Index > Garden Blog

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People of TopTropicals. Chic of the Day: Easter Present from Klaksa

In the photo: Duck versions 2.1 and 1.0

In our last newsletter Cat of the Day was Klaksa with her hunting habits and her love for birds...
While we are still sticking to the statement that "no birds were hurt in the process so far", she brought us an Easter Present! Yes, the Present is very much alive and super hungry. Klaksa did not tell us where she got it and how can we bring it back... So we are stuck with another duck! The previous version - Duck Dobi, has been raised by Kristi from a little chic-duckling, and after 2 years of ruling the Cat Community in our Garden center, Dobi finally left with her boyfriend - without saying thank you or even good-bye!
The Duck Version 2.1 has been eating and pooping happily all day. Luckily we found a person with a duck farm, and hopefully will get this baby a good home soon!

In the photo: Duck Dobi

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Exotic Easter Lily Vine

by Onika Amell, tropical plant expert

If you happen to love Easter Lilies, let us introduce you to a very beautiful and hard-to-find vine... The magnificent Easter Lily Vine - Beaumontia grandiflora, is not sold at most nurseries and is not widely grown for this very reason. We certainly feel it should be, as this woody vine is a tremendous climber which rewards the gardener with large clusters of white flowers resembling Easter Lilies, during early spring to late fall. The flowers are sweetly scented and make excellent cut flowers, which last for at least a week! An added bonus is the twining ends, which makes a very unusual and interesting addition to floral arrangements...

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Here at the nursery, our Easter Lily vines are almost ready to burst into full bloom. We are waiting impatiently. Order yours, and have a Happy Easter!

Seeds of Easter Lily vine also available at BOGO deal - buy 2 packs for the price of 1 with FREE shipping!

See how to how to create a fragrant privacy fence of virtually unlimited size.

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PeopleCats of TopTropicals. Cat of the Day: Klaksa, the Bird Purrrson

Klaksa is a tiny cat. She is almost 4 years old but she weighs only 6 pounds!
Klaksa considers herself a serious hunter. She spends her days chasing birds on neighbors' roofs. With very little success though. However she never gives up her dream to catch a Bird of Paradise.
In the meantime, she has been only catching the Birds of Paradise from our garden. No birds were hurt in the process so far!

Can you find a cat in the picture?

In the photo: Mini-Klaksa with her full-size buddy Google

TopTropicals PeopleCat Club

Thank you everybody for supporting us in helping PeopleCat Community! Donations accepted from our website. Thank you and God bless you and your pets!

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Gardening has hooked another fan!

Over the last few weeks, we've been discussing using this time to engage in the activities that make you happy, to do more of what you love. Of course, for all of us at Top Tropicals, we have been singing the praises of gardening and tropical plants for years and sharing the love with any friends and neighbors who have expressed an interest in our activity of choice.
Do we have an affect on some people? Do we encourage them to try their hand at gardening and experience the wonder of plants? Yesterday, we just saw it with our own eyes. Our neighbor, to whom we once gave an Ylang Ylang tree, has consistently and politely resisted a suggestion to try gardening herself and put some new and interesting plants in an otherwise traditionally landscaped builders' home. Even her husband emphatically stated that he was never going to put plants in, let alone take existing plain boring stuff out!
What a pleasant surprise when we saw them both and their 2 young children digging in the garden together yesterday. They replaced a whole section of generic stock plants provided by the builder and filled the area in with loads of colorful flowers and even topped it off with a healthy dose of new mulch! We couldn't believe our eyes and was so happy to see the gardening "bug" made yet another friend!

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PeopleCats of the World. Cats of the Day: Hemingway's six-toed cats

If the mountain won't come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain. For today's trip to Tropics we invited PeopleCats from the famous Hemingway House in Key West, Florida.

The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is home to approximately 40-50 polydactyl (six-toed) cats. Most cats have extra toes on their front feet and sometimes on their back feet as well. Sometimes it looks as if they are wearing mittens because they appear to have a thumb on their paw! All Hemingway cats carry the polydactyl gene in their DNA, which means that the ones that have 4 and 5 toes can still mother or father six-toed kittens.
Ernest Hemingway was given a white six-toed cat by a ship’' captain and some of the cats who live on the museum grounds are descendants of that original cat, named Snow White. The trait can appear in any breed, Calicos, Tabbies, Tortoise Shell. White, Black, etc. They vary in shapes, sizes, colors and personalities.
Hemingway named all of his cats after famous people so they follow that same tradition today. Cats are capable of learning and responding to their names...

In the photo: Hemingway's cats on Hemingway's bed.

TopTropicals PeopleCat Club

Thank you everybody for supporting us in helping PeopleCat Community! Donations accepted from our website. Thank you and God bless you and your pets!

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You are safe in your garden!

"In front of my house, banana Musa basjoo in ground since more than 12 years!"
Lucie Herard, Montreal Tropical.

Lucie's tropical garden in Montreal, Canada:
"The movement of plants fascinates me!"

Our customer Lucie Herard shared pictures of her tropical garden with us... Many of you have beautiful gardens that you are proud of... but this one is... in Canada! Believe it or not, before winter she digs everything up and brings it inside! Then in Spring, she starts again every year. Dedication? Determination? Heroism! Lucie won the Planet Bananiers photo contest for the third time.
Look at these pictures and visit Lucie's Facebook page for more photos and videos of her amazing garden. Ask yourself: and what can I do? Is my life really that hard with mowing a lawn once a week and blowing the leaves? You don't have to be a hero to make something worthwhile in your life. Just take a shovel and start... one plant a day. And you will end up living in Paradise.
Lucie reminds you: "Ornamental horticulture production activities are now considered an essential service! Add soil in a pot, water very slightly for the first two weeks and put closer to the window. That's all, the leaves will start growing again!"

