Late July 2011 pics of my yard

tropicalzone7(7b)July 25, 2011

I cant believe July is already almost over! This summer is going by really fast, and I hope that it stays nice and warm into the Fall!

I just got back from San Diego this morning and I decided to take a few shots of the yard. I missed the heat wave, but the plants sure didnt!

Here they all are!

Front yard (including a brugmansia flower, Musa Saba, Spiral ginger, Red Cordy Australis, and a musa basjoo)

Oleanders and rubber tree from above

My Plumeria "Divine" is in full bloom!

Some sort of Stromanthe


Chamaedorea seifrizii

Agave desmettiana variegata

My 3 year old pindo palm that just wont grow!

One of my oldest potted plants, my 5 year old Stromanthe

Some of my Mandevillea vines

A look at the gazeboo with some of my ice cream banana in the pic!

My Staghorn fern gets direct sunglight only from 6am-8am. It seems to really like its spot!

This orchid has flowerd 3 times for me this year (2 times indoors and now its making one outside!)

Still no canna blooms, but some of them are getting pretty big. These are about 5 feet tall and should be getting ready to flower any day now!

Ice Cream banana and Majesty Palm

Scott Pratt Plumeria cutting

I really am a big fan of the classic elephant ears. They are big, cheap, and really do look beautiful!

I had to get this papaya off of ebay since I never have success with papayas from seed that I start indoors (they always burn when they go outside). My windmill palm is in its 3rd summer in the ground. Usually I give it christmas lights, a frost cloth, and christmas lights for protection, but since my other windmill palm did well without the christmas lights, I think this one will also only get a garbage bin over it this winter. The livistonia next to it will get x mas lights like last winter.

My Coconut palm keeps growing well.

Finally some blooms on this mandevilla!

Variegated Sea Hibiscus! I really love these plants and they are fast growers (this was a 3 inch plant when I got it in March)

Oleanders have passed their peak bloom, but they should still keep blooming right up to November

Tillandsia ionantha (I lost a ton of Tilliandsias to the birds who took them to make their nests (especially the spanish moss which I now dont have a single bit of thanks to the birds).

Ball moss (Tillandsia Recurvata) and an orchid in the background

Some peace lilies and my new Dicksonia antarctica!! Its a really nice size! I have it in shade and it will be getting daily waterings for sure!

Oleanders, birds of paradise, elephant ears, hydrangea, schefflera, and a few others

There havent been a ton of cicadas this year (compared to last year) but I found this one on my fig tree this morning!

I cleared out the spaghetti squash I planted here because all the flowers were male (which means no fruit) and they were taking way too much space). Now I have some wandering jew vines and the mandevilleas.

Plumeria Divine


I have come to the conclusion that grasshoppers will eat absolutely any plant. I mean I cant imagine any bug that would eat entire leaves off of a plumeria, but thats what a grasshopper did to this plumeria. I just hope it leaves this infloresence alone! I have been waiting for 2 summers for this plumeria to bloom and its only a month away from doing that, but it only takes an hour for a bug to munch it off). Anyways, heres a pic of the inflo

Variegated plumeria

Cutting of my plumeria divine

I really dont do anything for this fern, it takes care of itself!

Windmill palm that survived the winter with just a garbage bin over it during snow/rain/extreme cold events. The first frond of the year was a little discolored, but the second one was normal.

My newly planted butia and a frostproof gardenia

My brugmansia

Spiral ginger, european fan palm, and oleander

At least Im getting squash from one of my squashes!

My sabal minor has finished flowering.

My favorite lantana!

My Silver Saw Palmetto (still has yet to go through a winter)

Kopper King Hibiscus

Looks like 2 bananas from my Musa velutina

Plumeria, basjoo, and spiral ginger (and solandra maxima, oleander, and brugmansia)

Okay, thats all for now! Thanks for looking!


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Hunter_M(Kentucky Z.6)

Nice pics as always! Your velutina's top is shriveled like mine. Is that normal? My velutina came with a tag that said it was only hardy to zone 10-11. LOL! That cant be true!
Im just a liitle sad how so much more grows in 7 than zone 6. I may be going to Kentucky zone 6. I guess I can kiss my hopes of growing Pindos, musa velutinas, sabal palmettos, sagos,europien fans, and Ice cream bananas goodbye. I may only be able to grow needles, sabal minors and maybe windmills and musa basjoo. Not that growing those are bad, I was just hoping for more varieties of palms and bananas. :(
I really enjoy seeing all of your plants! I wish I was in the area so mabye I could give you a visit,lol.
I cant wait for my plumeria cutting to grow up! It will look beautiful once it starts making flowers!
Once again, love all of your plants and I enjoy your updates.:)

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 7:00PM
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Thanks Hunter! Its normal for the velutina top to shrivel up. It just means that its finished flowering (but the fruit will continue to ripen until they are mature!). Velutinas will die back after a frost, but they will definitely come back in a zone 8, and I have heard them come back in a zone 7 and even a zone 6!

