Open Greenhouse & Plant Swap, Saturday, Feb. 4, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 602 Ronele Drive, Brandon, FL 33511
I always try to highlight one of the plants we’re giving away because coming here can be kind of overwhelming. I checked Google for crinium lilies and discovered they’re actually Florida natives – north Florida but Florida. They have show-stopping white flowers on and off throughout the year and grow in full sun or full shade. They also tolerate wet boggy soil or the sandy stuff they call soil in most of Florida.
When they’re happy, they spread by bulbs and we have lots of bulblets growing. Most are white, but some are a variety called Queen Emma that has purple streaks in its flowers and its leaves in full sun (mine is in shade). Learn more here: https://www.pslbg.org/crinum-lily.html
Nothing new but lots of cool stuff!
- You dig native wild violets, the perfect groundcover for a shady spot. I’ve been growing them for decades but they “escaped” into a low-lying shady spot in the yard and are creating a gorgeous groundcover that attracts wildlife.
- Bachelor buttons are another favorite – they bloom all year long with adorable little bluish-purple flowers that attract all kinds of bees and butterflies. We have some in pots and lots of seeds.
- We potted up a bunch of firebush so it has a better of survival. It’s my all-around favorite native plant because it’s always alive with bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.
- We also potted up some non-native rain lilies which aren’t as spectacular as the firebush every day, but when they bloom, they’re show-stoppers.
- Everglade tomatoes, $3 rooted cuttings or you-dig for free and we have some tiny seedlings started in the greenhouse. (Most of the you-digs have burnt leaves from the cold but they’re still healthy.)
- Potted aloe plants that came from the last swap
- And, of course, we have free mulch too, and one nice pile that’s pretty much broken down into compost.
Also on the free plant list for February:
- Native elderberries are covered in berries but they also spread by runners so we have lots to share
- Bleeding heart and pagoda plants, both of which do need to be contained because they spread underground.
- Lady palms, a slow-growing hedge that’s tough as can be once it’s started
- Yellow native cannas
- Ever-bearing mulberries that probably won’t have ripe fruit this month but they’re covered in fruit that will ripen quickly to the delight of children and birds
- Sweet almonds are thriving and are covered in bees.
- Dark blue salvia and lavender or red firespike. There’s one big red firespike you can take as a you-dig.
- Jacob’s ladder is one of the few things we grow that doesn’t benefit wildlife, but it’s an attractive plant that works beautifully in a pot
- Everglade tomatoes
- Daikon radish (mooli) is easy to grow. If you let it flower, it provides nectar all winter long, even when everything else is frozen
- Blackberry lily, another native that came through the cold with blooms
- Native spiderwort, another favorite native that thrives almost anywhere it gets enough sun
- Dill and parsley to plant now that it’s getting cooler – always plant extra for caterpillars
- The cosmos growing here are a new favorite, they attract lots of bees and butterflies even though they bounce when a critter lands. I’ve planted a small forest to take advantage of these highly entertaining flowers.