Mango favorites from the tasting room

Monday, July 16, 2012

After computing hundreds of votes, our Special Events department reports that the mangos with the most flavor appeal are these: First Place: Kent Second Place: Mallika Third Place: Beverly Close Fourth Place: Duncan So why didn't Nam Doc Mai garner any ribbons? I think we should hold this thing over again....

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Celebrating the mango at Fairchild

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Talking about mangos in the Garden House at the 20th annual mango fest. There is only one International Mango Festival in the world. And the 20th annual festival at Fairchild proved once more that this fruit is prized above all others in the tropical world. An hour after the festival opened, the line for the tasting room stretched around the back of the Corbin building to the allee. Inside, Mallika from India and Nam Doc Mai from Thailand were running neck and neck as taste treats. Rating ...

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Orange you glad it's a native?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

First it was in, then it was out, and then it was in again. The Geiger tree (Cordia sebestena) has been Bold orange flowers of Cordia sebestena. the subject of debate among people devoted to natives: is it or isn't it? All along, however, this orange-flowering small tree has been minding its own business, attracting butterflies and hummingbirds; growing its sand-papery leaves with aplomb, and finding its way onto more street plantings, as well it should. It flourishes throughout the West...

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A shrub to please you and the critters

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Pineland strongbark is attractive and fragrant. Small white flowers that occur in clusters of two or three or four and bright orange fruit are the attractions of smooth strongback or pineland strongbark, Bourreria cassinifolia. It is a small-leafed shrub that is pleasing to the eye, good for wildlife and easy to grow. Summer is its time to shine, as it is sprinkled with dots of fragrant white flowers that twinkle like little stars. A native to Miami-Dade and Monroe counties as well as the...

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A mighty worm was he

Friday, June 29, 2012

Giant Swallowtail caterpillar. A lime prickly ash, or wild lime, (Zanthoxylum fagara) has been given a home near some native plants in my back yard, joining a large sabal palm, wild coffee, Florida gama grass, beach verbena, locustberry, firebush, Mexican alvaradoa, coonties and milkweeds. The lime still is quite small, yet a Giant Swallowtail somehow found it. Some weeks ago, there were three orange dogs (Giant Swallowtail larvae) on the little tree. One by one, they disappeared, but the ...

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Dwarf gingers dance in the shade

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Globba winitii,red leaf form. Rain, humidity and heat are just what gingers love, and one genus especially is adding a small but delightful presence in the garden. Globba is a dwarf ginger that comes from Thailand and has an unusual inflorescence. Globba winitii, usually called a dancing lady, develops a long pendant stalk of flowers that emerge from the terminus of the leaves. The stamen arches up over the rest of the small yellow flower structure. I have a maroon leaf form that produces...

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Tale of a tail flower

Friday, June 15, 2012

This Anthurium cultivar has theappropriate name 'Red Hot'. Anthurium, a genus in the Araceae (aroid) family, translates as "tail flower" because the spadix resembles a mouse's tail. Anthurium andraeanum is the species with the brilliantly colored spathe and often-colorful spadix, sometimes called flamingo flower. It is high flowering season for this wonderful species. But then, it's high flowering season for most anthuriums, and even those grown for their foliage often...

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Spectacular plants at this show

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Tropical Fern and Exotic Plant Society's show, currently in the Garden House, is displaying dramatic and beautiful plants this year. Always a show that offers something for everyone, the array of ferns, bromeliads, orchids, crotons, and begonias is off-the-charts lovely. Here are the top winners: Best of Show. Best of show went to Dr. Jeff Block's Anthurium magnificum, which holds up three unblemished and perfectly grown velvet leaves and one inflorescence. Best flowering plant was ...

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Not your everyday flower

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A day before opening fully. She produces a flower every other year, and this is her year to do so. She is Amorphophallus paeoniifolius, the voodoo flower whom we call Phyllis. (Phyllis the Amorphophallus has a kind of reverse alliterative quality.) We've had her for a number of years. She lives among bromeliads, beneath the shade of a foxtail palm. Although she goes dormant every winter, I've never dug up her tuber, but just allowed her to remain resting in place. Deni Bown in her...

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The yearling

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

National Key Deer Refuge, Big Pine Key -- When born in April or May, a Key Deer fawn weighs about 2 to 4 pounds. When grown, a male may weigh up to 75 pounds, a female about 55 to 75 pounds. The little yearling we saw last weekend probably stood about two feet tall and weighed (my guess) 30 or 35 pounds. Key Deer are the smallest of 28 subspecies of white-tailed deer, and may number between 250 and 300. Highly endangered by development, dogs and automobiles, these sweet animals inhabit only ...

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