Friday, December 15, 2017

Season's Greetings from Piney Green

Today marks six years since closing on Piney Green and starting our move-in. It is hard to believe that much time has passed! It is easy to forget how much progress we have made and how much has changed with our home over these years. Looking back through this blog and old photos results in several "oh wow, I forgot about that..." comments.

For 2017, aside from our landscape improvements in preparation for the Garden Tour, our biggest project was having new copper gutters installed. We had left most of the original gutters off after we re-roofed a few years ago, but we soon realized there were some issues with drainage that gutters could help solve, and the old ones were not in the best of shape to try to re-install. So Piney Green now sports new gutters along much of its perimeter, larger than the originals but well suited to the home. We still have a small run of the originals next to the master bedroom for some added character.

Hurricane Irma ravaged almost all of Florida in September, but we were blessed that the house had no significant damage, we never lost power, and damage to the landscape was relatively minor. The storm did strip off branches from one side of the oldest and tallest norfolk island pine next to the garage... I haven't decided for sure yet whether it should stay or go, but our newer norfolks are growing quickly, so regardless we will still have a "pine" presence.

More adventures to come in 2018, but for now Happy Holidays from Piney Green!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Piney Green Returns to the Garden Tour

On Sunday, April 23, 2017 Piney Green returns to the Private Gardens of Historic Orlando Featuring Lake Eola Heights Garden Tour. We are #8 (of 10) on the tour. This year I decided to write this post in advance so that folks can view plant information while they are actually taking the tour.

Quite a bit has changed in our landscape since we were last on the tour in 2013. We have made some edits and some additions. And much of our landscaping that was relatively new back in 2013 has since matured significantly. Perhaps our biggest change: we are now turf free; instead of our old zoysia lawn we are using more alternative groundcovers and copious amounts of pine straw mulch. It has definitely helped save water... and frustration! We have also added several additional Norfolk Island Pines; as we are hesitant to grow true pines, we figure these are close enough to stay in keeping with the theme "Piney Green." And this year we added some stately torulosa junipers to provide some structure to the back yard.

Piney Green's landscape features well over fifty species, a combination of Florida native, Florida-friendly, and other traditional and not-so-traditional plants to create a unique lodge in the woods oasis in downtown Orlando.  While it still features many of the original plantings specified by Burt Foster (the famous 20th century Central Florida landscape architect), Piney Green's landscape has been significantly updated and enhanced with the design of landscape architect (and our friend) Frank Joseph Brooks, whose designs are also featured at several homes throughout our neighborhood.

Below is Joe's contact information, as well as a listing of local suppliers we've used and some of the plants at Piney Green.

Landscape design by: Frank Joseph Brooks (407.341.0022,

Some of the nearby plant suppliers we’ve used for this landscape update:

Alfonso’s Tree Farm (for Weeping Yaupon Holly Tree)
Apenberry’s (for various flowers, shrubs, and pine straw)
Biosphere Nursery (for Sunshine Mimosa)
Blodgett Gardens (for Coontail, some succulents, and flowers/shrubs)
Florico Foliage (for Algerian Ivy)
Green Images, Florida Native Landscape Plants (for Saw Palmetto)
Home Depot (for various shrubs, flowers, and succulents)
Landscape Resources (for River Birch)
Lowe’s (for various shrubs and flowers)
Lukas Nursery (for various shrubs, flowers, grasses, and groundcovers)
Medallion Nurseries (for Giant Apostle Iris)
Palmer’s Garden & Goods (for various flowers, shrubs, and groundcovers, including Sunshine Mimosa)
South Seminole Farm & Nursery (for Norfolk Island Pines)

Some of the over fifty species featured at Piney Green are pictured below. Be sure to Google images of these, as many bloom at different times of the year. For more information on specific Florida-friendly plants, visit

Aloe Aloe spp. (Florida-friendly):

Algerian Ivy (Canary Ivy) Hedera canariensis (Florida-friendly):

Amaryllis Amaryllis spp. (not currently blooming):

Azalea Rhododendron cvs. (Florida-friendly):
Azalea in bloom

Beautyberry Callicarpa Americana (Florida native) (grows small purple berry clusters in the fall):

Bigleaf Periwinkle Vinca major (Florida-friendly):

