What’s in a name? The “involucrate” of Lantana involucrata

What's in a name? The
My last post was about a nice little Florida native plant that I’m trying out (again) in the yard: Lantana involucrata. Now “lantana,” you’ll recall, in addition to being the name of a town not far from where I live, comes from the Latin for “flexible,” whatever that may mean when applied to these rather woody ...

New backyard plant: Button Sage

New backyard plant: Button Sage
This spring I decided to revamp my yard a little bit, removing some poorly performing plants (firebush, believe it or not) and replacing them with species that might be more suited to the growing conditions here. And in my front yard, that means hot and sunny. Lantana involucrata, commonly known by its taxonomic name but also ...

Fiddlewood caterpillar (Epicorsia oedipodalis) update

Fiddlewood caterpillar (<em>Epicorsia oedipodalis</em>) update
The fiddlewood caterpillars (not their real common name, but since they don’t seem to have a common name I’m calling them that) I discovered the other day haven’t done very well in captivity. I’ve had them in a plastic jar for a couple of days but they haven’t grown at all—still the same 10 mm ...

Ants bite; they can also tend your garden for you

Ants bite; they can also tend your garden for you
Last weekend I went out to Yamato Scrub for another volunteer clean-up event coordinated by Palm Beach County ERM. We were removing the last of the temporary irrigation installed years and years ago to jump-start the native plants that they imported to the site to replace the acres and acres of Brazilian Pepper and Australian Pine ...

New backyard butterfly: Great Southern White

New backyard butterfly: Great Southern White
I’ve been noticing some large, white butterflies in the front yard throughout the month of May; they’ve been a bit hard to photograph with the constant wind and their habit of flying off at top speed when I approach with a camera, so I’m digging into my photo files and showing this version from a ...

Backyard plant: Jamaica caper. Or, flowers attract bees

Backyard plant: Jamaica caper. Or, flowers attract bees
Back in April I called my native landscape guru, Melissa McGaughey, because I wanted her advice on some of the things going on around the yard. One of my main concerns was the Jamaica caper in the front yard. It was growing fairly bushy, with lots of what looked like competing leaders, etc. I’m used ...

New backyard plant: Wild Cinnamon

New backyard plant: Wild Cinnamon
The rainy season is right around the corner, so last month I worked on the landscape a little bit. I’d been disappointed in the performance of the gumbo limbo tree out front; it was in the shade of the towering coconut tree that dominates that front yard, and I wanted to see whether it would ...

Plants and transplants

Plants and transplants
The week before Thanksgiving 2013 was a busy one at the homestead. First, I found out that the “shrub” I transplanted from the old house and put right up next to the new house, counting on a nice upright slender shrub was in fact a West Indies mahogany tree that would have a crown width ...

New backyard planting: Black Ironwood, Krugiodendron ferreum

New backyard planting: Black Ironwood, <em>Krugiodendron ferreum</em>
It was my dad’s 70th birthday last week, and to celebrate the occasion I sent him a pair of the most comfortable work gloves I’ve ever owned. Turns out my timing was good: the next day he planned to start a major lawn-reduction project involving the removal of hundreds of square feet of sod, the ...

New backyard plant: Limber caper (Capparis flexuosa)

New backyard plant: Limber caper (<i>Capparis flexuosa</i>)
So  I planted this twig in the front yard a couple of years ago. I “won” it at the Native Plant Society annual auction, and I’ve been waiting all this time to figure out what it is and what it does. Of course, I knew when I picked it up that it’s called limber caper ...