Tropical Parking Lot Landscape

The other day I drove to my favorite Publix Supermarket here in central Florida. I noticed how nice the parking lot looked with great tropical foliage. Public landscaped areas are a great way to find easy to grow plants for your area. Owners of strip malls want to provide a pleasant environment for the customers, but they don’t want to spend big money on maintaining plants. Each row of parking spaces has a nice flower bed at the end with variegated leaf bushes, colorful crotons, and a plant with small blue flowers. The two types of bushes are tropical and easy to grow in our climate. Add a tree and a large light post and it’s perfect for the public location. (Government buildings and community buildings are also good places to note landscape plants. In more northern environments there is often a few evergreen bushes that provide a frame year round.)

Read More

Periwinkle in the Fall

Vinca is a genus of flowering plants in the family Apocynaceae, native to Europe, northwest Africa and southwest Asia. The English name periwinkle is shared with the related genus Catharanthus.

September in central Florida is still bright, sunny, and hot. The high temperatures are a little lower than August, but it still gets in the 90’s. We continue to have almost daily showers in the evening as fronts filled with moisture come ashore from the Gulf of Mexico.

Read More

August Orchid Mania

Photos are courtesy of my friend Beverly in South Florida. I personally can not grow orchids. They always die. I do love orchids and enjoy flowers grown by friends.

Today I’m sharing four more photos from my friend Beverly. It is a blessing to see beautiful orchids growing in tropical Florida . One began to flower at the end of July and several others joined in in the last week. Beverly calls it her orchid mania. She has so many beautiful orchids. I hope you enjoy the exotic flowers.

Read More

Aloe Flowers in July

Aloe is a genus containing over 560 species of flowering succulent plants. The most widely known species is Aloe vera, or “true aloe”. It is called this because it is cultivated as the standard source for assorted pharmaceutical purposes. Aloe plants are tropical and originally from southern Africa. Their flower clusters are tubular-shaped and come in many colors.

In my backyard, I have lots of Aloe plants. I have a few Aloe Vera plants which stay small and do not flower, and another type with nasty thorns. I have not identified which thorny species I have, but it blooms every July. Their flowers are a lighter color than the deep orange or orange-red of most aloe flowers. It is more a coral with a showing of blue-green on the tubular flower. (A visitor using an app has identified it as Aloe Maculata.)

Read More

Leu Gardens, Orlando, Florida

Leu Gardens. 1920 N Forest Ave, Orlando, Florida
Leu Gardens
Open daily 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (closed Christmas)

This post was originally shared on July 5, 2018. I have updated it with current information. Photos were taken over several seasons.

The next time you visit Central Florida and the Orlando area, take a day to visit beautiful Leu Gardens.  The gardens are an amazing 50-acre botanical oasis minutes from Downtown Orlando. Each garden is designed specifically to further the mission: inspire visitors to appreciate and understand plants. The garden and historical home were donated to the City of Orlando in 1961 by Mr. Harry P. Leu and his wife, Mary Jane.  Admission is a reasonable $15 for adults, $10 for children 4 – 17, and free for children 3 and under. You can purchase admission tickets online. The following first Mondays will be Free Admission days at Leu Gardens:  July 4, 2022 – August 1, 2022 – September 5, 2022 – October 3, 2022.

Read More

Early Plumeria Flowers

Plumeria is a genus of flowering plants in the dogbane family, Apocynaceae. Most species are deciduous shrubs or small trees. The tropical species are indigenous to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, and as far south as Brazil, but are grown as cosmopolitan ornamentals in warm regions. Common names for plants in the genus vary widely but Frangipani or variations on that theme are the most common.

April is still the dry season here in Central Florida with few rainy days and lots of blue skies.

Read More

Spring Arrives in Central Florida

Amaryllis is a subtropical bulb that belongs to the Amaryllidaceae family and is native to South Africa. It is grown as a potted plant in most parts of the United States but can also be grown outdoors year round in warm areas like Florida. Amaryllis flower in the late winter through early spring in central Florida.

For several weeks central Florida kept getting cold spells as storms crossed the country.  Not cold like up north but below our average for winter.  I wasn’t out seeing the neighborhood or noticing neighbor’s gardens.  This last weekend it warmed up and I’ve been riding and going out in the car a lot this last week.

Read More