From Louis the Plant Geek
Today in Key West: 'White Ghost' Euphorbia Revisited
Two years ago, I introduced this White Ghost euphorbia, which was thriving in the delightful Martello Tower garden in Key West. In the tropics, plants grow so quickly that two years there is like a decade or two in New England. Mindful of the devastating hurricanes since, I was anxious that this singular succulent might have been crushed or, simply, swept away.
But no. Here it is, in the pink literally. But pink? Two years ago, all its young growth was tan. As Alice remarked in Wonderland, "Curiouser and curiouser."
Today in Key West: White Orchid Tree
Up North, trees with flowers so large that they are showy individually, even from a distance, are pretty much limited to magnolias. Not so in the tropics, where scores of arboreal species produce blooms as large as your hand.
Even amid such competition, the flowers of the white orchid tree are standouts. (True, it doesn't hurt to have an adorable Key West conch cottage as the backdrop.) Is this tree a possibility back North? Thinking creativity, yes.
Today in Key West: Thryallis Vine
My pair of potted thryallis shrubs guarantees that, each season from August into October, my hot-color garden in New England is graced by fireworky spikes of yellow and red flowers. This thryallis brings the same excitement to the street scene of Key West year-round—but it's a vine.
Vining thryallis: Who knew? The flower spikes are identical to those of the bushy form. Would the vine be a more effective, easy to handle, or exciting vehicle for them back North? Only one way to find out.
Today in Key West: Striped Dianella to the Horizon
My four pots of striped dianella make a rare statement up North. In the tropics—as here, fronting a municipal building in Key West—the plant is more often used as a hardworking groundcover.
This fifty-foot swathe is now hazy with spikes of minute white blossoms. Later in the season, they'll mature to colorful blue berries.
Today in Key West: African Tulip Tree
Hurricanes are normal for Key West, so stormworthy trees should be the rule. But there are just too many other tempting possibilities for this, the mildest climate in North America—especially those that wouldn't survive even in sometimes-chilly Miami. The platter-sized flower clusters of African tulip tree are staggeringly good, so the trees are planted here despite their brittle wood.
Above, what's left of my favorite: sprouts from the roots.