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Nature's design

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The lotus seed pod 34 days after the flower opened....

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Late summer stories

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

It was not your imagination. In August, the National Weather Service recorded 21 days of light rain and 11 days of thunderstorms. We sweltered in heat that averaged 1.5 degrees above normal, but our maximum highs were 2 degrees above normal. We may be worn to a frazzle, but outside, the plants are growing like gangbusters. Even the new croton leaves are gigantic as a result. Golden mokara. Rainbows of mokaras are sparkling throughout Rosey mokara. my garden, pleased as punch with the rain ...

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The Art of Claude and Francois-Xavier Lalanne is coming to Fairchild

Thursday, September 9, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FAIRCHILD TROPICAL BOTANIC GARDEN TO PRESENTU.S.'s LARGEST OUTDOOR EXHIBITION OF CLAUDE AND FRANCOIS-XAVIER LALANNE On View At Fairchild November 30, 2010 through May 31, 2011During Art Basel Miami Beach 2010 Works Never Before Publicly Exhibited In The U.S. To Be ShownIn Artists' Largest U.S. Exhibition To Date September 10, 2010 (Miami, FL) - This winter, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, will present the U.S.'s largest outdoor exhibition...

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History of Members' Day Plant Sale

Friday, September 10, 2010

In 1939, Fairchild Tropical Garden had the first Members' Plant Distribution. To quote David Fairchild from the first list of plants: "In accordance with our policy to grow and distribute plants and palms which are more or less rare in this section, we have now on hand and ready for distribution a limited quantity of plants, a list of which is attached herewith. Small plants are ready for delivery to members only at the Garden, not more than a total of three plants are available for any ...

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Plant Countdown to the Members' Day Plant Sale - Day 1

Friday, September 10, 2010

We will have some wonderful plants available for the 72nd Annual Members' Day Plant Sale on October 2. The entire article about the sale is here. Muhlenbergia capillaris, muhly grass, is a native clumping species 18 to 36 inches tall and wide. One of our most ornamental native grasses, it produces beautiful cloud-like pinkish-purple plumes during the fall months. When not in bloom, its airy texture fits nicely into any landscape or garden. We have found that grasses go nicely when planted ...

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Surprise!

Friday, September 10, 2010

When you root a cutting outside, you never knowwhat's going to join in the fun....

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For The Love Of Mangos - Hawaii

Friday, September 10, 2010

At first bite I knew it was something special, this little mango with red and yellow highlights. The flavor was off the charts, a combination of berry and spice and the deep sweetness of the tropical sun. I learned that it was from Hawaii, selected decades ago upon the lava shores of our 50th state. And now I travel to Hawaii to learn first hand about the island and its people, the agriculture and hopefully their passion for the mango. I travel with Leila Wailani Werner, our own native ...

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Plant Countdown to Members' Day Plant Sale - Day 2

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Guaiacum officinale, native to continental Tropical America and the West Indies, is known as lignum vitae or tree of life. This species, although not native to Florida, is similar to our native Guaiacum sanctum. It will grow faster than our native species, eventually developing into a beautiful flowering tree to 20 feet tall with gorgeous mottled green trunks. Lovely blue to pale blue flowers appear in spring to summer, followed by orange-yellow fruit. Birds love the seeds. Grow in full sun ...

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Plant Countdown to Members' Day Plant Sale - Day 3

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Jacaranda caerulea is native to the Bahamas. It is a smaller tree than the more commonly grown Jacaranda mimosaefolia and with more bold, shiny foliage. It is one of the most attractive ornamental trees native to the Bahamas with its panicles of blue-violet flowers appearing throughout late spring and summer. The crown is more narrow and upright than the more common Jacaranda, making it a great choice for small yards. This species prefers a sunny location and thrives in the soils of south...

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Plant Countdown to Members' Day Plant Sale - Day 4

Monday, September 13, 2010

Brunfelsia plicata is a small, erect eight-foot shrub endemic to Jamaica. The sturdy, dark green leaves make a good background for the showy, white flowers. Appearing in profusion several times during the year, they waft forth a spicy, clove-like fragrance at dusk. Stems tend to be upright, but the uppermost ends of the branches cascade down, giving the plant a vase-like shape. Grow it where it will receive morning sun and afternoon shade. (May be seen in Fairchild in plots 52 and 27.)...

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Plant Countdown to Members' Day Plant Sale - Day 5

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Senna mexicana var. chapmanii, known as Bahama senna, is native to South Florida, the Bahamas and Cuba. It is a small shrub to 6 feet tall with yellow flowers nearly all year. Bahama senna is a larval host plant for several butterflies, including the orange-barred sulphur, sleepy orange sulphur and cloudless sulphur. It grows best in full sun to light shade. Bahama senna is a wonderful choice for all butterfly gardens. We have examples of this species growing in our butterfly garden....

