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Tag Archives: Third Street Farmer

Butterfly Gardening in Florida: The Heliconia Trio

Zebra Longwing Butterfly

PLANT TALK Mike Malloy mikemalloy@naplesbutterfly.com This is the second installment in my 10-part series on Butterfly Gardening in Florida. This time we’re going to focus on the Heliconia genus of butterflies, which includes the Zebra Longwing (Zebra), Florida’s state butterfly; the Julia; and the Gulf Fritillary. Let’s begin with the Zebra butterfly, also known as the social butterfly. It travels great distances during the day for néctar, but always returns to the same place at night to roost. Zebras commonly roost together in large numbers, which is why they’re nicknamed social butterflies. While hanging motionless, they are vulnerable. To discourage ... Read More »

Hummingbirds Return in the Winter

Firebush – number two nectar plant. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

PLANT TALK Mike Malloy mikemalloy@naplesbutterfly.com Years ago when I began my quest to attract butterflies to my garden, little did I know that butterfly gardening came with a bonus? After years of removing turf grass from my yard and replacing it with colorful flowering plants to attract wildlife— particularly butterflies — I no longer have any grass left to mow. During the past couple of fall seasons, I’ve been seeing numerous hummingbirds competing for nectar with our year-round friends, the butterflies. This is such a great thrill! It started a few years ago, with one or two hummingbirds arriving every ... Read More »

Florida’s Swallowtail Butterflies

Underside of Giant Swallowtail

PLANT TALK Mike Malloy mikemalloy@naplesbutterfly.com My “Butterfly Gardening in Florida” series rolls on with this third installment in which I will focus on swallowtail butterflies. Florida is home to 10 swallowtail butterflies — more than any other state. They are very easy to identify due to their strikingly large size and their ability to glide long distances between wing flaps. Much larger than other Florida butterflies, most swallowtails have distinctive tails on their hind wings. I remember the first time I saw one. Actually, there were two, and they were mating. I’ll never forget it! I still thoroughly enjoy watching ... Read More »

Butterfly Gardening in Florida

Monarch butterflies. photoS BY MIKE MALLOY

PLANT TALK Mike Malloy mikemalloy@naplesbutterfly.com It’s summer in Florida. It’s hot, and the butterflies are in full swing. Florida has a year-round butterfly season because of the usually warm weather, much to the delight of all those crazed butterfly enthusiasts living here in Southwest Florida. Some migrate in the winter like Sulfurs (yellow butterflies) and monarchs, but many stay here and flourish. I am going to write a six-part series on the butterflies of Florida. Starting with the Monarchs — probably the most recognized butterfly in the country. Monarchs, Queens and Soldiers, all are in the Danas genius, and their ... Read More »

The Family and Fragrance

Clerodendrum dicentra (Bleeding Heart)

PLANT TALK Mike Malloy mikemalloy@naplesbutterfly.com Clerodendrum is a beautiful, flowering plant that can be found blooming and thriving all over our South Florida landscape. With more than 300 species of vines and shrubs in the genus, they are as plentiful as they are lovely. Some are grown primarily for the large, beautiful flowers that emerge in clusters. Others are wanted mostly for their fragrance. Either way, they’re a great addition to anyone’s garden. Many of the varieties can be found easily; others are rarer, and must be hunted down a bit. Finding them is part of the fun of using ... Read More »

Home Remedies, Myths or Facts?

Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

PLANTTALK Mike Malloy mikemalloy@naplesbutterfly.com There is a saying that insects will inherit the earth. Well, in Florida they already have so we better just get over it. You aren’t the only one looking forward to harvest time in your flower and vegetable gardens, so are your neighbors. I’m referring to insects, of course. And, you don’t want to be hosting a veggie buffet for all the bugs in your neighborhood. Sure, there are effective pesticides that will quickly rid your garden of these hungry invaders, but before resorting to harsh chemicals, why not give some of these popular home remedies ... Read More »

