The baobab and the moth

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Adansonia za flower, pollinated by a hawkmoth It's hard to understand how the flowers of two baobab trees could be so different, yet the white flowers of Adansonia digitata look (and smell) nothing like the solitary flowers of Adansonia za, which are quite a beautiful yellow with red on the interior of the petals. The A. za is flowering now just across the tram path from the Madagascar spiny forest exhibit, and even those on the ground are sweet smelling. Flowers resemble those of...

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Where to take injured, orphaned wildlife

Thursday, July 26, 2012

It's baby squirrel season, and at the South Florida Wildlife Center in Fort Lauderdale, babies from one to three weeks old are being hand fed every three hours. Eyes shut, toes splayed and tiny tummies filling, the babies in the nursery are among the 13,000 animals taken to the Center every year. Each baby squirrel has a dot of toxin-free nail polish on his/her head so volunteers can keep track of who has eaten, who has burped or who has diarrhea. After being fed and stroked so...

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Butterflies and milkweed

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Scarlet milkweed, Asclepias curassavica, is a perennial sub-shrub from South America, yet because the caterpillars of Monarch and Queen butterflies are always chewing on the plants, they are sometimes even less than annual in my butterfly gardens. The leggy plants are about 2 to 3 feet tall with umbels of bright red/orange or yellow flowers. I've grown them in two different areas: on the east side of the house in a butterfly/bird garden without irrigation, and on the southwest side of the...

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Mango favorites from the tasting room

Monday, July 16, 2012

After computing hundreds of votes, our Special Events department reports that the mangos with the most flavor appeal are these: First Place: Kent Second Place: Mallika Third Place: Beverly Close Fourth Place: Duncan So why didn't Nam Doc Mai garner any ribbons? I think we should hold this thing over again....

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Celebrating the mango at Fairchild

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Talking about mangos in the Garden House at the 20th annual mango fest. There is only one International Mango Festival in the world. And the 20th annual festival at Fairchild proved once more that this fruit is prized above all others in the tropical world. An hour after the festival opened, the line for the tasting room stretched around the back of the Corbin building to the allee. Inside, Mallika from India and Nam Doc Mai from Thailand were running neck and neck as taste treats. Rating ...

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Orange you glad it's a native?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

First it was in, then it was out, and then it was in again. The Geiger tree (Cordia sebestena) has been Bold orange flowers of Cordia sebestena. the subject of debate among people devoted to natives: is it or isn't it? All along, however, this orange-flowering small tree has been minding its own business, attracting butterflies and hummingbirds; growing its sand-papery leaves with aplomb, and finding its way onto more street plantings, as well it should. It flourishes throughout the West...

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A shrub to please you and the critters

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Pineland strongbark is attractive and fragrant. Small white flowers that occur in clusters of two or three or four and bright orange fruit are the attractions of smooth strongback or pineland strongbark, Bourreria cassinifolia. It is a small-leafed shrub that is pleasing to the eye, good for wildlife and easy to grow. Summer is its time to shine, as it is sprinkled with dots of fragrant white flowers that twinkle like little stars. A native to Miami-Dade and Monroe counties as well as the...

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A mighty worm was he

Friday, June 29, 2012

Giant Swallowtail caterpillar. A lime prickly ash, or wild lime, (Zanthoxylum fagara) has been given a home near some native plants in my back yard, joining a large sabal palm, wild coffee, Florida gama grass, beach verbena, locustberry, firebush, Mexican alvaradoa, coonties and milkweeds. The lime still is quite small, yet a Giant Swallowtail somehow found it. Some weeks ago, there were three orange dogs (Giant Swallowtail larvae) on the little tree. One by one, they disappeared, but the ...

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Dwarf gingers dance in the shade

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Globba winitii,red leaf form. Rain, humidity and heat are just what gingers love, and one genus especially is adding a small but delightful presence in the garden. Globba is a dwarf ginger that comes from Thailand and has an unusual inflorescence. Globba winitii, usually called a dancing lady, develops a long pendant stalk of flowers that emerge from the terminus of the leaves. The stamen arches up over the rest of the small yellow flower structure. I have a maroon leaf form that produces...

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Tale of a tail flower

Friday, June 15, 2012

This Anthurium cultivar has theappropriate name 'Red Hot'. Anthurium, a genus in the Araceae (aroid) family, translates as "tail flower" because the spadix resembles a mouse's tail. Anthurium andraeanum is the species with the brilliantly colored spathe and often-colorful spadix, sometimes called flamingo flower. It is high flowering season for this wonderful species. But then, it's high flowering season for most anthuriums, and even those grown for their foliage often...

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