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 the ‘diy gardening’ Category

Garden Talk: Attaching Orchids in Trees

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On February 28th

dendrobium-aggregatum4Join us for our next Garden Talk, March 11 at 10 am and learn about Florida orchids and how to attach them to trees.

Orchids are one of the most popular plants in the gardens and attaching orchids to the trees is a technique not new at the Edison Ford gardens. In the early 20th century, the Edisons and Fords explored the Everglades in a Model T, finding orchids in the swamps. Mina adopted the practice of planting orchids in the trees in the Edison gardens, and we continue the tradition today.

During the talk, we will demonstrate how to attach different species of orchids and how decisions are made for where they should be located. Included in this garden talk is a tour of the hundreds of orchids on the trees throughout the site.

Details: Saturday, March 11, 2017 at 10 am. Edison Ford Members $10; non-members $15. To register contact Leeanne Criswell, Edison Ford Program Registrar at lcriswell@edisonfordwinterestates.org or 239-334-7419. Wear comfortable shoes, hat, and sunscreen for a tour of the fragrant plants found in the Edison Ford Gardens. Participants will receive a 20% discount in the Garden Shoppe. Meet at the Information Booth (after checking in at the ticket counter to get your wristband.)

Upcoming Garden Events:

April 8 – Garden Talk: How to Plant & Establish Trees & Shrubs

May 13 – Garden Talk: Using Fertilizers & Amendments

Garden Talk: Fragrant Plants

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On January 13th

Jan 2011One of the best characteristics gardeners enjoy is the fragrance and sweet odors in the garden. Besides the beautiful flowers visible to the eye, scent allows our other senses to come alive. Our sense of smell operates a powerful reminiscence of memories in our brain. Interestingly, we remember how something smelled from the past when we smell that plant again. Often when in the garden, an individual will take a whiff of a flower here at the Edison Ford Gardens and respond fondly, “That smells like the flowers in my Grandmother’s garden.”

Start your own fragrant garden after touring and learning about the plants that grow well from some of the historical plants Mina Edison enjoyed. Wear comfortable shoes, hat, and sunscreen for a tour of the fragrant plants found in the Edison Ford Gardens. Participants will receive a 20% discount in the Garden Shoppe.

Date: Saturday, January 14, 2017. 10 am. Meet at the Information Booth outside the ticket office.

Cost: Edison Ford Members $10; non-members $15. To register contact Leeanne Criswell, Edison Ford Program Registrar at lcriswell@edisonfordwinterestates.org

Upcoming Garden Events and Talks:

February 11 & 12 – Edison Garden Festival (Free)

March 11 – Garden Talk: Growing Orchids in Trees

April 8 – Garden Talk: How to Plant & Establish Trees & Shrubs

May 13 – Garden Talk: Using Fertilizers & Amendments

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.

 

 

Gardening Up, Not Out: How Vines Add Drama to Your Landscape

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On October 4th

Did you catch our Horticulturist’s latest article in the News-Press? Debbie Hughes explains how vines can help you grow your garden up and not out. Click here to read the article.

Hypertufa Planters appearing at the Edison Estates

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On April 16th

hypertufa pots 001Come to the Edison Ford Winter Estates Garden Shoppe or The Edison Shoppes in Bell Tower both in Fort Myers, FL for Hypertufa pots and planters. Did you know the “Edison Portland Cement Company” in 1899 improved the production of cement with a special patented process we still use today? These containers are a fashionable way to show off a myriad of plant varieties. It could be succulents, orchids, herbs, or whatever your imagination inspires using these hand-made wonders. Two of our awesome volunteers have spent their winters when the weather is cool and dry making square and circular troughs-some with high sides and other with low sides crafted with portand cement, peat moss, perlite, and just enough water to expertly hold together yet amazingly lightweight. Some example of the plants either placed or planted inside the troughs cavities include: succulents, herbs, annual flowers, orchids, and even miniature fairy gardens. The aesthetics are one of a kind making the pots great gifts for that “got everything else kind of person!” The unique coarsely textured modern forms are fashioned to resemble antique troughs reminiscent of 18th Century Enhypertufa pots 004gland.

Growing Your Own Tomatoes

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On January 22nd

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by Debbie Hughes, Horticulturist

January is a great time to plant tomatoes in  raised beds or large pots in Florida.

Tomatoes have difficulty growing in the poor sandy soil laden with nematodes

(microscopic worms that eat the roots of plants), it is best to grow in amended organic

soils. Seedlings can be started in early August-October in peat

pots then potted into larger pots.  When the plants have grown to at least  1-2 feet in

height, it is time to plant in the amended soil.  Seedlings are also available for sale ready

to plant if you missed the seed stage.   Many varieties of cherry tomatoes are grown in Florida because they take fewer

days to mature, and are easier to just pop in the mouth.   Edison Ford Winter Estates sells heirloom seeds from Bakers

Heirloom Seed Growers or look for interesting seeds  from Tomato Growers Supply.  Look forward to eating varieties

this year of, “Snow White” , “Sun Gold”, and “Sun Sugar” during the springtime.

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September Garden Talk – Edison’s Rubber Research Plants

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On August 31st

● September 14, 9:00 a.m.

      Thomas Edison evaluated more than 17,000 varieties of latex producing plants and trees at his Fort Myers Laboratory.  Many of these varieties can be found on his winter estates.

      Join Historic Garden Manager Steve Hottovy for a tour of the gardens and learn the history of Edison’s botanical research and how to make them part of your garden at home.  Cost: Edison Ford Members FREE; non-members $5.

      Participants will receive a 20% discount in the Edison Ford Garden Shoppe.banyan tree

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

Gazanias

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

Gallardia

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.

The Edible Garden

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On July 20th

by Debbie Hughes, Estates Horticulturist

The Estates has many edible plants this time of year, such as curcuma (turmeric), shampoo ginger, galangal, lemongrass, allspice, okra, eggplant, roselle, and pepper seedlings.  When the season cools down, the palette will change into more traditional herbs such as basil, oregano, thyme, chives, rosemary, mints etc.

Once a gardener has made the decision to use a little piece of land to grow something useful, the fun begins.  Getting started is the hardest part, but don’t be dismayed.  Thomas Edison once said, “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration;” nowhere is this more evident than in the garden.  Consider starting an edible garden near your door for easy access in maintenance and utilization.  Besides, when you brush past the herbs, you can’t help becoming inspired by their enticing aroma.

There are some easy techniques one can employ to make growing your own herbs easier and become a genius in the kitchen.  One technique I have found successful for growing herbs is the mound or lasagna method.

A “No Till Garden” consists of:

  • layer of newspaper
  • layer of compost
  • layer of potting mix
  • layer of worm castings
  • last layer of food approved mulch

How to make your own Herb Mound

The hill can vary from 18” to 24” in height, allowing for planting room on the sides and top.  Mounds, raised beds, or container gardens allow less bending over, easing your back and knees.  Containers allow freedom to move the herbs where they may be the happiest depending on sun and water conditions.  Place the herbs near a hose or a rain barrel for easy watering.

If you would like to see an example of this type of garden, there is a demonstration for public view in the Estates’ Heritage Garden next to our newly dedicated Mina Edison Statue.  Come to the Garden Shoppe at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates during the week.  Our hours are 9-5 every day.  Estates Members receive a 10% discount on all Garden Shoppe merchandise.