Those of you who are not familiar with Mandevilla I should tell you that it’s not in the Philippines and General MacArthur’s forces are not fighting the Japanese for it. It’s a plant: a very hardy and fast growing vine, normally (unless your roommate (RM) selects a diseased plant) . Its trumpet-shaped flowers come in assorted colors on varieties of mandevillas. I have yellow and red plants (Mandevilla sunmandecrim). Actually, the yellow plant is called a mandevilla but it’s usually Urichtes lutea or Pentilinon luteum. They can live in containers and even live indoors, but you better be ready to meet the Giant because they’ll grow up through the roof of your house unless you take control. One of my yellow plants, which Is in a container outdoors, known as “Bob Mandevilla” ran aground the end of Winter and I completely cut him back to nearly nothingness. When Bob began sprouting, the call went through the house: “Bob’s back!” Since I cut back Bob, I’ve heard from everyone in the house the annoying: “What about Bob?” Now, one of my red mandevillas has had a fungus since last summer and was ostracized from the container community. I tried many ways to eliminate the fungus but nothing has worked. However, “Mandy Mandevilla” is blooming all over. Apparently she is ignoring the fungus.
Well, dear nature lovers, I don’t have to tell you that it’s Spring and in Florida that means plant infestations, pestilence, enemy incursions, and thievery. Yes, thievery. Each Spring our one and only loquat tree yields small fruits which have been compared to passion fruit. This is my second season here and again, the loquats appear, and ripen in one moment, and in another they disappear. Not a speck of fruit left, not even on the ground. I believe we have a two-legged thief in our neighborhood or some animal is a very neat eater. Personally, I’m guessing it’s a kangaroo with a very deep pouch who observes the proprieties. RM’s golden retriever always barks if someone is in the front yard or mowing their lawn two blocks away. However, he is getting on in years and the flagrant thievery might have taken place while he was taking one of his many required naps on the sofa.
Latest news about Mostly Dead tree, is that she’s still standing. I believe she’s coming down some time this month. Surely you should be dead by now hibiscus is still blooming and refuses to do the honorable thing and die. The crown of thorns (Euphorbia spp.) are amazingly beautiful, blooming all through the Winter and they are now overloaded with blooms. The banana plant pups I dug up and put in containers because of crowding, are going bananas and growing amazingly fast. They’ll soon be ready for transplanting. The stand of banana plants in the backyard are looking great ever since I removed the pups that were sucking the life force out of them.
Spring planting is underway here in Florida. For those of you up North who are itching to get started, you know you have to wait until there’s no longer a threat from frost. Typically, you can begin with hardy flowering and foliage plants after Easter . The link to the USDA plant hardiness map is a small rendition of the map on the sidebar. If you have any plant or gardening questions, go ahead and leave me a message in the comment box. Here’s an important tip: use “organic” plant food for all your plants, whether in containers or in garden plots. Mix it in with the soil at time of planting. This will eliminate the need for you to use a plant food mixed soil. You can find organic plant food at Home Depot and Lowe’s just to name a few. However, I needed magnesium for the banana plants and couldn’t find it anywhere (I don’t mean pills). Magnesium is benign and will “green up” your lawn and plants (try it). Strangely enough, I found a 20 lb bag on Amazon and it was a great price.
The featured picture of this post is of General MacArthur wading ashore with his army at Leyte, Philippines during WWII. Courtesy National Geographic.
A few more pictures from a proud parent: