Tropical Florida Gardens - What's in Bloom at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates?

Tropical Florida Gardens

What's in Bloom at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates?

How to Care for the Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow Plant, Brunfelsia grandiflora

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On December 8th
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The Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow plant with Thomas Edison’s home in the background in Ft. Myers, Florida.

One of the most beautiful flowering shrubs you can plant in Southwest Florida is also pretty easy to please. The Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, Brunfelsia grandiflora, starts its show with a purple bloom that fades to lavender and then white over the course of a few days. And as long as you can provide some dappled sunlight and regular water, the YTT (as we sometimes call it) will provide years of enjoyment and create a conversation piece in your landscape.

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The purple, lavender and white flowers of the Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates in Ft. Myers, Florida.

If you’re lucky enough to find one of these shrubs (hint: check our Garden Shoppe), select a location that is bright but not in the full sun all day. We have two YTT bushes in the gardens off the Edison and Guest Home porches and they receive quite a bit of full sun but do get some relief in the early and late parts of the day. For the most blooms, select a site that gets morning sun but is shaded later in the day. Water yours regularly until it is established and then check the soil above the roots on occasion, keeping the soil moist when possible. The YTT can tolerate some drought, but if it’s forming buds, you’ll get better blooms if you water during the dry season. Depending on the size of your plant when you install it, it might take two years or so before it produces copious blooms. You can try to encourage earlier blooming with fertilizer, like a 6-8-10 to help with roots and blooming, but it’s not necessary.

Our Garden Shoppe is full of native and tropical plants for sale, including the Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. Open seven days a week, it’s your one-stop-shop for your Southwest Florida gardening needs.

 

 

Unique Gifts from the Garden

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On November 15th

As you start making your list

and checking it twice,

you’ll soon remember

that holiday crowds aren’t nice.

So come to the Garden Shoppe

at the Edison Ford

Where we have lots of gifts

and no one ever gets bored.

No Black Friday camp-outs

No pushing or shoving

Just unique garden gifts

That everyone is loving.

From orchids to herbs,

soaps, ornaments or a book,

we have something for everyone

just come by and take a look!

The Edison Garden Shoppe is open daily from 9 am – 5:30 pm. Visit Edison Ford on November 19 or 20 and you’ll be here for our Garden Festival with hundreds of gift ideas from Florida plant vendors, artists, crafters and more. During Holiday Nights, the Garden Shoppe will be open from 9 am to 9 pm. Holiday Nights begins November 25 and runs every night except Christmas Eve and Christmas until January 1, 2017.

Poinsettias of all sizes, including these cute miniature plants.

Miniature plants and wreaths to brighten up any holiday. Stop by our Ft. Myers Garden Shoppe for unique gifts.

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Unique gifts in our Garden Shoppe and Museum Store in Fort Myers.

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Christmas ornaments and holiday decor for sale at Edison Ford in Ft. Myers.

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Large selection of gardening and botanical books in our gift shop at the Edison Ford in Fort Myers.

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Jellyfish Tillandsia ornament and a light bulb terrarium ornament with an air plant. Low maintenance plants that make your holiday decor come alive at Edison Ford in Ft. Myers.

 

 

 

A Vine by Many Names is a Sweet Addition to a Southern Garden

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On November 9th
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Costa Rican butterfly vine, Dalechampia dioscoreifolia, for sale in our Garden Shoppe at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers, Florida.

What plant is related to poinsettia but vines and has colorful bracts like a bougainvillea but no spines? Its botanical name is Dalechampia dioscoreifolia, but it’s commonly known as winged beauty, Costa Rican butterfly vine, bow tie vine, and purple wings vine. If you’re looking for an interesting vine for your South Florida garden, consider this vine of many names.

It’s thin stems stretch up to twenty feet and will twine around most anything in it’s path. Each flower is surrounded by two purple pink bracts about five inches in length, which gives each bud a butterfly appearance. It thrives in full sun or light shade but needs a moderate amount of water to bloom regularly. It can tolerate some cold temperatures and might even bounce back from 20ºF temperatures with good care. Flowers might appear year-round but should at least bloom in summer and fall.

