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?

Monday Morning Walk Through the Gardens

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On September 26th

It’s been a rainy weekend and it’s promising to be a rainy morning, but our flowers love this weather. If you can’t come view these beauties in person today, take a virtual tour of our garden…

bougainvillea1

Bougainvillea for sale in our Garden Shoppe

salvia

Salvia in our Butterfly Garden

shooting star

Shooting Star for sale in our Garden Shoppe

yellow geiger

Yellow Geiger near our Garden Shoppe.

yellow elder

Yellow Elder in our Butterfly Garden

orange justica

Orange Justica in our Butterfly Garden

queens wreath

Queen’s Wreath in Mina’s Moonlight Garden

plumeria white

Plumeria in Mina’s Moonlight Garden

duchess du brabrant

Duchesse de Brabrant rose in Clara Ford’s Rose Garden

orchid

Orchid near the Edison fountain

peach angels trumpet

Angel’s Trumpet ‘Double Peach’ in Mina’s Moonlight Garden

Monday Morning Walk Through the Gardens

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On September 20th

Something is always blooming at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates. Take a virtual walk through our gardens to see some of the amazing plants putting on a show in mid-September. Now is your chance to see the Devil Tree, in the first parking lot by the banyan tree, in bloom.

False Rubberwood tree. The flowers smell like buttered popcorn.

False Rubberwood tree. The flowers smell like buttered popcorn. Find it next to the big kapok tree near the Banyan Cafe.

orchid purple

Purple orchid in one of our trees near the succulent garden.

dynamite tree

Male flower of the dynamite tree, Hura crepitans, near our succulent garden.

princess dwarf flower

Princess Dwarf Flower off the porch of the Edison home.

sausage tree

Sausage Tree next to the Edison Guest Home.

night blooming cereus

Night Blooming Cereus on the Ford property.

red powderpuff

Red Powderpuff on the Ford property.

red orchid tree

Red Orchid Tree for sale in our Garden Shoppe.

 

Devil tree flowering2016

Our Devil Tree is full of white blooms.

Devil tree flower2016

Flowers of the Devil Tree.

 

 

 

Dwarf Poinciana: A Garden Showstopper

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On September 20th

Dwarf poinciana red orange yellow flower

Have you ever wanted a Royal Poinciana Tree, but in a much smaller size? Consider the Dwarf Poinciana for your next garden addition.

The Dwarf Poinciana (Caesalpinina pulcherrima) is an evergreen shrub that can be trained and pruned into a small specimen tree in frost free climate zones.

In zones 8 and 9 it can be damaged by frost, but will return in the spring and quickly re-grow.  In the tropics it is also know as Peacock Flower or Pride of Barbados and can grow up to 15 feet tall and wide. In normal garden cultivation it will grow to about 8 to 10 feet tall and wide, but tolerates pruning in order to maintain shape and form.

The foliage is very fernlike and produces many showy flower blossoms that resemble those of the Royal Poinciana tree. The flower colors vary from the common red, orange and yellow variety, an all yellow variety and another with a pinkish rose coloration.

Dwarf Poinciana Tree Shrub BushThis is a great specimen to add to your garden. The Dwarf Poinciana can also be grown in a pot or container and brought inside if there is a threat of frost or freezing temperatures.

The Edison & Ford Estates Garden Shoppe is currently selling both red and pink Dwarf Poincianas that were grown from the seeds of trees on our property. A one gallon pot is just $8, so get one of each color!

The Edison and Ford Winter Estates Garden Shoppe is open daily from 9-5:30. If you love plants, you’ll want to attend our semi-annual Garden Festival featuring hundreds of tropical and exotic plants, garden-themed arts and crafts, food, music and kid’s activities. The next festival is November 19-20, 2016. Click here for more information.

Garden Shoppe Spotlight: Pagoda Plant

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On September 19th

Pagoda_Flower_(Clerodendrum_paniculatum)Finding flowering plants for shady yards in Florida can be tricky. One of our Garden Shoppe’s newest arrivals, the pagoda plant, Clerodendrum paniculatum, will light up your Florida garden with brilliant red-orange flowers against dark green, round to heart-shaped leaves. The tubular flowers are attractive to pollinators, including hummingbirds.

It does best in part sun to light shade and needs moist soil. Leave some room as the pagoda plant, like many Clerodendrums, will produce suckers and spread across your garden and reach a height of three to five feet. Somewhat hardy, it will bounce back after a freeze, allowing it to grow in zones 8-11.

