Category Archives: Flowers

Flower of the Day: Rain Lily

The rain lilies have been blooming here and there for about a month now, but this morning I woke up to rain lilies outside the back door……flanking the Tiffany rose as I rounded the corner.First I saw them in the back yard, then in the front yard…a clear sign it’s time to mow.And I discovered the last patch composting tonight.

Two reasons I love my garden right now…

Fresh flowers on my table…

…and fresh grapefruit in my sangria.

The Flower to Watch

Last week, the small but heavy scented stars of jasmine had my nose.  This week, the lightly scented but enormous magnolia blooms had my eyes.  Born and raised in the north, the southern magnolia hasn’t always been a favorite.

I missed the round pink balls that dotted the magnolia tree in my grandparents New York backyard.  It may be my fondness for the tree’s home, but that magnolia made the southern version’s dark leaves and plain white blossoms seem drab in comparison.

To my exhaustion, John loves southern magnolia trees and has never stopped trying to convince me of how beautiful they are.  We’ve been together eight years; he’s pointed out the magnolia around the corner a hundred times.  He even brought home a seedling once, but after all that, he may have finally won that argument without saying or doing a thing this week.

The trees are speaking for themselves.  The blossoms are gigantic when open, and their crisp white color pops off the dark leaves.  The scent may not command the air like jasmine, but dip your nose into the petals for a sweet citrus-y bonus.  Full bloom isn’t here yet, so keep watching.

If you live in Sarasota…

Stop, take a deep breath, and smell the jasmine.  It’s blooming everywhere right now.

Quiet Time at King Farm

Too many times I pull into King Farm, grab my groceries, and go.  Today I stopped to smell the flowers.  It was nice.

King Farm on Facebook


Apples and Amaryllis Don’t Mix

It seemed my amaryllis bulbs bloomed early this year.  When searching for the reason and normal bloom months, I came across something more interesting; apples sterilize amaryllis bulbs.  I knew not to store onions with potatoes because the potatoes would sprout and spoil early, but bulbs were a staple in our mini-fridge for a couple years without a thought as to what should or should not be stored next to them.

An absolutely ridiculous effort because my garden is in South Florida, there are no more bulbs in the mini-fridge to worry about.  I’ve happily accepted amaryllis and rain lilies as the two sole bulbs that can survive the heat.  Rain lilies are summer bulbs; the amaryllis are turning into true spring bulbs.

Both bulbs came with the house.  They didn’t bloom the first year, a combination of John-gone-wild with weed-killer and my transplanting everything in site to my liking.  I read after yanking them up that amaryllis don’t transplant well.  Luckily, mine did just fine.  The first wave bloomed in time for Mother’s Day and the next year for Easter.

Even though they fill the aisles at Christmas, those two years had me believing they were Spring-holiday bulbs blooming in either April or May.  Now looking back at pictures, they bloomed in March last year too.  My research found that the flowering season is a long window; they could pop up anytime from late December through June.  I’m attributing the March blooms to warmer winters over the past two years.

The apple-effect has to be attributed to ethylene.  Ethylene is a gas produced by plants that can affect other plants.  Like a plant super-power, it can signal germination, kill petals, change the color of leaves, and so I have to assume, sterilize amaryllis bulbs too.  A gas leak in 1901 led to the discovery that ethylene affected plant growth, but it took three more decades for scientists to realize that plants actually produced ethylene.

Roses in Bloom

Don Juan Rose

Tis the season for roses.  Mine are blooming and so are Mable’s.  My sister stopped by the Ringling Museum last week and said the rose garden is in full bloom.  We live in South Florida, so roses bloom year-round, but Spring brings them all at once.  If you’re in the Sarasota/Bradenton area, take a stroll through.  With 1,200 rose bushes planted in a circular maze, Mable’s garden is something to see and smell.  Plus the museum offers free admission on Mondays. :)

Blue Moon Rose


I bought two flats of kalanchoe at Home Depot a couple weeks ago.  The sunny yellow flowers have brightened up the garden greatly.  But when the clerk pronounced the name, I was wondering if we were still talking about the same plant.

Turns out I’ve been pronouncing the name all wrong, but I’m not alone, “Almost everyone pronounces the genus name ‘kah-lan-cho’ at first, when it actually is properly pronounced as ‘ka-lan-ko-ee.’”

Kalanchoe is a species of succulent, so they’re extremely easy to care for.  Although a few went into the ground, most went into pots.  This way if I forget to water them for a week, they won’t die on me.  Plants for the absent-minded, just what I need.

Dortort, Fred. The Timber Press Guide to Succulent Plants of the World. Portland: Timber Press, 2011. 66. Print.

Multiplying Milkweed

Self-sowing plants fall into the category of either convenient or maddening.  They fill in bare patches or pop up in places they shouldn’t.  Still, they’re always more welcome than weeds and when cooperative can be real money and time savers.

However, if the gardener is not feeling cooperative, self-sowers are sure to be the biggest pain in the ass you and your garden have seen since your honey tried to smoke out a moleCuban Buttercup is a flower not to be planted lightly; it’s a commitment, one forced upon me because I didn’t know any better.  It creeps between the brick pavers overnight, crowds out other plants, and it’s time to stop resisting.  In the spirit of Pema Chodron, I’m embracing the Buttercup and all the other self-sowers growing in my garden beds.

I’m putting away my wallet and cutting my garden workload thanks to Buttercup, Salvia and now Milkweed.  Seed pods burst through the garden last April, and one Milkweed plant gave birth to a litter.  Five new plants popped up this spring.  But location, location, location; a few were a little misguided in planting their roots.And some could have been planted with my own hands; this pot was empty other than the shells and marbles:As opposed to the Buttercup, I’m thrilled with the spread.  Milkweed equals butterflies; monarchs in particular, and my milk carton is in place and ready to house all the impending chrysalises.

Click here for free milkweed seeds.

Apple Bouquet

We celebrated my sister’s birthday tonight; and about an hour before dinner, I was feeling inspired.  Over the summer, I saw a magazine article that featured a watermelon centerpiece.  The melon was cut in half and again on the bottom, so it stood straight up.  Gerber daisies were stuck into the pink flesh.  The fluid and sugar in the watermelon feed the daisies to keep the arrangement fresh.

Ubermommy’s gift was Linda Watson’s book, Wildly Affordable Organic.  But when there’s a chance to bring flowers, I do.  So what better vase to accompany that particular book than an organic apple?  I thought it might require some fiddling or possibly carving but not so if you have a skewer on hand.  Poke some holes, and the stems will slide right in.  Then pop it in the fridge until you need it.  Easy, quick, fun, quirky – to all my friends, there are apple bouquets in your future.