Tropical Paradise Contest 2020

Share with us photos of your garden. The winner of this contest will get plants $200 worth, with FREE shipping!

Submit your photos before April 15, 2020
and win $200 in tropical plants!

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PeopleCats of TopTropicals. Cat of the Day: Chief, Employee of the Month

"Can we get to normal World?"

If you visited TopTropicals Garden center, you've seen our Employee of the Month board in the office. And the picture on it... with our Chief, who is truly an irreplaceable member of our Shipping Crew. He is definitely the most responsible worker and reliable Chief Supervisor. This week, while greeting customers, he asked everybody to follow these simple rules that he established in the Nursery for everybody's safety during COVID-19 alert:

1. Yes, we are open! But If you want to browse the nursery, please call for assistance at the gate and we will come over to help you.
2. Please NO CHILDREN on the property at this time. If you came with kids, have them wait in your car while you are shopping. Chief can entertain them!
3. Nursery is OPEN for browsing, limiting 2 customers at a time on the premises.
4. If you know what plant(s) you want, just call us directly at our customer service desk 239-771-8081 and we can bring those plants, for your convenience, to the office or even to the gate.

Stay connected and we will get through this, all together, and we all will be just fine! So says Chief.

TopTropicals PeopleCat Club

Thank you everybody for supporting us in helping PeopleCat Community! Donations accepted from our website. Thank you and God bless you and your pets!

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Nature's pharmacy: Star Anise or Tamiflu will beat the flu?

by Onika Amell, tropical plant expert

Star Anise - Illicium verum - gets its name from the star shaped fruit... with many culinary uses. So many international dishes get their unique flavor from this wonderful spice. Any lovers of wonderful Vietnamese noodle soup "Pho" out there? Did you know that beautiful, aromatic spiciness in the broth derives from this very plant? In fact, it is the signature flavor of Pho!

Not only does this spice shine in the kitchen, but it has amazing health benefits. It contains shikimic acid, which is a vital component of the influenza-fighting drug Tamiflu! It boasts with antioxidants and vitamin A and C, which help to fight free radicals responsible for premature aging and diabetes. The oil derived from this plant contains thymol, terpineol and anethole, which is used to treat cough and flu. In addition, drinking Star Anise tea will help digestive issues such as bloating, gas, indigestion, constipation and nausea. It is one of the main ingredients of Masala Chai...

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PeopleCats ruling TopTropicals Kitchen. Healthy Treats for Humans

TREAT OF THE DAY: The Secret Health Booster: the Real Russian Borsh

While PeopleCats continue ruling our gardens, getting their daily treats and helping us to survive, they suggested we share some special treats for humans, besides exotic plants and plant boosters...
It is - our favorite Russian Borsh that we make for our TopTropicals International team! It is the most delicious and healthy meal ever invented, for both adults and kids. It boosts your energy, makes you feel warm, wealthy, and happy!

This soup, along with Russian Vodka, is the secret of Russians' Survival Mode - how to stay healthy, strong, tough, and resistant to any virus.

The recipe of the Real Russian Borsh involves very simple, inexpensive, and easy to find ingredients. However, making it right takes a little bit of time (which we sure have now!), since Russians like to make things complicated and from scratch... they use whole foods!
Take your time and enjoy the process - it is a part of this secret recipe. At the end, you will be rewarded with a healthy, tasty meal for the whole family for the whole week! And, it is only $2 per serving!

And remember, it is spelled Borsh (not Borscht!), according to the real Russians.

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Please tell us how you liked it! :)

TopTropicals PeopleCat Club

Thank you everybody for supporting us in helping PeopleCat Community! Donations accepted from our website. Thank you and God bless you and your pets!

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Nature's farmacy: Coronavirus cure discovery? Cinchona - Fever Tree

by Alex Butova

As the world's health experts race to find a cure for the novel coronavirus, this drug have jumped to their attention - Chloroquine. It contains alkaloid Quinine, extracted from the bark of the Cinchona, or Fever Tree.
We receive many questions from our customers if we carry this plant. Although we do not offer it at the moment, we definitely can tell you more about this interesting medicinal plant!

If you like gin and tonic, you will be familiar with the bitter taste of the tonic which is provided by quinine. While it is now mainly used to add a flavor to our favorite tipple, the Cinchona tree bark once held a place as one of the most important drugs in history.
Cinchona was discovered in the 1630s as a treatment for malaria and, for 350 years, was the only effective cure known in Europe until synthetic replacements were developed in the 1940s. Malaria remains today one of the deadliest diseases known throughout the tropics, but up until the 20th century the disease was prevalent throughout Europe, including Britain.

The Cinchona tree is native to the Eastern slopes of the Andes with a range across Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. Once the bark became an established medicine, particularly in the 18th and 19th centuries, demand started to outstrip supply. Threats of overharvesting and the desire to control the source of this precious bark drove various competing empires to source this plant for themselves. Understandably, the Spanish, who were in control of this area of South America, actively tried to prevent this, but failed to establish successful plantations themselves. A race to source and cultivate Cinchona ensued, and eventually both the Dutch, in Indonesia, and the British, in India, founded government controlled plantations for the mass production of quinine.

Chloroquine appears to have "broad-spectrum antiviral properties" and effects on immune response, and to be effective against severe acute respiratory syndrome... As the rest of the world, we are looking forward to the research results and hope the cure will be found soon!

In the meantime, let's just have more Gin-n-Tonic!