Bahama Bay Hibiscus:
Thatís What Was in My Driveway!
Beginning this week, and for the next several weeks, Iím going to take the "tip sheet" ideal and blend it with the "profile" concept and outline a number of landscape plants I would like for you to start using. Or put another way; "Whatís in my landscape should also be in yours." This weekís tip sheet should also be entitled: Come to Cornelius this Saturday for a little "Enlightenment."
I felt duty-bound to do this after four neighbors (in one day, I might add) asked basically the same question: "What kind of hibiscus was that you had in your driveway?" Actually, the thought of profiling some specific plants via these email tips had first entered my head following my week of appearances on Channel 11ís Great Day Houston about two weeks ago.
The reason all my neighbors asked the same question was that before that week of TV appearances, my driveway was lined with all the plants that I would be profiling that week. The first one that caught everyoneís eye was a specific Bahama Bay Hibiscus known as "Enlightenment", supplied to me by Hines Horticulture.
But to the hibiscus-lovers and experts of Houston, itís really not all that new. This specific hibiscus is part of the Bahama Bay cultivar/series of hibiscus, first introduced by a local, master plant-breeder, by the name of Barry Schlueter.
Barry has introduced many amazing hibiscus cultivars to the sub-culture that are the local Hibiscus Societies. Heís won so many awards at all their shows and sales, that his reputation and prowess in this area are legendary.
So, Barry bred them, named them, patented them and trademarked the Bahama Bay series. Then, he sold the "growing rights" to Hines Horticulture, which just so happens to have an enormous growing facility just outside of Houston, in Fulshear. The bottom line: You no longer have to wait for the few hibiscus shows and sales by the two hibiscus societies to look like a hibiscus expert. So, we all owe a big thanks to Barry Schlueter and Hines for getting together on this.
As you can see by the picture of the "Enlightenment" hibiscus, thereís no doubt why it caught everyoneís eye while sitting in my driveway. "Enlightenment" is a yellow hibiscus bloom with a bright pink center eye, melting to orange that becomes the yellow. The other one that I personally love is the "Forever Young" cultivar.
"Forever Young" is a striking light pink color that gradually melts into a vibrant, dark-red center at the eye. The other thing that makes this cultivar stand out is the peculiar ruffled edges of the bloom petals.
There are several other varieties in this series such as the Amazon Queen, Big Bird, Erin Rachel, Goiní Steady, Moon Pie, Nova, and Hearttbeat.
I will actually have several of these Bahama Bay series of hibiscus to give away at Cornelius Nursery, 2233 S. Voss, this coming Saturday. Not to mention, Hines is providing several other samples of their new plants besides these hibiscus. But donít get your heart set on any specific one of these, because not all of them will be there. In fact, probably only three of the varieties will be slated for the give-aways. Donít whine, because this is only the first full year that such cultivars have even been available to the masses, so a little patience is valuable here.
If I forgot to mention it, we are broadcasting GardenLine live from this particular Cornelius. However, while we start the show at 6 a.m., the doors donít open until 8 a.m. Warning: Iíll bet a lot of neighbor Steveís money that the supply of free hibiscus wonít last very long. So, I would make it a point to get there before 10 a.m. to play it safe. Having said that, you know there will be plenty for sale as well. In fact, many local nurseries and garden centers that carry Hines Horticulture plants, carry these hibiscus as well. Click to find one
While the Hines Horticulture freebies may very well be gone by 1o a.m., I wonít be gone. I will be hanging out there talking to all of you who might want to "get my eyes on your problems." So, even after the broadcast is over at 10, Iíll be at Cornelius until 12 Noon. Again, this is at the Voss location of Cornelius Nurseries, which lays smack between Westheimer and San Felipe. If youíre lucky enough to go home with a free Bahama Bay Hibiscus courtesy of Hines Horticulture (or, if you buy one) not only should you thank the Hines representatives who will be there, you should go to a hibiscus show and sale over the next year and publicly thank hibiscus-breeder-extraordinaire Barry Schlueter, for being a Houston-based-hibiscus-hero. While everyone loves hibiscus, not everyone gets to grow them year-round, like we do. These hibiscusí are still only rated for the growing regions of 7 through 9. We are technically between 8 and 9 for this region. Can I get a Hallelujah?!?!
And not only can we grow a multitude of hibiscus varieties here, the fact that the original Bahama Bay cultivars were originally bred here, will always give Houston-area residents a further upper-hand in growing them.
One final thought. Over the next several issues of these plant profiles on the GardenLine Email Tip of the Week, anything I suggest will be readily available. While Iíve known about things like the Bahama Bay Hibiscus for several years, itís not worth me mentioning on the air or in these email tips if they arenít readily available. But, I can all but guarantee that they will only be available at independent nurseries and garden centers and never at any big box store.
Next Week: The Cuban Duranta, a.k.a. "The Golden Duranta"
Until next issue, here's to Great Gardening from the GardenLine, heard exclusively, 6-10 a.m. Saturdays and 7-10 a.m. Sundays, only on NewsRadio 740 KTRH.
Be sure to check out Randy's Event Page to see where else Randy will be for the next few weekends. Bring your plants, bugs, and diseases for identification purpose.