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 ‘Garden Shoppe’ Category

Fort Myers: City of Poincianas?

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On May 31st

Royal poinciana blooming on the Edison Ford property in Ft. Myers.

Have you noticed the bright orange-red flowers adorning many trees in Southwest Florida lately? That’s probably the royal poinciana, Delonix regia, that you’re seeing. Did you know that these trees might have lined our beloved McGregor Boulevard instead of today’s royal palms?

Soon after Thomas Edison purchased his Fort Myers property in 1885, he sketched a landscape plan for the grounds, which was bisected by a dusty cattle trail that is now McGregor Boulevard. As you can read on the sketch above, he wrote, “Royal Poinciana shade trees both sides of street”. However, royal palms were planted at Edison’s expense starting in 1907. Additional royal palms were planted and currently extend about eight miles along McGregor Boulevard. Today, Ft. Myers is known as the “City of Palms” but had Edison been able to carry out his original plan, McGregor Boulevard might be lined with royal poincianas instead. Why the change? We don’t know for sure. But one theory is that while the royal poincianas are beautiful in full bloom, they usually drop their leaves during winter and don’t start blooming until late May. Edison and his family typically visited his Ft. Myers home during the winter, right when the royal poincianas look their worst, and he would have returned to New Jersey before the red blooms put on their show in late spring.

Close-up of the red flower of the royal poinciana, a common bloom in many trees in southwest Florida during May and June.

The royal poinciana is native to Madagascar, where it is endangered. It is a fast-grower and is accustomed to our poor soils and winter droughts. If you’d like one for your landscape, we have several for sale in our Garden Shoppe. For more info on selecting and caring for a royal poinciana, visit this page created by the scientists at UF/IFAS. If you don’t have room for a large tree, consider the dwarf poinciana, which matures to 15ft in height. We carry the dwarf poincianas in our Garden Shoppe as well.

Mother’s Day Flowers

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On May 5th

Instead of buying cut flowers this year, give mom a present that will live until next Mother’s Day! Our Garden Shoppe in Ft. Myers is full of color right now and we are sure to have your mom’s favorite. Our hanging baskets are bright and cheerful and packed with a variety of blooms. If you need something that can grow indoors, you can’t go wrong with an orchid. If mom is the planting kind, or has willing children (hint, hint), she might love one of every color groundcover we have in stock. Stop by our Garden Shoppe, open daily 9-5:30, seven days a week except Thanksgiving and Christmas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

garden-festival-november-2016-update

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.

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.

Edison Ford Garden Shoppe

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On March 15th

greenhouse garden talk janiceThe Garden Shoppe is a very popular spot for experienced or new gardeners to buy interesting Florida plants and also to learn and see how the plants will work in a garden. Garden Shoppe Manager, Janice Schmidt is a trained horticulturist with a background in growing plants as well as stocking a great and interesting Garden Shoppe. She also oversees plant propagation for location into the historic gardens and for the sale of plants.

garden talk july 2015 debbie and billOther garden staff include a group of dedicated UF Master Gardeners, Bill Frye (pictured) and Debbie Hughes, Senior Horticulturist. The Garden Shoppe is staffed seven days a week during all open hours, so it’s convenient for casual and serious gardeners. The Garden Shoppe also stocks a great selection of hostess gifts like herb baskets.

For easy parking, use the Larchmont Avenue parking lot at the new Red Garden Pavilion.

Hand-Painted Herb Box Class

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On February 12th

· February 20, 9:00 a.m. – Noon

Garden herb basketJoin Jim Hopton, art teacher and artist, to hand-paint a unique herb box. Using a strawberry box, decorate the wooden container with faux painting techniques, such as color washing, stenciling, and gilding.

Edison Ford Garden Shoppe has all the plants and herbs to fill the box with herbs to grow. All supplies and one herb are included in this one day workshop. The class is limited to 10 participants. Cost: Edison Ford Members $40; non-members $45. RSVP to Leeanne Criswell, Edison Ford Program Registrar at lcriswell@edisonfordwinterestates.org or call 239-334-7419.