In past visits to Florida, I couldn't resist a visit or two to places where plants are for sale. In 2006, I brought home a couple of small azaleas, which I managed to keep alive for two years, even getting them to overwinter outside the first year. However, they never bloomed for me up here, so I took them out and they made their way to the compost pile.
That same year, I brought home a Bougainvillea that wasn't in bloom when I purchased it and the nursery owner wasn't sure what color it was either. It didn't bloom for me until the summer of 2007, at which time I discovered it was a gorgeous raspberry color. I take it inside for the winters, of course, and I hope to see it bloom well for me this summer.
In 2007, I brought home another Bougainvillea called 'Imperial Garden,' which is an exquisite white bloom with hot pink on its outer edges. It's my favorite and I was disappointed that it didn't bloom this past summer like it did in 2007. Maybe this will be its year!
Also in 2007, I bought a small Paphiopedilum at Lowe's, and while it has remained somewhat healthy, it has not rebloomed for me. Maybe some fertilizer would help? I'm so bad about feeding my plants.
I've purchased many tropical bulbs on previous trips as well, and I hoped to get some new ones when I was in Florida last week, but it must have been too early to find any. Neither Lowe's nor Walmart had a single one. But that doesn't mean I didn't find something to bring home!
Jenna was struggling with resisting the many orchids we saw at both places. It was hard for me too, since they were all so inexpensive compared to prices up north. But the fact that we only brought carry-ons for our luggage on this trip meant there was precious little room for carrying a tender plant such as an orchid home with us on the plane.
But as we were drooling over the orchids at Lowe's, I spied something else that highly tempted me. Several healthy quart-sized pots of Spathoglottis lurked nearby and I snatched one right up.
We have ground orchids that grow native here in Ohio, but I've never seen them for sale in our garden centers. The one I decided to bring home from Florida isn't hardy to our zone 5, so I will have to bring it in for the winter, but that's not a problem for me. What's one more?
It's blooming for me right now and it does have beautiful orchid-like blooms. I'll have to read up on its care so that I can enjoy it for many more years. If, however, I manage to kill it, I won't be out much, since it only cost $6.95.
I've already told you about the Hippeastrums that Meems dug for me from her own garden. I'll put them in the ground later in the spring when it warms enough. Aren't they nice bulbs? With babies!
My aunt Kay also shared from her courtyard plantings by letting me dig up the babies that her Aloe plant was producing. As I dug up the nicely-sized plants, I discovered more smaller ones that had not yet made it up through the soil and surrounding stones. I have an Aloe plant at home that has also produced offspring, but it's not heavily speckled like hers.
So while I brought home less than I have in previous years, I've got some nice, quality bulbs and plants to tropical up my northern garden this year.