If you’re looking for other vines for your garden, check out this recent post. Visit our Garden Shoppe in Ft. Myers for winged beauty vine and a large selection of flowering plants, trees, vegetables and herbs.

 

Edison Ford Garden Festival 2016

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On November 5th

• November 19, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and November 20, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
garden-festival-nov-2016-updatePlant lovers, get ready! It’s that time of year for the annual fall Garden Festival! We are hosting dozens of vendors on-site from all over the state of Florida selling exotic and tropical plants and trees, garden art and gift items!

We’ve also stocked our Edison Ford Garden Shoppe with unusual, native and heritage plants that thrive here in sunny,
Southwest Florida. Plus, we’ll have gift items such as ceramic flower pots and garden art.

garden-festival-bromeliadsVendors will be selling palms, vegetables, bromeliads, hibiscus, butterfly plants, African violets, orchids, air plants, herbs, succulents, cactus and many hard-to-find species, as well as garden supplies and gift items, including mulch, trellises, pottery, cut flowers, hats and jewelry.

This event is for the entire family with numerous kids’ activities, including photo opportunities in a Model T Ford with Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. Kids will be able to plant sprouts that they can grow at home, make corn husk dolls, get temporary flower tattoos and make Mod Podge votive candle holders with dried flowers.

The festival will also feature music and live broadcasts with 95.3 OLZ and Cat Country, refreshments and a specialty Edison Ford “Model Tea” beer, crafted with tea leaves by Bury Me Brewing of Fort Myers will be available for purchase.
Parking and admission to the Garden Festival is free (tours of homes, museum and lab are not included).

For more information call 239-334-7419 or visit www.edisonfordwinterestates.org.

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Golden Rain Tree: Pretty But a Potential Pain

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On October 28th

Many visitors of the Edison and Ford Winter Estates have noticed our trees with what appear to be salmon-colored flowers. In fact, these are the seed pods that followed yellow flowers of the golden rain tree, Koelreuteria paniculata, which started blooming in early October. While quite attractive in the fall, the seeds are plentiful and determined, with hundreds of new seedlings sprouting up wherever they fall.

In southern Florida, the tree is considered a Category II invasive plant, which means it has the potential to crowd out native species if not planted wisely. For example, planting a golden rain tree in a heavily landscaped suburban lawn is probably not going to lead to nuisance trees as the seedlings will be destroyed during lawn maintenance. However, planting one near wooded areas is not recommended as the tree is likely to spread into the natural landscape.

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Seed pods of the golden rain tree, Koelreuteria paniculata.

Stop by our Garden Shoppe and find flowering trees and other great garden plants for your yard. We will be starting some golden rain tree trees from seed, so check back in 2017 if you want one for your home.

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The salmon-colored seed pods of the golden rain tree.

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Golden rain tree with peach-colored seed pods over our Garden Shoppe in Fort Myers, Florida.

New Self-guided Tour: Plants in Your Cupboards

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On October 21st
Ylang ylang flower

Come find out how this flower is transformed into one of the world’s most famous perfumes on the Plants in Your Cupboard self-guided tour.

Ever wonder how cheese gets it’s orange color? Or how cinnamon is harvested? Or what a vanilla plant look like?

You can find out the answers to these questions and more on our new self-guided tour, Plants in Your Cupboards. The tour takes you to thirteen botanical sources of common household items (including the spice in Worcestershire and the scent from Chanel No. 5) right here in the Estate’s gardens. It’s free with regular admission and for members. Kids will enjoy discovering the plant source of items they know, like Vicks Vaporub and aloe. Ask for the tour brochure at the Historian’s Desk inside the museum. If you like palms, pick up a copy of our self-guided palm tour as well.

 

Florida Fall Color: Pink

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On October 19th
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Close-up of pink silk floss petal from the Edison and Ford Winter Estates.

