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?

Roses that bloom well in Florida?

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On November 15th

Pam Greenewald, owner of Angel Gardens, explains why a lot of people have difficulty growing roses in Florida.  She will be selling roses at the Edison Garden Market this weekend and teaching  short classes on the proper care of roses.

Pam says,

“Most people have had negative experiences with growing roses. This is because most roses grown commercially are offered to the public on grafts (another rose) that are not suited to our area, grown this way because they are able to be produced faster when taken to market. These roses have been fed a continuous diet of chemicals since they were born. People do not understand how much stronger and healthier and happier a rose can be when grown on its own roots, nurtured organically and loved like a child. There are more than 65 classes of roses (of which Hybrid Teas and Floribundas are only two) representing over 26,000 varieties of roses. Roses ARE so easy to grow when one is given the knowledge, choosing varieties that are right for the location and understanding the need for sun, water and regular feedings.”

Come meet Pam and many other vendors selling a variety of unique and hard-to-find plants at the Edison Garden Market on Nov 20 and 21. Pam will be teaching a class titled, “Rooting rose cuttings” on Saturday and another class, “Own root roses versus grafted roses” on Sunday.  Both classes start at 2 pm.  Pam is also offering a 20% discount to the first 10 customers at her booth on Saturday.  The market is FREE and open from 9-5 on Saturday and 9-4 on Sunday.  Free parking also available.

What's Blooming at the Estates

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On November 1st

Here’s a peek at some of the plants currently blooming and fruiting at the Estates.  Check back tomorrow for more photos of additional flowers!

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Name That Plant XII Answer: Cherries Jubilee Allamanda

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On September 8th

Congratulations to Deborah Aldridge for correctly guessing this week’s Name That Plant!

Cherries Jubilee Allamanda, Allamanda cathartica ‘Cherries Jubilee’

Need a summertime bloomer for your garden?  The allamandas are always a good choice and the ‘Cherries Jubilee’ variety provides a rosy pink flower against dark evergreen foliage.  This is a fast growing vine that does best in full sun, is drought tolerant and is rated for zones 9B-11.  It may grow to 8 feet or more and will need a trellis or other support to maintain some form, so consider its location before planting.  Some gardeners have been able to train this plant into a shrub and Cherries Jubilee should do well in a hanging basket.

If you know any Latin, you probably recognized that this plant has medicinal properties.  The species name “cathartica” should give you a hint.  The leaves, roots and flowers of this plant are used in some countries to make a cathartic and all parts of the plant are considered toxic if eaten.  The milky white sap may irritate the skin of some gardeners but this shouldn’t stop you from considering this easy, prolific bloomer for your yard.  The Estates has a Cherries Jubilee on the trellis next to the Shaving Brush tree between the Edison and Ford homes and our Garden Shoppe has several Cherries Jubilee plants for sale.

Britta Soderqvist, Plant Curator

Butterflies Abound!

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On July 2nd

With all the flowering plants in the Estates Garden Shoppe, herb garden and butterfly garden, now is a good time to be a nectar-seeking insect at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates!  We are seeing quite a few species of butterflies and moths on the grounds, especially in the area around our Garden Shoppe.  Mina Edison loved butterflies and would probably be happy to see all the activity in her gardens today.

Litchis For Sale!

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On June 30th

If you have never tried the sweet, unique fruit called a litchi (“lee-chee”), stop by the Edison & Ford Winter Estates’ booth at the Downtown Farmer’s Market under the bridge at Centenniel Park this Thursday between 7:00AM and 1:00PM.  The Estates’ litchi trees are full of ripe fruits but they won’t last long!

Pictured is a litchi next to a Florida blueberry (yes, you can grow blueberries in Florida) and a photo of one of our trees. Litchis are native to China but do grow well in Florida and California.  Just nine of these fruits fulfill your daily requirement for Vitamin C.  You can ask our horticulturist, Debbie Hughes, to let you try one of these interesting fruits at the farmer’s market, but you should probably get there early!

Name That Plant III ANSWER: Strawberry Tree

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On June 28th

by Britta Soderqvist, Plant Curator

Last week we asked you to identify this plant:

Today, we have the answer for you –

Strawberry Tree or Jamaica Cherry, Muntingia calabura

This is a perfect tree for a lazy gardener!  Do you enjoy sweet, home-grown fruit like strawberries but don’t like all that bending and stooping to plant, weed and harvest?  The strawberry tree produces copious amounts of small, sweet fruits at least twice a year, all at knee level or higher.  Don’t like to spend the money and effort fertilizing and watering your garden?  This tree grows well in poor soils and is even used to help revegetate disturbed and eroded soils in some parts of the world.  Once established, the strawberry tree shouldn’t require any extra watering except in prolonged droughts.

The strawberry tree (named for the flower that resembles the strawberry plant) may grow up to 40 feet, but the fruits will easily fall to the ground when the tree is shaken.  Although not native to Florida, it is native to the tropical Americas and will do well in areas that do not freeze often (Zones 10-11).  If you live in a colder climate, plants grown in pots should still produce fruits.  Although it is reported that wildlife will eat the fruits, there are plenty of ripe fruits underneath the Edison & Ford Winter Estates trees, suggesting that our local birds don’t care for them.  The large tree at the Estates (across the paved road from our Banyan Café) was planted in 2006 and is approximately 15 feet tall now.  The Estates Garden Shoppe sells strawberry trees for $10-$15 depending on the size of the plant.

Plant Spotlight: "Buttered Popcorn" Tree

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On June 9th

by Britta Soderqvist, Estates Plant Curator

There is a tree at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates whose small white flowers smell like buttered popcorn!  It just started blooming in late May.  The plant’s name is False Rubberwood (Mascarenhasia arborescens) although the common name is not really used much.  We typically refer to it as the “buttered popcorn tree”.  It grows to about 20 feet high and although the online resources say it prefers full sun, ours is growing in partial shade.  The False Rubberwood is native to tropical regions of Africa and requires a moderate amount of water . 

Visitors can smell the flowers on the tree that is next to the kapok tree behind the Banyan Café.  It’s fairly difficult to find these in Florida but the Estates Garden Shoppe has a few of these trees for sale in pots.