Spring into Action!
By Mike Diamond â€˜The Queen of Green’
After a long cold dreary winter, at last the bright, warming days of springtime are upon us. Can I get an â€œamenâ€?!?!? Summer is fast approaching, which means a) carbs are my enemy; b) I will once again be sporting my signature scent of sunblock, vodka and swimming pool chlorine; and c) its time for some new fabulous plants!
I love plants, because like dogs and cats (and unlike most people), they’re pleasant to be around and they don’t talk back. My absolute favorite source is Logee’s Tropical Plants. I had the luxury of visiting the Logee’s greenhouses in Danielson, Connecticut last summer, and was given a tour by Byron Martin, one of the company’s owners. The nursery has been in the Logee-Martin family since 1892- that’s 118 years people, or almost as long as George W. Bush was in office! Strolling through the greenhouses amidst all the gorgeous foliage and wonderfully perfumed flowers was dreamlike, and Mr. Martin was a fantastic guide- informative, charming and clearly passionate about the amazingly diverse variety of plants that Logees grows. I highly recommend that you stop in for a visit if you’re in the area, and check out their 110 year old Ponderosa Lemon Tree- it’s huge! Not that I’m a size queen or anything.
So tis the season to add some greenery and floral loveliness to your windowsill, backyard or terrace (or for you supergays, to your Fire Island share or house on the Cape). Some of my favorites plant picks for the 2010 Season are as follows:
Colocasia esculenta ‘Mojito’ (New For 2010!)
If I know my readers- and I surely do- you are a crowd that likes a cocktail or two (or six or ten), so just the word â€˜Mojito’ was enough to catch your eye. But wait until you see this beauty, a psychedelic variety of Elephant Ear-named in honor of the minty Cuban cocktail- that is sure to give you a buzz. The gigantic olive green leaves of this moisture loving plant are splashed and streaked with most delicious, marbleized shade of deepest ebony. Drink it up!
Hibiscus Black Dream (New For 2010!)
I had a black dream once. His name was DaKwon, and he had the most beautiful brown eyes. In this case, â€˜Black Dream’ is the name of a new and fabulous variety of tropical hibiscus! The oversized blooms are a dramatic shade of red wine, with a center swirl of midnight black. This brand new Hibiscus adds an exotic touch to any plant collection. Oh, and if you’re reading thisâ€¦.I miss you DaKwon!
Tahitian Orange â€˜â€˜Otaheite’
â€˜Otaheite’ is a totally thornless citrus plant, and according to the Logee’s catalog, â€œits fruit is a deep orange color and is actually thought to be a sweet lime and not an orange.â€ Sometimes it is nice to fool Mother Nature! The white blossoms are sweetly scented, and this sun loving selection flowers and fruits while still young. Hey, I know I sure did! The Tahitian Orange’s dwarf stature makes it a must for any urban gardener, where space is at a premium. Zesty!
Osmanthus fragrans ‘Fudingzhu’ (New For 2010!)
Behold the newest, most floriferous and fragrant Sweet Olive yet! (BTW I’d always thought â€˜Sweet Olive’ would be a great drag name, but we all know drag queens are pure evil!). Unlike the standard Osmanthus, â€˜Fudingzhu’ boats huge clusters of its creamy little blossoms- flowers that exude an intoxicating, romantic, apricot like perfume. Dreamy botanical perfection.
Begonia ‘Phoe’s Cleo’ (featured on Martha Stewart Live- Byron is a frequent and favorite guest of plantaholic Miss Martha) is a showy little thing, with an intense color combination of maroon edged, chartreuse leaves and baby pink flowers- but it works! Growing to only 12â€ high, this rhizomatous begonia would be a sweet addition to a terrarium, a bright windowsill or indoor light garden.
Now, not to be a narcissistic egomaniacal attention hog (you know that’s not how Mike Diamond rolls, hello), but I have to give a special mention to â€˜Gardenia Diamonds Delight’– yes, there is a plant named after me! It’s true, it’s true- me, me, me, it’s all about me! Sorry, my coffee just kicked in. Anyway, I came across this particular gardenia on one of my tropical journeys a few years back, growing wild along some off the map little side road. The flower was amazingly large, the petals extra creamy, and the fragrance particularly intense and sweet, even for a gardenia. I sent some cuttings to Logees, and voila! My very own flower! I shall live on in botanical history long after my show biz star has dimmedâ€¦which of course will never, ever happen.
Checkout Logees Full catalog of plants at http://www.logees.com/