Visit our Garden Shoppe and bring home your own pagoda plant. Consider pairing it with some of the other new arrivals like Mojito elephant’s ear,  Colocasia esculenta ‘Mojito’, and Persian shield, Strobilanthes dyerianus , two plants that also prefer part sun to light shade and moist soil.

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Persian Shield

Colocasia mojito

Mojito Calocasia

The Edison and Ford Winter Estates Garden Shoppe is open daily from 9-5:30. If you love plants, you’ll want to attend our semi-annual Garden Festival featuring hundreds of tropical and exotic plants, garden-themed arts and crafts, food, music and kid’s activities. The next festival is November 19-20, 2016. Click here for more information.

So Many Mangoes, So Little Time

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On September 19th

mango treeIf it’s summer in southwest Florida, you’ll hear a lot of residents ask, “When will this heat end?”, “When will it stop raining?” and “What do I do with all these mangoes?”

While many of us year-round Floridians are enduring the heat and humidity, the mango trees are thriving and producing fruits. After more than 100 years of cross-breeding, resulting in numerous varieties that can ripen at different times, fresh mangoes are available from spring through fall in Florida, but July to September is peak time for fruit production.

If you have a tree near your house, you are familiar with that “Thud!” signaling another mango has fallen to the ground.  Unfortunately, many of those that fall are either under-ripe, over-ripe or suffer damage from the fall that makes them inedible. The flesh of large, under-ripe mangoes is green and can be tried in savory dishes like chutney. Or you can try one of Henry and Clara’s Fords favorite recipes for green mango pie here, although trying to make unripe fruit sweet is often tricky. Ripe mangoes are often eaten fresh or added to a refreshing summer salad. Check out our recipes for mango and black bean salad, mango smoothies, and mango salsa.

Visit our Garden Shoppe, where we sell a variety of delicious mango varieties that you can grow in your yard. Currently, we have the ‘Carrie’ and ‘Mahachanok’ varieties in stock. Both are free of the fibers common in many mango fruits. The ‘Carrie’ only reaches a height of 20 feet. The ‘Mahachanok’ fruits twice a year.

If you have too many mangoes, or don’t care for them but hate to see them go to waste, call your local food bank and ask if you can donate mangoes. Many organizations will accept fresh fruit from individuals. The Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida is one of many charities that accepts fresh mangoes.

Garden Talk: Growing Southern Roses in Your Garden

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On September 5th
  • September 10, 10:00 a.m. – Noon

     If you have taken a whiff of the roses at Edison Ford, you are going to want to grow roses in your garden to cut and bring into your home. Mina Edison and Clara Ford knew about growing roses; Mina in New Jersey and Florida and Clara in Michigan.

debbie with roses arrangement     Fast forward to 2016; there are still many of those old garden roses grown in the 1800 – 1900s surviving and thriving in our gardens and vases. Senior Horticulturist Debbie Hughes will inform you which roses thrive in our Florida climate and will teach you how to keep them growing strong from planting, pruning and fertilizing. If you grew roses up North, Debbie will show you how it can be done right here in the South too.

Participants will receive a 20% discount certificate to be used at the Edison Ford Garden Shoppe. Meet under the pavilion next to the information booth after signing in at the ticket office. Wear comfortable shoes for walking the gardens and bring a hat, sunscreen, and water.

Cost: Edison Ford Members $5; non-members $10. RSVP to Leeanne Criswell, Edison Ford Program Registrar at 239-334-7419 or lcriswell@edisonfordwinterestates.org.

August Garden Talk: Shady Characters for the Garden

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On August 8th
  • August 13, 10:00 a.m. – Noon

shade plants      Last month the horticulture team discussed “Hot Plants for Sunny Florida” as the Edison Ford gardens have many thriving plants. But we also have ample shade under the historical trees. Join Horticulturists Debbie Hughes and Janice Schmidt for a lesson on what shade means for plants and how to use it to your advantage. The talk will include a walk through the gardens highlighting shade-loving plants.

Participants will receive a 20% discount certificate to be used at the Edison Ford Garden Shoppe. Meet under the Pavilion next to the Information Booth after signing in at the ticket office. Wear comfortable shoes for walking the gardens and bring a hat, sunscreen, and water.

Cost: Edison Ford Members $5; non-members $10. RSVP to Leeanne Criswell, Edison Ford Program Registrar at 239-334-7419 or lcriswell@edisonfordwinterestates.org.

July Garden Talk: Hot Plants for Hot Sunny Florida

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On July 1st

● July 9, 10:00 a.m. – Noon
Summertime gardeners are happy to welcome the much needed rain for all of South Florida’s beautiful tropical plants ready to burst forth with blooms.

