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 March, 2013

Gerber Daisies and other Plantings for Spring

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On March 28th

Many of the flowers we are drawn to because of their bright cheery flowers and ground cover growth are actually in the Composite family (asters, daisies and chrysanthemums).

plantings for spring

Several of these great flowers grow well in Florida.   Zinnias and Sunflowers are easy to grow from seed-look for fresh seed packs with interesting names like “Teddy Bear” sunflowers or “Green Envy” zinnias.

As a general rule of thumb, don’t go by what is on the back of the seed packs when planting seeds in Florida; most seed information is written for northern climates.  We can plant zinnias in Florida any time of year and plant no deeper than the size of the seed (probably just on the surface).

planting for spring


Self -sow zinnias seed among your other annuals such as gazanias.  They come in a multitude of bright colors, and close-up in the nighttime waiting for the morning sun to start their day.  They are from South Africa where the flowers are used to drier days.  I like to plant mine in morning sun near my front door; when I walk the dog in the morning they are the first to greet me.

Planting for spring

Bush Daisy

Euryops, or African Bush Daisies, are also very cheerful.  The African Bush Daisy can get to be bushier (hence the name) at approximately 2-3 feet.  It will last more than one season if cut back after blooming.  Euryops does bloom frequently and for long periods of time.

plantings for spring


Another happy Composite plant that thrives in our Southwest Florida landscape is the gaillardiaGaillardias love to reseed themselves wherever they are planted, which is perfect for filling in an area where the sun shines bright and is very drought tolerant.

plantings for spring

Gerber Daisy

One plant that is often sold as a cut flower in the florist trade is the Gerber daisy, but they also grow in containers superbly.  Fertilize with a slow release at the beginning of planting season (winter), and continue with a weak solution of water soluble fertilizer every time you water.  Let them dry out completely before watering again, and not through overhead irrigation.  This may be the key to keeping the foliage clean (powdery mildew is a problem).   Excess water causes most of the problems, and a nutrient-rich,  good draining soil mix  (not our sandy soils) helps to keep Gerber daisies happy .

Most of these flowers will reward the gardener with blooms throughout the year so get your flower on and get planting-you won’t regret planting any of these beauties.  All of these flowers and more are available in the Edison Ford Garden Shoppe.

Irish Petticoat in the Edison Ford Garden Shoppe

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On March 14th

In recognition of St. Patrick’s Day, this Sunday, March 17th, the EFWE Garden Shoppe is featuring ‘Irish Petticoat’, a beautiful copperleaf plant which features kelly green leaves with a ruffled, cream colored margin.

Irish PetticoatWe only have a few, so don’t delay!

In our St. Patrick’s Day display, we also feature some beautiful coleus’ that Mina Edison loved, and an uncommon ‘sanseveria cylindrica’ is on display in one of Mina’s original flower pots.

Come visit us 7 days a week, 9-5, free parking at the Edison Ford Winter Estates Garden Shoppe.

Calamondin Citrus Day

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On March 8th

• March 21

      The Edisons and Fords really loved their citrus, just like we do today. Calamondin was one of their favorites.

      At the turn of the last century, citrus in pots outdoors and indoors was “the rage.” Both Mrs. Edison and Mrs. Ford had areas at their northern estates called orangeries, where they cultivated the plants in pots. They had a wide variety of citrus outdoors year-round at their estates in Fort Myers, Florida. Today there are dozens of varieties in their gardens including the popular calamondin.

calamondin      To celebrate this favorite fruit, join the horticulturalists and the chefs who will present food tastings and plant tips on March 21. There will be jams and pastries for sale by the extraordinary new Calamondin Café.

      Edison Ford Historic Garden Manager, Steve Hottovy, Horticulturalist Debbie Hughes and a University of Florida Citrus Expert, will give tips on growing and caring for citrus in the ground and as container trees (like in Mrs. Edison’s orangery.





Garden Talk – How to Harvest and Use Herbs

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On March 2nd

garden talk herb mound• March 9 – 9:00 a.m.

    Join Edison Ford horticulturists to learn about herb gardening, culinary herbs and spices and growing herbs in Southwest Florida.

      Following in the tradition of the Edison’s, Ford’s, their staff and caretaker’s, participants will learn about the herb garden at the historic Edison Caretaker’s House and Heritage Truck Garden. Herbs and containers will be available for purchase in the Edison Ford Garden Shoppe. Participants will receive 20% off in the Edison Ford Garden Shoppe.

    Cost: Edison Ford Members FREE; non-members $5.