may 2014 newsletter
Container Gardening in Roger's back yard
Florida gardener's almanac
flowers of all tomorrows are the seeds of today.
Dry and Buggy! Like April, May in Florida tends
to be a rather dry
and windy month, but with rising temperatures. On
average, the daily high temperature
rises to about 86º while the
daily low does not usually fall below 68º. Temperatures
will reach the low
90º’s often during this month. Wildfires often persist in flaring up during May and
will do so until the rainy
season begins in June. Strong, steady
winds and lack of rainfall make most of Florida
highly susceptible to
wildfires this month. If your vegetable
and annual plants have survived April, keep an eye on them! Aphids, leafhoppers, grasshoppers and all
other sorts of nasties are on the munch and looking for some tasty
fill their bellies. Continue to watch
for water distress in your garden as the heat, wind and lack of rain
problems and any rain this month will not be enough to sustain your
plants. Mulching them is still highly
the Florida Garden is
the time for Frangipani
(Plumeria) to begin blooming and Gardenias to begin budding and
blooming. You may have noticed that some
of your trees have been dropping leaves. This
is quite normal for Oak, Mahogany,
Black Olive, Poinciana and a few
other species of trees. Many are now or
will be covered soon with bright green foliage and some (such as the
Jacaranda), with an explosion of blooms to welcome in Florida’s
famously hot and humid summer.
also the month to consider heavy pruning of many plants including trees
may be a threat during the upcoming hurricane season. When fertilized
watered, if required, they will come back and produce dense, bushy
during this month despite the pruning.
May is the month
to begin planting trees, shrubs and vines. But
wait until after the first rainy
spell to plant so that the ground
is thoroughly wet. Even then continue to
water as needed in case the rains do not soak your area as expected. If
still hoping to plant a traditional vegetable, herb or annual garden
these are your best bets:
Vegetables : Calabaza,
Cantaloupe, Cassava, Chayote,
Cherry Tomato, Collard Greens,
Cow Peas, Cucumbers, Dasheen, Jerusalem Artichoke, Jicama, Lima Beans,
Spinach, Malanga, Mustard, New Zealand Spinach, Okra, Papayas, Peanuts,
Pumpkins, Snap Beans, Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Turnips, Watermelons and
Borage, Chives, Dill, Sweet Marjoram, Mint, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage,
Begonia, Balsam (Impatiens), Blue Daze, Celosia, Coleus, Cosmos,
Gaillardias, Globe Amaranth, Marigolds, Morning Glory, Pentas,
Petunias, Portulacas, Salvia, Sweet Felcher, Strawflowers, Torenia,
Agapanthus, Amaryllis, Asiatic Lilies, Begonias, Blood Lily, Caladiums,
Crinum, Dahlia, Gladioli, Gloriosa Lily and Zephyranthes.
Sources: Florida Home
Gardening Month by Month
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
Our next meeting is on Sunday,
May 18th at 1pm. We are back to our usual 3rd Sunday of the
month. We are trying something new this month, journeying out to
Eureka Springs in Eastern Hillsborough County, a few miles northeast of
the Fairgrounds. Gary will be our host, and as the park ranger,
will be conducting an educational tour of the park.
Historically, Eureka Springs Park was the site of the first tropical
fish farm in Florida, developed by Albert Greenberg, who subsequently
donated the land to Hillsborough County. In the process of gathering
the many varieties of tropical fish, Mr. Greenberg also collected many
of the rare and exotic plants which make up the garden.
While we have been wary of holding a summer meeting at a park, Eureka
Springs Park has indoor facilities for us, so it should be very
comfortable for all, regardless of the temperature.
We will have our usual pot-luck, so try out your
cooking skills on this appreciative audience. Don't forget to
bring a plant for the raffle and maybe a few dollars for the 50/50
Baseball raffle. Water and ice will be provided.
If you plan to
bring a guest, please email
Joe so he can make your guest a nametag.
to Members page
of the month by jim
This months jewels are the kapok and its relatives, the floss silk tree
and the silk cotton tree. I’ve heard a lot of reference to these
the last few months, and noted the confusion of names. When not in
bloom, they appear very similar. All kapok relatives have the same
spiny trunk, which is green while the tree is young. And all have large
green seed pods filled with a cottony down. This is a good time to
discuss their differences, though, since the most spectacular of the
trio is in full bloom this month. Bombax ceiba, the silk cotton
tree, is a kapok relative native from India to Australia. Its large,
red, waxy flowers cover the tree and the ground beneath it during
February and March. Make sure you have plenty of room if you want to
plant one. They grow fast, eventually reaching 75 feet high, with
trunks many feet in diameter, and buttress roots that spread out from
the trunk. Not a good choice right next to the driveway or the house.
The floss silk tree, Chorisia speciosa, is a pink flowered tree from
Brazil and Argentina. There is also a white flowered species from
Argentina, Chorisia insignis. They are both very fast growing
when young, but slow down as they age. They are very impressive
specimen trees, a little better behaved than the silk cotton tree, but
not quite as spectacular.
The true kapok, Ceiba pentandra, is from South America. Its flowers are
creamy white, and much smaller than those of either the silk cotton or
the floss silk tree. While its spiny trunk and seed pods filled with
fluff may be impressive, its flowers really aren’t.
All these members of the family Bombacaceae like abundant or regular
water when young, becoming a little more drought tolerant when older.
They generally drop their leaves before flowering. They need full sun,
well drained soil, and lots of space!
to offer our sincere thanks to Roger, Jay and Brian for hosting our
meeting last month. The location was perfect, and we were all
made to feel very welcome. Even Betty seemed happy to see us!
Joe was at his station and on the job to check in the 30+ people who
attended, providing badges and hugs.
We had time to socialize and stroll through the garden walkways, while
Brian was in the kitchen setting up our buffet, and then lunch was
announced. There were many terrific dishes on the buffet,
including the most wonderful pan of lasagne! Certainly there was
plenty of food for everyone. Thanks to all who brought these
After lunch, I took the floor to announce our general business details
brought up at our monthly board meeting. The main point of
business was to inform the club of our decision not to participate in
Pride this year. While the cost of our booth had decreased from
previous years, the price is still substantial considering that we
don't know what kind of a turnout Pride will gather with its new format
- Saturday's night parade, Sunday's vendor fair. We have
opted to wait and see how the change will effect the crowds and then
make an informed decision to participate next year.
Brad then announced that Gary would be hosting the meeting next month
at Eureka Springs Park. Gary is waiving the fees for us, which
would be nearly $200. He suggested that since this is a newly
established botanical garden, we each might consider adding a small
piece of our own gardens to theirs to help it to grow bigger and
better. As they have a greenhouse and a sheltered lanai, all
variety of plants are welcome. So please, if you have a favorite
or unusual plant in your garden, consider bringing a small
portion of it to the meeting to add to Eureka Springs.
future meeting locations
April - Roger
D. in St. Pete
May - Eureka Springs Park in Tampa
June - Frank G. in Countryside
September - Dan B. in Sarasota
October - Jesse and Don in Sarasota
November - John and Norm in Palm
Now is the time to volunteer
your garden for a meeting. We still have a few open months this Summer,
so please consider hosting. Send
your emails to Mike G.