Thursday, December 24, 2020

Crazy Rare Houseplants in Ocala

 77F and the wind is steady from the south at 15mph gusting near 30. The wind will turn and the temperature is expected to drop to 40 tonight and under 30 Christmas night. 

So of course Karen and I went out and bought a raft of houseplants! Something on Facebook caught Karen's eye and she noticed that The Peacock Cottage is just up the road in Ocala. Since Christmas isn't the massive involved endeavor this year that it often has been we ended up with everything done this morning and decided to visit.

This shop is truly a plant geek's dream. They have a wide variety of species, genera, and families plus many many succulents and terrarium plants. Many of the plants are rare or uncommon and all are choice. You can see what we chose: Philodendron 'Birkin', Calathea 'White Fursion' (they had many calathea including others I wasn't familiar with), pothos 'Pearls 'n Jade', Sansieveria 'Samurai', those two colorful tillandsias, several African Violets, and some begonias. We won't go back for a while, but I've already started a list Right now I've got to be sure that these, and our other tender tropicals are inside by tomorrow night.

We traded a few retail plant stories with the owners and found out they've been there for 5 years and started by focusing on African Violets. I found them to be charming and knowledgeable which is a good combination. Plus the plant geek thing! I should say that I'm not being paid for this. Never have been on this blog. My compliments are completely uncolicited

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Watering on Easter Morning

Karen and I bought this property, in Central Florida, in 2006 both with an eye to having a place to downsize/retire to and so that we could have a sub-tropical garden. We met in 1982 in the houseplants department of Behnke's Nurseries in Beltsville Maryland. We both love plants and have a soft spot for tropicals. We've been planting since 2006 but since we were only here a few times a year for a few weeks at a time we were limited to plants that could establish themselves. Last year we moved here permanently and we've been adding plants ever since. This is zone 9a so we can't grow most of the true tropicals but there's a lot we can grow: a few epiphytic orchids, a few heliconias, many bromeliads, more tropical aroids than I imagined, and a host of wonderful sub-tropicals. 

Spring is funny here. It falls towards the end of the dry season and it's usual to receive essentially no rain from late fall to sometime in May. Over the last 8 weeks, we have received about an inch of rain. Still, spring happens somehow: the maples flower, the azaleas too, turf greens up, wildflowers come alive... Nurseries and garden centers overflow with plants. We want them all! The beds keep growing in size and number but the space is finite alas... Anyway, acclimating plants requires watering them all individually. I'm running the sprinkler because most of the plants in this bed have been in long enough to not require individual attention. Plus there's a 30+ foot longleaf pine, Pinus palustris, my favorite pine in the world and one I feel is sadly overlooked by designers, that seems to want more water than the site provides naturally. Plus it's Easter and seeing the water makes me feel good!