october 2017 newsletter
St. Pete's version of the Keys
Florida gardener's almanac
The flowers of all
are the seeds of today.
monthly timetable of gardening chores:
Fertilize using a winterizer fertilizer
with plenty of potash which will help increase winter hardiness just
about all shrubs and trees, especially tropicals that might be at the
limit of their range.
Feed and water Bougainvilleas now for the
last time until May in order to encourage summer blooming.
The fertilizer should be one that is high in potash and very low in
nitrogen. If your plant becomes a host for leaf roller
caterpillars, spray the plants thoroughly with liquid Sevin late in the
day, as these caterpillars are night feeders.
Start Cool-Weather Flowers from seed for
Asters, Bachelor's Buttons, Balsam, Calendulas, Lobelias, Lupines,
Marigolds, Nasturtiums, Pansies, Salvias, Scabiosa, Snapdragons,
Statice, Stock, Strawflowers, Sweetpeas, Verbenas, and Zinnias.
Plant Bulbs Now for Spring Color:
African Lily, Amaryllis,
Anemone, Aztec Lily, Blackberry Lily, Calla, Cestrum, Crinum,
Crocosmia, Elephant Ears, Gladiolus, Kaffir Lily, Lapeirousia,
Louisiana Iris, Moraea, Narcissus, Pineapple Lily, Shell Ginger, Spider
Lily, Watsonia, Walking Iris
prevent black spot and powdery mildew disease.
Watch for lacebug infestations.
These pests tend to become a problem once the weather cools.
Check lawns for insect pests
especially sod webworms.
Set strawberry plants.
Plant strawberries in a prepared bed. Bare-root plants should be
set in moist, but well-drained soil. Don't cover the crown or
leave roots exposed. Water daily until established.
Varieties for Florida are Sweet Charlie, Oso Felcher, Camarosa, Rosa
Linda, and Selva.
Prepare Christmas cactus for holiday bloom.
Six to nine weeks of cool night temperatures and 12 to 15 hours of
uninterrupted darkness are needed to set buds. Set plants outdoors away
from exterior light and protect from freezes.
Plant winter ryegrass.
Fine-textured winter ryegrass will provide a beautiful, bright-green
winter lawn, but it also requires watering, mowing and fertilizing.
Broadcast 10 to 20 pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet.
Tulips, Daffodils, and Hyacinths are now available for sale. These do
not do well if planted at this time of year. Instead, they should be
placed in a refrigerator (not freezer) and held until December or
January when they can then be planted. These bulbs should be regarded
as an annual crop. They seldom perform well after the first year.
Watch for twig girdlers. These
insects lay eggs from the branches and then prune them from the tree.
The infested branches rest on the ground through the winter and the
young twig girdlers hatch in spring. Control next year's crop by
picking up and destroying fallen branches.
Home Grown; Florida Gardening Month by Month
Our next meeting is on Sunday,
October 22nd at 3pm. We will be at John D.'s house in Clearwater.
The meeting is on the 4th Sunday this month because the previous weekend is the All
Hallow's Eve Ball and we want to give everyone time to recover! John has a very spacious and well groomed
back yard with some interesting items to see - be sure to visit the
bird cage to see what's tweeting! John tells me that the
directional signs are all accurate so you can see how far you are from
your favorite vacation destination (providing John has already been
there. If he has, then there's a distance marker for it)!
You will need to bring a chair this month. Water and
ice will be provided. We will have our usual pot-luck, so try
cooking skills on this appreciative audience. Don't forget to
bring a plant for the raffle.
to Members page
Plant of the Month: Brugmansia (Angel’s
Some of you are asking, “Aren’t they called Datura?”
Well, they used to be. Some years ago it was decided that the species
with upright pointing flowers would be called Datura, and those with
pendant flowers would be called Brugmansia. A good decision, I think,
because if you’ve ever compared the seed pods, you know they
really aren’t the same plant. Especially since blue and purple
are the most common colors for Datura, but there are no blue or purple
flowered Brugmansias. You may be surprised to learn, though, that just
about every other color now exists, and so do many unusual forms.
Most gardeners are familiar with the fragrant, yellow trumpets that age
to apricot (usually Charles Grimaldi), the less fragrant pale pink
(several possible varieties), and perhaps the sometimes fragrant pure
white. If you have a fragrant variety, you’ve probably noticed
that there’s no fragrance during the day. Brugmansias are
pollinated by moths and bats, so they begin producing their fragrance
around sunset, and it continues throughout the night into early
morning. Some varieties are sweeter than others, and some will perfume
an entire yard. Charles Grimaldi has remained the favorite for many
years for this reason.
Those ready for an adventure may want to consider some of the newer
colors and forms available. Some are long trumpets, others flare open
widely to reveal the throat, usually of a lighter color. The so-called
double flowered angel’s trumpets look like they have a flower
growing out of another flower. Fantasma, or Shredded White, has
abandoned the trumpet shape altogether, to become a bunch of
petticoats. There are now deep pinks, oranges, reds, and lemon yellows
that stay that way. Several varieties, such as Maya, have variegated
All angel’s trumpets grow as large shrubs or small trees, topping
out at 12 to 20 feet, depending on the regularity of frosts and
pruning. They are heavy feeders, performing best in a rich, moist soil
in full sun, with regular water. I find the pinks will tolerate more
shade than the yellows. If you have pets or children that like to chew
on foliage, keep in mind that Brugmansias are poisonous.
upcoming meeting locations
We are finishing up the year with a complete slate of locations:
October - John in Clearwater
November - John and Norm in Palm
December - Holiday party at the MCC Church in Tampa