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 ‘What’s Blooming at the Estates’ Category

How to Care for the Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow Plant, Brunfelsia grandiflora

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On December 8th

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.


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.



Florida Fall Color: Pink

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On October 19th

Close-up of pink silk floss petal from the Edison and Ford Winter Estates.

Who says Florida doesn’t enjoy fall colors? Our colors are just a bit different than those in the northern latitudes. If you’ve traveled through Southwest Florida lately, you’ve probably noticed a few trees covered with pink blooms. This is the display of the pink silk floss, Ceiba speciosa. In Fort Myers, there are three pink silk floss trees in bloom just south of Cortez Blvd on the west side of Cleveland Ave. Their petals are a deep pink. A silk floss tree at Alcazar Ave and McGregor Blvd in Ft. Myers has pale pink petals but hasn’t bloomed just yet. At the Edison and Ford Winter Estates, our pink silk floss and a newly-planted yellow silk floss are just starting to bloom. Both are between the Edison Guest Home and the Caloosahatchee River. We also have a “mystery” silk floss that was supposed to be pink but has an almost all white bloom with tiny pink streaks.


Pink silk floss tree blooming near the Downtown River District in Ft. Myers, Florida.

Like the related kapok, silk floss has numerous, sharp prickles on its trunk and branches. Silk floss typically drop their leaves in September to prepare for blooming in October. After blooming, the tree may produce seed pods that are full of a silky material that is similar to cotton in appearance. It tends to be leafless all winter until the temperatures warm a bit in the spring, when new leaves appear. If you see younger trees with green trunks, that is chlorophyll in the trunk, which allows the trees to produce energy even when leafless.

Native to South America, silk floss do very well in southern Florida but can tolerate temperatures down to 20°F. They are tolerant of south Florida’s winter droughts and one of the few flowering trees that put on a show this time of year, giving us fall color.

Stop by our Garden Shoppe, where we stock many varieties of flowering and fruiting trees (including the pink silk floss), plants, gingers, orchids, vegetables and herbs for your home.


Pink silk floss, Ceiba speciosa, with flowers and characteristic branch and trunk prickles.


Yellow silk floss bloom between the Edison Guest Home and Caloosahatchee River at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates.


Our “mystery” pink silk floss with faint bright pink streaks on white petals.

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…


Bougainvillea for sale in our Garden Shoppe


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 near the Edison fountain

peach angels trumpet

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

Edison Research Laboratory/Goldenrod Project

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On September 4th

     With the completion of the restoration of the Edison Research Laboratory building, staff and consultants are continuing research and development to understand and replicate the exciting work that Edison was conducting for this project almost a hundred years ago.

      This summer, garden staff and volunteers began the work to restore some of the beds of rubber producing plants that were tested on site by Edison and his research staff.  The photo shows the goldenrod beds that were planted this summer and our giant thriving goldenrod. Plants were started by seed several months ago and are maturing well with summer rains and heat.

      Of all of the 17,000 plants tested, goldenrod proved to be the best suited to the Florida environment growing to a staggering 15 feet and able to be harvested several times a year.  In fact, a variety was named for the scientist himself, Thomas Edison, pictured here in 1929. goldenrod project

How to quickly add some color to your garden

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On February 11th

We’d all love to have this magnificent display of color in our yard, wouldn’t we? This is a recent  photo of the bougainvillea behind our ticket office.  We sell a variety of bougainvillea in our Garden Shoppe but if you don’t have the patience to wait for yours to reach the size pictured, consider some of the following flowering plants that will make your yard “pop” for the next few months.

We have bulbine – a South African clumping perennial with orange and yellow flowers that is extremely drought tolerant.  Choose from several colors of kalanchoe – a drought-tolerant succulent that may even flower year-round if you’re lucky!  Crown of thorns is always a good bet for winter-time color.  Mandevilla (formerly Diplandenia) is a woody vine with showy pink flowers that are usually out in the summer but may bloom year-round.  We also have plenty of Florida-friendly butterfly plants like plumbago and pentas.  Many citrus trees bloom now so if you have room for a small tree, consider one of the many varieties we have for sale.

If you do have a bit of patience, you might also consider queen’s wreath (Petrea volubis) – a spectacular vine with purple flowers.  The queen’s wreath covering the pergola between the Edison Home and Guest House is blooming right now.  We have a few small individual vines for sale – they were hard to come by so don’t wait hoping to find a larger plant!  If you plant one this spring, it should have a few blooms by next winter.

Britta Hanson Soderqvist, Plant Curator

What's Blooming

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On January 24th

A few photos of our plants blooming and fruiting in the gardens today…


Blooms, birds and dolphins at the Estates

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On December 3rd

Take a look at some of our recent blooms and visitors…

Blooming at the Estates

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On November 18th

A sampling of the blooms and fruits you can see at the Estates today…

Blooming today…

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On November 11th

Just two of the beautiful plants flowering today at the Estates.

Our silk floss tree, Ceiba speciosa, is in full bloom now.

One of the many orchids in bloom at the Estates

What's Blooming at the Estates

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On November 2nd

As promised yesterday, here are more photos of plants currently blooming and fruiting at the Estates.

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