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Fruits and Flowers of Fall

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Native bitterbush. Our light is changing ever so slowly, and walking around Fairchild this morning, I noticed the abundance of fruit that also marks a seasonal change. Bitterbush female trees are loaded with beautiful red berries. Bitterbush is a lovely small tree of the Miami-Dade County hammocks that grows in the West Indies and northern South America as well. The compound leaves are pointed and pretty. Bitterbush trees are usually dioecious, with male and female flowers occurring on ...

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Plant Countdown to Members' Day Plant Sale - Day 6

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Nashia inaguensis, commonly called Moujean tea, is a shrub to 8 feet tall native to the Bahamas. It is much branched, with tiny leaves that are aromatic when crushed. The young stems are red, becoming gray-brown. The tiny, fragrant white flowers are followed by small orange fruits nestled among the glossy leaves. We have found that the Atala butterflies and many others find Moujean tea hard to resist when in bloom. Grow in full sun. It is very drought tolerant once established. (May be seen ...

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A Special Class for Those Wishing to Attend Members' Day Plant Sale

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

PRIVATE TOUR AND TALK ABOUT PLANTS FOR MEMBERS' DAYMarilyn Griffiths Be one of the 20 lucky Fairchild members on this special after-hours tour (wine and tramette shuttle service provided). Need plants for your garden? Planning to attend the Members' Day Plant Sale on October 2nd? Not really sure what plants to buy? Join Fairchild's Marilyn Griffiths on a one-of-a-kind pre-sale tour where you will learn more about the plants being offered. This tour will take you on a journey...

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Plant Countdown to Members' Day Plant Sale - Day 7

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Morus nigra, black mulberry, produces a delicious, sweet, black mulberry. The ones we are offering to members is an ever-bearing, many-branched shrub. Cutting back the plants will encourage flowering and fruit soon develop. The colorful fruits are first green, turn red and then ripen to shiny black. Birds will also be attracted to the fruit. The heaviest crop of fruit appears in the spring, but if you desire fruit at other times of the year, just prune it back and flowers, then fruit will ...

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Getting Started Hawaiian Style

Thursday, September 16, 2010

We arrived on Oahu Island at night, rented a car and drove about 20 minutes to the east to Leila's Werner's sister's homee. Leila is a native Hawaiian and a member of the Fairchild Tropical Fruit program. I was tired from the long flight, but enjoyed what little of the Hawaiian night I saw. In the morning, Katy, Leila's sister, made a breakfast of papaya, pineapple and guava jelly - from her backyard. I also noticed she had many mango chutney jars on the counter. She said...

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Plant Countdown to Members' Day Plant Sale - Day 8

Friday, September 17, 2010

Myrciaria vexator is one of Dr. David Fairchild's introductions. Native to the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica, this small tree is sometimes known as blue grape or false jaboticaba. This species becomes a beautiful small tree with trunks and stems having smooth, brown bark which peels off to reveal a cream-colored inner layer. The round, grape-sized fruits have a thick skin over sweet pulp similar to jaboticaba and tastes somewhat like sweet grapes. Fruits are borne in late fall or early...

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Visiting the Urban Garden and Poamoho Mango Farm

Friday, September 17, 2010

Today I am hoping to have my first Hawaiian mango. We are driving to meet Frank Suiso who will take us to the mango growers in Oahu. The sea breezes blow across Oahu Island making our drive quite comfortable. Some of the views remind me of Tairona Island in Colombia in the Pacific Ocean. In fact, I felt particularly at home among the coconuts lining the coast. We have our first stop at the Urban Garden Center that has 30 acres in the middle of Pearl City. Jayme Grzebik speaks to us about ...

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The Manini Mango and the Botanic Garden

Friday, September 17, 2010

Ho`omaluhia Botanical Garden the "peaceful refuge" Strolling or driving through these lush four hundred acres in windward Oahu, I see that they are very well named as the "peaceful refuge". It has been open since 1982 and has many of the old trees in the city. Ho'omaluhia is one of the five parks of the Honolulu Botanical Gardens. At Honolulu Botanical Garden I was looking for the oldest mango trees on the island. The exact date of the first introduction of mangos into...

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Oh, those wild aroids!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

This weekend the Garden House is bursting with color and weirdly shaped leaves as the show and sale of the International Aroid Society has become a treasure chest of new plants. Pride of Sumatra. Aglaonemas and caladiums are filling the house with beautiful reds, pinks, sunset oranges, and hot pinks. The colors are coming from Thailand, where plant breeders have been ramping up the visuals for some time. Aglaonema Pride of Sumatra is a beautiful example of this. Another is the long, ...

