Saturday, January 31, 2009

Red Cross 2009 Designer's Show House - W. Palm Beach

Every year renowned designers design and decorate a home in the Greater Palm Beach area as a benefit for the American Red Cross. This year's home is the Providencia House on Flager Drive overlooking the intercoastal. It was built in 1936, and is named for the Spanish ship, Providencia that ran aground in 1878 in Palm Beach with 20,000 coconuts.

My friend Bernice and I pose in front of the beautiful Banyan tree.
I loved this sculpture.

A great place to curl up with a good book.

A perfect spot for a little princess.

The show runs from mid-January to mid-February. A wonderful treat.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My winning streak

One of the things the garden clubs do to raise money is hold raffles. I've been on a winning streak this month. The first thing I won at the Wellington Garden Club meeting is this beautiful orchid.

Yesterday I went to the 'Tropical Short Course' put on by District X in Boca Raton. We heard three wonderful speakers, and I won this floral design. The container is a hollowed out bread bowl. I brought it to Mom & Dad's where we enjoyed it as the centerpiece at dinner last night.

I was so excited to win this afghan yesterday also! I am just learning how to crochet, and am making an afghan. But, it will take me years (if I ever) get it done as I have to keep pulling it apart and redoing it. This one is beautiful! It is made of granny squares with flowers sewn inside each.

Maybe its time to buy a few lottery tickets.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Hooded Mergansers

We have these really cool ducks living in 'Lake Buena Vida' this winter. Mergansers are large, crested, fish-eating, diving ducks. I love the shape of their heads. They are also called sawbills because their bills are slender and hooked with serrated edges.

Winter Fruits & Vegetables

One of the best things about being in Florida in the winter is being able to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. I'm always on the look out for farm stands, and green markets (known as farmer's markets up north). In Florida the produce at the farm stands is less expensive than in the grocery stores, whereas up north, the farm stands are usually more expensive. There's lots of growers just west of here.

Luscious tomatoes ...

Oranges - 10 for $1, Grapefruits 5 for $1

I bought a box of strawberries from a truck by the side of the road. These are grown in Palm City. Florida strawberries are available January - April.

I gave a lot of the strawberries away, and then froze some to use later in smoothies. To freeze strawberries, just place them on a tray in a single layer. Once they are frozen place them in a zip-loc freezer bag.

Unfortunately we had a frost last night, and a lot of the winter vegetable crop including beans and corn, was lost.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Pink Tabebuia

This beautiful flowering tree is in bloom (in Wellington, FL) now. I’m planning to use this in my landscape up against the wall of the house next door.

There are so many beautiful plants in Florida. To help pick which ones I should include in my landscape I put together a set of criteria. These are the things I’m looking for:

- low maintenance – doesn’t grow too fast, spread, invade, doesn’t require lots of pruning or fertilizers

- drought tolerant – winter is very dry here, and there are often watering restrictions

- have good wind resistance – don’t want it to go down with the hurricanes

- disease resistant – no known pests, or diseases

- long lived – I don’t want to have to redo my yard every few years

- look good in the winter months when I am here (attractive foliage and/or bloom)

- in scale for a small yard on a zero lot line

- right exposure – right now we have no shade except from our house and the one next door

- not toxic since my dog, Emily eats everything

That sure narrows things down. Since the Pink Tabebuia fits most of these requirements, its worth a try. Here’s more details on it:

The clusters of trumpet shaped flowers are lavender/pink with a yellow throat. It is native to Brazil, and grows in USDA hardiness zones 10 & 11. We’re zone 10 here in Wellington.
The tree looks great where you want to attract attention - alongside a formal driveway or in a mixed border. It can be messy underneath when the flowers fall as you can see in the top picture. The pink tabebuia blooms on bare wood. It loses its leaves briefly during the dry, sub-tropical winter. It flowers in January – February for about 3 weeks. After flowering long, glossy seed pods will hang on for several weeks. The tree will quickly set out new leaves.

It should be grown in full sun, in well-drained soil. Established trees are highly drought tolerant, and also pest resistant. It is a moderate to fast grower. Young trees grow about 4 feet per year, and at maturity will reach a height of 30 feet and a width of 25 feet. It has moderate wind tolerance, and little tolerance to salt. It should be fertilized after new leaves emerge. Any pruning is best done after the tree flowers. Trees should be trained to a single trunk, and staked until they are 6-8 feet tall.

What a beauty! When you drive down the street, you can't help but notice the 'Pink Tab'.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Pepperment Thai Sushi Restaurant Royal Palm Beach, FL

My favorite restaurant in this area is Peppermint.

11328 Okeechobee Blvd.

Royal Palm Beach, FL 33411

(561) 333-8005

Here’s some of our favorite dishes. For appetizers we love steamed dumplings. They are stuffed with chicken, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, and crabmeat. They are delicious dipped in soy sauce.

Mom, Dad, and I enjoy the Pad Thai.

I often order massaman curry. This Indian inspired dish is prepared with potato, cashews, curry paste, coconut milk, and avocado.

Max was introduced to Sushi here, and now orders it every chance he can.

Dad enjoys the beer!

What fun it is to meet Mom and Dad here for dinner!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Brugmansia - Angel's Trumpet

This beautiful flower is blooming in Mom and Dad's Wellington, Florida, garden now. In the evening the flower's scent is intoxicating. Brugmansia love warm, humid days, and cool nights. 80-85 for daytime highs and no less than 40 degree nights is ideal. They will grow in planting zones 7-11. It is a fast growing plant that looks best in the middle of other vegetation. Mom & Dad have it planted near their hibiscus hedge. It propogates easily from cuttings. One word of caution - don't eat this plant - its highly poisonous.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Fuller's BBQ restaurant I95 Lumberton, NC

We found a great spot to stop for lunch on the long road trip to Florida. Its right off I95, exit 20, on the west side of the highway, just north of the South Carolina Border.

Fuller's BBQ Restaurant
3201 Roberts Ave
Lumberton, NC
(910) 738-8694

You pay as you go into the restaurant, and order your drinks. I had 'sweet tea' which is really sweet iced tea. There is a huge buffet full of good Southern food - we had no idea what a lot of the dishes were, but were eager to try as much as we could fit on our plates.

Here's my plate. The fried chicken was the best I've had in years. We also enjoyed the biscuits, pulled pork, black-eyed peas, hush puppies, hash, sausages, and macaroni and cheese.
There's also a full salad bar.

After that delicious meal, we got to choose deserts from the desert buffet.
All this for about the same price as a meal at Wendy's. This will definitely become a regular stop on the trip to and from Florida.