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Taking stock of cold, awaiting spring

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The effects of the 10-day blast of cold air are showing up throughout South Florida, including our tropical garden. Yellow and brown leaves are revealing how sensitive tropical plants can be to to four days of below 40-degree temperatures, especially after very warm days in November and December. Fairchild explorers took a closelook at cold damage in the rainforest. The rainforest understory was hard hit, with heliconias, gingers and many plants in the aroid family, such as small ...

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Spreading the Word

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

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A croton primer

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Scorched leaves hangingfrom twigs may meantwig or branch dieback. Jeff Searle, a nurseryman known for his exotic palms, has been growing crotons rather feverishly over the last five years, and he gave a whole course in growing them for the Tropical Fern and Exotic Plant Society this week. Cold damage was the hot topic, of course. And he said leaves falling off are a better sign than leaves dying and hanging onto their twigs. Scorched and clinging leaves are not a guarantee that plants will ...

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More on the aroid front, and a class

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cold damage creeps on little cat feet, it appears. More yellow-then-brown leaves seem to reveal This bird's nest Anthurium wasnot covered for the cold. themselves daily. Back in 1980, the International Aroid Society's journal, Aroideana, published a small field study by Mark Moffler of the degrees of cold damage on aroids he was growing in Tampa. "The self-heading or arborescent philodendrons (Philodendron selloum and P. x evansii) and the birds-nest anthuriums (Anthurium hookeri and...

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Chocolate dreams come true

Friday, January 22, 2010

Paris Parise holds a chocolatecupcake and nibbles on a ladybug candy. A true gift of the rainforest, chocolate has tickled taste buds for hundreds of years. In celebration of this rainforest treasure, all things chocolate were delighting youngsters and oldsters at the garden Friday at the start of the 4th International Chocolate Festival. A teacher's workday freed lots of eager young chocolate tasters, but children weren't the only ones to pursue the seductive flavors. A bus of folks...

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The Sea is Rising

Thursday, January 21, 2010

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For The Love of mangos - Africa

Thursday, January 21, 2010

By Noris Ledesma

I had long dreamed of visiting southern Africa and the opportunity came to "seize the moment" and travel half-way around the world to observe another country's horticultural production. I was game to go and full of enthusiasm to learn about mango production in this part of the world. Thanks to our relationship with Westfalia and their kind invite I was now going to see their operations. My flight started from Miami to Johannesburg, stopping in Madrid for transit. In Madrid I was stuck for 2 ...

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And the effects of cold keep on coming

Sunday, January 17, 2010

After three days of dropping leaves, the black olive looks like this. Among the damaged: Pithecellobium, Pseudobombax, Pritchardia, Podocarpus...are all the P-plants doomed? Naw. Ficus, gumbo-limbo (some), African tulip trees, some coconut palms, royal poincianas, the list goes on. The damage likely will continue to appear. I called Steve Nock, aroid hybridizer and expert who owns Borneo giant shows how itdisliked the cold. Ree Gardens with his wife Marie, to ask about my damaged and...

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Reaping the windfall benefits of cold

Friday, January 15, 2010

The black olive felt outside its hardiness zone this weekand is complaining about it. Ragtag and bitter winds played hopscotch during last week's cold spell and now we can watch mulch being made right in our own backyards! Several months' supply is being dropped on the patio by the West Indian black olive tree. The bougainvillea, sacred bamboo of Bali and, alas, many of the Vanda and Bulbophyllum orchids also are donating to the cause. This is really lemonade from lemons,...

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