Unusual tropical plants for your southwest Florida garden

  • December 15, 2013 · 1:00 PM
  • This location is shown only to members


On Sunday, December 15, the club will be visiting the beautiful garden and licensed nursery of new member Rege Malone in Naples. He'll give us an informative presentation about the many rare and exotic tropical plants and flowering trees we can grow in this environment. It's always a pleasure to have a garden that's distinctive and unlike our neighbors' gardens.

Rege and his partner Al Sanchez will lead us on an extensive guided tour of their lushly planted garden, where we can examine these unusual plants up close. You can get a preview of some of the flowers we'll be seeing by checking out the photo album on our web site titled Rege Malone's garden. As with most of the photos in all the albums in the site's Photos pages, clicking on each photo can enlarge it to full-screen size. Incidentally, our host is not only a Master Gardener, but also teaches the Master Gardener courses for Collier County. He'll be able to answer all our gardening questions.

Peacocks and horses and goats--oh, my! As we stroll through the grounds we'll meet a whole menagerie of animals who have found a good home in the garden. They include adopted quarter horses, mustangs, Nubian goats, miniature donkeys (with two babies just one month old), chickens, other farm animals, white peacocks and peahens, and many koi swimming in the garden pond. NOTE: Because of all the wildlife here, dogs and other animals are not admitted onto the property, so your pets should be left at home.

In the nursery we'll also see a wide variety of unusual tropical plants and trees. You can buy the ones you'd like to add to your own garden. These are rare and exotic species you would never find at Home Depot, Lowe's, or other big-box stores. Rege has generously offered members of our club a 10% discount off their regular prices. The plants will be sold by club member Leah Ray and other friends of Rege and Al. You can see lists of the plants on the nursery's web site at http://RegeMaloneHorticulturist.com.

The member discount applies not only during this event; you can get it whenever you purchase plants here in the future. This is just one of the nurseries and other businesses that offer our members 10% or 20% discounts and other perquisites ("perks") on presentation of their membership cards. You'll see a complete list of them in our web site's Perks section. The Perks link is in the left-hand column on every page of the site.

As usual at each of our meetings, members who bring their excess plants to display on the free plant-exchange table can take home for their own gardens whichever other plants they like. Members also traditionally bring along their favorite foods and drinks to share with others during the friendly snack-and-chat portion of each meeting. That's how many members have become close friends in what has become essentially an extended family of local gardeners.

Rege has proposed a plant-identification contest for this event. The first person who can identify the plants in any of the four photos below will win during the meeting a free plant chosen by Rege. That means four plants will be won by four members. If you recognize one of the plants, send both the common name and the scientific name by email today to [masked].

To let our host know on line if you can or can't attend this meeting, just scroll up to the top right corner of the screen and click either Yes or No on the link marked RSVP. (If your plans change, you can always come back to this page to revise your reply.) Visitors are always welcome at these free events, so you can invite interested friends and neighbors to come along. If you do, please indicate the number when you submit your RSVP.

Parking is limited on Rege's property, so carpooling with other club members is recommended. Offers and requests for sharing rides to our events are always listed on the web site's Carpooling page. Riding in the company of other gardeners helps to bond members together, and provides a great opportunity to discuss gardening problems and solutions during the ride.

We look forward to meeting at this event many of the new members who recently joined the club. Come along and meet them as well.

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  • Suzanne and P.

    Posted photos of Rege Malone's garden and nursery are sure to impress those members who couldn't join us for the great guided tour he gave us. If a photograph is worth a thousand words, all the photos members posted of his place are worth 195,000 words. 28 photos were posted by Glenda. 28 by Matt, 30 by Rege, 40 by Missi, and 69 by Peter. You can find all 195 photos in the latest three albums posted in the web site's Photos pages at http://meetup.com/FloridaGardeners/photos. To examine the plants and animals in detail, click on each photo to enlarge it to full-screen size.

    There's so much to see in the garden that the club's next visit there should be scheduled for a full week. :-) Rege and his partner Al have created a combination of a botanical garden and a marvelous zoo, worthy of being listed with other tourist sites in Naples. We can hardly thank Rege enough for hosting this event. It attracted 47 of us, the most who ever attended. Who's going to offer to be our next host?

    3 · December 16, 2013

  • Rege M.

