Florida Flower Trials

What sort of person goes to Epcot, only takes pictures of plants, then leaves with a smile on his face? Any attendee at the Florida Flower Trials last month in Orlando, Florida. This annual gardening exhibit is sponsored by the Florida Nursery Grower Landscape Association (FNGLA) Floriculture Division. The purpose is to encourage plant breeders…

Chest of Drawers

A jeweler I know needed to organize her many creations so I made this towering chest of drawers. The top part has three sides, screened, where she can hang earrings. The bottom part has ten shallow drawers for bracelets along with two deeper drawers for other storage.    

Bad Irrigation

We are enduring a typical April drought in south Florida. It’s hot, it’s dry and rainy season usually rolls in after Mother’s day in May. Until then we gardeners are painfully conscious of water conservation. That’s why we get ticked-off by blatant water wasters. Yes, there are obvious scofflaws that water their lawns every night…

Grapevine Murals

A blank canvas is inspirational. And so is a blank wall. These two walls that flank the baptismal pool at our church just call out for artwork. We have used these walls to hang silk flowers and now use this space for seasonal banners. I imagined what would look good there, not distract from the…

TPIE 2017

The Tropical Plant Industry Exhibit in Ft. Lauderdale had much to brag about. Here is a braided sansevieria floating in mid-air. How about a box of bugs? These green lacewings will devour other plant eating insects. Does your hanging basket twirl? These new dwarf bougainvilleas do.

The Lorax Puked (Bad, Sad Trees)

I was stunned and saddened by the number of mangled Florida Live Oaks surrounding this (unnamed) business in Naples. These trees might have been planted correctly, then staked, and then guyed with wires wrapped in hose. But that was seven years ago! Stakes and other supports should be removed within six months after planting. Nearly…

Garbage Palms

Dead plants don’t bother me, if they died from natural causes. But these Cabbage palms died from ignorance. This is a little strip mall on US 41 in Fort Myers, FL. These palms have been planted for about a year and all of them are dead or dying, while the neighboring plants are surviving. I…

Jelly Bean Box (Hypertufa Succulent Planter)

What fun, making a pot out of dirt. Actually hypertufa is a mix of peat, perlite, and cement but working with it is just like making mud pies. I went for the rustic look so I did not screen the peat, making it lumpier with some sticks. And I colored it “charcoal” to avoid the…

Succulents in the Swamp

Although we tracked through mud and puddles 3″ deep, the cactus and succulents were dry at Isaac Farms in Homestead, Florida. ┬áSolid fiberglass and poly roofs kept most of the typical daily rainfall off of these drought-tolerant plants. Click on the photos for a full view and some captions.

Fish Branch

John Conroy, owner of Fish Branch Tree Farm, was generous with his time and gave me an educational tour of his 300 acres of beautiful tree production. I was impressed by the cleanliness, the quality, and the quantity of trees produced here in the south-center of the state. (Sorry I did not share any photos…

Pomegranate Paradise

It’s a beautiful, fruitful day at Green Sea Farms in Zolfo Springs, Florida. Thanks to the owners, David and Cindy Weinstein, and the Florida Pomegranate Association for the luscious field day, Saturday, June 23rd. Despite typical wet summer conditions we were able to enjoy educational talks about insects, diseases, fertility, irrigation, and the panoply of…

Growing Tomatoes in Zones 9 and 10

My first vegetable garden in South Florida was a crop failure. I thought I had a green thumb because I was able to grow many productive gardens from scratch in Michigan and Illinois. But there was the root of my mistake: I planted as I had done up north, in the spring. 28 years ago…