An Indroduction

Submitted by jamesbwood on Fri, 02/17/2012 - 15:10

Greetings from West Plam Beach, South Florida. I grew up here but have been away for school and work as a marine biologist and have lived and worked in Nova Scotia, Texas, Bermuda, California and Hawaii for the last two decades.

I've always been intetrested in plants. As a child, I collected paper cups at local baseball games, grew planets in them, put them in my little red wagon and went door to door selling them. My wife and I recently bought a forclosed house on an acre of land and we are in the process of making it ours including adding a vegtable and herb garden. Recently I've become especially interested in rain lilies and their relatives.


Submitted by Lori S. on Fri, 02/17/2012 - 15:38

Greetings, James!  It will be really interesting to hear about what you grow in the tropical climes of Florida!

Submitted by RickR on Fri, 02/17/2012 - 18:53

Hi James, and welcome!

A couple years back, I got few species Zephranthus seed in the second round of the NARGS seed exchange.  Zz. drommondii, minima, primulina and Sunset Strain.  Never got to planting them!  :'(  But, I am determined to finally plant those rain lilies this season.

Do keep us informed of your Florida endeavors.  We are quite the eclectic group!

Submitted by Mark McD on Fri, 02/17/2012 - 20:48

James, welcome to the NARGS Forum! While your Zone 10 is twice that of my colder Zone 5 here in New England, there is still lots of common ground.  It can be surprising that many native wildflowers that grow well here and are perfectly hardy, like the delightful dwarf woodland Iris, I. verna var. smalliana  (I have the cultivar 'Brumback Blue'), have such a deep southern native range including just entering the western tip of the Florida panhandle. And fine little rock garden bulbs like Hypoxis (Goldstar) grow in much of eastern North America, but revel in southeastern USA including a number of species in Florida.  I'm looking forward to finding common ground and seeing what sorts of small plants are growable in Florida... keep us posted.  

Of course there are tons of things that will be fabulously interesting to grow in such a temperate climate as Florida, low growing succulents in the Mesembryanthemaceae (Ice Plants) come to mind, and we would love to see them even if us more northerly gardeners can't grow them.  I agree with Rick, we're an eclectic group, rock gardeners have much more diverse plant interests than the "rock gardening" moniker may indicate :).

Here's a few links on Iris verna var. smalliana:

Iris verna var. smalliana 'Brumback Blue'

Distribution map, reaches westerrn tip of Florida pan handle.

Submitted by jamesbwood on Fri, 02/17/2012 - 22:38

Thanks Lori, RickR and McDonough for the warm zone 10 welcome. 

RickR, there is no harm in trying but most of what I've read states that Zephranthus seeds do not keep for long.  I'm about 50/50 with seeds I've ordered from online dealers and off of eBay.  50% at least some come up, 50% nada.  Some growers sprout them in water - at least then you can see what is going on.  If you try this method, change the water out at least once a day.  I did see that the seed exchange has quite a few Zephs listed but wonder how people are doing with them as they are sent in on or before Nov 1st and not sent out until the new year.  Another source said that these seeds could be stored dry in a refrigerator for longer time periods. . .

McDonough - beautiful Iris picts, thanks for sharing.  Fl is a big and long state and by the time you get down to me, you are well into the full heat and humidity of south Florida.  On the plus side, freezing temperatures are rare so citrus and tropical fruits can be grown.  Mesembryanthemaceae look like good fun - I might have to make sure they don't get to much water. 

Submitted by RickR on Sat, 02/18/2012 - 09:15

Thanks for the tips, James.

You've already proven yourself a valuable "asset" to the forum!  ;D

Submitted by Hoy on Sat, 02/18/2012 - 15:12

Hi James! You live in an fascinating state! I have been visiting FL twice with my family - the last time we drove all the way through Everglades to Key West! (Happened to end up in the Ernest Hemingway competition :D )

All over there were exciting new species for a temperate climate dweller 8)

Submitted by cohan on Wed, 02/22/2012 - 18:16

Hi and welcome! A huge range of exciting things can be grown in your climate-- have fun! I presume you have seen the Floridata website?