    Al and I would like to thank all the members who attended yesterday..............what a great bunch of gardeners ! In addition to the 41 registered guests we had six friends who stopped in, two came from as far away as Clewiston. Kudos to Peter and Suzanne for putting this together and to Joe and Tatiana Toledo who worked so hard for two days to help us make this happen. Happy Gardening to all..............................Rege & Al

    3 · December 16, 2013

  • Anne H.

    Rege, I am not only amazed at your beautiful property but all the animals you've taken in. Thank you so much for sharing, it was a wonderful afternoon.

    1 · December 16, 2013

  • Glenda

    This was a phenomenal meet up. I learned so much about a wide variety of plants that are suitable for this area. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful nursery with us.

    1 · December 16, 2013

  • Rege M.

    The rain has stopped, people are arriving and we are ready to BOOGIE !

    1 · December 15, 2013

    • Fred R.

      Rege, sorry to have missed the tour. I was ready to go but then company came from Canada who wanted to see the garden. Then it rained and things got delayed until it was too late to come to your place.

      December 16, 2013

  • Marilyn

    You are an extraordinary person to create such a tropical gardenofeden on this side of the coast.Breathtaking and extremely grateful for sharing your passion in gardening.I am smitten by the array of unusual plants your nursery has.Thank you.

    2 · December 16, 2013

  • Leah R.

    Rege was both informative and entertaining. His menagerie of animals and lovely gardens are nothing but eye candy.

    1 · December 15, 2013

  • Bonnie Breedlove H.

    I really enjoyed all the animals, they really add a lot to the tour. The birds make it a tropical paradise.

    1 · December 15, 2013

  • frany

    Rege Al, your place was off the charts!!! I am so impressed that 15 years and the 2 of you, could create something like this. I can't even begin to express the hospitality and the energy you two radiate is insane. I am soooo grateful you had this meet-up and am so happy to have met you both. Every nook and cranny had so much to see a few hours does it no justice. thank you, thank you, thank you.!!!

    4 · December 15, 2013

  • frany

    this place was off the charts!!!

    2 · December 15, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Excellent tour! great company!

    2 · December 15, 2013

  • Missi

    That was GREAT!! What an adventure!! I wanna do it again! Thanks Rege!!! I made a wish list of plants at your nursery. Wish I grabbed an Anthurium superbum!!

    2 · December 15, 2013

  • Dianne

    Thank you Rege for the wonderful tour. Steve and I enjoyed both the plants and the animals. The water features were....amazing

    2 · December 15, 2013

  • Bonnie Breedlove H.

    Are we rained out on this event?

    December 15, 2013

  • Dianne

    Also checking in to see if we are rained out. Its raining here off White Blvd.

    December 15, 2013

  • Tatiana Soutullo T.

    Yes---still on for today. It looks like the weather is clearing up ...the gardens look great.

    December 15, 2013

  • Margaret & Karl K.

    Rege, you still want us there? How is the rain there? Looks like it may clear.

    December 15, 2013

  • barbara k.

    Decided to cancel due to the weather. Hope to have another chance to see your gardens. Sounds awesome!

    December 15, 2013

  • tara l.

    Rege, I too am unable to make today's tour. I am disappointed as I do all my own landscaping and had some questions and would love to see a few new things.

    December 15, 2013

  • Claire M.

    I'm afraid I can't come tomorrow. I just realized I scheduled myself into a conflict. I'm supposed to attend the Inbetweeners Christmas party. It is at a private home and potluck. I'm expected to bring food and it begins at 3pm in eastern Naples. I hope we can Meetup at Rege's garden and nursery soon again. It looks wonderful with greenery, flowers, animals and birds. And, im eager to try some of your varieties. Disappointed I have to miss it.

    December 15, 2013

    • Rege M.

      Sorry you won't make it, appreciate the kind note and for letting us know. There are several others that want to be able to see the place at a later date due to conflicts now. I'm sure all can be accomodated preferably with a Meetup. In any case you can contact me and make an appointment to stop by anytime.

      December 15, 2013

  • Missi

    Rege, in case we don't get the opportunity to discuss this Sunday...how do you keep your poultry from eating/trampling your gardens? I used to have plantings I was so proud of...until I started giving my chickens free range of the back lot during the day. Some things I have put 1/2" x 1/2" wire around but I can't do that for ALL of my garden, I don't think...plus, my chickens are so determined that sometimes they FLY over the wire! LOL

    December 12, 2013

    • Missi

      Also, I have 2 big feeders full of feed in their pen but they prefer my tender plants when they're allowed out of their coop & their dust bathing & scratching totally distroyex all ground cover except the sunshine mimosa!!!

