Sunday, October 28, 2012
The gardens are a great experience for anyone with any interest in botany or plants what so ever. There's something to please every kind of plant lover. Some notable gardens include the Victorian Garden, Japanese Garden, Chinese Garden, Bulb Garden, Iris Garden, Gladney Rose Garden, Dwarf Conifer Garden and Rock Garden. Although I found the large variety of gardens to all be very fascinating and beautiful, my favorite exhibits were obviously the greenhouses. There are three main greenhouses, the Linnean House, Climatron and Temperate House.
The Linnean House is full of various cacti and succulents, but its main attraction is the camellias and fragrant plants. Wandering around this house, it is easy to get lost in the smells.There are many citrus trees and camellias which fill the house with fragrance. It is quite pleasant comparing the sweet scents of the numerous camellia varieties.
The Climatron has unique exhibits of tropical life including an Amazonian aquarium, epiphyte forest, and agricultural trail. Several species of birds inhabit the greenhouse giving the unique and authentic feeling of a jungle. Of the edible and exotic plants my favorites were the double coconut tree (Lodoicea maldivica), bananas, sugarcane, various gingers, chocolate tree (Theobroma cacao), Brazilian grape (Myrciaria cauliflora), star fruit, star apple, vanilla orchid. There are also many tropical plants with medicinal value, the Neem tree (Azadirachta indica) and Betel (Piper betle) to name a couple.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
If you are looking for an easy to grow perennial flower with a number of other uses, look no farther than the White Butterfly Ginger! This exotic flower is a great way to bring beauty and fragrance to any tropical garden or greenhouse. The rhizomes have some medicinal value but it is the flowers that are the true reward of growing this plant. The flower buds can be eaten or put in hot tea to infuse flavor and fragrance.
Growing White Butterfly Ginger is easy especially if you can get a rhizome. If you live in the U.S. it might be best to look on the internet for the rhizomes. The Butterfly Ginger can survive mild winters as it is a perennial and it prefers warm and moist tropical conditions. In my greenhouse it blooms when summer temperatures decrease in August.