Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fuschias in Florida

It used to be in Florida that fuschias were a winter annual. Not anymore.  Proven Winners has a summer fuschia called Shadow Dancer that will survive our temperate climate.  Shadow Dancer® fuschias should be grown in simliar shade and moisture conditions like impatiens.  It will be interesting to see if they will survive for several seasons like impatiens as well.

Great for patio hanging baskets and sunny windows indoors, these summertime fuschias will need watering on a regular basis. I'm keeping mine on my eastern kitchen window.

No need to deadhead but removing the flowers will keep the plant from going to seed. If I plant them outside I wonder if I will see volunteers?

The Shadow Dancer® series have girly names like Betty, Marcia, Violette, Peggy, Yolanda, Carlotta, and one boys name, Gene.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pyranees Campanula Bellflower

Pyranean bellflower, Campanula speciosa is native to the Spanish Pyranees. Learn more about this beautiful endemic spring-blooming perennial that can handle the mountains' altitude at 5,000' feet above sea level. See more here.

Pyrenean Bellflower Jigsaw PuzzlePyrenean Bellflower Jigsaw Puzzle

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Gardenias in Your Backyard

The fragrant beauty of the South, gardenias are commonly seen in Florida landscapes. Also known as cape jasmine, the gardenia augusta are native to southern China, Japan, and Taiwan. They are considered often for use in the yards for their outstanding white flowers, fragrance, and deep green foliage.  They can be grown as standards (see photo),  large shrubs, and as groundcovers with the gardenia radicans.

Gardenias can be easy to grow in the right conditions or persnickety and sickly looking with neglect.  They can be grown in shade, or morning sun and afternoon shade. Gardenias are acid-loving plants, so provide  acidic soil of 5.0 pH, and rich organic soil that is well drained. Consistant (not too much) watering is important because gardenias do not like extreme fluctuations in care. Fertilize gardenias with azalea slow-release fertilizers.

When stressed, gardenias are susceptible to many pest problems, such as white flies and nutritional deficiencies.

But don't let that hold you back from planting this traditional Southern gem.  If you have the right conditions, the gardenia makes a wonderful hedge, a cutting garden flower, or a night-time star in your garden.

For more information on specific pest problems and propagation:

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Citrus Tree Leaves Are Curling


My lemon and grapefruit leaves are curling and it looks like a snake design on the leaves.  Could you tell me what this could be.  Thank you.

The squiggly lines and curled leaves are an indication that your citrus trees have had a visit from citrus leafminers. Now... once you see the damage, the moth has laid its eggs, the larvae have hatched and are gone and there's no reason to use a chemical. There are parasitoid biological controls in Florida.

Leafminers like new tender foliage. It doesn't hurt the citrus tree or the fruit but can be a problem for young trees trying to leaf out. As your citrus trees get new leaves, you can spray with Bayer Advanced Fruit, Citrus, and Vegetable Insect Control.  It provides from one to three months of protection from the insects. Follow the instruction label to make sure that you have the best effectiveness.

Make sure you're fertilizing your citrus on a consistant basis every three to four months with a balanced fertilizer with micro nutrients.

Leafminers can also attack ornamental plants and vegetables. Make sure that the insecticide you use is certified for home use and edible landscaping.

Irrigation NIghtmares

Green certifier, Tracy DeCarlo has written a two part series on efficient irrigation called "Irrigation Nightmares."  Old or inefficient irrigation systems can be a nightmare and expensive with high water bills and a stressed landscape. Learn how Tracy's personal experiences fixing her own irrigation system taught her to be a savvy consumer.

Irrigation Nightmare Part 1.
Irrigation Nightmare Part 2.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Mother's Day In Her Backyard

What should you get your Mom for Mother's Day this Sunday?  Depending on her lifestyle, she may need a little help around her backyard. 

Here's some great ideas that I know Moms around the country would love:
  • Provide the fruits of your labor and materials to install a small garden bed for flowers, vegetables, or herbs.
  • Bring sunshine into her life. Prune back overgrown hedges and shrubs.
  • Instead of cut flowers, give her a gift certificate to a rose or flower catalog and have her pick out her favorite flowers so she can enjoy flowers all year round.
  • Give Mom a world of butterflies by giving her butterfly nectar or larvae host plants.
  • Dishing out a container of wonderful herbs for cooking her favorite recipes.
  • Check out and calibrate or fix her irrigation system so Mom doesn't have high water bills.
  • Reduce the amount of turf that Mom has to mow by planting more shrubs and flowers.
  • Plant a flowering tree that has fragrance.
  • Gardening gloves, sun protectant, hand moisturizer, and a beautiful hat to wear outdoors in the sun.
We'll be talking about more ideas on "In Your Backyard."  Call in and tell me what you're getting your favorite Mom for Mother's Day.