Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hibiscus tiliaceus variegata....Mahoe

Hey I'm not just loafing on the screen porch, I'm internalizing the view out front. I'm studying the subtle shifts from sun to shade and the movement of the hummingbirds and insects. This is work, I swear it is! The nuances are what get you. We all know that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west and moves north in the summer and south in the winter, but the exact intercepts. Where does the shade exactly fall and when. And as the years pass and growth happens what will happen to the light? Life and gardens can be as complicated as you let them be. I favor complicated just seems to go that way.

This trip I am adding a specimen/accent plant that will have a prominent position in the space between the front of the house and the street. The point of this plant is to sit, sculpturally, in an open space surrounded by low groundcover. The Live Oaks have high foliage, so it will grow below them; a perfect size would be something like 18' high and 10' in diameter. I'm going to try this Hibiscus tiliaceus variegata that I got Monday. While not strictly speaking "sculptural" in form it does have an interesting growth habit, almost cloud like, it bulges here and there. Certainly the large variegated leaves will make it an eye-catching specimen.

Somehow I had envisioned the space as shaded, probably because it is overhung by the Live Oaks. Well not so is in sun much of the day which is not a bad thing for the Hibiscus since it likes sun, but not quite the peaceful shady space I had anticipated. Thats why you have to spend a lot of time looking at your garden!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

1st Saturday of the Month is Orientation day at the Florida Scrub-Jay Trail

Always exercising my rapacious thirst for knowledge, I was trying to figure out another way to Google "Florida Scrub" and happened upon an interesting site. The initial attraction was a great gallery of photographs of "scrub plants", but eventually I looked at the whole site.

It turns out that in Lake County Florida, not 35 miles from the Wildwood garden, two Florida nurserypersons, Bruce and Cathy Brown, the proprietors of B. B. Brown's Gardens are recreating scrub habitat on their nursery grounds. Motivated by the appearance of a pair of nesting scrub jays (an endangered species endemic to the Florida scrub community), they have removed inappropriate vegetation, encouraged the scrub natives that still existed where there had been a citrus orchard then a nursery, and reintroduced appropriate plants that had not reappeared. The Florida Scrub-Jay Trail is a great project that has been enthusiastically adopted by the community. School classes visit and help planting and weeding. Volunteer groups come to see the plants and animals that were displaces by agriculture and development.

We stumbled into a Saturday event, an orientation, where Bruce and Cathy walked the trail, explaining why it is necessary, and how they are accomplishing the reintroduction of a habitat. In addition to their physical labor they are utilizing grants, donations, and a wealth of volunteers. They showed off plants and animals and the Jays were right out there. I saw many of the plants I had been reading about, but I missed the Gopher Tortoises. Maybe next time.