida Friendly Gold

Oh, how I am loving this spring!  Spring, please stay a little longer with us before that long hot humid summer comes!


FloridaGirl at Peace in the Valley has identified the unknow plant with colorful foliage above is: Acalypha wilkesiana, or copperleaf or Joseph's coat.  Thanks, FloridaGirl!

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