Gardening: Fast-growing oleandars make a nice flowering hedge

The oleanders are in full bloom around the island. These large beauties produce flowers all year in big, loose clusters at the ends of branches.

Deep red is one of the hardiest varieties. Other colors include shell-pink, creamy yellow, white or rose. The oleander is a woody shrub or small tree 5 to 25 feet tall. A dwarf variety comes in salmon and only grows to a height of 3 to 4 feet.

When allowed to grow naturally it will form a dense clump but can be trimmed to a single large trunk turning it into a small tree.

It makes a nice, informal flowering hedge and is a fast-grower in almost anysoil type. It prefers full sun and actually thrives in really hot weather.

Oleander is also salt-tolerant, making it a good plant for the seashore.

The orange and black oleander caterpillar is the most persistent pest of theoleander. If not controlled, they will defoliate the plant and harm the flowering process.

Some scales will also attack the oleander.

While it is a beautiful plant, it has a dangerous side. All parts of theplant exude a gummy, sticky sap when injured and are poisonous if eaten.

One leaf is reported to be sufficient to kill an adult human. The dry leaves are almost as toxic as the green ones. Children can be poisoned by carrying flowers around in their mouths in play. You could also be poisonedby eating frankfurters roasted on oleander stems over an open fire at a picnic. Inhaling smoke from burning oleander can also cause symptoms of poisoning. Contact of bare skin with any part of this plant can causeirritation.

When allowed to grow naturally, oleander will form a dense clump but can be trimmed to a single large truck turning it into a small tree.

Photo by EILEEN WARD, Eagle staff

When allowed to grow naturally, oleander will form a dense clump but can be trimmed to a single large truck turning it into a small tree.

Poisoning symptoms include nausea, vomiting, colic, dizziness, drowsiness, decreased pulse rate, irregular heart action, bloody diarrhea, unconsciousness, respiratory paralysis and death. Use caution when planting this beauty.

• • •

I would like to expand upon the article on the Marco Island Transfer Station by the Eagle staff in last week’s newspaper. The new, temporary site is located directly across the street from the old facility.

The article did not mention commercial and transfer waste dumping, which is alsoallowed at the temporary site. You will have to unload all horticultural and construction debris by hand from your vehicle into a dumpster.

Unfortunately, the site is only open from 8 a.m. to noon, not 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. as stated. The Solid Waste Department is looking into having this site open until 3 p.m. and maybe more. The days of operation are the sameas before, Tuesday through Saturday.

According to Daniel Rodriguez, Solid Waste Management Director, “The newMarco Island Recycling facility will accommodate commercial businesses byaccepting their horticultural and construction and demolition materials. The new design will provide containers and compressors that can easily be hand loaded by our customers.”

Once the permanent facility is built, itwill be dumping as usual, but better, on Marco Island.

Thanks to Mr. Rodriguez for clarifying the intended use for the new Recycling and Transfer Station on Marco Island. And, while we didn’t need to use them, sincerest thanks to everyone who signed petitions relating to this matter. I’ll keep you informed on developments relating to our dump.

Eileen Ward and her husband, Peter, own and operate Greensward of Marco Inc., a lawn maintenance and landscaping company. In addition to completing horticultural courses from the University of Florida, she has a commercial maintenance spray license and is a registered dealer in agricultural products in Florida. To reach Ward, call 394-1413.

© 2007 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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