Monday, September 5, 2011

Great Plants and Flowers for South Florida Gardens

The Bromeliad to the left is a native of Brazil and this time of year (late August-early September) has very unique bright pink flowers with purple tips that are simply spectacular. Quiet a show stopper.
Almost every day, I get asked by passerby what this fabulously showy bromeliad is called. It's latin name is Billbergia Pyramidalis. This hot pink Bromeliad is extremely drought tolerant and requires almost no care. It does well in shade, part shade and even bright sun. Bright sun is the least favorable condition, and the plant will survive and flower. It sends off several pups a year and can create a spectacular colony ground cover. You can also attach this bromeliad to a palm or oak and it will do very well. The plant does well with rain water and tree matter that falls, decomposes and collects in the vase of the plant. Highly recommended for Southeast Florida. Beware the leaves are extremely sharp, handle with care.

Another shrub in our garden that does extremely well with little to no maintainance is the Mexican Honeysuckle or (Justicia Spicigera). Mexican Honeysuckle is a small shrub that isn't fussy, blooms most of the year, and is attractive to hummingbirds. With yellow-green leaves and bright orange flowers, Mexican honeysuckle grows 2 to 4 feet tall and spreads 3 to 6 feet wide. The leaves become larger in partial shade locations. Clusters of bright orange, narrowly tubular flowers appear throughout the year. Our Mexican Honeysuckle is out by the pool where it gets full sun. It is very drought tolerant, but looks better and grows larger when given afternoon rains in the south Florida summer. It has a moderate growth rate and is not fussy about soil.
The plant pictured on the left is a very showy and typical drought tolerant Bougainvillea plant around South Florida, Texas, and Arizona. The hot pink variety on the left is called Miami Pink Bougainvillea. It is a vigorous grower and needs little attention once established. We have ours up against the fence. The only drawback to this plant are the huge thorns that it bears. It flowers a good portion of the year and likes direct sunlight. I trim it back so that it has a large twisted trunk heavily flowered on the top giving it a Bonsai appearance.
I think I'm done writing and then I go out to the garden and I see more plants that are extremely easy to care for, drought tolerant, and like full sun.
The beautiful Blue Plumbago (or latin: Plumbago auriculata) thrives in the South Florida heat and sun.
It flowers non-stop and can grow up to ten feet. I trim mine to about 2-3 feet into a hedge. They are truly beautiful and the butterflies love them. They pare well with bromeliads or varigated Aboricola.

Last but certainly not least is one of my favorites-it does not flower but is extremely aromatic (and a joy to cook with). This plant is Rosemary. I love having Rosemary in the garden, not only is it aromatic it is also drought tolerant. I adore the scent when the breeze blows through (especially in the evening). I also enjoy the structural appearance in the garden.
Rosemary can get quite large, I have seen it used in upscale hotel landscaping and in flower beds in Arizona and southern Utah.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about 5 of my favorite drought tolerant south Florida flowering plants. My goal is to have 75-80% xeriscape on our property.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Get ready for Hurricanes!

Preparedness is the key to riding out a hurricane. Keep yourself informed of storm progress. Make sure your house is stocked with plenty of drinking water, easy to prepare non-perishable food (such as peanut butter, bread, granola bars, canned beans, spaghetti-o's, nuts, juice boxes, etc- especially helpful if you have young children). Make sure your flashlights are working, and your battery operated radio or TV. If you have a generator- make sure it starts and has fuel, also fill your propane tanks( you may be BBQing all that meat in the freezer if the power goes out for an extended time) Get some beer to go with, you might as well enjoy the company of your neighbors while cleaning out your freezer..Gas up your vehicles, in case you have to evacuate. Get some emergency cash on hand. If the power goes out for an extended time..there will not be access to ATMs. Secure large objects in your yard, and bring in anything that could potentially blow and turn into a dangerous projectile. Keep a well stocked first aide kit in the house and secure important documents like insurance policies and banking information as well as titles to property in a dry container or safe box. If you have an interior closet or bathroom, make sure it is decluttered so that it could be used as a safe room if necessary. Lastly, don't forget to have supplies for your pets. Above all, stay safe. Stay inside until the worst is over. Do not go near downed power lines or try to drive in hurricane force wind and rain.
Some helpful sites with loads of good information are:
Hurricane preparedness guide
10 Step Family Hurricane plan

Stay safe!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Friends of Library Book Fair

Come out on Saturday June 11, 2011 to the Weston Branch Library (4205 Bonaventure Blvd. Weston) 11:00 AM. Books will be sold priced at fifty cents to one dollar ($0.50-$1.00) Proceeds to benefit the library. Many books to choose. Don't miss this incredible event, mark your calendars.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Beach Days

Today we went to Hollywood Beach. Pulled up to the North Beach parking lot to find it locked up and closed. Thought it was odd, being President's day and winter break for half the country..drove on to find an elusive parking space. Parked a few streets down. Set up our camp on the beach, had a sandwich, an orange and a bottle of water. Decided to walk down to the normally open and clean public bathrooms to find them locked up tight as well. Asked the homeless man and woman sitting under the canopy what was going on and they informed me that Hollywood does not open the parking lot or restrooms on Holidays! Why? To save money? Could this be true? Turns out it is not completely is Broward County Parks that is closed on President's Day...Aren't holidays when working folk go to the parks?
The lot is a paid lot...Heck, Hollywood and/ or Broward County Parks could probably charge extra and have a full lot on a beautiful February long holiday weekend day.
Heck, I'll stand there all day for a percentage charging people to park their cars...What are they thinking?

Hungry? Well, more good news..the concession stand is not open either! What a loss to the beach-goers who are looking to pay their hard earned money on parking and food..What a loss to Broward County/ Hollywood coffers! I couldn't find anything specific on the website as to why they weren't open today is a link to their site: North Beach Park

The park is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays November -March according to the website..this doesn't make much sense either considering it is the height of vacation season here. It would make more sense to close the parks in the summer months/hurricane season when it is unbearably hot and humid to sit outside…This time of year North Beach Park is a beautiful spot with nice facilities and a pristine beach. The Turtle Cafe concession is decent and reasonably priced. The bathrooms are the best kept on the beach. Outsource to a private vendor on Holidays, when the beach is most full, let someone benefit from what seems to be senseless bureaucracy.

Funny Shopping Cart at Broward Mall

I went to the Browrad Mall the other day and found this gem.  I am aware that we live in a litigious society. But do we really need to tell people not to stick their kids in storage bags?