I wouldnt give up on your hopes of growing tropicals yet! I've seen a ton of beautiful, tropical yards in a zone 6 and 5! Your palms will need more protection, but you can still grow lots of things! Maybe you find a home with a greenhouse, or at least a room to store your tropicals in over the winter! The summers are pretty warm in KY so your potted tropicals will do great still. You also might want to plant some more bananas, castor beans, cannas, elephant ears, and annuals below those plants to keep things really lush! Ice cream bananas should do just as good in KY as VA because in both places, they have to be dug up and brought inside anyway, so its the summer temperatures that really count!
I have been making my yard really tropical for only the past 4 years and every year looks much better than the last! If you keep growing more tropicals every year, you would be reallys surprised with how tropical you can make things 3 years from now!
Good luck and thanks for looking!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 8:50PM
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Hunter_M(Kentucky Z.6)

Thanks, Alex! Is is worth trying my velutina in the ground or should I keep it in a pot?
Is it too cold for a palmetto and a pindo in the ground?(They are the two palms I wanted to grow outside the most besides a windmill and a needle)
Thanks for your kind and encouraging words!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 9:14PM
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You can just plant your velutina in the ground for the summer and dig it up and pot it up for indoors during the winter. They dont look too good all alone, but with lots of other plants planted next to it, it would look really nice! Just make sure that if you have really heavy clay soil like I do, you dig the hole wider and deeper than necessary and fill it up with good potting soil. This will make it easier to lift the banana up in the fall (youll need a nice, big shovel) and it will make it grow better during the summer too! This is my first year with banana plants in the ground, and I dont regret taking them out of their pots! They grow very well in the ground and I dont have to water them as often.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 11:23PM
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Hunter_M(Kentucky Z.6)

Thanks! Would it be too cold for pindos and palmettos? Im guessing so, but maybe not with the right protection.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 12:38AM
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I dont think it would be too cold for Palmettos or Pindos, but they would definitely need protection. I protect my plants with Christmas lights, a frost cloth, and a garbage bin, and that works pretty well (it even worked for my Livistonia which is a zone 9 plant). You might get damage even with that kind of protection since it only raises the temperature up 20F and if its -10F outside, that means your plants got down to 10F which migh be too cold for a palmetto and is way too cold for a pindo palm. But -10F should be very rare in KY so I wouldnt worry about temperatures like that!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 12:46AM
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Hunter_M(Kentucky Z.6)

Thanks! Do you wrap the trunks with the frost cloth or do you set them on top of the fronds? Also, wouldnt the christmas lights heat up and burn the cloth?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 2:10AM
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I usually put the x mas lights over the plant and tie up the fronds and put the frost cloth over that. I have a very airy frost cloth so air moves very freely. I never had a problem with the frost cloth burning, but I dont like to risk it so I use less and less christmas lights every winter, where possible!


    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 2:32AM
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Everything looks great! What was that largest potted palm I saw?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 10:22AM
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Great pics as usual. Can't believe your cannas are not blooming yet. But your burgmansia is way ahead of mine, I don't even have bulbs on mine.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 11:53AM
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Thanks andy! I think my largest palm is my solitare palm (not in my pics since it hasnt grown at all since my last update). My next tallest is my majesty palm and a close third is my Spindle Palm. This is the first year I had so many big palms! I still dont know where they are going to go during the winter!

Thanks chadec! I dont know why my cannas are so far behind! Everything else is on schedule except for those! Right now mine finished its first flush of blooms since I dont see any more buds, but hopefully it will start up again! I hear they prefer cooler weather anyway, so September and October (Maybe November) will be the big months for blooms!

Thanks for looking! And does anyone know how much heat Dicksonia Antarctica Tree Ferns can take? I have been misting mine daily and it is in shade. Im really paranoid about losing it after the sun took my other tree fern last October

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 1:17PM
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Hunter_M(Kentucky Z.6)

Alex, thank you for having patience with me. I know a lot of adults probably dont like little kids asking them a million questions.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 1:20PM
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Everything looks great Alex....

I noticed today they are predicting a warm fall-
probably the same peeps that predicted a cool summer(-:

Just depends where you live though...a few hundred miles
is all the difference between 70s and 90s in the middle of the country!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 1:43PM
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I think it must be the spindle palm I saw. Now that I look at it closer I see the swolen trunk. I can't wait until my bottles (kissin cousins) get that big. They are the only one of my palms to not have pushed up new spears in the last heat wave. The emerging spears though are getting really big and are starting to open up.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 1:47PM
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Good Grief Man, do any of your plants have so much as a blemish?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 4:04PM
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Hunter, No problem! Its really great to start growing plants at a young age because you have your whole life to learn about them and you have plenty of years to have a really amazing garden! Im still young so I also have a lot of time to make my yard better too! I looked at my pics back from 3 years ago and I cant believe how much more I have now! Im kind of excited to see what things will look like 10 years from now in my yard (or whatever yard I have by that time!)

Im glad to hear that they are prediciting a warm fall Jim! My Cannas were blooming into the second week of november and they didnt actually die down until early december (they had a bit of frost damage in the last days of November). The longer I can keep my plants growing the better! I have about 2 full months left before the plants start winding down. Last year we had almost a week of 70s and even an 80 in october though so if that could happen again this fall, I think my plants would love it!

