January 2014 newsletter
Florida gardener's almanac
monthly timetable of gardening chores:
Winter is Here!
January is a great month to begin
planning and planting your spring vegetable and flower gardens. The
dry and daytime temperatures rarely go above 85°F. The nights get
rarely below freezing - although many years ago, January 19, 1977 to be exact, a trace of snow
fell in Miami and cities north.
Freight Trains of cold Polar air will push their way out of Canada and
Florida, sometimes getting only as far as Central Florida, other times
barreling their way down to the Keys. Last
year was memorable for two of these
Siberian Express cold fronts,
which dropped temperatures below freezing in Tampa for five nights!
Because this month tends to be so dry,
your lawn and plants require supplemental applications of water.
January is also an important
gardeners in South Florida to
fertilize tropical fruit trees, lawns, and shrubs.
Citrus trees especially, should be
this month. Insect pests, plant diseases, and nutritional deficiencies
become apparent now. Aphids, whitefly,
caterpillars, grasshoppers, and scale insects attack citrus. Citrus trees can also become home to sooty
mold, fungus, foot rot, gummosis, "greasy spot" and a host of other
diseases resulting from poor nutrition. Now
would be an excellent time to
schedule (on your new calendar of
course) regular feedings of 6-6-6 fertilizer around the drip
line of your
trees. The rule of applying fertilizer to fruit trees is one
pound of fertilizer for each year of the tree's age.
Watermelon anyone? Now is a good
watermelon if you are in Central or South Florida
(North Floridians should wait until March).
bets for starting a traditional garden this month are:
Florida Home Grown - Florida Gardening Month By Month
Beans, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots,
Cauliflower, Celery, Chinese Cabbage, Collards, Cucumbers, Endive,
Escarole, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leek, Lettuce, Mustard, Onion Sets, Parsley,
Peas, Peppers, Pumpkins, Rhubarb, Romaine, Rutabagas, Spinach, Squash,
Strawberries, Sweet Corn, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Turnips Watermelons,
and almost any other vegetable or fruit you desire.
Anise, Basil, Borage, Chives, Chervil, Coriander, Fennel, Garlic,
Lavender, Marjoram, Mint, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Sesame, Sweet
Marjoram, Thyme and most other herbs.
Amaryllis, Asters, Baby's Breath, Bachelor's Buttons, Balsam,
Calendulas, Callas, Candytufts, Carnations, Cosmos, Cockscombs,
Daisies, Dianthus, Forget-Me-Nots, Gaillardias, Gladiolas, Globe
Amaranth, Hollyhocks, Lace Flowers, Lilies, Lobelias, Lupines,
Marigolds, Narcissus, Nasturtiums, Pansies, Poppies, Salvias, Scabiosa,
Snapdragons, Statice, Stock, Strawflowers, Sweetpeas, Sweet William,
Verbenas, and other cool season flowers and bulbs.
Of further interest to
Garden in Sarasota
1825 4th Street N, St Pete.
County Extension Service calendar for lots more gardening
Beautiful Commission in St. Petersburg
Kopsick Palm Arboretum in St. Petersburg
Monthly meetings at Moccasin
2750 Park Trail Ln., Clearwater:
1st Monday, October – May, 7:00-9:00pm.
Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society
First Wednesday of month, 7:30 - 9:30 p.m.
3rd Thursday, 7:30-9:30pm
of the month by jim
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.
I’ve included links to a couple of nurseries that have a large
selection, just to give you a better idea of what’s available.
future meeting locations:
January - Jay
NE St. Petersburg
February - Vince and Ron in St. Petersburg
March - Joe and Bob in Odessa
April - Roger D. in St. Pete
September - Dan B. in Sarasota
October - Jesse and Don in Sarasota
Now is the time to volunteer
your garden for a meeting. The new year is just around the corner and
months are being filled up! Send
your emails to
new year brings new officers. This next meeting will be our
election of new officers. All positions are up for election, so
now is the time to decide how the new year will effect our club.
I, for one, am planning to throw my hat into the ring and run for club
President. I would love to see more of you take an active role in
guiding the club into the future. Won't you join me in helping
steer the club towards becoming a bigger and better garden club?
Please consider running for any of the
offices. We need a secretary, a newsletter editor, a host
coordinator, also board members at large who just are there to give
ideas and help out. Each office involves only an hour or two a
month, and is so
important for our continuation.
So far, nearly 60% of our membership has renewed for another year!
Since we haven't had the first meeting of the year, we are
renewing at a very fast rate. Hopefully this is a sign of good
things to come!