The Allure of Brunfelsia

If you’ve been driving around town in the past month, your gaze might have been diverted by a dazzling plant in full flower. It’s the one covered from top to bottom with 2-in. wide blooms ranging from purple to lavender to white – simultaneously! You’re looking at Brunfelsia grandiflora, commonly called Yesterday-Today-and-Tomorrow. While this species is very dependable over time, this year’s flowering seems to be especially vigorous. For more information about Brunfelsia, please see Steve Turner’s October 12, 2012 article and photos on this website. And one more thing: Try to keep your eyes on the road.

Observations on a Wacky Autumn

With a 70% chance of rain today, who would believe we are in the dry season? And last week the temperatures dipped into the low 50s in the Redland. If we continue to have cool weather, we might have a strong lychee crop next year. That would be great.

Our Jakfruit season here at Richard Lyons’ Nursery is over. It’s wonderful to see so many consumers discovering the largest tree fruit. We had a fruit this year that tipped the scales at 86 lbs!

The Jujube trees are loaded with fruit, as are the Star Apple trees. Star Fruit trees are bearing a good crop again this year.

Our vegetable and herb garden is doing very nicely; in a few weeks we will be able to harvest beets, tomatoes, Swiss chard, carrots, sugar peas, kohlrabi, radishes, daikon (a large, mild Asian radish), and a large squash known as calabaza.

We also have herbs available in 3″ pots. They include parsley, dill, rosemary, tarragon, oregano, various hot peppers, mint, lavender and others. Lemon grass can be found at Richard Lyons’ Nursery year-round.

 

Why This Nursery Doesn’t Recommend Citrus or Avocado Trees?

Recently Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture, Adam Putnam, distributed a story that had been reported on a Tampa-area television station. It quoted some fairly astonishing statistics regarding citrus production in Florida: The most recent growing season yielded 104 million boxes of oranges. Only 11 years ago, 243 million boxes were picked! Some of the difference was due to hurricanes that strafed the state in mid-decade, but the bulk of the staggering loss resulted from citrus greening, a disease discovered in Florida in 2005. Greening ruins the appearance and taste of citrus fruit, and ultimately kills trees within a few seasons. A reliable cure is, at best, still several years away. It is a much greater threat than citrus canker.

To make matters worse, most varieties of citrus are not grown on the rootstock necessary for success in the soils of southern Florida. So right now Richard Lyons’ Nursery firmly recommends that homeowners interested in fruit trees buy something other than citrus.

Avocados also face a dicey future in our region. A tiny insect, the Redbay Ambrosia Beetle, carries a fungus, commonly known as Laurel Wilt, that has been spreading south from Georgia since 2002. In March 2012 the disease was detected in the northernmost avocado groves of southern Florida. The earliest observable effect of Laurel Wilt is dieback of leaves, stems and limbs, but all infested trees eventually die. Until a reliable, affordable treatment to prevent Laurel Wilt is developed, Richard Lyons Nursery will not sell avocado trees.

Come See Us at the Ramble!

This weekend marks the 74th edition of the Ramble, one of Old Miami’s most revered horticultural celebrations. It has long since ceased being just a plant show, though. The modern Ramble features cooking classes, rare books, a furniture design show, antiques, art, and a beer garden. And as for the plants, they have come a long way from the early days of the Garden’s annual extravaganza. Where once all the materials were grown by Fairchild, now a vast array of plants are brought in by vendors.

Richard Lyons’ Nursery will again be represented at this year’s Ramble, and we have selected an eye-catching variety of plants. Please drop by for a visit anytime this weekend between 9:30 am and 4:30 pm.

Admission to the Ramble is free to Garden members.

 

Saritaea magnifica (Glow Vine)

The name Saritaea magnifica implies something special, and, indeed, ‘magnificent’ is an appropriate word to describe the flowers of the Glow Vine. This native of Colombia and Ecuador produces large clusters of showy mauve-purple, trumpet-shaped blooms up to 2½ in. wide, accentuated by white throats. Even when not in flower, S. magnifica is ornamental, bearing smooth, leathery, dark-green leaves. It can be featured in the landscape in two ways: (1) Utilized as a climber that attaches itself to vertical elements via slender tendrils, or (2) Maintained as a shrub either planted out or in a container. Glow Vine should be grown in full sun to light shade and in moist, well-drained soil. It is available at Richard Lyons’ Nursery in 3-gal. pots, trained on 3-ft. trellises.