May 2008
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Alma’s Star: AL Gardner Creates New Hibiscus by Accident

Pictured is Alma Bodiford with a poster of her "Alma’s Star" hibiscus at the 2nd annual Southern Favorites Home and Garden Show in Montgomery.

Alma’s love of gardening and especially her fondness for unusual plants have been featured in the Cooperative Farming News before. Now this Luverne gardener has made horticultural history.

In the spring of 1997, Alma was feeling a bit under the weather and wasn’t up to planting a fist full of Confederate Rose hibiscus cuttings individually, so she put them together in one large hole in the red clay of her garden. She has so many ornamental plants in her lawn that if the cuttings didn’t survive, she had others to fall back on.

Most of the cuttings did survive and when they bloomed in the fall she noticed one of the plants had thrown a sport (mutation). The huge pink blossom it produced looked to be five flowers in one sprouting from a single stem!

"It’s virtually unheard of," said Bill Cook, vice president of the Southern Home and Garden Nursery and Greenhouses in Montgomery. He said the plant, named "Alma’s Star" will be available exclusively at their nursery in May. "It’s very unusual, and we think it will be very popular."

"Alma’s Star" should be a hardy variety growing to over 10 feet and well-suited to all the regions of Alabama and United States Department of Agriculture Zones 7-9.

For more information call Southern Homes and Gardens at 334-387-0440 or visit them in Montgomery at 8820 Vaughn Road.