Apr 2, 2014

The Bottle Tree

    The bottle tree ‘Ampulla arborii’ can be found in quite a few gardens around the lowcountry of South Carolina. We have 2 planted at Cypress Gardens, one near the parking lot and the other in the wildflower meadow.  This central African plant is cherished by the well cultivated gardener. The bottle tree like many other common southern garden plants may have come to us though the slave trade along with black-eyed peas, field peas, okra, and watermelon.  Traditionally bottle trees were planted in the yard to capture troublesome spirits before they entered the house.  It is said curious spirits or “haints” will enter the bottles and get stuck inside thus preventing them from causing mischief.  Since we planted our bottle trees we have had no trouble with the haints.
     ‘Ampulla arborii’ is such an easy plant to grow I wonder why more people don’t plant them.  It is true they can be hard to find, but it helps if you have friends who drink plenty white wine. Bottle trees will live in almost any kind of soil and can be planted in sun or shade.  They are extremely drought and flood tolerant but will not withstand hurricanes.  The trees are almost maintenance free requiring no fertilizer or pruning.   Cleaning bottles once a year with Windex and paper towels is all that is needed to keep your tree looking healthy.

    Although there are many different cultivars of bottle trees the most popular is the Blue Bottle Tree, ‘Ampulla arborii caeruleus’.  In Africa, blue is considered a powerfully good color because it is the color of the sky and water.  Blue bottle trees are said to be the best for capturing spirits.  Good companion plants are yellow daffodils for spring and coreopsis or marigolds for summer.  Yellow flowers planted around blue bottle trees make the blue color pop in the garden.  If you are looking for a unique specimen plant in your garden give the blue bottle tree a try.   

Feb 18, 2014

Our swamp talent show has become very popular
Be a Swamp Celebrity!!
 Sunday, March 16, 2013  
at Beautiful Cypress Gardens

Two Categories
17 and under and 18 and older 
Each category gets awarded 3 prizes!!!
1st place - $100
2nd place - $50
3rd place -1 season pass to Cypress Gardens 

Special $50 "Peoples Choice" prize awarded by audience votes
The music starts at noon, the competition starts at 1:00pm 

Jan 12, 2014

Renowned Rosarian Coming to Charleston SC

Dr. Malcolm Manners will be at Cypress Gardens  February 22 to give a lecture in the morning at Fruitmania GS and he will give a program in the afternoon on Old Garden Roses at 2 pm. Tickets for just Dr. Manner’s rose program will be $10 which includes admission to the Gardens.

Dr. Malcolm Manners is a Professor of Horticultural Science at Florida Southern College, Lakeland, Florida, where he teaches courses in general horticulture, tropical fruits, horticultural pests and diseases, plant physiology, and plant nutrition. Since 1984, he has managed FSC’s rose mosaic virus heat therapy program, which cures roses of virus disease and makes healthy propagating material available to the nursery industry.  In conjunction with that program, he manages a collection of approximately 200 rose varieties, in two campus gardens and the college greenhouses. Most of the certified mosaic free old garden roses now grown in the U.S. came through the Florida Southern program. In 2013, Dr. Manners was honored as a Great Rosarians of the World.  The Great Rosarians of the World™ lecture series was founded in 2001 to honor and celebrate the men and women who have contributed to our understanding and love of our national flower, the Rose. In 1990, he imported a collection of Bermuda’s “mystery roses,” and it is from FSC’s gardens that much of the U.S. stock of these roses has been propagated. He has also worked closely with molecular biologist D. Nancy Morvillo at Florida Southern, researching the relationships of various roses, especially the older Noisettes, with DNA analysis.