Summer's colors are starting to appear

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Monarchs sipping nectar from
red pentas.

As spring slides into summer, Florida is returning to “normal.” Lots of flowers are returning: some briefly, such as the lovely blue-purple blossoms on the jacaranda trees and the spring-flowering amaryllis; others for the duration, such as the shrimp plants, the  tropical group of acanths, including shrimp plant and cardinal’s guard. The butterfly garden has been up and running for some time, full of monarchs and zebra longwings and the occasional Polydamas swallowtail.

Jacaranda cuspidifolia is in full flower.

The Jacaranda cuspidifolia near the Bailey Palm Glade is quite full of flowers now. It’s from dry savannas of Brazil and Argentina, and Mary Collins, Senior Horticulturist, says its flowers are larger than the Jacaranda mimosifolia that is usually seen in South Florida. Its fallen flowers beautifully litter the bench and grass beneath it.

Near the veitchias in the palmetum, beach sunflowers are shining brightly. Not very far away is the shrimp plant called Fruit Salad, which offers a gentle combination of light green bracts and rose-pink flowers.The “regular” golden shrimp is full

This is the shrimp plant
called Fruit Salad.

of itself wherever it resides.

The golden shrimp, in my experience, likes pruning in late winter to develop those tall yellow bracts and white flowers. (I grow it with plumbago, and like the way the blue and yellow complement each other.)

Phalaenopsis orchids are late to appear this year due to the long cold spell in January, but you’ll find them beautifully displayed in the Conservatory now. The bat plant, Tacca chantrieri, is flowering now as well, and worth a sojourn into the Conservatory if you’ve never seen one.