Caring for holiday gift plants

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Holiday plants are a common gift or token of appreciation for party hosts this time of year. A colorful foil-wrapped pot with a perfect poinsettia in bloom is classically holiday in spirit. But like so many other gift plants — bromeliads, orchids, tiny Norfolk pines — they tend to sit ignored, only to die and be discarded.

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This beguiling but invasive plant can kill

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A common invasive in the Southeast and across the tropics, rosary pea (Abrus precatorius) has been a pest in Florida for some time. It particularly likes to invade our rare pine rocklands, but it seems to be able to grow almost anywhere around the region.

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The right garden will draw painted buntings

Saturday, December 7, 2013

I will never forget the first time that I saw them. They were almost too colorful to be believed! My jaw dropped with amazement at the vision before me. Here was a small bird with an iridescent violet-blue head, green back and cherry-red chest and underbelly.

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Beware the invasive pongam tree

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Once upon a time, a seed sprouted in the corner of a suburban yard. The seedling grew and grew. Soon it overtook all of its neighboring plants and trees as they reached for the sun, competing for its life-giving light.

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Overlooked and forgotten palms that deserve a second look

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Palm enthusiasts and collectors choose their favorite palm with an array of criteria. Some pick it based on looks alone; the red lipstick palm (Cyrtostachys renda) is coveted because of its stately red trunk.

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Passion Fruit

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Passion fruit, Passiflora edulis, is definitely a showstopper when it comes to tropical plants, and its aromatic fruit and beautiful flowers will ignite your horticultural passion. The passion fruit, unlike most tropical fruits, is not a tree but instead a climbing vine. This vine is multifunctional, providing fruit and habitat for some of South Florida’s most handsome butterflies, including the Zebra Longwing, Heliconius charitonius....

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Redberry stopper is a trouble-free native for small spaces

Sunday, October 27, 2013

If you are even slightly interested in native plants, you have heard of (and smelled) white stopper. It gives off a wonderfully musky scent, slightly reminiscent of skunk, but not offensive.

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Rose Apple: An Arc of Bells

Saturday, October 26, 2013

In Florida we have a unique opportunity to create an edible landscape we can enjoy year round. Fruit trees are an essential part of any edible garden. However, a tree may not always be possible or functional in all yards. The Rose Apple provides a unique ability to have a fruit tree with out having a traditional tree that would take up a lot of space, offering a bounty of fruit in the fall and spring....


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Snakes in the garden

Sunday, October 20, 2013

As published in the Miami Herald What wild things dwell in that uncultivated, unkempt portion of your yard? You know the area I’m talking about — the one where you occasionally dump leaves or hastily pulled weeds, rather than walk around to the compost bin.

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The History of Mangos in South Florida

Sunday, October 13, 2013

It has been more than 200 years since mangos arrived in South Florida. Before 1900, only seedling mangos of turpentine were grown. Mangos arrived to South Florida when the pirates were surrounding Florida's coasts, navigating tempestuous waters from Fort Myers down to Sanibel and Captiva Islands, south to Naples and east to the coveted Keys.  The pirates carryed mango seeds, that for generations had made this peninsula their home.....

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