Floral Friday: A Potinara by any other name…

After skipping last year’s bloom cycle, the Potinara orchid I purchased in 2013 decided to wake up.  This is how it looked on October 27:

Potinara is a man-made genus (aka nothogenus) combining orchids from the Brassavola, Cattleya, Laelia, and Sophronitis genera. Taxonomists have begun reclassifying the 4 component orchids so Potinara Elaine Taylor is now an unpronounceable Rhyncattleanthe. You can read more about the science and name changes here but regardless, this is one striking flower!

Rhyncattleanthe Elaine Taylor, October 31, 2014

Rhyncattleanthe Elaine Taylor, October 31, 2014

Elaine Taylor typically blooms two 3.5-4″ flowers per inflorescence, set off be a bright white column. The labellum, petals, and sepals are covered in a crystalline “dust” that lends sparkle and refraction depending on sunlight.  In a few more days–when this flower is fully open–gold veins will be visible along the throat and mid-lip.

Rlc. Elaine Taylor was hybridized by the Krull-Smith Co. of Apopka, FL. Its family tree includes such famous parents as Rlc. Oconee, Ctt. Hazel Boyd and C. Beaufort, all much awarded and highly valued for the excellent crosses made from them.

For other Floral Friday photos click this link.

Until next time…


Happy Halloween!



Royal Pavilion Gardens: Brighton and Hove (Part 2)

King George IV‘s former Brighton palace defies description, although Taj Mahal West seems pretty apt. ;) Completed in 1823, this blend of minarets and onion domes is an arresting sight against the bright blue sky.

Royal Pavilion Brighton, September, 2014

The Pavilion and Gardens were designed by architect John Nash and William Townsend Aiton, founder of the Royal Horticultural Society. Both viewed buildings and landscapes as part of a picturesque whole, combining trees, shrubs and plants along carriageways leading to the Palace.


Their goal was to create the accidental effects of the “countryside” in a series of changing patterns as people approached the building.

Yellow Helianthus

In the early 2000s, the gardens were revamped to exacting standard and historic accuracy. Everything growing today is typical of the Regency Period.  Strolling the grounds is like stepping back in time!


This next image is one of my favorites from our entire trip. :) What a beautiful Buddleia!


Unexpected textures and shapes were everywhere. Look at these Hydrangeas!

Royal Pavilion Hydrangeas

My knowledge of Mediterranean zone plants is fairly lacking! Might this be Killarney Strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo?) The leaves don’t look quite right, but what a pretty shrub!


I’ve Googled (hard!) and also asked a few gardening friends about this next “unknown.”  No luck!  Any ideas?

Who am I?

Who am I?

I do however know Fuchsia! I grew quite a few in Massachusetts and was thrilled to see this vibrant specimen!


The Asters were everywhere, but I liked these best:

Aster amellus "Violet Queen"

As we were leaving, I noticed something else I couldn’t quite identify. Eupatorium? Some kind of Verbena? Oy..I have a lot to learn!  :)  (Nice iron scrolled fencing, though!)

Iron Fence

For further info and scheduled events, check out the Royal Pavilion official site.

Until next time!

:) :) :)

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Mid October Flowers

The 85-90° heat has broken!

As I type this, it’s sunny, clear and 71°F, a perfect morning to move around the garden. :)  The Super Cosmos (as I call them) are having their fullest/tallest bloom cycle ever, several reaching 10ft!

Super Cosmos, 10ft tall!

After conserving energy in the long Florida summer, the vine wall is waking up nicely.  Tecoma capensis (aka Cape Honeysuckle) is a particularly welcome sight.

Tecoma capensis

And here it is again, peeking through Passiflora foliage and a string of Ipomoea quamoclit (aka Red Cypress Vine.)

T. capensis and I. quamoclit on the vine wall

Now this next plant is one I really hate!! Lantana camara is too common and rough-leafed for my taste, but it came with the house and photographs well:

Lantana camara

I have strong feelings in the opposite direction for Primrosewillow: love every variety including Ludwegia peruviana, a Category 1 invasive. In my yard it appears only singly/randomly, so I’m not too worried about it…yet. This morning it looked particularly cheery.