Who says Florida doesn’t enjoy fall colors? Our colors are just a bit different than those in the northern latitudes. If you’ve traveled through Southwest Florida lately, you’ve probably noticed a few trees covered with pink blooms. This is the display of the pink silk floss, Ceiba speciosa. In Fort Myers, there are three pink silk floss trees in bloom just south of Cortez Blvd on the west side of Cleveland Ave. Their petals are a deep pink. A silk floss tree at Alcazar Ave and McGregor Blvd in Ft. Myers has pale pink petals but hasn’t bloomed just yet. At the Edison and Ford Winter Estates, our pink silk floss and a newly-planted yellow silk floss are just starting to bloom. Both are between the Edison Guest Home and the Caloosahatchee River. We also have a “mystery” silk floss that was supposed to be pink but has an almost all white bloom with tiny pink streaks.

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Pink silk floss tree blooming near the Downtown River District in Ft. Myers, Florida.

Like the related kapok, silk floss has numerous, sharp prickles on its trunk and branches. Silk floss typically drop their leaves in September to prepare for blooming in October. After blooming, the tree may produce seed pods that are full of a silky material that is similar to cotton in appearance. It tends to be leafless all winter until the temperatures warm a bit in the spring, when new leaves appear. If you see younger trees with green trunks, that is chlorophyll in the trunk, which allows the trees to produce energy even when leafless.

Native to South America, silk floss do very well in southern Florida but can tolerate temperatures down to 20°F. They are tolerant of south Florida’s winter droughts and one of the few flowering trees that put on a show this time of year, giving us fall color.

Stop by our Garden Shoppe, where we stock many varieties of flowering and fruiting trees (including the pink silk floss), plants, gingers, orchids, vegetables and herbs for your home.

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Pink silk floss, Ceiba speciosa, with flowers and characteristic branch and trunk prickles.

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Yellow silk floss bloom between the Edison Guest Home and Caloosahatchee River at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates.

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Our “mystery” pink silk floss with faint bright pink streaks on white petals.

Garden Shoppe Spotlight: Vines

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On October 12th

Following up on our recent Garden Talk on vines, we have some new additions for sale in our Garden Shoppe.

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Corkscrew/Snail Vine

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Snail Vine

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Skyblue Clustervine

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Gold Finger Plant

Corkscrew Flower: You have to smell these flowers to believe them! The corkscrew flower or snail vine, Cochliasanthus caracalla, has a very intoxicating scent and an equally interesting flower. This is a fast-growing vine that flowers in summer and late fall. It likes full sun and a moderate amount of water, so this isn’t a vine you can plant and forget about like some of our Florida native vines like coral honeysuckle. It can even bounce back after a freeze, surviving as far north as Zone 9.

Snail Vine: A similar vine, also sometimes called the snail vine, Sigmoidotropis speciosa, has purple flowers throughout most of the summer. It can thrive in sun or part sun but needs regular watering.

While both of these snail vines attract bees and butterflies, both are pollinated by ants. Each is labeled as “snail vine” in our Garden Shoppe, so look for the flower to distinguish the two.

Gold Finger Plant: If gold is more to your liking, check out the gold finger plant, Juanulloa aurantiaca. This vine is considered an aggressive grower and needs a lot of light and water. It should survive a light freeze.

Skyblue Clustervine: A reliable Florida native is the skyblue clustervine, Jacquemontia pentanthos. This twining vine requires a bit more water than most natives, but can survive short droughts. It’s blue flowers tend to bloom after rains and during the cooler winter season. It prefers full sun.

Our Garden Shoppe is open 7 days a week, 9 am – 5:30 pm.

Scare Plants for Sale!

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On October 6th

20161006_124537Check out our newest arrival in the Garden Shoppe: little ceramic pumpkins with a Tillandsia air plant! Just a few inches in size, these “air” plants are perfect for your desk and will add a touch of the Halloween season to your space. Mist the air plant a few times a week to keep it healthy. After the holiday, transfer the plant to another houseplant or, if you live in a warm climate, a tree outside, to enjoy it year-round. Just $6 each in our Garden Shoppe at the Estates.

New Tour for Palm Afficianados

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On October 5th
Cliff Date Palm

Cliff Date Palm near the Moonlight Garden

Did you know we have more than sixty species of palms at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates? We just put together a self-guided tour with a map of the palms so you can find each one in our gardens. This is a free option with your paid General Admission to the grounds or with your Estates membership. Pick up a map at the Historian’s Desk in the museum.

 

Bottle palm

Bottle Palm