J. L. Hudson Catalog
For many years one of my favorite catalogs has been J. L. Hudson, Seedsman (Star Route 2, Box 337, La Honda, CA 94020). It has no color photos but it's full of unusual facts about many fascinating and hard-to-find plants, as well as the more common ones, including shrubs, trees, flowers, and vegetables. The first time I mentioned the company in a column, it was one of only two sources for shoofly plant (Nicandra), and the supply sold out to Iowa fly swatters. The owner is a shy fellow who did not even have a phone for many years -- maybe still doesn't -- but he has great seeds and service.
Favorite or New Plant
Bougainvilleas are blooming extravagantly all over south Florida and the Florida Keys. Thanks to a mild winter, they are also blooming abundantly in Tampa. These are actually shrubs with long, pliable canes that sprawl, so they need to be trained and often tied to supports. Do this with heavy gloves on and great care, for the canes are quite thorny. They can grow to 8 feet here, larger in warmer climates. They bloom on new growth in full sun on and off all year-round. Most of the plants you see or buy are complex hybrids of three Brazilian species. Let soil dry between waterings. Fertilize once a month or less with a bloom-booster formula. Prune after flowering in warmer climates, after danger of frost in marginal areas, and as needed during the growing season.