Ludwegia peruviana

I’m thrilled to see a flower forming on the Cattleya hybrid (aka Potinara Elaine TayIor) purchased in February 2013.  Like most orchids, it was in bud when I brought it home, but lain dormant ever since!

Potinara Elaine Taylor in bud

Cast your eye to the left in the image above. What looks like the trunk of a young tree, is actually a Cosmos stem! (Now you know why I’ve dubbed them “Super!!”) I think there may be wierd, GMO/Monsanto sh*t going on here! ;)

Until next time…

:) :) :)



Schefflera arboricola Flowers/Berries

Although more common as a houseplant, Schefflera arboricola (aka Dwarf Schefflera) has many qualities that make it a good foundation shrub in Florida Zone 9/10. It is salt tolerant, pest resistant, and with a maximum height of 10ft, easily shaped into hedges/topiaries.  Unfortunately, shaping requires pruning, and pruning robs the plant of it’s greatest feature: beautiful drupes of autumn berries.  This year I let nature take its course, with excellent results:

Schefflera arboricola growing wild in the landscape

Left untrimmed, these shrubs produce flowering umbels from July to October—>tiny, white-to-green and inconspicuous, but still worth a look:

S. arboricola flower close-up

When the flowers become berries, the plant’s true ornamental nature is revealed:


Dwarf Schefflera is a native of Taiwan and member of the Aralia family. Like most exotics, it grows best in bright light, humid air, and well draining sandy/loamy soil.  Propagation of outdoor growers is best done from woody stem cuttings; use air layering if your S. arbicola is growing indoors.

S. arboricola full view

Until next time…..

:) :) :)



Brassia Maculata in Bloom

Brassias are sympodial (bulbous) orchids whose large fleshy leaves and woody flower spikes emerge from oval pseudobulbs along the soil line. Each pseudobulb provides nutrients and water for a single bloom cycle in August/September.  The light was perfect this morning so I took a few pics of their incredible beauty.


First Brassia maculata flowers of the season, 9/3/14

Their spidery appearance gives Brassias a distinct reproductive advantage. Parasitic wasps who typically lay their eggs on spiders, get confused by the orchid’s appearance and land on the flowers instead. As the wasps flit from plant to plant, they create one of nature’s best win-win situations: the wasps reproduce,  the brassias get pollinated, and a few very lucky 8 legged insects are saved in the process!


Although my Brassias live outdoors, they also make great houseplants: read more about it here.

Until next time…

:) :) :)


Wordless Wednesday: 8/13/14 (Siam Tulip)

My smartphone’s charging port crapped out after my last post (no smartphone = no camera/photos.) I finally got it repaired and can’t tell you how good it feels to take pictures again. :)  The blog is back in time for Wordless Wednesday.

Siam tulips are Florida late summer bloomers and I look forward to their arrival every August!


Curcuma alismatifolia, Maejo Mont Blanc

Although the inflorescence resembles a northern style tulip, this plant is a member of the Ginger family specifically Curcuma alismatifolia with bracts ranging from pure white to deep purple. Mine are a pink tinged hybrid named Maejo Mont Blanc.

For more on Wordless Wednesday, click the WW blog/linkup at the Jenny Evolution.

Until next time….

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Flame Lily Update: It’s Opening!

A few weeks ago, my Gloriosa superba vines were barely in bud.  Now they’ve branched in several directions and even started opening.


G. Superba, 8/5/14

Each Flame Lily is borne on a single leaf axis and typically takes 17days to complete the flowering cycle.  The photo above was taken yesterday at 8:30AM and the one below around 3:00PM.  As the blossoms mature, the tepals elongate and wrinkle, eventually arching upward as seen below.  Six stamens encircle a longer “eyelash” pistil that points to the side in an adaptation that discourages self fertilization: any pollen released from the stamens will fall below the pistil.


Looking at it this morning, it’s easy to see how G. superba got its common name!


G. superba, 8/6/14

It really DOES resemble flames against the sky!!

Until next time…

:) :) :)

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