Category Archives: Photography

greenhouse Florida

A Trip to Pell’s Plant Nursery For Honey and Fruit

A few weeks ago I had to take my car to the dealership which was quite a drive. On the way home, I realized I would be passing near one of my old-time favorite spots in Florida: Pell’s Plant Nursery.

These photos were an afterthought, but I wanted to share the few I took.

If you are ever in the Osteen area check out this place. It is a Florida icon. The Pell family has been growing citrus for over 75 years.  (Their website: http://www.pellcitrus.com has Florida citrus shipping information.)

Pell's nursery
Pell’s Plant Nursery

For many years I lived very close to Pell’s, and now I don’t. It’s where I always bought my ornamental shrubs, flowers and trees, not to mention their fabulous and fresh Florida fruit. My landscape was full of plants purchased from this nursery.   My kids used to enjoy getting the free little cup of orange juice, which meant they would actually drink the jugs of fresh-squeezed juice I bought there!  You can’t find fresher juice, and boy is it good.

These knowledgable growers hand out good advice for growing anything tropical.   This is where I came to buy the new lemon tree and lime tree to put in my yard.

Pell's trees and tropical plants
Under cover with tropical plants at Pell’s

On this day, I was only looking – window shopping for plants to buy in the future – its been too hot to think about planting.  I bought some of their produce instead, but enjoyed my stroll around the greenhouse.

Each time I visit I also buy some Mosquito Lagoon honey. My honey used to come from the Jurss homestead, when I could pull up at the side of the road, drop money into a box and grab a jar.   That was in the old days.  People probably can’t be trusted to do that here now.

greenhouse Florida
Pell’s Greenhouse

I looked around and got some ideas about what I’d like to add to the yard once Fall arrives.  The crepe myrtle is something I have always loved, and it will probably be the first tree I buy.
Pell’s nursery is one of the few places I like to visit in Florida.  In fact, when I lived in New Hampshire I would accidentally call my favorite farm stand “Pell’s”.  (Actually it was Tenney’s.)

Then I drove home on those long, straight, monotonous Florida roadways.  I was so bored that I took a few photos with my phone.

straight road and blue sky
Heading home
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Hydrangea

Found this hydrangea photo and good information on one of my favorite photographer’s site. I never grew pink hydrangeas like this one. It has fun little pointy petals. Pete kindly allowed me to re-blog here, so enjoy! And go see his photos… they are stunning!

Pete Hillman's Nature Photography

Hydrangea

I have always loved Hydrangeas. My Nan and Grandad grew them at the front of their house, and so did my Mom and Dad. It’s amazing how when you see a certain flower they bring back such wonderful, precious memories. Because of my love for the abundance of showy blossoms this popular shrub produces, and because of the fond memories, I have grown Hydrangeas in my garden for some years. Although, for the first time ever, I made the most silly mistake of pruning then at the wrong time so I did not get a single blossom last year. But this year, they are back again, and in splendour.

Here are a few facts about this colourful flowering shrub, some I already knew, and some I didn’t.

  • Hydrangeas go back a long way, and were here before we were. The oldest fossil finds discovered in America go back 40 to…

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white peony flowers

Peonies in July, But Not in My Yard

When I first moved to Florida back in 1979, one flowering shrub I missed was my favorite – the Peony. My grandmother had them in her Massachusetts garden around her old white farmhouse, and the huge blooms impressed me as a child. The fluffiness of the blooms were like none I’d seen, and the peony instantly became my favorite flower.

This page contains my photos of the peonies I planted and tended for the five years I lived in my New Hampshire house.  They bloomed in July, so I thought I’d treat myself to a trip back in time, when I could walk into my yard and see these beautiful blooms.  I wonder if the new homeowners are enjoying them today.


I live in Florida for 27 years, without growing any peonies in my landscape. I had everything else a southern gardener could grow. I had white and yellow jasmine along my fence. Camellias of all colors grew under the shade of the big live oaks in my 2.5 acre yard. I had a magnolia tree, orange tree, gardenias, hibiscus, crotons, and bougainvillea, lots of crepe myrtle, a stag horn fern, and more that I can’t remember now.  But peonies don’t grow in the deep south.

