Garden Shoppe Spotlight: Pagoda Plant

 

By Mokkie (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Finding flowering plants for shady yards in Florida can be tricky. One of our Garden Shoppe’s newest arrivals, the pagoda plant, Clerodendrum paniculatum, will light up your Florida garden with brilliant red-orange flowers against dark green, round to heart-shaped leaves. The tubular flowers are attractive to pollinators, including hummingbirds.

It does best in part sun to light shade and needs moist soil. Leave some room as the pagoda plant, like many Clerodendrums, will produce suckers and spread across your garden and reach a height of three to five feet. Somewhat hardy, it will bounce back after a freeze, allowing it to grow in zones 8-11.

Visit our Garden Shoppe and bring home your own pagoda plant. Consider pairing it with some of the other new arrivals like Mojito elephant’s ear,  Colocasia esculenta ‘Mojito’, and Persian shield, Strobilanthes dyerianus , two plants that also prefer part sun to light shade and moist soil.

 

The Edison and Ford Winter Estates Garden Shoppe is open daily from 9-5:30. If you love plants, you’ll want to attend our semi-annual Garden Festival featuring hundreds of tropical and exotic plants, garden-themed arts and crafts, food, music and kid’s activities. The next festival is November 19-20, 2016. Click here for more information.

Dwarf Poinciana: A Garden Showstopper

Dwarf poinciana red orange yellow flower

Have you ever wanted a Royal Poinciana Tree, but in a much smaller size? Consider the Dwarf Poinciana for your next garden addition.

The Dwarf Poinciana (Caesalpinina pulcherrima) is an evergreen shrub that can be trained and pruned into a small specimen tree in frost free climate zones.

In zones 8 and 9 it can be damaged by frost, but will return in the spring and quickly re-grow.  In the tropics it is also know as Peacock Flower or Pride of Barbados and can grow up to 15 feet tall and wide. In normal garden cultivation it will grow to about 8 to 10 feet tall and wide, but tolerates pruning in order to maintain shape and form.

The foliage is very fernlike and produces many showy flower blossoms that resemble those of the Royal Poinciana tree. The flower colors vary from the common red, orange and yellow variety, an all yellow variety and another with a pinkish rose coloration.

Dwarf Poinciana Tree Shrub BushThis is a great specimen to add to your garden. The Dwarf Poinciana can also be grown in a pot or container and brought inside if there is a threat of frost or freezing temperatures.

The Edison & Ford Estates Garden Shoppe is currently selling both red and pink Dwarf Poincianas that were grown from the seeds of trees on our property. A one gallon pot is just $8, so get one of each color!

So Many Mangoes, So Little Time

mango treeIf it’s summer in southwest Florida, you’ll hear a lot of residents ask, “When will this heat end?”, “When will it stop raining?” and “What do I do with all these mangoes?”

While many of us year-round Floridians are enduring the heat and humidity, the mango trees are thriving and producing fruits. After more than 100 years of cross-breeding, resulting in numerous varieties that can ripen at different times, fresh mangoes are available from spring through fall in Florida, but July to September is peak time for fruit production.

If you have a tree near your house, you are familiar with that “Thud!” signaling another mango has fallen to the ground.  Unfortunately, many of those that fall are either under-ripe, over-ripe or suffer damage from the fall that makes them inedible. The flesh of large, under-ripe mangoes is green and can be tried in savory dishes like chutney. Or you can try one of Henry and Clara’s Fords favorite recipes for green mango pie here, although trying to make unripe fruit sweet is often tricky. Ripe mangoes are often eaten fresh or added to a refreshing summer salad. Check out our recipes for mango and black bean salad, mango smoothies, and mango salsa.

Visit our Garden Shoppe, where we sell a variety of delicious mango varieties that you can grow in your yard. Currently, we have the ‘Carrie’ and ‘Mahachanok’ varieties in stock. Both are free of the fibers common in many mango fruits. The ‘Carrie’ only reaches a height of 20 feet. The ‘Mahachanok’ fruits twice a year.

If you have too many mangoes, or don’t care for them but hate to see them go to waste, call your local food bank and ask if you can donate mangoes. Many organizations will accept fresh fruit from individuals. The Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida is one of many charities that accepts fresh mangoes.

Bromeliads Add Colorhttps://efwefla.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/photo.jpg?w=225

Edison & Ford Winter Estates' Blog

Neoreglia 'Tres Colores'  Neoreglia ‘Tres Colores’

We disassembled our fabulous Bromelaid Christmas Tree for Holiday Nights at the Edison Ford Winter Estates-we now have planted them throughout the gardens.  The Neoreglias are a perfect ground cover for a semi-shaded spot adding a pop of color.  They will produce ‘pups’ or offsets to continue filling in an area.  There are many other bromeliads popular for the home gardener including the edible pineapples, and epiphytic tillandsias commonly called air plants.  Our Garden Shoppe, open everyday 9-5:30and we have them now

Buy One Get One Free.

photo

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Bromeliads Add Colorhttps://efwefla.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/photo.jpg?w=225

Edison & Ford Winter Estates' Blog

Neoreglia 'Tres Colores'  Neoreglia ‘Tres Colores’

We disassembled our fabulous Bromelaid Christmas Tree for Holiday Nights at the Edison Ford Winter Estates-we now have planted them throughout the gardens.  The Neoreglias are a perfect ground cover for a semi-shaded spot adding a pop of color.  They will produce ‘pups’ or offsets to continue filling in an area.  There are many other bromeliads popular for the home gardener including the edible pineapples, and epiphytic tillandsias commonly called air plants.  Our Garden Shoppe, open everyday 9-5:30and we have them now

Buy One Get One Free.

photo

View original post

Did you know sausages grow on trees?

Do sausages grow on trees? The Sausage Trees at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates have some growing now.

The sausages growing on our trees really aren’t sausages after all. They are actually just the fruit or seed pod formed by the Kigelia Africana, commonly known as the Sausage Tree.

Sausage Tree painting by Megan Kissinger - available in the Museum Store

The brownish colored woody fruit is very fibrous and inedible, however, in the tree’s native habitat the fruit is often eaten by animals such as: Baboons, Giraffes, Elephants, Monkeys and Hippopotami. The mature fruits can reach a length of two feet long and weigh nearly fifteen pounds.

Before the tree bears the sausage-like fruit, the tree blossoms with hundreds of large, four to five inch maroon trumpet shape flowers born on long pendulous stalks. The flowers are pollinated at night in the tree’s native land by nectar seeking bats, but the lack of these bats here in Florida results in very few flowers getting pollinated and thus, very few of the sausage like fruits are formed.

The tree is native to tropical areas of Africa and is a member of the Bignoniaceae family of flowering plants. The Sausage Trees is a medium to large size tree, ranging in height from thirty to fifty feet.

The tree grows in tropical and sub-tropical climates and can stand some frost and temperatures down to 28 degrees. The tree does well here in Southern Florida and makes a great shade or specimen tree for your landscape.

The sausage tree behind the ticket office is bearing sausages now.

If you are interested in learning more about the sausage tree or would like to buy one of your own, visit the Estates Garden Shoppe and let one of our horticulturists assist you.

New Staghorn Fern Joins Edison Ford Family

Our horticulturists recently went to Naples to pick up a donated stag horn fern. The plant was donated by the family of Kenneth and Ruth Ann Bruce and had been in their yard for well over thirty years. They are relocating and wanted the stag horn fern to have a great home here at the Edison Ford.

Thanks for the donation – we are happy to add a new member to our family!