I will be working on Floridata over the holiday weekend. There shouldn't be any problems but if you encounter any weirdness just try again - any disruptions should be very short-lived. Have a happy Memorial Day holiday weekend, visit Floridata often and be good and grow! Jack
American smoketree (Cotinus obovatus) is a small, multi-stemmed tree (sometimes shrub-sized) with very attractive foliage that becomes brilliantly colored in autumn. Some say American smoke tree produces the best fall color of any American native tree or shrub. American smoketree is rare in the wild with a limited range. Since it requires little maintenance, grows in poor soils, and is drought tolerant we hope to see more American smoketrees in our landscapes. Read more about this handsome species that grows in USDA Zones 4-8.
This smoketree, also called Venetian sumac, (Cotinus coggygria), a Eurasian species, has a long history as a landscape plant and a number of cultivars are available. Read more about this showy shrub for Zones 5-8.
Unlike the other familiar spirea species that bloom in early spring, the Japanese spirea (Spiraea japonica) blooms in late spring and early summer. The 'Goldmound' cultivar is especially appreciated for its compact habit and beautiful yellowish green foliage. Click to download a large version (800x600).
Unlike its American cousin, the flowering dogwood (Cornus florida), the Chinese dogwood (Cornus kousa) blooms later in the season after the leaves have appeared. This variety is called 'Milky Way' and it is especially floriferous. Click to download a large of version (800x600) of this spring beauty for your desktop. Read the Chinese dogwood profile and browse this list of more ornamental woody species that bloom at this time of year:
Our southern catalpa (Catalpa bignonioides) trees finished blooming a month ago here in Florida's Big Bend but the northern catalpa (Catalpa speciosa) trees were in full bloom last week back home in Kentucky. The flowers of the two species are similar but with the northern blossoms being more elongated. Click to download a large version (800x600) of the northern catalpa flowers for a closer look. Download a southern catalpa flower for comparison.
This rugged sprawling plant produces huge fragrant blossoms from long tubular buds that begin to open in early evening only to last a single day. The devil's trumpet Datura inoxia var. quinquecuspida blossoms were favorite subjects of American painter Georgia O'Keeffe - and they're fun photograph as well. Click here to download a large version (800x600). Here are links to some of this devil's trumpet relatives:
Also known as woolly betony (Stachys byzantina), this fuzzily foliaged low growing perennial is used as a groundcover and in container plantings. In the late spring and early summer, fuzzy stalks appear that support small purple or pink flowers. Click here to download the lamb's ear for a closer look.
This large mounding perennial is attractive even when not in bloom. At this time of year the bleeding heart Dicentra spectabilis is simply spectacular (spectabilis!) produces long graceful stems from which the bleeding heartish-looking flowers dangle in single file. Read more about the bleeding heart, a shade tolerate perennial for gardens in USDA Zones 3-8.
The Hawaiian Islands are home to an array of native plant species that has attracted the attention of botanists, naturalists, horticulturists and world travelers ever since Europeans first visited the islands near the end of the 18th century. Read more »
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Native blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium) grows at my place in North Florida. The pretty little species is a native of the eastern United States so I shouldn't have been surprised to find it growing along a road in my Northern Kentucky condo complex. Luckily I had my camera with me and grabbed a picture of these little blue beauties because I returned the next day to find my blue-eyed grass had been mowed over by the maintenance company. I should have moved it to my garden. Blue flies (Aristea ecklonii) is a very similar species, also in the Iris Family, from South Africa that is also grown as a garden plant.
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The black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata) is a tender tropical species often grown as a garden perennial in warm winter climates. In colder climates this fast growing vine is enjoyed as an annual. Black-eyed Susan vine typically has bright yellow flowers but I found a white-flowered variety that I planted by the lamppost at my brothers house in Kentucky. Download this and other images from the Black-eyed Susan Vine Profile Gallery. Here are a few more tropical vines that can be grown in colder climates as annuals and that will bloom all summer long:
The spiderflower (Cleome hassleriana) is a tall (to about 5 feet) branching plant that is tolerant of hot weather and is virtually pest-free. Improved cultivars like 'Violet Queen' are shorter, more compact and grow well in pots and containers.
The Texas scarlet sage (Salvia coccinea) is a heat and drought tolerant annual that is often planted in wildflower meadows and butterfly gardens. Despite the common name, Texas scarlet sage also has white and pink flower forms. Regardless of color, hummingbirds and butterflies love to visit this pretty sage species for dinner. Here are some links to a few more easy to grow annual flowers:
Many of our favorite perennial flowers are known to attract butterflies. Garden phlox (Phlox paniculata) is one of these and it blooms at this time of year. Cultivars of this native American wildflower are available with flowers in white, lavender and shades of pink. Phlox is showy, fragrant (some) and butterflies love all of them! Here is a list of links to more profiles of perennials that will attract butterflies to your garden:
Among the first butterflies that I see each season at my place is the tiger swallowtail Papilio glaucus - one of the superstars of the butterfly garden. I saw my first tiger swallowtail of the season in my backyard last Friday. Click here to download a large version (800x600) of this beautiful butterfly and visit Floridata's Butterfly Gallery to see dozens more species.
Rose periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus) is durable, heat resistant and drought tolerant. The big bed of rose periwinkle near my Mom's condo remained fresh and pretty throughout a summer of record high temperatures and prolonged drought! Download large versions of this images and visit the Rose Periwinkle Profile for others.
Summer snapdragon (Angelonia angustifolia) will survive heat and humidity and still bloom like crazy all summer long. Click to download a large of version (800x600) of this 'Serena' angelonia cultivar. Here are a few more sun loving species:
The exotic staghorn fern (Platycerium spp.) is surprisingly easy to grow indoors and even easier outdoors in frost free climates. Some plants are more popular than others and the staghorn fern profile is one of those on Floridata that is viewed much less often than the more popular plants (plumbago has remained the most viewed Profile for more than a year). Here are a few not-so-popular species that are fun to know:
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