      December 12, 2013

    • Rege M.

      Yep thats what horse people use them for in their barns. Of course they always wait until I have cleaned the patio up and then they will dive in around the plants and fill the pavers with dirt again ! I just run them off when I see then there.

      1 · December 12, 2013

  • frany

    Rege, the nashia inagensis I have as a bonsai. I was looking for those particular plants for their contrast and textures. I do have hosta but they are the dark green and white ones. I thought it would be great to use the yellow/white combo. The hakonechloa I have, I bought on line, I keep them in the shade. And the honey bush has fantastic big leaves and edges that are ribbed. But thank you anyway. I am sure I will find something in ur nursery to add to my array of flowers and shrubs. :O)

    December 12, 2013

    • frany

      see you sunday, can't wait to listen and "pick ur brain" :O)

      December 12, 2013

    • Rege M.

      By the way Wicipedia says that it takes about five years before the hakonechloa looks good ??????, I'm sure that would be shortened down here with our longer days etc. Have you thought about variegated Flax, Var Leriope, Black mondo or some of the other ground covers that are better suited down here, none of which I have hehe, just thinking.

      December 12, 2013

  • frany

    Mr. Rege sir, do you have the honey bush? or varegaited hostas? or hakonechloa grass...? please let me know thank you

    December 11, 2013

    • Rege M.

      By the way Frany, the "Mr" and "sir" are appreciated but certainly not needed. Just plain Rege is fine.

      1 · December 11, 2013

    • frany

      sorry Rege but I was raised old school. And my parents would have a canip s..t if I did not address someone new in this fashion. :) They said it "would be rude" heehee

      December 12, 2013

  • Rege M.

    OK folks, we only have one mystery plant left in the line up to be identified. It is the pink flowers in the third picture. You can also trump Peter for a free plant if you can identify the first picture since his guess came in before we posted the plant ID game. Bet you can't get them all !

    1 · December 10, 2013

    • Missi

      Uh oh! I'll have to give it some thought then. Would nematodes bother them if they're plated in the ground? Nematodes scare me :O

      December 11, 2013

    • Rege M.

      I have never had a problem growing the normal green variety in the ground, have them all growing in the shade under palms etc. I keep the variegated cultivars in containers because I fear Freezes ! While in pots I do allow them to root into the surrounding ground.

      1 · December 11, 2013

  • frany

    You are so RIGHT about your last comment .I feel the same way! I believe everything has a purpose and a season. Fred a question...do mexican sunflowers like water? I know they take full sun, as I see them here and there, always in full sun, but the water...are they drought tolerant once they settle in to their new home, or...?

    December 9, 2013

    • frany

      so I can take clippings from the plant I got from you??? My hydrangeas seem to love shade or very little morning sun, but, when their in bloom they love the sun. So I kinda guessed they (mexican sunflower) would give bigger flowers with plenty of water. And sun. right...? I do see them in front of yards, huge like trees but the seem to get lanky on the bottom. Is this normal???

      December 10, 2013

    • Fred R.

      You'll have to come over at a next visit or anytime really and look at the giant bushes. They grow very tall and then can't stand their own wait and hang down. If they touch the ground they start growing there. I cut them back and they simply fill out some more at the bottom.

      2 · December 10, 2013

  • frany

    Has anyone spoken to Lisa? I have not heard from her lately? If anyone speaks to her. Can you please let her know she's in my prayers! thanx

    December 10, 2013

  • Fred R.

    A neighbor put two trashcans full of Sansevieria trifasciata (Snake or Mother-in-Law's-Tongue plant) out in the trash. I don't know the species but I'll bring them to the meet. I already have them in the garden and I'll plant a few more. I hope everybody will pick one or more to give the rest a new home. Like I said, I just can't see them in the trash. Seems like a sin to me.

    2 · December 9, 2013

    • frany

      oh yes, yes I will take some. So long as you teach me where to plant them (sun,shade,partial sun) how much water ( moist,drought tolerant,semi moist) and how they grow( vine,bush,fett???) thanx Fred you're the bomb!

      December 10, 2013

    • frany

      feet

      December 10, 2013

  • Howard and Joyce W.

