I have frequented Zone 9 Tropicals, a little nursery not very far from my house, for years. It is run from the back garden of a bungalow here in the Heights. They also have a great mail order business.
The Heights Garden Club had our September meeting there. We meet the second Saturday of most months at 10 in the morning to tour local gardens. We had a private tour by Wayne DuPont, one of the owners. He talked to us about some of the plants they have in stock just now. The nursery takes up the whole back yard with a year round cover to keep the tropicals protected. Many of the plants are hardy and can be planted in the ground here in Houston. Others are best kept in pots or will need protecting against hard freezes that we seem to have a few times each winter.
We had a great turnout! Wayne is very knowledgeable and passionate about plants. On their website they admit to being professed plant nuts. I love plant nuts! At the end of the talk everyone got a number and when it was called they got to pick a plant to take home from a table set out for us. This created lots of excitement and was very generous of them. Of course they know we will be back : ) You can never have just one!
There were so many interesting plants tucked in and hanging in every spare inch. Shawn and I went back the following Sunday to talk to Wayne and see more of the plants without the crowds. In doing research after the tour I came across and great article written by a friend of mine, Viula Torgerson, in her blog The Heights Life. She gives more history about how Zone 9 Tropicals came to be. If you live in the Heights or close by this is a must follow blog to keep up to date with what is going on in our neighborhood!
One of the things the article mentioned was that Zone 9 Tropicals was expanding. When we went back to visit on Sunday we asked Wayne about this. As a garden designer I am so excited to hear they are expanding. I am always on the hunt for unusual and interesting plants for my customers. Wayne told us they hope to open next year on 6 acres a few miles north of the Heights. I will keep you posted!
While Shawn was enjoying talking plants with Wayne, I was on the look out for something to put in a new hanging basket I just got in the mail. I kept going back to the Madagascar Jasmine. It will have to spend part of winter hanging in our kitchen. Luckily we have a rather large kitchen and it serves as our green house with its big skylights when we are going to have temps below 32 degrees.
There were many plants I had never seen before. And they were very tempting! Growing up in San Diego we didn’t have hard frosts and growing plants like these was so easy. Here I have to try and contain myself to things that I can keep on my porch and take inside without too much work when the temperatures dip below freezing.
The spiky one on the right is Zamorano Dragon Fruit.
Even though summer here is like living in a hot house, after 16 years, I still haven’t adjusted.
I love the delicate blue flowers of the Pea vine above. And I would love to try the Climbing Oleander! You can see more of what they have on their website, http://www.zone9tropicals.com/
I loved the leaves of this Bauhinia. Wayne didn’t know the variety and said it has never flowered but is rooted into the ground from its pot. He got it from Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden. He is hoping to have some for sale later this year.
Buddha in peaceful meditation welcoming us back the following Sunday.