begins on the Summer Solstice (around June 22, the longest day of the
year when the sun is furthest north) and ends around September 24 (the
autumnal equinox). But in Florida, summer practically begins
mid-May and lasts weeks past the autumnal equinox. The reason
this is our close proximity to the Tropic of Cancer (23° 27'
latitude, the northern border of the tropics)--the point on Earth where
the sun appears the furthest north latitudinally. In our
the sun seems to be almost directly overhead at noon.
is also the
first month of the official Atlantic hurricane
season. If you did not prune your trees and palms in May, now
when you should do it. Trim back dead or weak branches from
and make sure that you have all the limbs and fronds hauled off so that
they do not become dangerous projectiles in the event that a hurricane
approaches. While hurricanes have been rare in the month of
(the busiest part of the season is August, September, and October), it
is not too early to prepare for one's approach. Before a
hurricane arrives is the best time to prepare your home and yard for
one. If a hurricane does approach, be sure to bring in
objects such as lawn furniture, toys, and garden tools and anchor
objects that cannot be brought inside. Secure buildings by
closing and boarding up windows. Be sure to remove outside
antennas and anything else that may have the potential to become a
lethal projectile. Hurricanes are tropical cyclones in which
winds reach constant speeds of 74 miles per hour or more, and blow in a
large spiral around a relatively calm center—the eye of the
hurricane. Stated simply, hurricanes are giant whirlwinds in
which air moves in a large tightening spiral around a center of extreme
low pressure, reaching maximum velocity in a circular band extending
outward 20 or 30 miles from the edge of the eye. Hurricanes
nothing to fool with—if you have lived here for the last five
years, you already KNOW that. Be prepared!
month, and all
through summer, continue to fertilize since
Florida's sandy soils do not hold nutrients well and your plants may
begin to show signs of nutritional deficiencies. The heavy
and consistent watering help to leach away the foods plants need to do
their best. Pay special attention to plants that are heavy
feeders such as palms and cycads. Insects are still on the
and will be until the cool weather sets in. Be aware and you
be able to end infestations of bad bugs before they begin. If
are still hoping to plant a traditional vegetable, herb or annual
garden this month these are your best bets:
will be on Sunday, June 16th at 5.
Yes, we are back to
our SUMMER HOURS! We will be joining Phil at his lovely home
in the Maximo neighborhood across from Eckerd College near the Skyway.
For those uninitiated in the wonders of Phil's yard, he
specializes in a tropical garden with multiple varieties of bamboo,
bromeliads, palms and crotons. Click here
to view his garden page.
His pool is always welcoming, so bring your suit - I don't know if he
allows clothing optional bathing. Don't
forget to bring a
covered dish for the pot-luck, and something
for the plant
to Members page If
like to help the
club by being responsible for the coolers or tables or anything else,
please contact Bud so he
can fill you in on what is needed. In the meantime, check
the hosts about seating arrangements. It may be necessary for
to bring your own chair.
you are bringing a guest let Joe know
at firstname.lastname@example.org the last Friday before the meeting and he will
preprint a name tag for them.
of the month
am resurrecting our Plant of the Month column that Jim wrote 6 years
ago. I think there is a lot to be learned from Jim's
knowledgeable presentations and now they have an entirely new
audience. While Jim took excellent photos in the
original column, I have updated the column with larger and higher
resolution photos from the internet (my apologies Jim).
This month’s jewels are the shrimp plants and their
relatives, the Acanthaceae. Most of you probably have some variety of
shrimp plant in your garden, and find that it grows like a weed. The
unusual and often harder-to-find species of Acanthaceae that I present
here grow equally well in Florida gardens, and are generally much more
impressive. What they all have in common is a cluster or spike of
bracts, from which the individual flowers sprout several at a time over
a period of days or weeks.
