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A real American beauty

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Birds are attracted to this native, American beautyberry. American beautyberry, Callicarpa americana, is a native shrub that postions itself at the edges of hammocks and pinelands. It attracts butterflies in the spring and summer with delicate pink flowers, and then supplies grape-colored clusters of fruit for mockingbirds and catbirds in the fall and winter. Its leaves are fairly large with serrated edges, and the twigs sometimes stick straight out before elongating to droop and create a...

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Seeing Anew

Monday, October 5, 2009

This unknown species of Acalyphais transformed by mid-morning sun. Sometimes it takes just the right bit of light to draw your eye to a plant you've walked by a hundred times without paying it much attention. That happened the other day when I was outside the Corbin Building. Sun shone on an Acalypha with crested leaves, and in that certain slant of light, they were as lovely as stained glass. Acalypha, which is in the Euphorbiaceae or spurge family, displays a remarkable variety of leaf...

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A very likable bat (plant)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Whiskers are really modified leaves as are the "wings" ofthe bat. Here's a reason to celebrate: the bat-plant is flowering. Its upright white bracts hover like wings above a cluster of flowers draped with long whiskers (really The white bat-plant with one of its flowers open. bracteoles or little bracts that are modified leaves). The whiskers remind me of drawings of the wispy beards of Chinese elders, but for most people, they resemble cats' whiskers. The flowers' anthers and...

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Love those leaves

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Susan Schock with the aroids she plans to transport to her Key West home. Susan Schock drove up from Key West to buy a wagonload of her favorite plants, alocasias, at the International Aroid Society's annual show and sale that opened Saturday morning. "I came here in 1996 and saw the Fairchild Garden, and then drove to Key West and decided that's where I wanted to live,'' she said. Originally from Tucson, AZ., and then New Mexico, Susan was captivated by the tropical greenery. Today, she ...

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A giant in the garden

Friday, September 11, 2009

Aroids, to my way of thinking, are an integral part of a tropical/subtropical garden. They range in size from petite to giant, and the shapes can be as slender and minimalist or as ruffled and rococo as you prefer. They climb palms and trees throughout my garden, and they hold up strikingly patterned leaves from hanging baskets, from the ground and from the pond. Among the most impressive size-wise is Alocasia macrorrhizos 'Borneo Giant' in the background; Cyrtosperma johnstonii at right, ...

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Vignettes

Friday, August 28, 2009

Gardens are full of beautiful vignettes, surprises and delights - if you take a few moments to look for them. Strolling with my camera through Fairchild not long ago I came upon two such garden moments: a curled Cecropia leaf and lichens on a palm trunk. Lovely Cecropia leaves, even when fallen. Cecropias are pioneer trees in the rain forest. They have short-lived seeds that germinate in the full sun of a light gap and then race upwards at a dozen feet a year. There are several species of...

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It was “snowing” in the lowlands this morning…..

Friday, August 28, 2009

Early this morning, I was collecting seeds of our pineland crotons to grow on for sales and special projects. As I was walking from our pineland back to my office, I noticed that the sign for Mark di Suvero's She' had "snow" on it. I also saw that the grass in the area had "snow" as well. I looked up, up, up, into the crown of the nearest royal palm and saw that it was flowering. The huge inflorescence of the palm was a creamy white hue, buzzing with...

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Small but beautiful

Friday, August 28, 2009

Episcia cupreata is a Conservatory beauty.. You have to stoop down to really see them, but the flowers of Episcia cupreata are dramatic once you make the effort. Their tubular flowers have fringes on their edges and red markings in their yellow throat. In the Conservatory, the bright "flame-violet" nestles near the pineapple ginger. Episcia is a member of the gesneriad family, tropical herbs that are often found in the under story of rainforests where humidity is high and light...

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Reflection and Evaluation

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

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Fairchild Gets Recognized

Monday, August 24, 2009

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