    Joyce and I would love to visit Rege's garden but have a conflict with a previously planned trip. Would we be able to see the garden at another time?

    December 10, 2013

  • Rege M.

    By the way Fred, thanks for the kind words about your last visit several years ago, you sure have a memory. I think you will enjoy this visit even more, lots of new plants and we just keep expanding the planted area on this once barren piece of property. Looking forward to seeing you again.

    2 · December 10, 2013

  • frany

    Every time I look at the pictures of this garden I am overwhelmed by the beauty of it all. Can't wait to see it up and personally. WHAT A TREAT !!!

    1 · December 9, 2013

    • Missi

      Wahhh! I want a frost-free microclimate too!!

      December 9, 2013

    • Missi

      I'm not too far from Rock Road. Perhaps I need to dig some pits LOL

      1 · December 9, 2013

  • Fred R.

    Ok, more sun flowers coming up. Earlier this year I trimmed mine back and simply buried the branches under a deep layer of mulch. Well, they started to grow and when I did more planting and irrigation I didn't have the heart to simply throw them out and stuck them in pots. Anything, except certain nasty weeds and invasives, should have a chance to grow here or elsewhere.

    1 · December 8, 2013

  • frany

    Hello Fred, YES please bring as many as you are willing to get rid of (mexican sun flower) I would be more than happy to pay for them. The one I got at the pond meet up is doing so well, I have her in a pot so I can make sure nothing happens to her til spring. Lots of new leaves and branching out. thank you again, :O) frances

    1 · December 8, 2013

  • Fred R.

    Shall I bring any Mexican Sunflowers (Tithonia diversifolia) or
    Candle Bush (Senna alata)? I'll bring one Starburst Bush/Shooting Star (Clerodendrum quadriloculare) just in case.

    2 · December 8, 2013

    • Fred R.

      Well, I'm losing it. I just came back from a meeting that is not being held until next week. I could have sworn it was today. I think I've been to this place before with a tour of the Naples Botanical Garden but this time but this time all was quiet and no one responded to my ringing of the bell. House numbers are hard to find though. Rock Rd. should be called Wash-Your-Car Rd. as any trip down its path will require a wash. Quite a mess. Until next week. :-)

      1 · December 8, 2013

    • Rege M.

      Yep Fred, kind of dusty this time of year. Most of this out here is zoned Agriculture and we own our roads. House number is next to the first gate and yes you were probably here for a Naples Botanical Garden Tour or one for several other organizations. Sorry you missed us, I was in the back working in the Nursery.

      1 · December 8, 2013

  • Rege M.

    Some more hints............

    Pic 1, Did you ever study tetragones in Geometry ? pic 2, Does anyone still have Mexican Petunias in their garden ? pic 3, Did anyone plant Vinca in their garden this year ?

    1 · December 6, 2013

  • Linda M.

    It breaks my heart that I can't be there for this tour! Leah has told me how amazing this garden is--you are all in for a great treat!

    1 · December 4, 2013

  • Rege M.

    Bonnie Hawkins has correctly identified picture #4 as Crocosmia lucifer or commonly called Lucifer Grass. An easy to care for addition to any landscape. It blooms in late Summer through Fall and has had repeat bloomings for us in SW Florida. It is a relative of the Gladeola and grows from corms which will easily divide on their own. Plant in well drained soil (even coarse sand) in full Sun and expect it to grow to about 24 to 30 inches tall. Following blooming the foliage that produced the flower spikes will die back and new growth will emerge. Congratulations Bonnie !

    1 · December 3, 2013

  • Leah R.

    Man o man, is everyone in for a treat.

    1 · December 2, 2013

  • Rege M.

    Ok gardeners, here are some hints: Peter guessed the first one while we were doing the write up------BEEP------disqualified by Peter-----so we still have that one plus three more. Photo number two is a close relative of an everblooming purple flower that is
    considered invasive by many...oh papi ! Photo number three is a snall tree but one of its' names implies it is a common annual......not ! Photo number four's foliage looks like a common native grass and the flower looks like an orchid....not-not...... even though part of one of its names implies it is a grass!

    2 · December 2, 2013

    • Missi

      I have no guesses but I wanted to thank you for making this FUN, Rege :D

      2 · December 2, 2013

  • Mary G.

    I'm out of town on Dec. 15th. The meeting I'm missing looks like a fantastic event.

    1 · December 2, 2013

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