Monday, October 01, 2012

Garden Croton

Garden Croton
Codiaeum variegatum var. pictum ‘Norma’
(koh-dih-EE-um) (var-ee-GAY-tum)

This blog is always teaching me new things. Today’s flower is surely not the prettiest or most glamorous. You could probably even call them insignificant but I photographed it because even after growing various Crotons at work and home for many years I had never seen the flowers before. Codiaeum for me provides year round interest in its crinkly, leather like colorful leaves. It all hit home when I visited a garden in Fort Lauderdale and they had an enormous collection of many different cultivars planted in a woodland setting. It left an impression on that clear, bright winter afternoon.

These types of Crotons should not be confused with the genus Croton, which is a large group of species (700) in the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae). Codiaeum is native to Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Southern India and some western Pacific Ocean Islands. It grows in open forests and scrublands. It can grow into a tall shrub/small tree in the wild. My experience growing them in containers has been good. Keeping them moist seems to be the key to having a nice plant. They can be slow growing in containers but are valued for the color and texture they can bring to the greenhouse in the winter.

October is here. Here is a quote that sums up a little bit of what has to be done this time of year.

"Fall is not the end of the gardening year; it is the start of next year's growing season. 
The mulch you lay down will protect your perennial plants during the winter and feed the soil as it decays,
while the cleaned up flower bed will give you a huge head start on either planting seeds or setting out small plants."
Thalassa Cruso

I would just like to say goodbye to my friend David who was removed from life support this weekend. Mercifully it was just a short time until he was finally at rest after the machines were stopped. I know he wouldn’t have wanted to live like that.

All that live must die, passing through nature to eternity.”
William Shakespeare

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