Orchid alert

Monday, December 2, 2013

Over the past week, we have noticed some disturbing signs in our orchid houses. The phragmepidiums and paphiopedilums have more yellowing leaves than usual, and the cattleyas and even the phalaenopsis orchids have some scale. Oncidiums and some cattleyas bulbs are showing some brown, soft tissue at the base signifying rot. This is the result of the weather, which has been rainy and humid while the light has turned the corner and become less intense winter light. Without good air circulation ...

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The latest fall (orchid) fashion on display

Friday, November 15, 2013

Have I been sleepwalking through recent orchid shows or have I just overlooked what is happening to Phalaenopsis orchids these days? At the Fall Orchid Festival now underway, I reignited my appreciation for these orchids. The show is in the Lakeside Marquee Tent, and tabletop displays are fashioned into islands of glorious flowers. A Phalaenopsis hybrid that shows off thelatest breeding trends. Phalaenopsis orchids have become America's favorite pot plant. Maybe because they are sold ...

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What's in a Name?? DNA has the answer

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Vanda orchids have been put under the DNA microscope and new names continue to appear while old names disappear. Here are some changes that may be adopted when volume 6 of Genera Orchidacearum is published next year. The changes were approved by the Royal Horticulture Society's Orchid Hybrid Registration Group. If you Google "Orchid Review Supplement," you will find the RHS listing of new hybrids as well as the latest list of recent taxonomic changes. Another Web source for...

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Keeping Things in Check

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Last Sunday, during our 73rd Annual Ramble Festival, a great egret (Ardea alba) was seen walking around the plant sales area, probably looking for plants to purchase. It was, as the British birders say, "confiding," and allowed photographers to get close before flapping away. I saw it again yesterday (Monday). I'm not sure it is the same individual, but it is still the same species. It was walking among our plantings with those wide black feet so carefully stepping like they do. Its neck ...

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Carnivorous Plants Invade The Ramble

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Carnivorous plants are a fascinating lot. I remember as a very young kid wanting my mother to buy me the plants I saw with her at the grocery store. I don't know why, but I just wanted them. When I saw my first Venus flytrap, I was enthralled. Of course I killed it quickly. Venus flytraps, Dionaea muscipula, grow naturally in the wetlands of the Carolinas and other eastern coastal states. It's by far the most commonly encountered carnivorous plant in cultivation, and you can find...

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Color in the Sky

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Cotton candy pink, the floss-silk treeis emblematic of the season. Two flowering trees are to October/November as poinsettias are to the Christmas holidays. They are the pink-flowering Ceiba speciosa (formerly Chorisia speciosa), floss silk tree, and the orange-flowering Colvillea racemosa, Colville's glory. On days when the sky is brilliantly blue, the flowers of these trees can make your heart soar. The Garden's showiest Ceiba speciosa, just to the north of the allee, has a broad,...

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Looking good enough to eat

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Colorful cauliflower bringeye-appeal to the raised bed. The Edible Garden Festival is underway. What could make you want to Dragon fruit are borne bycacti. plant a vegetable garden more than the enthusiasm that is on display here -- unless it is the marvelous color of the fruits and veggies themselves? Garden demonstrations, cooking demonstrations and earth learning workshops are going on simultaneously today and will continue Sunday. Jams, jellies, local honey, herbs, the Garden's ...

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Of Migratory Warblers and Resident Turtles

Friday, October 25, 2013

I just always find something new around the Garden. Same is true for my own garden, but it's quite a bit smaller than Fairchild. Nevertheless, last Wednesday I was hunting for mushrooms and lichen to photograph along the mulch path of the Allee (which, by the way, is defined as a walkway lined with trees or shrubs). Instead, I looked up and spotted a turtle. South Florida lakes have a ton of turtles, but it's not so often I see any box turtles. Terrapene carolina bauri is the Florida...

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A tree that is 'elegantly upholstered'

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

It sometimes is called the devil tree. But in her book Tropical & Subtropical Trees, An Encyclopedia, Margaret Barwick's description of the October flowers makes it sound quite heavenly: "the deep green canopy is elegantly upholstered with large posies of greenish white slender-tubed blooms that are held rigidly erect in downy, long-stemmed, compact, heads that come from the axils of the leaves." It is Alstonia scholaris, and you should rush to see it. Its home range extends...

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A perfect tree!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Eugenia confusa, redberry stopper, is native to South Florida, the Keys and the West Indies. It is considered endangered in Florida. Redberry stopper is an evergreen small tree or large shrub which slowly grows to about 20 feet and can serve many purposes in the landscape. The opposite leaves with interesting, elongated drip tips, emerge reddish turning a medium green several weeks later. The straight trunk is covered by distinctive finely divided bark. The canopy remains dense, even in ...

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