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Showing posts from July, 2012
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Restoring an Aloe Garden
  Pinecrest Gardens has a highly diverse arid garden. In the process of renovating it over the last 8 years, I've heard it called many things, some of which I can't print, but one of the old monikers is the Aloe Garden. To make the garden sound a bit more sophisticated, we've renamed it the Desert Garden, since Cactus Garden made many visitors wince when they heard it. I decided that it was time to renovate the Desert Gardens' collections of Aloe plants, many of which are simply stunning when they flower. I set out on a hunt for species that grow well in our wet climate.


  I was dismayed when I saw the disparity between the species with grand dimensions or petite patterns and those other species which actually grow well here. Some of the larger Aloe species have fabulous branching flower spikes many feet tall that resemble a candelabra with brilliant orange flowers instead of light bulbs. BUT.....some of these gorgeous species also have …
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The Enigmatic Shrimp Plants 



I have a great liking for the Shrimp Plant family, the Acanthaceae. The family has some of the most exquisite and colorful inflorescences of any family. Some of the species are common in horticulture, some are good landscape plants, and some of the most colorful are neither one at all. At Pinecrest Gardens, we have several species in the family, and I would like to experiment with many more. There are some generalities to be made about growing these plants, and some of the most consistent are their needs for water, bright light and frequent fertilizing with extra iron in their diet.


  Many of the species in the family are quite colorful, but most would be considered tender tropicals, sensitive to drying wind, intolerant of frost. The plants can be petite growers of a few inches tall, and some, like the hefty Barleria micans, can grow to small trees several meters tall with arm-thick main stems. Even in the warm subtropical climate of Miami, seve…