Welcome to my zone 9 garden. My roots are deeply planted in the sandy soil of sub-tropical central Florida, where the summers are long and hot, but the rest of the year is paradise!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Serendipity in the Garden

Some of the best gardening experiences are those that are unplanned and unexpected.

Last autumn I purchased a couple of ornamental pumpkins to display on the front walkway. When Christmas rolled around, I sat the pumpkin (still in good shape) next to the compost bin in the backyard. In Spring, I noticed a large-leafed vine was starting to creep along the ground. When it started to take over and attach itself to all the plants, I decided to hang it along the top of the fence.

It wasn't long before large yellow flowers began to appear.

Look at the size of this flower and leaf. You can use the fence posts in the background for comparison.

At first the flowers died and did not set fruit, but then  . . . I noticed a yellow fruit getting bigger and bigger.

It looks like a large lemon hanging on the fence (LOL)! And, I swear, everyday it gets BIGGER! 

I'm not sure if the vine can hold this pumpkin up until it ripens. I may have to add a support beneath it. Isn't it huge??? 
Every time I see it I have to laugh!!!

I absolutely love seeing the fence covered by this large-leafed vine, and am going to miss it when it's gone. The ginormous leaves look so lovely as they float face up atop the fence. Another positive is the squirrels don't like it there. It interrupts their ability to scamper at top speed along the fence line (ha-ha). 

I'm so glad I didn't pull it out when it was small. It feels like a Jack in the Beanstalk kind of vine as it meanders along. It has truly been a source of entertainment and delight ~ ~ it obviously doesn't take much to amuse me (LOL)!

 As you can see in the photo it has also set additional fruit. There are at least 5 pumpkins altogether. Hopefully, I'll get a couple to display for autumn. 

It grows at least a foot a day and has covered the south side of the fence and is also growing on the west side (pictured above). I just keep weaving it through the fence posts, and enjoying this unexpected, serendipitous, wonderful surprise in my backyard!!!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Six Months Later

Before I started to plant my 25' deep by 120' long backyard I snapped a few photos. In that photo, the plants I had brought with me were staged around the areas where they were to be planted. This is the main walkway through the center of the garden.

November 2014

May 2015

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

This is the same area, just opposite the large oak pictured in the photo above - looking in the opposite direction.
Nov 2014 

May 2015

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

This is the sideyard on the south side of the house.
Oct 2014

May 2015

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

This area is in the backyard near the south sideyard. It is my sunny perennial bed.
Nov 2014

 May 2015

It's amazing how quickly a bunch of potted plants can turn into a garden.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Mixing it Up

In my small yard there is a little kitchen garden which was planted last fall with broccoli, tomato, green pepper, green onions, garlic chives, basil and swiss chard. In February red potatoes, cherry tomatoes, bush beans and sugar snap peas were added to this little plot of ground. This month two blueberry bushes will be enclosing one side of the garden, plus I'll add a few peanut plants when the broccoli is finished.

But because the area is small I mix my bigger plants like collards and kale, plus some additional bush beans into my sunny perennial bed. I love the different textures and leaf colors and sizes that they add to the mix of flowers.

A no-fail daylily from my late stepfather is always a welcome reminder of him. He would be happy that his daylilys continue on and that we are enjoying them.

Another Georgia collard green is tucked in among the mealy cup sage, sun impatien and the black-eyed Susan.

The frame from an outdoor table umbrella has been re-purposed (my mother's idea) as a trellis for green beans and cucumbers. Mom was right ~ it works perfectly and looks nice, too!

An ornamental pumpkin that I sat next to the compost bin last winter has sprouted with wild abandon. It was taking over the plants, so I slipped it up through the fence posts. It did, however, give me the idea that I could use the fence as a trellis to grow other vining vegetables in the future.

The squirrels have helped to disburse the seeds throughout the garden, so it is coming up everywhere. I love the large leaves and the look of it draped over the fence, and will be sad to see it go. There are some small little pumpkins developing but they quickly turn brown and die. Hopefully, I'll get a couple of them that I can use this autumn for decoration.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Visit to Nancy's Garden

Last weekend a few of us made a visit to Nancy's garden in Lakeland. Nancy has a BEAUTIFUL garden. She is very creative and gifted when it comes to gardening, and everyone who sees her garden is truly amazed.

