At FarmGal Flowers, we like to grow sunflowers that come in nontraditional colors like red and chocolate. We also primarily grow multi-branching sunflowers as opposed to the “one and done” varieties because we grow in urban spaces. So I am always on the lookout for new multi-branching varieties to try. I came across Italian White Sunflower (Helianthus dibilis) seeds as I perused the aisles at Eden Brothers Seeds just outside of Ashevillle, North Carolina last summer.
Italian White Sunflowers checked all of the important boxes:
Easy to grow
Multi-branching – LOTS and LOTS of blooms
4”-5” wide flowers which is a great size for our bouquets
Unique color (Note: it is close to white but not a pure white.)
Great vase life
I am particularly impressed with its vase life (about a week and blooms do not shatter easily) but what I really love is how each bloom has a little bend in its neck yet remains sturdy. This helps create that garden style look in our arrangements.
Italian White Sunflowers are currently blooming in the market garden at East End Market. Come check them out! Also, don’t forget about our next Girls’ Night Out at East End: Let’s Make a Wreath Workshop! Click here for more information! Hope you can join us!
Hello East Enders! Eileen here with FarmGal Flowers. If we haven’t met yet, I’m the flower gardener at East End. I receive a lot of questions when I’m working in the market garden so I thought I’d start sharing some information here with you on the East End blog about what’s growing. If there’s anything in particular you would like to learn about, please let me know!
First up is Cranberry Hibiscus (Hibiscus acetosella)! I learned about Cranberry Hibiscus when I began working in the market garden several years ago. Our Fleeting Farming friends planted it and it has remained a staple for many reasons…
At FarmGal Flowers, I always like to have a large crop of Cranberry Hibiscus for Fall bouquets. Let’s face it – we do not have a true Fall season here in Central Florida with the leaves changing colors, pumpkins on the vine, or apple picking. However, I’ve found that Cranberry Hibiscus foliage with its Maple leaf shaped leaves and vibrant red color make our bouquets feel like Fall. It also has a pretty flower later in the season too.
You can grow Cranberry Hibiscus from seed. In fact, it often self-sows in the market garden. I have also found that it is very easy to propagate from cuttings. Cut a piece from the top of a plant at a 45-degree angle, remove any leaves at the bottom of your stem, and place in a couple of inches of water. Within a week…
You can start Cranberry Hibiscus at the beginning of each growing season here in Zone 9b. It prefers full sun. I usually start growing it in preparation for the Fall season. That would be in August/September here. Sometimes we have it year-round although it does take a beating in the summer. It doesn’t need anything extra besides the usual compost and organic fertilizers that we give to all of our flowers. Pinch the main stem after 3 or 4 sets of leaves have grown to encourage a bushier plant. We do not have issues with any pests either!
In the Fall, we cut it in the morning or late afternoon. Sometimes it will wilt and I let it rehydrate for 24 hours or so. It always bounces right back. It has excellent vase life and eventually those stems may root for you as mentioned earlier.
Cranberry Hibiscus leaves are edible and very nutritious. Use caution though as they contain oxalic acid and should not be eaten in large quantities. Cranberry Hibiscus flowers bloom in the late fall and can be used to make tasty teas.
Watch for Cranberry Hibiscus in our bouquets this Fall. Come visit the market garden at East End to see it up close. If you are ready to add it to your garden, I might be able to share cuttings with you (sorry local gardeners only) – leave me a comment above. Please share your experience growing or eating Cranberry Hibiscus below (you can also reach me at farmgalflowers.com)! I’d love to hear about it!
Summer is finally upon us and whether we like it or not, the days are getting longer and the sun is getting hotter. But while the Florida heat and humidity may be too suffocating for the average human, there are those persnickety vegetables here that thrive in it. Keeping in mind that it’s mid-May, I’ve put together a list of fruits and vegetables that, if planted now, will reap the benefits of Florida’s summer sun.
[do action=”button” linkurl=”https://eastendmkt.com/gardening/a-quick-guide-to-summer-planting/” target=”_self”]See list here![/do]
We know you all have been wondering about the progress of East End Market, so here is our monthly update! Thank you for your patience and encouragement as we develop East End Market. Because there has never been a project exactly like this before, there are surprises all along the way, and as Owner John Rife would say, “If it was easy, it would have been done before.”
Not only is East End a learning experience for us, but we also hope that it will offer many educational experiences for you once we open. Our edible landscaping and market garden will be just one of the opportunities to explore and learn at East End. It will awaken you to the possibilities of growing food, says Henry Melendy, Founder of My Yard Farm and landscape designer of East End Market. And John Rife can’t wait to have a market garden, which “will be the billboard for what’s in season.” So, take a peak at what we have accomplished over the past couple of months and leave your comments below.
Already running out of ideas on how to keep your kids busy this summer? Or has the rain made them a little stir crazy? Not to fear, summer camps are here with lots of East End approved activities!
Garden Detectives Camp
@ Leu Gardens
August 5-9, 9am-3pm
Fee: $115 (Member $95)
Designed for the nature explorer who has completed 4th or 5th grade, this camp includes daily hikes investigating the benefits of plants, plant adaptations, and environmental/conservation concerns. Inside activities include games, artwork and videos. Lunch is outside followed by a scavenger hunt in the gardens. Pack a sack lunch and send your kids off to explore the beauty at Leu. Find more information on their website, here.
@ Orlando Science Center
Think chemistry is only for laboratories? Check out how chefs, cooks, and every day people use chemistry to prepare our favorite foods. Your 5th or 6th grader will experiment with ingredients to make baked goods rise, turn liquid egg yolk into solid food and more! This camp includes a cooking demonstration at Stonewood Grill & Tavern. Visit the Orlando Science Center’s Camp registration page for more information.
4-H Garden Explorers
@ Orange County Extension Education Center
July 22-26, 8am-12:30pm
Your camper will learn about weather, hydroponic vegetable gardening, nature photography, vermacomposting, terrariums, plant safety, insects and more hands on horticulture activities! Each day students will receive a brief nutrition lesson and learn how to make healthy snacks. A field trip on Friday is included. If you have a 9-11 year old that would be interested, visit their registration page for more information!
Basic Survival Skills Camp
@ Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake
Fee: City Residents $25/session Non-City Residents $30/session
This one makes us all want to be kids again! Really?!? Why can’t they make this for adults? The areas focused on in the Basic Survival Skills Camp series are gardening, fishing, farming and animal behavior. This year your camper will be the first to wander the sensory Nature Connect Trail at Bill Frederick Park. The camp is strictly for children who have completed the 3rd – 6th grade. Register here.
Eco Adventure Camp
@ Ed Yarborough Nature Center 3485 N. County Road 426 Geneva, FL 32732
July 8-August 2, 9am-4pm daily
At Eco Adventure Summer Camp you’ll have fun while learning about the natural world! Seminole County Greenways & Natural Lands is offering the ultimate camp experience for children interested in nature, science, the environment and preservation. More information here.
Young Naturalist Camp
@ Mead Botanical Garden
ALL SESSIONS NOW FULL
Lastly, and unfortunately, Mead Botanical Garden offers a Young Naturalist camp that is now full. If you would like to be added to a waiting list you can visit their website for more information. But hey, there’s always next summer! They offer 6 week long sessions for $205/week. Each day they play games, do outdoor arts and crafts and learn all about wetlands, wildlife and plants, gardening and more all on their 47 acres of wildland in the heart of Winter Park.