use botanical name when shopping AROUND
When buying plants or seeds, always use the botanical name rather than the easy-to-remember common name (which can be used for different plants). Botanical names have two or more names. The first is the genus, the second is the species and the third is the variety. A good example is the bird of paradise. There are several: Strelitzia nicolai produces white flowers and grows up to 30 feet, Strelitzia alba also produces white flowers but grows only half the size, and Strelitzia reginae has orange flowers and grows to about 6 feet. If you relied on the common name only, you could be in for a big surprise!
Nip skeeter larvae
If mosquitoes are rampant in your yard, the likely culprit is standing water from recent rainfall. Find the source and either drain it or treat with a product containing Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which kills mosquito larvae. Flower pots, open containers, bird baths and low-lying areas are suspect, along with plants that hold water such as bromeliads (you can flush out water, add Bt or a few drops of cooking oil to kill larvae).
. Think before planting
The beginning of storm season is a good reminder to keep a tree's hurricane quotient in mind when planting. Avoid brittle trees that break in the wind or topple over, including jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia), Carolina laurel cherry (Prunus caroliniana) and sand pine (Pinus clausa), experts warn. Native trees fare better, as do palms, which hold up well to high wind. Look up before you plant. If you see a power or telephone line, choose another location. Also avoid planting too close to a house, outdoor structure or pool.
Yvonne Swanson, Times correspondent