As you can see, she loves bromeliads.


But I noticed that her bromeliad varieties are getting larger. Look at that specimen of a bromeliad in the background.

She likes other kinds of plants, too.






She has a cute potting bench . . .

and, a greenhouse. 
I have total green house envy!

She has lots of clever ideas for displaying plants.

A bromeliad on top of a cut off palm tree trunk looks like a work of art.

Clever container ideas, too (notice the little stool it's sitting on).



Lots of brick pathways meander through the garden beds.

She also loves begonias and grows many varieties.

I'm in love with the vibrant fuschia-colored stems on this alocasia.

Instead of creating a bromeliad tree on a tree branch, she made one on a living palm. How cool is that?

Hope you enjoyed the tour of Nancy's garden. Listed below are the previous posts I've done on her garden in the past. 

 Nancy's Garden (2008)
Afternoon Tea ((2011)

By the way, I think I should tell you that Nancy's been gardening on this piece of land for 21 years. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

This Week in the Garden

This morning I saw a wonderful thing! Daddy Cardinal brought one of his young uns' to my garden to show him where the food is. After feeding him a safflower seed, the little one followed him to the feeder where they ate breakfast. Dad then flew to the fountain to show him where to get a drink of water. That's the first time I've ever seen that, and I was so in awe of it all that by the time I got my camera they were gone. You can bet that I'll have my camera ready tomorrow!!!!

A new bloom in my garden. This little red hummingbird plant (can't remember the  name) is a shade specimen. It grows to about 3' tall with a loose habit. It very much reminds me of the Firespike plant. What do you think of my purple and red combo? I love using bold colors together that you wouldn't expect. Another favorite color combo is burgundy and apricot.

Finally, caterpillars are taking advantage of two large parsley plants in the garden.

 While I do love having fresh parsley available, I really planted them for the caterpillars to devour.

This red epidendrum orchid is really showing off in the garden these days. They are so easy to grow and once they start blooming, it's non-stop for at least 9 months. They delight in our full summer sun and humidity. 

Here's a close-up view of one of the red balls of fire!


The weatherman promises rain this week. We shall see! Hoping that a healthy dose of it falls on your garden this week!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Hmmm . . . let's see. 
Words of wisdom you're looking for today. How about this . . .

                                                           Sidney Sheldon


Happy Earth Day!!!

Monday, April 13, 2015

It's All About the Roses

While there are many Spring blooms happening in my garden this week, it's becoming very apparent that the next 2 weeks are going to be "all about the roses!"


Everyone who grows roses in Florida knows they are prolific bloomers and they produce the largest blooms in Spring and Autumn due to the warm but mild temperatures. Unfortunately, the summer heat puts a damper on the whole bloom process. But not to complain, because they make up for it in spring, autumn and winter, which all together is as long as summer.
 Don Juan pictured above

 In the front yard the Double Pink Knock-out is the first to get the show started. By autumn she will be 5' tall and covered in roses.

In the backyard her cousin the Double Red Knock-out is not far behind her. She, too, will be coming in around 5' tall by autumn. I have 3 of these (2 new and very small ones) planted near each other and can't wait to see their autumn display (there I go being impatient again). 

One of my old time favorites is Sombreuil. She's a bit behind due to a more radical spring trimming. This French beauty is loaded with buds!

Every garden in Florida should have this Louis Philippe a/k/a Cracker Rose. He's easy to grow and is the most carefree, large growing and practically thornless rose around. He sits below the patio wall but by Summer I'll be enjoying his blooms from inside the house.

Not to be left out by the show-stealing big roses, the "little but mighty" Drift roses are making their own statement.

I was able to find a place for the 9 roses bushes that I brought from my previous garden, PLUS find room for 3 full-size roses and 12 Drift roses in my petit' space. Happy? Yes, I am !!!!

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