Florida gardener's almanac
two days are the same in one garden!
monthly timetable of gardening chores:
First Month of Summer (and Hurricane Season!)
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:
Calabaza, Chayote, Cherry Tomatoes, Collards,
Cowpeas, Dasheen, Okra, Peanuts, Roselle, Seminole Pumpkin, New Zealand
Spinach, Southern Peas, Squash, Sweet Cassava, Sweet Potatoes,
Yard-long Beans and Yautia.
Chives, Dill, Ginger, Marjoram, Mint, Oregano, Sage and
Caladiums, Cat's Whiskers, Celosia, Coleus, Cosmos,
Cockscomb, Dianthus, Gaillardia, Ginger, Impatiens, Lantanas,
Marigolds, Melapodium, Moon Vine, Pentas, Periwinkles,
Portulaca, Purslane, Salvia, Strawflowers, Sunflowers,
Torenia and Zinnias.
African Iris, Caladiums, Cannas, Crinums, Daylilies,
Eucharis Lily, Gladioli, Gloriosa Lilies, Society Garlic and
Zephyranthes (Rain Lilies).
Gardening Month by Month
further interest to
1825 4th Street N, St Pete.
County Extension Service calendar
for lots more gardening
in St. Petersburg
Kopsick Palm Arboretum
in St. Petersburg
meetings at Moccasin
Park Trail Ln., Clearwater:
Monday, October – May, 7:00-9:00pm.
Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society
Wednesday of month, 7:30 - 9:30 p.m.
Our next meeting is going to be
a first for us. Gary G. has invited us to his home in Spring
Hill. Yes, it is a bit of a drive, but it certainly is worth the
effort. Gary has extensive property with a large greenhouse full
of orchids - about 1200 of them. He also has many other tropicals
to view. I don't know if he is planning to sell any, but I'm sure
you could ask. In addition, he has invited us up earlier in the
day to do a craft project - a cement bird bath. He brought one to
the last meeting and they look amazing. He will help us all make
one for ourselves if we come a few hours early to the meeting - JUST
LET HIM KNOW YOU ARE COMING - so he can get the supplies. He will
seal them to make them watertight and deliver them to the next meeting.
Sounds like a great arrangement to me!
We will have the regular pot luck and plant raffle. If you plan to
bring a guest, please email
Joe so he can make your guest a nametag.
to Members page
This month I am choosing a plant that I like very much, though it tends
to get away from me. Russelia
or the Firecracker plant grows in a
wild and wispy free-form manner with cascading strands of feathery
branches full of red, off-white, or coral colored tubular flowers,
perfect for butterflies or hummingbirds.
Firecracker or Coral Fountain plants grow freely in full sun to
partial shade (which produces fewer flowers), growing in a mound that
looks best when it is left untended. If you hope to shape the
shrub into a compact mass - forget it! The beauty of this plant
is its long, fluffy branches ending in masses of small bursts of color.
Trimming loses all of the natural look of the plant, making it
This is a perennial plant, safe in temperatures down to approximately
25 degrees, making it perfect for zones 9 and 10. It is great in
containers and works well in less formal gardens where it can spread.
Generally the firecrackers maintains a height below 3 feet, but
can spread out to 5 feet or more in a cascading mound.
What surprised me most about the firecracker is the color differences.
While the bright red is the most common color found in the area,
the pale yellow/off white flowers are becoming much more available.
I was lucky to find the coral colored variety at a small local
nursery and grabbed it.. I've planted all three varieties in a
mound in the yard so they blend in to each other.