Showing posts from January, 2013
       The Giant Gingers- Over Ten Feet, and 

 In our subtropical Miami climate, we can grow a great many species of plants, but for some reason many local gardeners have chosen their landscape designs to favor smallish plants. Perhaps this is a maintenance issue more than a design issue, but I thought I'd counter the trend of smaller plants by pointing out some of the giant ones, for those with larger properties. Few things can make such a statement as a specimen clump of a ginger or heliconia ( see previous blogs). I recall a trip I took to Hawaii in 1996 to the eastern side of Maui, a wet and moderate climate near Hana. I saw a forest of Etlingera elatior, easily 25 feet tall, growing in what seemed to be primordial and prehistoric conditions. The inflorescences were over my head, over 6 feet tall, and I expected a dinosaur to walk out from a nearby clump at any moment. It was a memory for a liftetime.  

There are quite a numb…
New Guinea Impatiens--Thoroughbreds of the Annuals Group

For many gardeners, especially in the mild parts of the year, Impatiens are a staple item of the garden color palette. With the recent gardening trend toward smaller-statured plants, modern Impatiens are being bred for compact plant size, bright colors, and even growth habit. This trend makes for an interesting conundrum: if the plants are smaller and smaller, you'll need to plant more and more of them to attain the "wow" quotient you hope for your garden's color display. 

My question is: why not use larger Impatiens ? New Guinea Impatiens grow taller and broader than their smaller cousins, and put on quite a show of color. This group of Impatiens often shows off larger flowers ( up to 3 inches across) as well as taller plants ( up to 2 feet and even more).     

One of the down-sides to this group is the plant cost; about double the price of the "regular" Impatiens. While the New Guinea group grows talle…