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Fairchild’s Annual Members Day Plant Sale October 2

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Coral Gables, FL, September 20, 2010- Distribution of rare, unusual plants to Fairchild members has had a long, rich tradition in South Florida. In 1939, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden had the first Members Plant Distribution. Today, much like 72 years ago, Fairchild's Member's Day Plant Sale is a wonderful opportunity for its members to purchase plants that are carefully selected and chosen for their color, rarity, beauty and interest by Fairchild's horticulture...

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Wild Mangos and Jackfruit

Monday, September 20, 2010

Today we visited Frankie Sekia's Nursery. Frankie is a long-time friend of Fairchild Garden. Frankie's nursery has developed a reputation for unusual products and exotic fruit. Frankie and his lovely wife live in Waimanalo. His place is located in a delightful location surrounded by high vertical cliffs that appear to melt into the clouds. Frankie is a third-generation Hawaiian resident of pure Japanese heritage. He attended the University of Hawaii and graduated as a Business...

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Plant Countdown to Members' Day Plant Sale - Day 9

Monday, September 20, 2010

Chosen as one of the 2007 Fairchild Plants of the Year, Clusia lanceolata is a delightful shrub or small tree 8-10' tall from the sandy coastal regions of Brazil known as "restingas". It was introduced to South Florida by noted USDA researcher and Fairchild Research Associate Alan Meerow. The white, waxy 6-petaled flowers have a distinctive ring of wine-red markings around the center. These 2-inch wide flowers appear all year. The distinctive fruits are round and crowned with a circle of ...

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Jackfruit, in David Fairchild's words

Monday, September 20, 2010

Jackfruit Just outside the Tropical Fruit Pavilion, a jackfruit tree has a goodly number of enormous fruit still attached to its trunk. It's worth seeking out just to marvel at the size of the fruit. In his book Exploring for Plants, David Fairchild tells of finding jackfruit the "universal" fruit of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) markets in the mid-1920s. In the past, he said, he had found it rather strong. When his host in Ceylon, Andreas Nell, boasted of the superior qualities of a "honey jack,''...

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Bird Day Takes Flight on October 3rd at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bird Day Takes Flight on October 3rd at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Coral Gables, FL, September 28, 2010-Tens of thousands of birds have just arrived in South Florida as part of the annual fall migration. To celebrate, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is inviting everyone to join in the fun at its annual Bird Day on Sunday, October 3. In partnership with the Tropical Audubon Society, Fairchild is gathering the most talented bird experts, photographers, artists, and gardeners for an...

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The Big Island

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Today we flew to the Big Island and stayed in Hilo. Hilo gets between 130 and 300 inches of rain a year depending on your elevation, and I can already feel the humidity. This is definitely not a good place to grow mangos. This island has a different character than Oahu. The mountains in Oahu raise suddenly from the ocean; but on the Big Island the volcanoes raise smoothly and you don't even feel the change of altitude. Hilo is a historic city, with old buildings and numerous historical...

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Mark Bittman to Appear at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Coral Gables, FL, September 21, 2010-Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and Books & Books will present a reading and book signing with bestselling author, Mark Bittman on Wednesday, October 6 at 6:00 p.m. at Fairchild. Bittman's New York Times bestseller Food Matters sounded the alarm about our unsustainable eating habits and their effects on our health and the environment. In his much-anticipated follow-up, The Food Matters Cookbook: 500 revolutionary Recipes for Bettter Living, he...

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Plant it Hawaii

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Our first appointment of the day was to visit Bob Hamilton the owner of Plant it Hawaii located in Kurtistown a few miles from Hilo. Bob and his wife have been farming in this area since 1979. Their main crops are rambutan, longan and lychee. At the moment, the Hamiltons are busy picking their rambutans. Rambutan is a colorful crop and delicious fruit. I have good memories of Guatemala and Thailand where I had the opportunity to take pictures of and to pick rambutans ready to eat. Bob has...

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Mangos in Punaluu

Thursday, September 23, 2010

By Noris Ledesma

Before going to Kona, we stopped by the fruit market in Hilo. Ginger flowers and all manner of greens dominated the market. They had some of the local mangos which I was happy to find, along with fresh rambutans and mangostens. It was a nice place for breads and local jellies. We purchased some breads, fruits, green papaya salad and coffee for our trip. We drove over the mountains along the south coast and up slopes of the island's volcano. This lovely formation is part of the Hawaii...

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The Cacao Farm and Waimea

Friday, September 24, 2010

By Noris Ledesma

When I travel, I use my expeditions to learn what is happening with tropical fruits all over the word. Cacao has long been an interest to me. Fairchild's International Chocolate Festival is gaining more popularity each year, and the Fruit Program is becoming more involved in this event. We visited The Hawaiian Chocolate Company in Kalilua Kona to learn more about cacao. They offer tours every day and they are part of the program for cruise ships when they make port in the island. Cacao,...

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