Desert rose, Adenium obesumWith these summer rain showers, we also have our sunshine! One of the many concerns in the Edison Ford Garden Shoppe is, “I need a plant that can take the full sun, because I don’t have any shade in my yard.” Edison horticulturists are here to help you decide which plants will thrive in your hot sunny garden.

We will discuss what you can do to get more shade with the appropriate small trees for small properties, how to plant, fertilize, and do basic maintenance.

Participants will receive a 20% discount certificate to be used in the Edison Ford Garden Shoppe. Meet at the Information Booth after signing in at the ticket office. Wear comfortable shoes for walking the gardens and bring a hat, sunscreen, and water.

Cost: Edison Ford Members $5; non-members $10. RSVP to Leeanne Criswell, Edison Ford Program Registrar at 239-334-7419 or lcriswell@edisonfordwinterestates.org.

Butterflies for All at Edison Ford

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On June 8th

butterfly life cycleThe Butterfly Garden at Edison Ford is really thriving and it’s open everyday and free. The Butterfly garden is a magical place, so come out and learn how to create one in your home garden or patio with the help of horticulturists Debbie Hughes, Janice Schmidt, Kyle Wade, or our garden volunteers.

We offer the nectar and host plants, plus books and supplies to start this wonderful garden hobby “Butterflies for All.” So stop by the Garden Shoppe. For easy access to the gardens parking is available at the Larchmont Avenue entrance at the Red Pergola.

butterflies monarchsbutterfly orange and blue

 

Garden Talk: Bromeliads

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On May 27th

● June 11, 10:00 a.m. – Noon
kyle with bromeliadWhether you would like to learn about bromeliads, or want to add to your existing collection, you won’t want to miss this garden talk! Come listen to Edison Ford Horticulturist, Kyle Wade talk about bromeliads and learn which ones will be best for your garden.

Did you know that there are more than 2,500 species of bromeliads? These low-maintenance plants add interest to our Florida gardens with variations in size, color, flowers, and light requirements. They are well suited for our tropical climate, making them a perfect addition to any landscape. You can even anchor them to trees or driftwood for a dramatic effect.

bromeliadsBecause bromeliads can live on the surface of another plant without the need for soil, they are classified as epiphytes. A great example is the Tillandsias, or air plant. If you go for a walk in many of the local preserves, look up into the tree canopies and you’re sure to see the Tillandsia. In the spring, you can see dozens of them blooming with bright inflorescence. The air plant also makes a great gift and it’s easy to transport so you can take it up north. They can grow in terrariums or even hung from seashells suspended from colorful wire. Spanish Moss is the most common air plant in this area that we see hanging like necklaces from 100 year old live oak trees.

Many people don’t realize that the pineapple is a bromeliad! This edible plant, or the Ananas, is used in fruit salads and cold drinks around the world. It was even a symbol of hospitality, welcoming guests into their homes. When Edison was alive, south Florida was the “pineapple capital.”

Whether you have a sunny space or shaded area, there are bromeliads for every type of garden. Some garden standouts include the rosette shaped Neoreglia that offers vibrant color or the much taller grander specimens in the Aechmea family, such as the raspberry “sum bromeliad,” which is capable of
growing in full sun. The Guzmania and Vriesia varieties are excellent choices for shaded gardens or interior atriums with multiple long-lasting blooms on spikes held high above the mesmerizing leaf patterns.

Bromeliads are fun to share with your neighbors, family and friends! They have an amazing ability to replicate themselves over and over again. The main plant (the mother) produces offsets or pups and then the pups can be separated once they reach 1/3 the size of the mother plant.

tillandsia in lightbulbThe Edison Ford Garden Shoppe has many bromeliads for sale. Many vendors at our upcoming Edison Ford Garden Festival on November 19 – 20 and Edison Ford Plant Festival on February 11 – 12 will also have bromeliads available. Thomas and Mina Edison were interested in growing whatever would grow in their tropical paradise, so it is no surprise to find a bromeliad growing in every nook and cranny on the estates property.

Participants will receive a 20% discount certificate to be used in the Edison Ford Garden Shoppe. Meet at the Information Booth after signing in at the ticket office. Wear comfortable shoes for walking the gardens and bring a hat, sunscreen, and water.

Cost: Edison Ford Members $5; non-members $10. RSVP to Leeanne Criswell, Edison Ford Program Registrar at 239-334-7419 or lcriswell@edisonfordwinterestates.org.