Blanket Flower Gaillardia pulchella (Florida native):

Bleeding Glory-Bower (Bleeding-heart Vine) Clerodendrum thomsoniae (not currently blooming):

Blue Agave (Century Plant) Agave americana (Florida native):

Bromeliads Bromeliaceae (various genera, species) (Florida-friendly/ some Florida native):

Caladium Caladium x hortulanum (Florida-friendly):

Cape Honeysuckle Tecomaria capensis (not currently blooming):

Cast iron plant Aspidistra elatior (Florida-friendly):

Cattley Guava Psidium cattleianum Sabine:

Confederate Jasmine (Star Jasmine) Trachelospermum jasminoides (Florida-friendly):

Coontail Ceratophyllum demersum (Florida native submersed plant):

Coontie Zamia floridana (Florida native):

Crinum Lily Crinum sp. (Florida-friendly/ some Florida native; Piney Green has two varieties, one more green, and one more burgundy):

Dahlberg Daisy Thymophylla tenuiloba:

Donkey Ear Kalanchoe gastonis bonnieri  (produces bloom spikes in the fall):

Firebush (Scarletbush) Hamelia patens (Florida-friendly) Note Piney Green features at least three varieties of firebush, including the non-native "dwarf" firebush (which isn't necessarily dwarf - we have some in tree form!), the Florida native variety, and a special 'Lime Sizzler' cultivar (from Lukas Nursery), which has pale green/yellowish foliage:
Native variety of Firebush
Non-native "dwarf" variety of Firebush (in tree form)
"Lime sizzler" variety of Firebush

Foxtail Fern Asparagus densiflorus 'Myers':

Giant Apostle Iris Neomarica caerulea 'Regina':

Ginger (various genera, species) (blooms in the fall):

Japanese Yew (Podocarpus) Podocarpus macrophyllus and cvs. (Florida-friendly):

Kangaroo Paw Fern Microsorum diversifolium (Note we're not 100% sure this is the precise species):

Lady Palm Rhapis spp. (Florida-friendly):

Ligustrum (Japanese Privet) Ligustrum japonicum and cvs. (Florida-friendly):

Live Oak Quercus virginiana (Florida native):

Loquat Eriobotrya japonica (Florida-friendly)

Mathotiana Camellia Camellia japonica 'Mathotiana' (Florida-friendly):

Milkweed Asclepias spp. (Florida native):

Ming Fern Asparagus macowanii:

Nagi Podocarpus Podocarpus nagi:

Norfolk Island Pine Araucaria heterophylla:

Perennial Peanut Arachis glabrata (Florida-friendly) (produces small yellow flowers):

Petunia Petunia x hybrida (Florida-friendly):

Philodendron Philodendron cvs. (Florida-friendly):

Pink Perfection Camellia Camellia japonica 'Pink Perfection' (Florida-friendly):  
Pink Perfection Camellia in bloom

Pink Weeping Cherry Tree Prunus subhirtella var. pendula:

Plumbago Plumbago auriculata cvs. (Florida-friendly):

Purple Queen Setcreasea pallida (note: easily confused with invasive oyster plant):

Purslane Portulaca oleracea and cvs.:

River Birch Betula nigra (Florida native):

Saw Palmetto Serenoa repens (Florida native):

Snake Plant (Mother-In-Law's Tongue) Sansevieria trifasciata:

Stonecrop Sedum rupestre ‘Florida Friendly Gold’:

Sunshine Orchid Epidendrum x obrienianum:

Sunshine Mimosa (Sensitive Plant, Powderpuff) Mimosa strigillosa (Florida native):

Sweet Virburnum Viburnum odoratissimum:

Swiss Cheese Plant Monstera deliciosa:

Tabebuia Tabebuia sp. (not currently blooming):

Tea Olive Osmanthus fragrans (Florida-friendly) (planted more for its scent not its appearance):

Torulosa Juniper Juniperus chinensis 'Torulosa' (Florida-friendly):

Weeping Yaupon Holly Ilex vomitoria 'Pendula' (Florida-native) (produces red berries):

Weeping Yew (Weeping Podocarpus) Podocarpus gracilior (Florida-friendly):

Wisteria (American Wisteria) Wisteria frutescens (Florida native):

Yellow Walking Iris Trimezia martinicensis: