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The Mamey Sapote in South Florida

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

As Published in The Miami Herald Under the Florida sun, Mamey trees grow in some backyards in South Florida. From massive branches that shoot straight out to grow football-shaped fruits with leathery skin the texture and color of sandpaper. Mamey sapote (Pouteria sapota) is native to the seasonally dry forests of Mexico and Central America. It was widely distributed in Central America before Columbus and introduced to the Caribbean, South America, and Asia. Mamey sapote has been grown in ...

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A New Beginning-Spring has Sprung

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Late to mid-February usually marks the end of frost danger in South Florida and signals a new beginning as plants slowly begin to wake from the slumber that the cooler weather wrought. Oaks will soon drop their old leaves and quickly put forth a new coat of glossy green splendor. Gumbos, native tamarinds, bulnesias and many others will also put forth new leaves to replace the ones they shed in December. Bulnesias are putting forth new growth in the sping The awakening of the trees will ...

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Herbicides- the good, the bad, the ugly and the alternative

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

As published in The Miami Herald All gardeners want the same thing- a vibrant, green garden full of lush vegetation and free of weeds. As gardeners, we spend a lot of time maintaining our plants, ensuring their health and happiness. So, it's no surprise that when aggressive weeds invade, we quickly become protectors of our collection. How should we stop these trespassers in their tracks without hurting our beloved flora? Before you grab the herbicides and make a mad dash to destroy the...

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Palm Outcasts are Actually Supermodels

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

As published in The Miami Herald Growing up, my parents told me that my characteristics that set me apart made me special. When I felt like an outcast, it was only because I had individuality, or so they said. In the palm world, there are quite a few palms that don't fit in. These palms have bizarre and rule-defying characteristics. Now I am the parent saying their differences make them beautiful. Palm enthusiasts, me included, have embraced these weirdos and believe that everyone should...

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Predators and Pests do Battle over Native Gumbos

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

As published in The Miami Herald The fast growing and sturdy native tree known as the gumbo limbo, (Bursera simaruba) has succumbed to a tandem of pests which have combined to turn this once beautiful tree into something belonging in a post-apocalyptic landscape. Gumbo limbos are under attack. The gumbo limbo was the first tree I ever wrote an entire article on and for as long as I have taught the class "South Florida's Top 40 Plants", the gumbo has sat proudly near the top of...

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The Cashew and You

Friday, March 30, 2012

Most everyone is familiar with the cashew; among the most delicious and expensive of the nuts available in our supermarkets. However, most are unaware of the other parts of the cashew plant that we can grow and enjoy. Further, the world of the cashew has changed in the last decades and it is now feasible to grow, fruit and enjoy the cashew in South Florida....

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The Caribbean Fruit Garden

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Take a step outside your front door on most any day in South Florida and the climate will take you away. Welcome to the Caribbean! Indeed, sometimes with our hectic pace of life here on the mainland we forget the simple fact that for most of the year we are climatically-speaking the greater Caribbean. We share much of our natural world, the plants and the animals, with our island neighbors, and ignoring this fact invites many challenges in your home garden....

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A Peach of an Idea for South Florida

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The peach is among one of life’s most wonderful natural pleasures. Soft and juicy, it calls to you with a tempting floral bouquet and decadent sweetness. Living here in South Florida, our summer memories do not naturally turn to the peach, for most of our contact is through our local grocery store. But perhaps it is time to change our ways...

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Petite, Attractive and Delicious: the Persimmon in South Florida

Sunday, October 23, 2011

When we think of gardening in South Florida, the persimmon is probably not what comes to mind. But, perhaps it should be. As long as one pays close attention to variety selection and the source, the persimmon can be a rewarding home garden choice even in a South Florida faced with global climate change. ..

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Loquat

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) is a fruit of our South Florida childhood that has nearly disappeared – all due to a little fly no bigger than a pea. South Florida children would spend many a winter or spring afternoon up a loquat tree, harvesting and eating their way to contentment. For the homemaker the loquat also provided the makings for many a pie and preserve.... 

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