Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tropical Treasures

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.


Sunita Mohan said...

I've never seen a hot-pink Spathaglottis before! I have the lilac, purple, yellow and white ones but didnt know that there were more out there (can you see the acquisitive gleam in my eye?). Very pretty!

Kylee Baumle said...

Hi, Sunita. It's a magenta color that may not be quite like it's represented on your computer monitor, but on mine, it's fairly accurate. It's the first time I've ever seen a ground orchid in person and I was thrilled to find it!

You have a yellow one! Now I'm the jealous one! ;-)

Meems said...

Hey Kylee,
I'm kind of surprised your bougainvillea bloomed last year since they like it especially hot, dry and tolerate very poor soil... you must have given it just what it needs. Pretty amazing.

Funny... I just purchased my first ground orchid Sunday at my favorite local nursery. I will split it up right from the get go and make several plants from one. My painting teacher has the magenta colored ones,too. I'm not sure what color mine will be. Do you know Lowe's just started carrying them for the first time last year? I've been holding off that purchase for a while but just couldn't resist any longer.

It's not looking hopeful any of my Amaryllis will bloom this year if they are dependent on their greenery. They are mostly all wilted from the freeze. Maybe yours will do better than mine as transplants -- it will be interesting to see.

I've posted the azaleas blooming brighter than they were when you were here. Did they have azaleas down in Bradenton?

You've reminded me I need to make some more aloe plants from the one I have bursting out of its pot.

So much to do ...

Have a great day... I'm heading out this morning to work on those two new empty beds. :-)

Meems @ Hoe and Shovel

Anonymous said...

Kylee, what is that gorgeous chartreuse leaf (if you know) in with the photo of the Spathoglottis -- just above the photo of your ground orchid? It is gorgeous! All your blooms are beautiful.

Kylee Baumle said...

Meems ~ It can get really hot and dry during the summers here and the last two summers have been especially that way. I knew that's what they liked, so I put them in an unamended spot and don't water them when I water the rest of the garden.

I got lucky with the ground orchids then, didn't I? Yay!

The amaryllis are funny. I think when you take them out of their natural habitat, their bloom schedule gets messed up.

Yes, there were azaleas in bloom in Bradenton, but I didn't see that many of them. I remember that your pink azalea was starting to bloom when I was there. So pretty with its spots!

So the good weather must be continuing for you! We're under a winter storm watch for this evening into tomorrow!

Nancy ~ That's my coleus that I brought in from the garden last fall. I have several plants in a large clay pot and they're doing very well inside! I hope they continue so I can replant them in the garden this summer.

Anonymous said...

The aloe looks similar to aloe maculata, rather than aloe vera. If it is its a regular and spectacular bloomer in warm climes.

Kylee Baumle said...

Nicole ~ Thank you for the ID on the Aloe. I'm not up on them, so I had no idea, I just knew it was different than the one I already had! I'll watch for a bloom this summer. Hopefully, I'll get to see one!

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Had a bougainvillea in my conservatory a few years ago but it was aiming for world domination so I threw it out, just in the nick of time, phew! Love that Imperial Garden though.

Spathoglottis, purdy, very purdy.

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