About Central Florida Gardener

Welcome and thank you for visiting Central Florida Gardener. Florida is a unique state in which to garden. It can be frustrating but also rewarding for gardeners who persevere. This blog was created as a resource for Florida gardeners, both new and experienced, in search of information specifically for Florida gardens.

You are invited to participate by leaving your comments, suggestions, tips and recommendations relevant to Florida gardening - don't be shy! Thank you for dropping by to learn more about gardening in the Sunshine state. I look forward to hearing from you! Susan

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Garden Pest - Chilli Thrips

A relatively new species of thrips ~ ~ Chilli Thrips Scirtothrips dorsalis Hood ~ ~ that attack a wide variety of plants in Florida are becoming more prevalent. Some of their favorite plants are: Begonia, Citrus, Hydrangeas, Ornamental Sweet Potato Vine, Indian hawthorne, Snow Bush, Azaleas, Camellias, Golden Dew Drop, Verbena, Crape Myrtle, Geranium, Coleus, Variegated Pittosporum, Plumbago, Marigold, Victoria Blue Sage, Viburnum, Roses and many varieties of vegetables to name a few.

Unlike the common thrip, Chilli thrips can be found on the axils of leaves or curled leaves and leaf litter. Affected plants will have brown and/or rolled leaves and distorted flowers. This is a tough insect that can do a lot of damage very quickly.

Infestations are easier to control if you discover them early and treat immediately.  Fortunately, there is a  product called Conserve Naturalyte which contains Spinosad ~ a  naturally occurring soil dwelling bacterium ~ that can be used to control the thrips. Remove all damaged flowers and apply the product only as needed as it can be toxic to bees until it has dried. Otherwise, the product has shown very low toxicity levels to other critters. Natural enemies include lacewings and ladybug beetles.

Good luck in treating infestations should you discover any on your plants or vegetables.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Some New Florida Garden Bloggers

It's always a pleasure to discover some more Florida garden bloggers. Our list on the sidebar has now reached 100! That makes me happy to see so many Florida gardeners blogging. But I must say I'm sorry to see that a lot of gardeners don't post on a regular basis. I know, I know...everyone's life is busy these days and it's easy to get sidetracked with more important things.

But, I must confess that I thoroughly enjoy communicating with other Florida garden bloggers, seeing photos of their gardens, sharing ideas and learning a thing or two, as well. So, I'd like to encourage MIA Florida garden bloggers to resurrect their blogs so we can all see what's going on in their garden...maybe, at least one post a month...pretty please. :-)

Now, here's some more Florida garden blogs:

The Budget Gardener lives in Boynton Beach and you can watch his progress as he "transforms his huge water hogging St. Augustine lawn into a sub-tropical edible paradise" while trying to stay within a budget.

The Shabby Gardener (love that name) gardens on 1 acre in the city of Zephyrhills.

Ask the Plant Guy Craig Morell who is the horticulturist at Pinecrest Gardens, former site of Parrot Jungle.

Julie in Palm Beach county blogs about succulents and other hobbies in A Succulent Life.

Jeanni gardens in the pretty little town of Lake Helen and shares her love for roses on her blog Roses and Gargoyles.

Clermont gardener Fred Sommer chronicles his garden experiences on his blog Sommer Gardens.

Jim and Stephanie Carcano owner of Ridge Plants ~ ~ a native and Florida-friendly perennial nursery ~ ~ in Lake Wales shares lots of information on their Ridge Plants Blog.

Here's three more blogs that looks very interesting ~ ~ An Old Soul! Thank Eli for letting me know about your blog and also, Mr. Florida from the U.K. blogs about his Florida Garden and Bill (a native Floridian) who blogs about growing vegetables on his Fresh from the Garden blog..

If you're Florida garden blog isn't listed on the sidebar, please leave a comment and I'll gladly add it!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Caladium Happiness

Back in March of this year, we hosted a caladium bulb giveaway from Happiness Farms, Inc. Two lucky Florida gardeners each won a $55 gift certificate to buy caladium bulbs of their choice.

As promised we're checking in with them to see their pretty caladium displays.

SiestaSister ordered John Peed...a pretty red variety outlined in green, and she maximized their use by planting them in various locations around her garden. I think you'll agree with me that she's created some beautiful and colorful tropical vignettes with her caladiums.

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NanaK at My Garden Path gave me permission to download these photos of the caladiums she ordered from Happiness Farms. She ordered a box of mixed colors and planted the care-free bulbs at her church for some much needed color.

The combination of colors and patterns blend beautifully together and add a nice punch of summer color to an otherwise green landscape. 

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For hosting the giveaway, Happiness Farms, Inc, offered to send me a box of caladiums of my choice. Here's a photo from my garden of Miss Muffet. I spread mine around in various pockets throughout the shady areas. They definitely brighten up a dark area with their beauty.

Thank you to Happiness Farms, Inc. for spreading so much happiness around!

Coming up on August 26th and 27th is the 21st Annual Caladium Festival in Lake Placid. Click here for more information.