Plumeria in Florida

PHOTOS BY MIKE MALLOY

PLANT TALK Mike Malloy mikemalloy@naplesbutterfly.com Like a beautiful butterfly emerging from a plain brown chrysalis, magnificent blossoms sprout from seemingly lifeless branches every spring. Plumeria, also known as Frangipani, are colorful tropical shrubs or small trees native to Central and South America, Mexico and the Caribbean. They are readily available in pink, red, yellow, white and every combination in between. Plumeria are extremely popular in Hawaii, where they grow in abundance. Leis, the famous flower necklaces given to tourists upon their arrival, are made from Plumeria blossoms. Fun fact: In many Polynesian countries, women wear a blossom behind their ear ... Read More »

On the Shady Side

Shade

PLANT TALK Mike Malloy mikemalloy@naplesbutterfly.com When most of the flowering plants and shrubs are struggling to thrive in the hot summer sun and waiting for the “cooling” afternoon showers, there is a group of plants that might be a little bit smarter. They thrive in the shade. Not only are these shade plants doing just fine, they are blooming. In Florida, shade takes on a different meaning than the shade “up north.” I don’t think we have the same deep shade areas in Florida as they do up north because the sun is so intense here. It’s lower in the ... Read More »

Mosquito Repellent Plants

Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

PLANT TALK Mike Malloy mikemalloy@naplesbutterfly.com With the snow birds leaving, the temperatures rising and the rains on the way, it is a sure sign summer is fast approaching. This all means the year-round residents of South Florida begin to retake paradise. To help us enjoy the outdoors more, we can plant certain plants that help repel mosquitos from our outdoor living spaces. Most insect–repelling plants do so with their natural fragrances that come from the oils in the leaves and flowers. Be sure to plant them in containers on patios or by the front and back door. The plants I ... Read More »

Mussaendas in Bloom

Mussaenda 'Queen Sirikit'

PLANT TALK Mike Malloy mikemalloy@naplesbutterfly.com Sightings of the Tropical Mussaendas are becoming more frequent in South Florida gardens. Making them colorful standouts amongst the mainly green Florida landscapes. There are over 150 varieties with only a handful seen here in South Florida landscapes. They are native Africa to Asia and are members of the coffee family (Rubiaceae). This plant also is commonly known as Tropical Dogwood. The names of the different Mussaendas were derived from the names of the First Ladies of Philippine Presidents. Mussaendas are attractive shrubs that can reach the height of 12-15 feet, but can easily keep ... Read More »

Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia species)

Queen crape myrtle. PHOTOS BY MIKE MALLOY

PLANT TALK Mike Malloy mikemalloy@naplesbutterfly.com I’d like to introduce you to one of South Florida’s most magnificent landscape plants…Crape Myrtle. Originally grown in Japan, China and parts of Southeast Asia, it’s the supermodel of the plant world. It’s beautiful and a real head turner, of course, but crape myrtle is versatile too. You can have it in either shrub or tree form and in a myriad of colors, including purple, white, pink, red or a combination of colors. Even the bark on this plant is attractive! The lovely crape myrtle blooms all summer long and into the fall, with long-lasting, ... Read More »

Copperleaf: A Rainbow of Colors in the Garden

Copperleaf plants vary in color from pink, red, green and white…

PLANT TALK Mike Malloy mikemalloy@naplesbutterfly.com Native to Fiji in the South Pacific, the Acalypha — better known as Copperleaf — group of plants has the most colorful foliage I’ve ever seen. They can turn your garden into a spectacular, unending kaleidoscope of color. Under perfect conditions, they will grow to 10 feet and just as wide, but they can be kept to any desired height with just a little trimming. The flowers are small and inconspicuous, mostly hidden by the colorful foliage. Copperleaf comes in a large variety of leaf shapes, ranging from large and oblong to round and fringed to ... Read More »

The Family and Fragrance

Clerodendrum Dicentra
(aka Bleeding Heart)

PLANT TALK Mike Malloy mikemalloy@naplesbutterfly.com Clerodendrum is a beautiful flowering plant that can be found blooming and thriving all over our South Florida landscape. With more than 300 species of vines and shrubs in the genus, they are as plentiful as they are lovely. Some are grown primarily for the large, beautiful flowers that emerge in clusters. Others are wanted mostly for their fragrance. Either way, they’re a great addition to anyone’s garden. Many of the varieties can be found easily; others are rarer, and must be hunted down a bit. Finding them is part of the fun of using ... Read More »

