A season for travel and tropicals
By Bob Hearle
July is the time to travel. Here are some public gardens you might like to visit on your travels.
Enjoy your visits and share with your friends what you found worthwhile. If a trip out of town isn't in your plans, don't overlook our own Brookgreen Gardens. They stay open until 9 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays with Cool Summer Evening programs.
If your travels do not include the tropics, let’s bring the tropics to your garden. The heat of summer is a good time to acquaint yourself with several tropical plants.
The Bird of Paradise is native to South Africa and is of the genus Strelitzia. It is sometimes referred to as the crane flower because of its appearance resembling the head of a crane. One member of the genus reaches a height of 30-plus feet. Most of the others reach 6 to 9 feet tall. The leaves are quite large and resemble those of the banana plant.
It can take up to six years for the first flowers to appear and requires patience. Flower colors include white, yellow and reddish. They grow in the U.S. in Zones 8 and 9, and since we are in Zone 8B why not give it a try? When fertilizing use one with high phosphorous (the second number on the bag).
Mandevilla vine or Brazilian jasmine is, guess what, a native to Brazil. It does well in containers and hanging baskets and will climb a trellis quickly. Mandevilla needs well drained soil and a mostly sunny location. Apply slow release fertilizer in spring and summer. The plant blooms in early summer and early fall. Flower colors include white, red and yellow
Both plants are not winter-hardy and need to be brought indoors before the first frost and kept indoors until the last frost is over.
I hope you enjoy trying these tropical plants in your garden.
Bob Hearle is a certified master gardener who lives and gardens at Pawleys Island.