of the newer varieties of shrimp plant (Justicia brandegeana)
alternately called Fruit Cocktail, Rainbow, and Harlequin, is no longer
hard to find, but still a great addition to brighten up the
garden. Like the older varieties, it is extremely easy to root
from cuttings, and is pretty much care-free as long as it gets
yellow shrimp plant (Pachystachys lutea) is so common that it is
planted in large swaths in parks and at shopping centers. The giant
yellow shrimp plant, however, (Barleria oenotheroides) is not a
standard choice of landscapers. A pity, because the individual flowers
are much larger and more interesting in form than those of the common
common red firespike (Odontonema strictum) is very well known, and
its cousin purple firespike (Odontonema callistachyum) is finding its
way into our gardens fairly quickly now, but it has a sister with
fuchsia-pink flowers that I have not seen at any Florida
nurseries. It does need a lot of water at first to
get established, but then once a week will do. Be sure to give it
enough space, as it gets bigger than you think it will!
Brazilian plume flower (Justicia carnea – formerly Jacobinia
carnea) is a great choice for bright color in shade or part shade, with
flowers that can be red, pink, or fuchsia on a 3’ to
4’ tall plant. A new hybrid, Justicia ‘Orange
Plume’, has bright orange flowers on a plant that reaches
only 2’ tall. It may be a while before I propagate this one,
but we’ll see! All varieties need to be kept moist to perform
favorite Justicia relative is Brazilian red cloak (Megaskepasma
erythrochlamys), an enormous mounding plant for full sun. Unfortunately
it is very slow growing, and 2 years after planting from a 3 gallon
pot, mine has yet to bloom. Selby Botanical Garden has 3 of them, and
they are spectacular.
last of this month’s jewels is a Justicia relative I just
discovered at Home Depot, where you won’t have to rely on me
to propagate it for you! It’s called Maracas Brazilian
Fireworks (Porphyrocoma pohliana ‘Maracas’). It has
purplish-red bracts with lavender-purple flowers, and dark green leaves
with silver veins. Quite a striking contrast. Supposedly it takes full
sun, but I’m keeping it in 70% shade at the moment, and it
still needs water every day or 2. I’m sure it will be less
thirsty in the ground. Give it a try, and let me know how it does for
held our meeting at Jim and Eric's lovely home in South Pasadena.
Since they normally choose to host at the end of Summer, this
was a welcome change to see things at the end of Spring! The
day couldn't have been lovelier with a beautiful breeze blowing across
the pool to keep the temperatures down. To add to the relaxation, we
even got to talk Eric into opening a few bottles of his wonderful
and Bob welcomed everyone and provided the badges and hugs.
They had a lot to do since this was the most well attended
meeting in many months! We got to say hello to so many of our
old friends, What a pleasant surprise to see Ann and Budda!
The plumeria photos are
in honor of Scott and Joe, our plumeria guys. Our favorite snowbirds
Vince and Ron were finally able to explore Jim and Eric's gardens.
a terrific dinner and some wonderful cheesecake tarts (Thanks
John), Bud gathered everyone together to conduct our meeting.
Due to the low interest and lack of volunteers, we have
decided to forego having a booth at the Pride Festival this
year. Then Mike Gray talked about the upcoming Sunken Gardens
trip, which has
since taken place and was a complete success.
turned the stage over to Jim who gave a full tour and explanation
of his constantly evolving garden. We learned through his
experience of the dangers of having a totally tropical garden when
freezing weather sets in.
- Phil's in Maximo July
- Barry and Barry's in Tampa August
- AVAILABLE September
- Donn and Jesse in Sarasota October
- Ron's in Roser Park, St. Pete November
- John and Norm's in Palm Harbor December
- Bud Gunter's in Tampa
you want to host a
meeting or event, or make a presentation, please contact one of our
- Bud Gunter Vice
- President - Barry Campbell Secretary
- Ken Nichols Treasurer
- Gary Raush Membership/emails
- Joe Kosmal and Bob Conner Raffle
Coordinator - Jim Nevers Social
Chair/Club Outings - Mike Gray Metro
Courtyard Project - Michael Schine Newsletter/Webmaster
- Bryan Hopper
Hope to see all of you next month at
Phil's and at St. Pete Pride!