Why I Plant Densely

Crowding your plants closely together is bad, right?  Not if you're gardening "tropical where its not so tropical"!  Planting densely not only creates a lush impression of a rainforest, it also adds protection from frost, cools the soil, shielding it from the evaporating sun, and creates a haven for wildlife.  Here's why I densely plant my garden.

Wordless Wednesday: Fall in Florida

I just got back from my parent's garden, AKA The Rainforest Garden!  I love my balcony, but I'm incredibly grateful to my parents for allowing me to create a jungle in their yard, and I'm also very thankful that I get to use their DSLR camera.  Sure beats the cell phone!

Garden Shopping at the Riverside Arts Market

Every Saturday the city of Jacksonville puts on a big market with lots of vendors, mostly artists and crafters.  Of course my favorite booths are the ones dealing in plants and produce!  No one week has the same lineup of vendors, but you're likely to stumble across anything from orchids, to hanging baskets, to herbs, to pitcher plants, and even hypertufa pots!

Extremely Unusual Plants at the Orchtoberfest

What do you get when you mix German Food and lots of orchids, and wrap it up in October's wonderful weather?  Orchtoberfest!  Every year EFG Orchids opens their magical greenhouses to the public so you can wander amongst their many rare and unusual tropical epiphytes.  This warranted a road trip!

Fiscus Palm, Anyone?

Every now and then I make the trip to Whole Foods to see if they have any tropical fruit to harvest seeds from.  Well, they didn't have much in the way of unique fruit, but they did have a palm I had never seen before, by the name of... "Fiscus Palm"?

Drought and Songbirds

I started the day miserably with a headache, but thankfully still decided to forge ahead to my mom's and play in the garden.  On the way I even redeemed my rewards card at Ace Hardware to buy some herbs, but upon arriving at the house I realized that my plants were dying from the drought.  That's the problem with living 40 minutes away from your garden.  Things die and there's nothing you can do about it.

How NOT To Prune a Crepe Myrtle

I don't care what anyone else tells you, hacking a crape myrtle to stumps every year is wrong.  It produces unhealthy and weak branches, weakens the tree, lets in disease and stresses the tree, compounding any other issues further.  From an aesthetic standpoint, it also ruins the tree's naturally graceful form.

Carrion Flower For Halloween

If you want to go with a creepy plant theme this year, gross those kids (and adults) out with carrion flower!  It blooms through the end of October, starting out as puffy and swollen buds that unfurl into huge platter sized flowers shaped like starfish with a fleshy and hairy texture and the barely noticeable scent of rotting flesh, only apparent when holding your nose up to it.

Beach Combing For Gardeners

The beach has long been my second favorite place, next to the garden of course!  Its there that everything becomes clear and simple, and beach-combing helps me focus as I scan the blank canvas of the sand and shells.  A gardener can get a lot out of the seaside!  Besides the obvious gift of calm and relaxation, you can find seeds for planting, materials for your garden, and plain old inspiration.

Does This Make My Balcony Look Bigger?

If you were disappointed by the last post's lack of imagery, you're in luck.  Today I'll share the "Epiphyte Balcony" with you, along with some nifty little ideas for gardening with limited space, by utilizing shelves, organizing your supplies, and hanging mounted plants.  For example, this mounted encyclia tampensis orchid to the left that I've attached to the balcony's wall. 

What Good Are Garden Blogs?

Recently Allan Becker, Garden Guru posed the question "Are there garden experts out there that resent the abundance of horticultural advice that is posted online?", sparking a great conversation about the legitimacy of what amateur garden bloggers have to say.
This got me thinking.  Are we really taking our roles as informers seriously enough?  Read the long post and tell me what you think.

How to Make the "Gack O' Lantern"

As promised, today I'll show you how to create your own vomiting jack o' lantern using nothing more than succulents.  This is a great way to scare trick-or-treaters from your doorstep, thus saving more candy for yourself!

Is a barfing pumpkin just too gross for you?  Read on for some 'tastefully spooky' ideas that Martha Stewart would approve of.

More Inspiration From Kanapaha

Earlier I focused on the Kanapaha fall plant sale, but today I'll focus on the gardens themselves.  Here are some of my favorite areas, such as the entrance garden, ginger garden, rock garden, fern cobble, and a few mini gardens throughout.  I know many of you will never visit, but I've learned a lot just by which plants make it through their winters.

Wordless Wednesday: "Gack O' Lantern"

Read more in this Sunday's issue of the Tampa Tribune, and stay tuned for my how-to post on Friday!  I hope you're all "feeling well" this Halloween, and don't eat too much candy or else... you know. 

Epiphyte Inspiration From Kanapaha

Since you all had horrible excuses for not visiting Kanapaha this weekend, and I am kidding by the way, I'll treat you to some inspiring photos and ideas brought to you by the innovative vendors and the local chapter of the American Orchid Society, since there was also a stunning orchid show!

Plant Profile: Firecracker Plant

What more could you ask for in a plant if not for evergreen foliage, drought tolerance and flowers that attract hummingbirds in droves?  Russelia equisetiformis, alternately known as firecracker plant and coral plant, is nearly leafless and bears hanging flowers on wisp like stems, gracefully arching towards the ground.