Tropical South

July, 2004
Regional Report

Web Finds

Learn About Neem
Log on to Neem Tree Farms for fascinating information about neem trees and this Florida-based company that grows and distributes both the trees and the freshest organic neem products. Vicki and Mac Parsons once had the largest certified organic neem farm in the US -- 3.5 acres with 500 trees. Then they became partners with Jerry Britner and now have 500 acres of land in Yucatan, Mexico. I recommend growing some of their trees and using their many fine products, especially Neem Tooth Powder and their Outdoor Botanical Gel, which enables me to enjoy gardening among mosquitoes.

Favorite or New Plant

Crinum Cousins
Crinum lily, spider or swamp lily, and milk and wine crinum are all various species of lovely tropical flowers. They grow to 2 to 5 feet. All vary slightly in flower form but bloom in umbels with 5 to 30 flowers at the top of strong stems. Blooms may be pure white, striped with claret-red or tinged with rose-purple. All are showy and most are wonderfully fragrant. Some species are prone to untidy leaves, but others grow in large architectural forms that are striking even when not in bloom. The poisonous bulb can be left in the ground here until
crowded with offshoots. Give them plenty of room in full sun to partial shade. A single stem makes a fine bouquet. Cut the thick stem end on the slant so the base won't be flat against the vase and water can get in. The spent flowers snap off easily and new ones will continue to open for two weeks.

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