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Flowers from Top Tropicals - Participant# 202 || 2004 Contest

Hummingbird in the balkony?
by Natalia Akifyeva (Roswell, GA, USA)

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Pictures published within Contest are property of the authors and can not be used without author's permission.

Fuchsia Winston Churchill
Fuchsia 'Winston Churchill'

"If some one loves a flower, of which just one single blossom grows in all the millions and millions of stars, it is enough to make him happy just to look at the stars. He can say to himself, 'Somewhere, my flower is there . . .' But if the sheep eats the flower, in one moment all his stars will be darkened . . . And you think that is not important!"

Antoine de Saint Exupery

Hello, my name is Natalia. I live with my family in the City of Roswell, Georgia. My husband enjoys all kinds of fishing, especially fly fishing, and I like plant growing and cross stitching.

Justicia spicigera
just arrived in shipping...

We are living in an apartment, so, to my great disappointment, I am unable to grow my plants outdoors. However, I have transformed my balcony into a flower bed. I am trying to grow everything, from sunflowers to tropical jasmines, lemons and gardenias.

Whitefeldia, Justicia, Neanthe

Whitefeldia, Justicia, Neanthe

I am just learning. But I do have something to brag about. I am just a beginner, so all my arrangements are in progress, but I have been successful with a few attempts, and with TopTropicals plants in particular. But first of all, we take a tour around my home garden.

Let me introduce you my favorites!

Syngonium

Syngonium

Ficus benjamina

Ficus benjamina


The story began with a gardening store, where I saw some ugly twig that was prominently sticking out of a black nursery pot. There were almost no leaves. The label said this was a Ficus Benjamina. I felt so sorry for the plant, and I bought it! Here is the result, take a look.
I was very pleased with the results and my next acquisition was Ficus elastica decora. This plant was not dying, but it was extremely small, only a few inches tall. And now, here it is!

Ficus elastica decora

Ficus elastica decora

Diffenbachia

Diffenbachia

I still was not confident in my skills, but my purchases continued to be only simple plants. One time my husband brought a plant from his work. It looked something like a few pieces of pale green fabric. He told me that they was ready to throw it away so he got it for me. It was a second chance for that plant and it was soon reborn from the ashes as a Diffenbachia.

Codiaeum

Codiaeum

We moved to Atlanta from Chicago a couple years ago. At our Housewarming party our friends showered us with Croton. This was just a common plant, from common store, regular size. A year has passed and, believe it or not, the Croton broke into bloom. Now it blooms every year, sometimes twice.

Codiaeum

Codiaeum

After this initial success, I decided to buy something a little more challenging, but not too much yet. It was a Lemon. A little Lemon tree became a member of our family. Now it is covered by microscopic size lemons and I say "good morning" to them every day.

Citrus meyeri

Citrus meyeri

Philodendron scadens

Philodendron scadens

There are many plants that require some extra professional care, and there are others that called "plants for lazy". I don't think that I am that lazy, but I like the Philodendrons very much, and they are considered as "easy" and beautiful plants. I have two of them now - Philodendron scadens and Philodendron selloum.

Monstera deliciosa

Monstera deliciosa

Philodendron selloum (bipinnatifidum)

Philodendron selloum (bipinnatifidum)

And here is the same family member - Monstera deliciosa. It is very sad that Monstera doesn't bloom or fruit indoors, it would be nice to try what it tastes like being called "Delicious"!

Azalea

Azalea

Once my son gave me an Azalea for Mothers Day. He bought it in a store, from the selection available. The plant has bloomed with beautiful pink-with-white-dots blossoms. It was about 4-5 inches in size. I decided this plant must survive at any cost. I cared for it, pampered it, awaking at night to check out what was going on with it, may be it needs a little water or wants it a bit cooler. And now this plant is OK, nothing can stop it from thriving and getting bigger and more beautiful. I am absolutely sure that this winter I will be gifted by perfect pink flowers!

Azalea

Azalea

Cuphea llavea

Cuphea llavea

Very easy plant. Requires regular watering though.