I really missed seeing peony flowers, and when I moved back to New England in 2005, I couldn’t wait to have some growing in my yard. Unfortunately, I ended up not having a yard of my own to plant them in until years later. But once I had my own home, I went out and bought a peony bush. I believe the Sarah Bernhardt (light pink flowering peony) was the first, and I can’t find a picture of that flower in my photos… but that one is my favorite.  (I’ll keep looking for a picture!)

I don’t recall the name of this white flowering Peony. I always kept the name of the plant in the soil beneath the shrub so I could recall the name. I no longer live there, and I’ve forgotten.

I know that the bright pink flower, with the yellow center is the Karl Rosenfeld. It’s not as fluffy as the other types I grew, but it was unique.

Peony flowers don’t last long.  I loved to photograph the buds too.  If I missed a day or two, and didn’t go outside (due to weather) I could miss the prime blooming time!

Most of my peonies – 3 plants – grew along an old wooden fence near the driveway.  The Karl Rosenfeld was planted out back.  The front gardens, near the house got too much sun for growing peonies, so I reserved that area for sun-loving shrubs.

Peonies are easy to grow, but some years they don’t get many flowers.  When they do bloom, ants can be found crawling all over the flowers.  Usually a cage or holder of some kind is needed to keep the stems upright once they flower.  It’s best to put the cage up and let the stems grow up through.

Viewing a sprouting peony in Spring, was just what I needed after a long cold winter!  Here they come….

peony in early spring
The Peony in Spring
birdhouse crotons hibiscus

What’s Growing in My July Florida Garden

It is so hot down here in Florida in the month of July that I rarely go outside.  This morning I scurried around my yard and took some photos until I just couldn’t stand being out there.  I think I lasted less than 5 minutes. The heat index says it feels like 100 out there. Add in tons of humidity, and you have Yuk.

So lets begin with the flowers. The crotons and hibiscus are loving the heat. They were made to withstand summer heat in this disgusting climate. Thankfully we are getting lots of afternoon thunderstorms that keep me from having to go out and water.

red hibiscus
Red Hibiscus

My rose bush hasn’t had any blooms for a while, but I noticed a small rose and bud today. It probably needs more attention, and more fertilizer.
small carnival rose and bud
Small Rose and Bud

I bought some Impatiens when I first moved into the house, and unbelievably they are still looking pretty good! I also planted my mother-in-laws-tongue, or snake plant, in the ground and it is doing well. I’ve put a few of the big seashells I’ve collected into the garden as decoration. The older, worn shells look good displayed that way. I had to put them out front, away from the raccoons, so they wouldn’t drag them off!
seashells decorating garden bed
Seashells Decorate the Garden Bed

The Persian Lime tree is doing great. It’s still in a pot, and has lost a lot of the fruit it started with, but I still have some good size limes coming. I’ll have to figure out when to pick the fruit.
persian lime fruit on tree
Persian Lime Fruit

I have 2 eggplant plants, but neither one is growing any eggplants. They flower, and lose the flowers and keep growing tall. Maybe there aren’t enough bugs to pollinate the flowers. I need more flowering plants in and around my garden.
But I tried. I bought a bunch of marigolds because I always grew marigolds in New Hampshire. They usually became beautiful rounded bushes with tons of flowers. But that is not happening to these marigolds.
eggplant
Eggplant

The marigolds have been growing for months, and I only have about 3 flowers total. The stalks have grown very long and tall, without flowering. It’s very bizarre. Marigolds are good to grow near tomatoes and other vegetables because they will help keep certain unwanted bugs away.
orange marigold
Orange Marigold

On to the tomatoes. I have 2 tomato plants still growing, but neither one looks exceptionally good. Both have some small green tomatoes, and I don’t know if I will get red ones to eat before the raccoons decide to help themselves.
Green tomatoes
Tomatoes

I tried covering the vegetable garden with netting, and I think that helped. But a papa cardinal somehow got inside the netting and was trapped in the garden! I went out and freed him, but I had to cut the netting off in the process. He was really freaking out, so I left the garden uncovered.
I’m not trying too hard to garden these days. It’s too hot, and I don’t think the vegetables like it either.
……. Happy 4th!