Monday, December 2, 2013

The Florida Botanical Garden in December

There is a Holiday Lights in the gardens held nightly from November 29, 2013 - January 1, 2014 from 5:30-9:30 pm. Admission is $2 per person with children 12 & under are admitted free. Follow the lighted trail to visit Santa Claus at night, watch all of the large train sets run around a village with houses, people, a train station, etc. Refreshments are served. The 700,000 colorful twinkling lighted displays are shaped like hummingbirds, palm trees, a turtle, a butterfly, along with the traditional decorated Christmas tree and snowflakes. There is a 30 ft swan and a 7 ft high gingerbread house.

The entertainment is different every evening. There is Dan Brown, juggler, Noah Royak, stilt walker, Jerry Chase at keyboards, Kerri Kaiser, vocalist, Christian Service Center Singers, Shazadi & Jewels of the Desert Dancers, Savoy South Dance Hall Swing Dancers, Morning Song, hammered dulcimer and flute, St Andrews Pipe and Drums, John Law plays jazz, Bert & his Celtic Music, and Karina's School of Hawaiian and Belly Dancing.

There is also a Plant Sale on Sunday, December 8, from 10 am-4 pm. You can buy a selection of  tropical plants like orchids, citrus trees, bamboo, and herbs, begonias, etc. There are 45 venders, the Florida Garden gift shop will be open, and there is free entrance and parking.

On Sunday December 29, there is a Christmas dog parade starting at 1 pm.  You can exercise your energetic dog at the Walsingham  dog park, put on you & your dog's costumes, then bring him across the street to participate in the parade.

However, do not limit your visit to the Botanical garden to these events.The foliage in Pinellas County this year is lush as it has escaped the drying winds, frosts, and lack of moisture of previous years. You will be amazed at all of the perfect flowers in bloom and the tropical vegetation at the Florida Botanical Garden in December.

Knockout Roses: in pink and red, yawn, but this is December. Where up North is there roses this time of year?

Floribunda or continuously blooming roses: In the Wedding Garden area there is the buttery, golden yellow Julia Child which has a licorice scent, the smokey lavender, Cinco de Maya floribunda which has an mild apple scent, Tuscan Sun floribunda which has a spicy scent, & 4 inch wide flowers with tones of apricot, burnt umber, & rose, There is also White Iceberg and Pink Iceberg floribunda.

Julia Child
Cinco De  Mayo
Tuscan Gold
Grandiflora roses: the luscious Cherry Parfait grandiflora has dark foliage and creamy white blooms outlined in red,  and the deep gold, brushed orange Gold Medal Grandiflora with a mild fruit and spice odor and 5-6 inch flowers.

Cherry Parfait
 Hybrid Tea and Groundcover Roses: The deep, velvety red Mr. Lincoln is a hybrid tea rose has a strong damask fragrance. Sweet Drift is a groundcover rose.

Mr Lincoln
 Climbing roses: feature the 12-14 ft high, dark, velvety red Don Juan with a strong rose fragrance and 4-5 inch flowers. Catherine Nelson is a bold pink climber similar in size and height to Don Juan with a lighter fragrance. It was discovered by Mark Nelson and named after his mother. It is produced by Nelson's Florida Roses, a wholesale nursery committed to growing roses for warmer climates like Florida.

Don Juan

Catherine Nelson







Hibiscus: the flowers are especially nice this time of year. There is the Standard Hibiscus, the Tahitian Prince of Fire, the Queen of Dreams, and the yellow Hula Girl, Early Time and Double Orange Hibiscus.

Prince of Fire
Queen of Dreams
Standard Hibiscus












Hula Girl

 The Plants: the Bolero Ti Plant, Cigar Plant, the Hummingbird Plant, the Gold Finger Plant, the Purple Tahitian Hat Plant, Buddha Belly Plant,

Cigar Plant


The Vines: the Blue Sky Vine, the Yellow Butterfly Pea Vine, the Blue Pea Vine, lavender Rubber Vine.

Bluje Sky Vine
Yellow Butterfly Pea Vine

The Bushes: Yellow Bush Allamanda, Red Chenille Bush, New Zealand Tea Bush.

Yellow Bush Allamanda

Chenille Bush
New Zealand Tea Bush

The Shrubs: White Tropical Dogwood, Pink Tropical Dogwood

Other plants: Firecracker, Flaming Glory Bower, Red Passion Flower, Lady Margaret Passion Flower, Showy Medinilla, Yellow Jacobinia, Yellow Majesty Salva, Maui Red Ixori, Yellow Thyrallis, Dwarf's Princess Flower, Quail Grass.

Yellow Jacobina
Showy Medinilla
Red Passionflower


Dwarf's Princess Flower