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The Canistel, A Winter Fruit for South Florida

Friday, April 20, 2012

 

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High Output, Low Input Plants

Friday, April 20, 2012

As published in the Miami Herald Your garden should be giving you what you want. Whether you want flowers, fruit, fragrance, wildlife, butterflies, hummingbirds, a touch of the tropics, shade or beauty, your yard should be giving it to you. There are plants that are well adapted to South Florida that can fulfill your needs, and if you choose wisely, those plants will need very little input from you and still give you what you want. As someone that has gardened for pleasure and profit for ...

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Attractive Cocoplum Provides a Tasty Fruit

Thursday, April 19, 2012

As published in the Miami Herald From the Caribbean Islands to South Florida, the cocoplum adds to the color and attractiveness of our white sandy beaches and our beloved River of Grass. Often used in urban landscaping, the cocoplum is usually pruned into a formal hedge, but I prefer seeing it at its pinnacle in the pine flatwoods of South Florida. The cocoplum (Chrysobalanus icaco) is found near beaches, as well as inland throughout the tropical Americas and the Caribbean, including ...

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White Sapote: Unique and Delicious

Thursday, April 19, 2012

As published in the Miami Herald If you're looking for a fruit tree that produces something a little different but does well here, the white sapote, unique and delicious, is a good candidate. White sapote (Casimiroa edulis) is a relative of citrus, sometimes called "custard apple" because of the smooth texture of its flesh. Originally from central Mexico, it is well adapted to the South Florida climate. The white sapote is a smooth -skinned fruit with a shape similar to a...

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Planting (Cuban) Palms with Personality

Thursday, April 19, 2012

As published in the Miami Herald Are you looking to add a palm tree to your backyard plant collection? Instead of opting for the same common palm trees spotted regularly in South Florida landscapes, such as the ubiquitous sabal palm, pick a palm that truly stands out. These three palms are endemic to Cuba and have the spunk and personality that will set your backyard apart. The similar climates of South Florida and the island of Cuba make Cuban palms especially easy to grow locally. These ...

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Use Your Garden to Introduce Children to Nature

Thursday, April 19, 2012

As published in the Miami Herald The intricate pattern of a spider's web glistening with dew in the morning light, the unbridled beauty of an orchid's bloom perched high in an oak, the absolute grace of an osprey flying overhead. All are experiences that happen only in nature, and, no matter how hard we try, they cannot be faithfully reproduced by man. Nature has the power to calm, excite and inspire. The beauty of a South Florida Pineland is a sight to behold. Children clamor for...

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Growing Palms Indoors

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

As published in the Miami Herald Neither the coming of cooler weather nor the lack of a backyard should stop you from adding to your palm collection this winter. Many palms do well as indoor plants and grow slowly, so they can stay inside for years. Growing palms indoors is more challenging than outside because it is harder to match their natural environment. Despite this fact, some shade-loving palms do better indoors than outdoors. Whether planting a shade-loving Chamaedorea elegans or ...

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Chocolate Fruit for South Florida

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

As published in the Miami Herald For people who have chocolate cravings, here's a surprising source of satisfaction: the chocolate persimmon - sweet and creamy with subtle notes of chocolate flavor. Chocolate persimmon fruits have green skin and a shape like that of a tomato. The smooth-textured chocolate persimmon ( Diospyros dignya) originates in the dry forests of central Mexico. This is a different fruit than cacao, which is what chocolate comes from. Growing cacao in South...

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Fight is on against Giant African Snails

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

As published in the Miami Herald In what sounds like a headline pulled from a science fiction movie, Giant African Snails, Lissachatina fulica, have invaded South Florida. The snails can reach sizes of eight inches, but so far the largest found in Miami-Dade County has been 5 inches. This snail infestation is being taken very seriously, as this pest can damage more than 500 types of plants, as well as homes and even human health. Giant African Land Snails can be identified by the stripes ...

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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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