Andy, I actually picked up the spindle palm because of the swollen trunk it had. It was definitely an impulse buy because I love the look of the swollen trunk on palms. I have a bottle palm also, but its far from getting that trunk and its my slowest growing palm in height (I think my parlor palm is faster and they are suppose to be slow growers!).

Thanks Jacklord! Unfortunately I've had a big grasshopper problem this year on my plants. My Plumeria leaves have been shredded. I caught 3 baby grasshoppers and I just got an adult. I felt bad about killing it though so I drove it down somewhere far from my yard! Other than that, its been a great year for the plants and everything has been growing really healthy! I should probably feed them more often though!

Thanks everyone for all the nice comments and for looking!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 4:56PM
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Hunter_M(Kentucky Z.6)

Oh, Alex, I forgot to mention somthing: I want to plant lots of things in the ground but I have a major setback: Im almost 14(sep.20) and I will be moving out when Im 18 and I will have to leave all of my plants behind.:( Thats the only thing Im worried about. Im not sure what to do. Im the kind of person who wants to do things now. Do you have any suggestions?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 9:50PM
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Thats still 4 years away and thats a long time! I wouldnt worry about it till the time comes! You never know what will happen when your 18. Maybe you will go to college locally and live at home, or maybe you will even get a house of your own by your college and keep your plants in the yard there (the tropicals like cannas, bananas, elephant ears, ect. will have to be dug up anyways during the winter so you can just take those with you, or maybe ask your parents to give them a bit of water until you can care for the again! Another option would be to donate all your plants, or most of them, to your local botanical garden. They might accept them and that way you can still enjoy your plants and watch them grow! But I would enjoy them now because you dont turn 18 until 2015 which is 4 summers away! 4 years ago, I didnt have any palms in the ground and I really didnt have any unusual plants (I only had maybe 10 plants to take in during the winter, now I have over 100!)

Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 11:11PM
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Hunter_M(Kentucky Z.6)

Your right! Ill worry about it when I get there. I want to live in the keys of florida which is zone 11 so I can put my coconut in the ground and watch it grow up! Although, I dont know if living there is easy or not. I know there are lots of coconuts there.
When you said the bananas need to be dug up does that include musa basjoo? Because I know it has a reputation of being grown in all 50 states.
Like I said, I like to do stuff now, so as soon as we move again, I will be planting outside.:D Im really impatient about stuff,lol. For example, my mom is going to take me to a local gamestop so I can sell some of my old videogames so I can have enough money to buy a windmill palm and im about to die waiting,lol.
Thank you for the suggestions!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 11:35PM
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I'd also love the idea of living in Florida! Maybe not the keys though only because the highest elevation in Key West is only like 5 feet above sea level so basically things get pretty washed over during a bad hurricane! The keys are beautiful though and Coconuts cant grow any better than they do there (I saw at least 100 coconuts a tree in some peoples yards when I was there a few years ago. They were loaded with coconuts!
I hear that there are lots of really beautiful neighborhoods near Miami and many are a zone 10b which is good enough for me! There are still a few tropicals that would be a challenge, but thousands of others that would grow like crazy!
Im also very impatient. Its a habit Im trying to break and I have been a lot better! Wow, I cant believe that you want a windmill palm over video games! That should be a quote, I think its really cool that you love the hobby so much and I think that palms are more rewarding than video games (and probably cheaper too!). I would love a large windmill palms some day, so I will probably be saving my money for that next year also! I remember my first windmill palm. It was a tiny seedling that was really overpriced! I eventually got larger 3 gallon ones and those are the ones in the ground today!


    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 1:40AM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hello Everyone,

Alex, I just want to say that you are so kind to give Hunter the great direction that he needs. With your kind words of encouragement and your enthusium is felt all the way here to Virginia!!! WAY TO GO alex!!!

I love all of your trees and plants!! Everything looks beautiful, especially the way yiu have them in containers akong with smoe in ground plants wmixed in to picture. YOu know that im a big fan of your yard,,,always have been!!! How is tha other cutting> CA Sunset? is it ok> I saw the Scott looked great!!!

Looks like a great year for inflos..!!! YEA!!! Your Divine looks great!!!

Take care everyone..

Laura in VB

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 2:30AM
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Alex and Laura, you both have amazing gardens and plant collections. Just show what you can grow when you're in the palm zone (like Laura ) and when you're not (Alex). I'm almost exactly mid way between you geographically and zone-wize, so I look to both of your gardens for inspiration.

Plus I have to commend you both for your enthusiasm, encouragement and kind words for all gardeners on this forum. Thank you both.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 10:36AM
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Thank you Laura! I really do love to help people with plants and if it wasnt for the kindness and encouragement that I was given on this fourm, I would never have the yard that I have today!
The California sunset cutting is doing great! Its not growing as fast as the scott pratt, but it has about 3 or 4 full leaves on each tip! Im so excited. Thanks a lot Laura!

Thanks Wetsuiter! Im glad that you look for my yard and Lauras for inspiration! I also look at everyone's great pics on here for inspiration so Im glad that my pics do the same for others!

Thanks everyone for all the really nice words!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 12:43PM
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