Naturally, I had a thousand of questions about how to take care of particular plants. I had a lot of problems that required professional advice to solve them. In my research I ran into the toptropicals.com website and asked my questions at the Forum. Almost instantly I'd gotten the complete and helpful answers. I liked this very much. I decided to learn more from this site and visited tropical plants store. I never bough plants mail-order before, but I decided to give it a try wasn't disappointed!

I've been having TopTropicals plants for only 2 months, so they didn't have enough time to grow as large and busy as my other "old guys", but many of them are already in bloom!

Allamanda, Passiflora, Thunbergia erecta

Hummingbird in my balcony...

I went to the balcony to take pictures of these plants and discovered a hummingbird visiting my Cuphea flower! I took a picture, though not very high quality. You can see this little gray bird hanging under the red dot of flower. The bird is grey like a sparrow, but has bright blue underneath it's wings.

I'm so happy that now hummingbirds know about my balcony Diner! I hope butterflies will find out soon, too. In our old apartment we had many hummingbirds feeding from Hibiscus flowers, since we had so many plants in bloom.

Cuphea llavea

Beautiful flowers of Tropics

Jasminum Molle

Jasminum Molle

I got many plants from TopTropicals - you can see them on the pictures. At first, I felt inexperienced and was a little bit afraid and concerned about them, and worried that I didn't have enough experience to take good care of them. But I am trying very hard and believe that everything will be fine!

Of no small importance in this matter is the help of the "parents" of all my Tropical plants - Tatiana and Mike. Their website is a good sourse of helpful tips and cultivation recommendations. I appreciate your help, guys!

So now I have this beautiful tropical garden at home with the following tropical plants:

Jasminum Molle

Thunbergia

Thunbergia battiscombei

- Whitefeldia elongata
- Passiflora Amethyst
- Gardenia Radicans
- Justicia Spicigera
- Ocimum kilimanscharicum
- Thunbergia battiscombei
- Thunbergia erecta
- Urechites Lutea
- Duranta repens
- Cuphea llavea
- Jasminum Molle
- Jasminum nitidum
- Jasminum sambac
- Tabernaemontana Divaricata cv Flore Pleno
- Allamanda Cathartica
- Lonicera japonica
- Hibiscus Country Music
- Hibiscus Double Kona
- Plectranthus nicodemus
- Cestrum aurantiacum

Allamanda Cathartica

Urechites Lutea

Urechites Lutea

Hibiscus 'Double Kona':

Hibiscus 'Double Kona'

Hibiscus 'Double Kona'

Hibiscus Country Music:

Tabernaemontana Divaricata cv Flore Pleno:

Gardenia Radicans:

Jasminum nitidum:

Jasminum sambac

 

 

Duranta repens

In Toptropicals Catalog it didn't say that flowers of Duranta were fragrant. However, they have a light French Vanilla fragrance!

Toptropicals catalog is true: passiflora and lonicera really ARE aggressive vines! Not only in ground, but in a pot as well. Look how fast they grew from little cuttings just in a couple months!

Passiflora Amethyst:

It's going to be too long story to tell you about all the plants I have now. Besides these tropicals, I also have at home:

Rose, Fuchsia, African violets, hydrangea, chrysanthemums, asparagus, begonias, callas, coffee, syngonium, cacti, crassula and many others.

Hydrangea macrophylla

Hydrangea macrophylla

Avocado

Avocado

Sometimes I like to experiment. The most successful experiment on my windowsill was Avocado tree from seed!

I'm planning soon to do some research and experiment with citrus grafting.

 

Aralia sieboldii

Aralia sieboldii

Sometimes we are afraid that it would be hard to take care of the plants if they are many. Not at all! It looks hard when you have 3-4. When you have really MANY - everything goes by itself!

Even though I have been successful with these plants, there are some failures. I have not been able to successfully grow these two plants: Dizigitheca and Fatsia japonica.

There is a saying "One can not make an omelet without braking eggs". So let's try, learn and experiment! Let's make mistakes and gain from experience. Let's brighten our lives with succesful attempts! It feels so acomplishing - to grow a beautiful live plant from a tiny seed or small cutting.

Hibiscus

Hibiscus

I would be very happy if you like my story and pictures of my 'babies'. Maybe this will encourage you to create your own garden, even small, even on a window-sill, but dear and desired.

 

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