Brugmansia Culebra

Isn't this something! My newest research project. eBay is my favorite book!....More soon....

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Tree Morning Glory

This week I've received my plant trade from a garden friend in Alabama. Tree Morning Glory. Not really a tree, but definately not a vine. Lets see what come from it.

This interesting plant is in the sweetpotato family (Ipomoea) with a shrub-like growth habit. The scientific name is Ipomoea fistulosa. It is described as growing in exceedingly dry places and can be considered a xeriscape plant.The bush morning glory is the most prolific bloomers of any of the summer perennials.

The plant is covered with medium-size, light pink (there is a white form
available) blooms all summer. Blooms last only one day but clusters of blooms are formed in the axil of every leaf. Plants can get 6-8 feet tall with multiple trunks. When hard frosts kill plants, the tops should be removed; in South central Texas plants will sprout again from the hardy root system the following May. Once established the bush morning glory is a tough (drought-tolerant and heat-tolerant) plant. It blooms best in direct sun and will not bloom as well if receiving less than 8-10 hours of direct sun. Plants can be cut back monthly to encourage branching and increase blooming surface. Cutting back in July will reduce plant height and encourage a spectacular fall bloom.

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This Months Celebrity Gardener

This months celebrity gardener is Australia's silver screen princess Nicole Kidman. We caught up with her this week to dig more into her gardening hobby.

Garden Dirt: You're a big fan of gardening and have gardened supposedly since childhood. Can you give us any tips that you've learnt along the way?

Garden Dirt: Oh...okay. How many plants do you think you've successfully raised since you began gardening?

Garden Dirt: Right! You've done some amazing things for human rights, animal rights and have even taken up the environment cause. Do you turn your garden and household waste into compost?

Garden Dirt: Well...I'm expecting that you don't mind getting your hands dirty in the garden...

Garden Dirt: Thanks Nicole for the scintillating conversation. I appreciate your candid spirit and look forward with eager anticipation for your forthcoming gardening book. No doubt it will be a best seller.

This interview was purely fictitious and was not in any way aimed at ruining this celebrity's status as a gardener.

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Bell Tree Dahlia - Finally!!!

I can almost touch it!! Since this is the 3rd post on this plant, it's obvious that I really really wanted that plant. I got it!!!! One white, one lavender .

Dahlia imperialis or Bell tree dahlia is a member of the Dahlia genus native to Mexico, Central America and Colombia. It is a magnificent plant, reaching around 15-20 Ft, with thick, bamboo-like stems and single, downward pointing, pinkish-purple, orange-centered flowers in November/December. An attraction-seeking and rewarding plant.

It is a tuberous, herbaceous perennial, rapidly growing from the base after a dormant winter period, developing brittle, cane-like, 4-angled stems with swollen nodes and large tripinnate leaves, those near the ground soon being shed. The pendant or nodding flowerheads are 3-5" across with ray florets pink or mauvish-pink in color.

This species is fast-growing, the growth spurt being linked to shorter daylight hours, and usually comes into flower in autumn before the first frost. Propagation is by seed or by stem cuttings. Coming from warmer climes, it can be grown outside to zone 8+.


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Pineapple Guava

Today, I've discovered the first blooms on our 2 year old Pineapple Guava tree. Hopefully this means that there is a harvest coming our way as well. But if not, no big deal, the flowers alone are magnificent.
The feijoa grows easily from seed, but the seedlings are not always true to type. Seeds are separated by squeezing the seedy pulp into a container, covering with water, and letting the liquid stand for 4 days to ferment. The seeds are then strained out and dried before sowing. The seeds will retain viability for a year or more if kept dry. Germination takes place in 3 weeks. The plant fruits in 3 - 5 years from seed.
Vegetative means are necessary to reproduce a variety. Young wood cuttings will root within two months with bottom heat and mist. Whip, tongue or veneer grafting methods are sometimes successful, as is air-layering and ground layering. Cutting-grown plants of named varieties are most desirable, because they can be trained in a variety of ways, and can be maintained as multitrunked shrubs without concern that suckers will develop into "rogue" branches..

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The King of all Cabbages

Look at this, Walking Stick Cabbage. I am not sure if I am going to grow it. It was however, unique enough to post.

