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?

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.


Corkscrew/Snail Vine


Snail Vine


Skyblue Clustervine


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.

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

Monday Morning Walk Through the Gardens

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On September 20th

Something is always blooming at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates. Take a virtual walk through our gardens to see some of the amazing plants putting on a show in mid-September. Now is your chance to see the Devil Tree, in the first parking lot by the banyan tree, in bloom.

False Rubberwood tree. The flowers smell like buttered popcorn.

False Rubberwood tree. The flowers smell like buttered popcorn. Find it next to the big kapok tree near the Banyan Cafe.

orchid purple

Purple orchid in one of our trees near the succulent garden.

dynamite tree

Male flower of the dynamite tree, Hura crepitans, near our succulent garden.

princess dwarf flower

Princess Dwarf Flower off the porch of the Edison home.

sausage tree

Sausage Tree next to the Edison Guest Home.

night blooming cereus

Night Blooming Cereus on the Ford property.

red powderpuff

Red Powderpuff on the Ford property.

red orchid tree

Red Orchid Tree for sale in our Garden Shoppe.


Devil tree flowering2016

Our Devil Tree is full of white blooms.

Devil tree flower2016

Flowers of the Devil Tree.




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.


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.

So Many Mangoes, So Little Time

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On September 19th

mango treeIf it’s summer in southwest Florida, you’ll hear a lot of residents ask, “When will this heat end?”, “When will it stop raining?” and “What do I do with all these mangoes?”

While many of us year-round Floridians are enduring the heat and humidity, the mango trees are thriving and producing fruits. After more than 100 years of cross-breeding, resulting in numerous varieties that can ripen at different times, fresh mangoes are available from spring through fall in Florida, but July to September is peak time for fruit production.

If you have a tree near your house, you are familiar with that “Thud!” signaling another mango has fallen to the ground.  Unfortunately, many of those that fall are either under-ripe, over-ripe or suffer damage from the fall that makes them inedible. The flesh of large, under-ripe mangoes is green and can be tried in savory dishes like chutney. Or you can try one of Henry and Clara’s Fords favorite recipes for green mango pie here, although trying to make unripe fruit sweet is often tricky. Ripe mangoes are often eaten fresh or added to a refreshing summer salad. Check out our recipes for mango and black bean salad, mango smoothies, and mango salsa.

Visit our Garden Shoppe, where we sell a variety of delicious mango varieties that you can grow in your yard. Currently, we have the ‘Carrie’ and ‘Mahachanok’ varieties in stock. Both are free of the fibers common in many mango fruits. The ‘Carrie’ only reaches a height of 20 feet. The ‘Mahachanok’ fruits twice a year.

If you have too many mangoes, or don’t care for them but hate to see them go to waste, call your local food bank and ask if you can donate mangoes. Many organizations will accept fresh fruit from individuals. The Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida is one of many charities that accepts fresh mangoes.

Edison Ford Garden Visitors

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On October 18th

garden bee on blue pea vine As our gardens expand, so does the variety of visitors we see here. Our Blue Pea Vine has caught the attention of the Long-tailed Skipper (Urbanus proteus) as evidenced by the eggs and larva we have found on the leaves.  Shown below, the newly-hatched larvae are no bigger than a mosquito larva.

barden blue pea vine long tailed skipper larvae

Long-tailed Skipper larvae on the Blue Pea Vine

garden tropical sage

  Tropical Sage


Attracting butterflies to your yard is easy when you have the right larval host plants. Visit our Garden Shoppe for a variety of host plants, as well as showy nectar plants. We are open from 9:00am to 5:30pm seven days a week.

Edison Ford Butterfly Garden

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On September 16th

Eastern black swallowtail croppedThis is a female Eastern Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes astarius), newly emerged from the chrysalis. She was one of a large number of caterpillars feeding on our dill and parsley in the Edison Ford gardens back in late June and early July. Unlike some of our local butterflies which normally remain in the pupa form for only around ten days, swallowtails often wait months before emerging as an adult butterfly.

Eastern Black Swallowtail larvae feed on a variety of items of the Apiacae family commonly found in herb gardens, including parsley, dill, fennel, coriander, and carrots. Mock Bishop’s Weed is a native to our area and is usually found in wetland areas, providing a native host for these beautiful creatures. Common Rue (Ruta graveolens) also grows well locally as a Edison Ford Butterfly gardenperennial and will serve as a host for the Eastern Black Swallowtail, as well as the Giant Swallowtail. Care should be used when handling rue as some people report skin irritation from contact with the foliage.

If you missed our September garden talk on pollinator gardens you can stop by anytime to see our butterfly garden and talk to our garden experts about options for your garden. Our gardens and garden shoppe are open seven days a week from 9:00am to 5:30pm.


A Face Only a Mother Could Love

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On April 8th

IMG_20150408_150055It is spring here in Southwest Florida and our gardens are abuzz. Our garden shoppe is growing and many items in our garden shoppe and adjacent butterfly garden attract quite a crowd. Here are a couple of youngsters we found in the garden today. Can you identify them?

Bromeliads Add Color to Your Garden

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On January 13th











We decorated our Christmas Tree this year for Holiday Nights with 2 types of Neoreglias called ‘Tres Colores’ and ‘Roots and Roots’. It was great fun to see them used in a way we don’t usually use them.  We have been planting them in our gardens here at the Edison Ford Winter Estates, but we are offering them to gardeners here in SWFL at Buy One Get One.

Bromeliads 006








There are many types of Bromeliads.   You may be familiar with sweet Pineapples-surprise they are a bromeliad or Spanish Moss-those air plants are a bromeliad.   Most grow  in a semi-shaded area adding great color to your low maintenance garden, but there are a few varieties that need sun to give them the great coloration.  Some are grown for their form, for their bloom spikes that can last for months, or or unique colors.  Why not add them to your garden this season.