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?

Archive for April, 2011

Planting & Caring For Your Tropical Hydrangea (Pink Ball, Dombeya Wallichii)

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On April 28th

            If you are interested in adding a striking new specimen to your garden, then perhaps you might consider planting one of the Dombeya varieties. The Pink Ball, better known as Tropical Hydrangea, is a large shrub or small tree that provides a beautiful show of color in the first months of the year that last for over a month.

             Some say that Dombeyas smell like frosted cake. Their pendulous flowers are round in shape and resemble pompoms hanging about the leaves. Once the flowers have finished their blooming cyle they will remain for quite some time, so it is best to remove them in order to keep a neat appearance.

Caring for Tropical Hydrangea:

  • Watering your Dombeya may be necessary in the dry months as it an average to high water consumer
  • Plant your new shrub in a sunny to partially sunny location
  • Allow enough space for the shrub to grow up to 15 feet (it can be maintained at a smaller size with regular pruning after the plant is done flowering)
  • It can be pruned back as needed without deforming the shrub
  • Dombeyas are fast growers and need some fertilizer in the growing season
  • It is possible to grow Tropical Hydrangea in a container (however, they perform the best when planted in the ground)
  • It performs best in temperatures above the low 30’s and it will lose its leaves if the temperature dips into the 20’s
  • It is best suited for sub-tropical to tropical climates, but has been grown in zones 9B with some frost protection

            We have several varieties planted at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates; a pink variety called Dombeya wallichii and a white variety known as Dombeya pulchra. 

             The Tropical Hydrangea will be a great addition to your garden and will offer you an exciting display when in flower. Pink Ball is available for purchase in one gallon containers at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates Garden Shoppe.

Exhibit Opening: Celebrating Bromeliads

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On April 20th

Chris Pendleton, President & CEO
Lisa Sbuttoni, PR/Marketing Director

“Celebrating Bromeliads” Exhibit opening May 1, 2011 at the
Edison & Ford Winter Estates

FORT MYERS, FL (April 19, 2011 )- The Edison & Ford Winter Estates newest exhibit, “Celebrating Bromeliads” opens May 1, 2011 in the Edison Caretaker’s House.

The Estates has a long history with bromeliads starting with the original 1885 sketch Thomas Edison drew of the site.  Edison had dedicated areas for pineapples, which are the most common species of bromeliads.  In the late 1800s and early 1900s, south Florida became one of the largest pineapple growing regions in the nation. 

Mina Edison also loved orchids and bromeliads.  In the 1920s Mina and Dr. Henry Nehrling attached air plants (orchids and bromeliads) to the Estates mango trees with copper wire.  Today this tradition continues with hundreds of orchids and bromeliads throughout the property.  It is believed that Edison and his plant “scouts” explored the Everglades and brought back orchids, bromeliads and other plants to be located on the Estates.  Many examples can be enjoyed today as bromeliads flourish in southwest Florida. 

“Celebrating Bromeliads” features exquisite 19th century bromeliad illustrations collected by Jack Kramer, noted author and garden authority.   “Celebrating Bromeliads” will be on exhibit until May 29, 2011 then will tour nationally.

Kramer is the author of many gardening books including the Bromeliads for Home and Garden, 100 Orchids for Florida and Easy-Care Guide to Houseplants.  Kramer has grown each of the 200 plants featured in “Bromeliads.”  Kramer has appeared on several national TV shows including the Today Show, Good Morning America, and others. 

Opening reception events on May 1, 2011 from 1 PM – 4 PM include:
• Historic print sale and book signing with Jack Kramer, author of Bromeliads for Home and Garden from 1 PM – 4 PM.
• Estates horticulturist, Debbie Hughes will present, “Beautiful Bromeliads:  Tips and Care” at 2 PM.
• Caloosahatchee Bromeliad Society will be selling bromeliads and related items throughout the event.   Cost:  Estates Members FREE; non members, $5.
• Estates Garden Shoppe is offering 10% discount on gardening books and related items.  A variety of Edison heritage plants will be available for purchase. 

The Estates is open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. The Estates is the winner of the 2009 National Stewardship Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is an official project of “Save America’s Treasures” at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a Florida Historic Landmark and a National Register Historic Site. For additional information call 239-334-7419 or visit the web site at