Autumn Colors in Southwest Florida

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PLANT TALK Mike Malloy mikemalloy@naplesbutterfly.com Fall, also known as football season, has arrived. And that means some of the best weather of the year is right around the corner for South Florida. “Chamber of Commerce” weather, as we like to call it in Naples. While our friends and relatives up north are battening down the hatches in anticipation of winter, soon we’ll be flinging open our windows and lanais. One of the best known and first-to-bloom vines this time of year in Naples is the Florida Flame Vine. Look for a blaze of brilliant orange color on Goodlette-Frank Road, just ... Read More »

Curcuma: Tropical Flower or Medical Miracle

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PLANT TALK Mike Malloy mikemalloy@naplesbutterfly.com Curcuma, although tropical in origins, (mostly from Southeast Asia, India and Malaysia) does not like to be in the sun all day. A filtered morning or afternoon sun is best. Like most plants in Southwest Florida, the summer sun is deadly. The plants in the curcuma family are often called gingers but are really Zingiber. The Curcuma longa species is solely used for the harvest of the spice turmeric. The rhizomes are ground into a dried powder which is turmeric. Turmeric is the main spice in curry. It is used to color and flavor butter, ... Read More »

Chocolate in the Garden

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PLANT TALK Mike Malloy mikemalloy@naplesbutterfly.com Now that summer is almost over and the tremendous heat and frequent downpours should be coming to an end in about a month, it’s time to once again start thinking about some serious gardening. The first step is to take back control of your existing garden, which has had pretty much free rein, growing leaps and bounds all summer. The days of looking at our gardens through the windows of our air-conditioned homes are just about over. We’re all anxiously waiting for cooler days so we can begin the assault. After we’ve brought our gardens ... Read More »

The Crape Myrtle

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PLANT TALK Mike Malloy I’d like to introduce you to one of South Florida’s most magnificent landscape plants… Crape Myrtle. Originally grown in Japan, China and parts of Southeast Asia, it’s the supermodel of the plant world. It’s beautiful and a real head turner, of course, but crape myrtle is versatile, too. You can have it in either shrub or tree form and in myriad colors, including purple, white, pink, red, or a combination of colors. Even the bark on this plant is attractive! The lovely crape myrtle blooms all summer long and into the fall, with long-lasting, crepe-like textured ... Read More »

Spring’s Big Three Trees

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PLANT TALK  Mike Malloy  mikemalloy@naplesbutterfly.com When these three trees are blooming in South Florida, spring has officially arrived. Take a drive through some of the more mature, tree-lined neighborhoods around Naples, and you’ll find prime examples of these magnificent trees. The first is the Royal Poinciana (Delonix regia), also known as the Flamboyant Tree from Madagascar. I think it is the showiest tree we have here in Naples. Once you’ve seen it, you’ll agree. The Royal Poinciana is fast growing and will quickly reach 40-feet tall and 40-feet wide. During spring and summer it is covered with clusters of neon-colored ... Read More »

Oleanders Deliver Multi-Season Color

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PLANT TALK Mike Malloy mikemalloy@naplesbutterfly.com If you’re looking for a colorful hedge shrub or a showy specimen plant that will bloom profusely and nearly year-round, try an Oleander (Nerium oleander). This fragrant (some varieties) evergreen shrub or tree will bloom from spring to fall with pretty orange, pink, red, white or yellow flowers. Oleanders display their colorful single or double-flowered clusters at the end of their branches. They grow up to 12-feet high and almost as wide, hence a great screen plant. Once extremely popular in many southern landscapes, these shrubs have started to make a comeback. They can be ... Read More »

The Angels have arrived

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PLANT TALK Mike Malloy mikemalloy@naplesbutterfly.com From late spring until early winter, we are blessed with a dazzling tropical plant known as Angel’s Trumpet or Brugmansia spp. A member of the Solanaceae family and originally native to tropical South America, Angel’s Trumpet has since become naturalized in North America. Its name refers to the giant pendulous flowers that this plant produces. Its large, lavish flowers are very fragrant, even more so at night in order to attract moths for pollinating. One variety in particular, the Super Nova, is so big it can be worn as a hat. Angel’s Trumpet are available ... Read More »