February 26, 2008

What’s Blooming in Our Gardens?

By Dale Armstrong
Florida Yards & Neighborhoods

It wasn’t that many weeks ago that the Jet Stream delivered an Arctic blast to our area and damaged many of the cold sensitive plants here at Pinellas County Extension/Florida Botanical Gardens. Walking around the gardens this week I am amazed at how quickly everything has recovered, aided no doubt by the unseasonably warm weather of late.

Loads of colorful blooms are already popping throughout the gardens. Even the azaleas will soon be in the peak of an early bloom.

BrunfelsiaI snapped photos of a few interesting subjects to share. One incredible bloomer is Brunsfelsia spp., a shrub commonly called Yesterday-Today-and-Tomorrow. Interestingly, it is in the same family as tomato, potato, and eggplant. The Brunsfelsia will simultaneously have purplish, lavender, and nearly white blossoms. The flowers change color over a period of a few days, thus having multiple colors all on one plant. I never quite understood the common name…seems to me “Today-Yesterday-and-Day-Before-Yesterday” would be more descriptive. After all, wouldn’t “Tomorrow’s” bloom be just an unopened bud today?

bromeliadAnd then there are the Bromeliads; so diverse, and so beautiful. We have such a large collection here, representing hundreds of species and cultivars of the Bromeliaceae family, that it is easy to enjoy a multitude of bloom varieties most anytime of the year.

Knock out rosesThe large beds of “Knock-out®” roses are also impressive right now. If you are a fan of roses there are two rose gardens here for your enjoyment.

Don’t forget to check out our newest butterfly garden near the entrance to the Extension office. Plants were selected to attract a multitude of butterfly species, so there is always something interesting to see. We have a couple of strategically placed benches so you can relax a while and see what drops by.butterfly garden

University of Florida fact sheets:
Brunfelsia grandiflora, Yesterday-Today-and-Tomorrow
Growing Roses in Florida
Getting Started in Butterfly Gardening

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