Origin: Jersey and Guernsey Channel Islands; English & French coastlines.
First advertised for retail sales 1827. First retail offering in North America 1841.
Giant Walking Stick Cabbage is a very ancient strain of Celtic cabbage.
Leaves, picked from oldest to newest, working upwards (which makes the plant grow taller), are used in traditional cabbage soups and stews, and medicinally for digestion and skin problems (burns, infections and acne). In Victorian times, cabbage was deemed "poverty food" and rejected as such. This predjudice lingers to this day, despite the fact that cabbage contains vital nutrition to the human body.
The rock-hard, stronger than bamboo stalks are dried for 8-10 months, before worked into canes, hiking sticks, etc., like wood. Stalks are often used for vining plant supports, arbors and fences.
An average 2-3 inch GWS stalk can hold 200 lbs. Young, growing plants can be bent and shaped with wide cotton tape, allowing for handles to be grown on canes. 20% shrinkage over the drying period must be expected.
In it's lifetime, GWSC will grow 4-7 feet in one year of growth. Left alive to grow it's second year, it may reach up to 20 feet tall.
Walking Stick Kale is a poster child for multi-purpose garden plants. Edible, medicinal, ornamental and yielding material for other uses, this brassica oleracea variety is regaining popularity in home gardens.

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Spathodea Campanulata

Thanking my lucky stars, I've successfully traded my stash of Thai Adenium seeds for someone elses stash of African Fountain Tree seeds. 50 seeds to be exact, Yippie!!.

I would love to see this specimen bloom in real life (currently oogeling seed suppliers). What will I not try to grow?

Originally from Equatorial Africa, the evergreen African tulip tree can be found abundantly in Suriname; a spectacular flowering tree.
It is a fast-growing, about 80' tall, ever-blooming tree. The wood is known to be very soft and brittle. When young, the leaves are bronze; deep glossy-green at maturity.
Flame of the forest is an ornamental tree in the tropics. The unopened buds contain water, which squirt when squeezed or pierced, for instance by birds.
Out of each bud come, large orange-red flowers and because of those the tree is planted as an ornamental.

The many seeds (about 500) are in an 8" long legume that breaks open when it falls from the tree.
The seeds are very small with transparent winglets.
There is a rare yellow variety of the African tulip tree called Lutea.
The bark and leaves are used in traditional medicine in Ghana.
Bark is used in wound healing and especially burn healing. The bark and leaves shows a wide spectrum of antibacterial activity including anti-malarial activity.
Aqueous alcoholic decoctions of the leaves shows promise to be used for the treatment of malaria.

"Invasive" in Hawaii and extremely rare in N America. Gardening's got to be the greatest hobby of all.

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Herald's Trumpet

Stumbled across this lovely plant, Oh how can anyone not want one!!!! Extreemly rare to find of course, especially a plant. I will have to settle for seeds then. Thankfully this one grows upward. We will be running out of space eventually...Sky Scraper style planting for limited space, heh heh. Yeah I always thought the square foot garden idea was nuts too.

An interesting rare perfumed plant is Herald's Trumpet (Beaumontia grandiflora) which has wonderful large white flowers with a sweet tropical perfume. It is a vigorous woody climber which is native to the region from India to Vietnam and belongs to the same plant family (Apocynaceae) as Oleanders, Frangipanis and Mandevillas which typically bleed a white milky sap from cut stems.
Plant details

Botanic name: Beaumontia grandiflora
Climate: Will grow best in zones 9-11. It prefers sub-tropical and tropical conditions to thrive and can look miserable in areas where temperatures fall below 10°C.
Herald's Trumpet is technically a climber but is normally grown as a shrub to 2-3m (6-10') tall with dark glossy green leaves that are deeply veined. The large white flowers have a rich tropical scent and flowers through the warmer periods of the year, spring and summer.

Good points:

  • Strongly perfumed plant for the garden
  • Attractive foliage during cooler months of the year as well as large white flowers through spring and summer
  • Twining growth habit that needs support and can be grown as a shrub
  • Could be grown in other areas of Australia in a warm micro-climate

Bad points:
  • It is quite a rare plant which may be difficult to find

  • Unusual specimen plant in the garden
  • As a climber against a fence
  • Perfumed plant for a summer garden

  • Full sun
  • Well-drained soil

Protect from frost, particularly when young

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Bauhinia - Orchid tree

The Orchid Tree is native in India and China and is related to the Redbud tree, Jerusalem-Thorn tree and beans. It grows in both South and Central Florida to about 25 feet. It is a deciduous tree with medium green leaves shaped like the footprint of an ox or cow.

The flowers look somewhat like an orchid and are about 3-4 inches across. They may be in colors like red, purple, lavender, yellow or white. Depending on variety, bauhinias flower in winter, spring or summer and many of the 300 species are also shrubs. Should be planted in full sun with enriched soil and good drainage.

They're easy after being established, but often foliage is poor. This tree requires proper feeding to have nice leaves.
Of course I'd like to grow this plant too! Once I am done with all the others. Zone 9-10 - perfect!

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