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!

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Sun-Loving Island Up Close

 Our front yard is quite large, so I chose bold colors...orange...yellow...purple...that would stand out and be noticeable from the street.  A bit of pink appears in a couple of seasons...I just couldn't leave pink out. My main objective was to plant a variety of cold-tolerant perennials that would provide a bevy of blooms in all four seasons, and then fill in the holes with some variegated plants and a few seasonal annuals.

Indian blanket flower Gaillardia pulchella...Periwinkles Vinca

The majority of the plants are "cold-hardy" but there are some plants that may freeze but should return quickly in spring. My mother said to plant something white. Fortunately, I listened...mothers are always right, you know...and the yarrow with its white blooms and soft fern-like foliage was the softening touch among the bold colors.
African bush daisies Gamolepis chrysanthemoide...Double Pink Knockout  "Radtkopink'...Mexican Petunia Ruellia brittoniana 'Purple Showers'...White Yarrow Achillea millefolium

Gladiolus...African bush daisies Gamolepis chrysanthemoide...Mexican Bush Sage Salvia leucantha...Stokes' Aster Stokesia laevis 'Omega Skyrocket'...White rose Rosa 'Seafoam'...Indian blanket flower Gaillardia pulchella...Periwinkles Vinca

Here's one of my favorite combos...Stokes' Aster Stokesia laevis 'Omega Skyrocket' and African bush daisies Gamolepis chrysanthemoide. Blue and yellow always look great together and both of these bold shades are a  match for each other.

The daylilies started blooming in April and are still going strong. I'm going to toss a little bloom-booster fertizlier on them to encourage them to bloom a few weeks longer...hopefully until the middle of July.

Double Pink Knockout "Radtkopink' and White Yarrow Achillea millefolium were made for each other in my opinion. The soft fern-like foliage of yarrow look fabulous matched up with the soft beauty of a rose. The yarrow has grown to almost 3 feet tall. This delicate looking plant passed the "cold-hardy" test this past winter.

Other plants in the island include: Variegated Flax lily Dianella tasmanica 'Variegata'...Lily of the Nile Agapanthus...Amaryllis...African iris Dietes iridioides...Blazing Stars Liatris spicata 'Floristan White'...Gazania Daisies...Coneflower Echinacea "Big Sky Summer Sky 'Katie Saul'.

This photo gives you a great view of the plentiful blooms on the White yarrow.

Plants not identified previously is Red Fountain grass Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum' and African Blood lily Scadoxus multiflorus.

Adding an ornamental grass...Red Fountain grass Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum' was a must. The flowing movement of the grass and soft, fuzzy bloom spikes created by the wind adds another dimension to the garden. 

Mexican Bush Sage Salvia leucantha was added for its gray-green foliage and soft purple blooms. Other plants not shown, but included are Russian sage Perovskia atriplicifolia for its silver foliage, Heavenly bamboo Nandina domestica 'Firepower' a dwarf variety for its red-orange foliage in fall and winter Fashion azaleas for its reddish orange blooms from November through March, Yesterday, today & tomorrow Brunfelsia pauciflora, Purple Pentas Pentas lanceolata and Blackberry lilies Belamcanda chinensis also referred to as Leopard lily for its summer flowers and Blue Sage for its winter blooms and gray-green foliage.

It's a great feeling of satisfaction when a plan in your head begins to materialize in a way that exceeds your expectations. It's a given, as the seasons change, I'll be moving plants around...for better color combinations, and to compensate for plants that grow taller than expected, eliminating some that don't work, and testing new varieties. It's all a work in process, but for now...today...this moment, I'm very happy with the blooms this sun-loving island has produced from winter through early summer. As the seasons change, I'll post again on what's blooming in the island.


Mom Taxi Julie said...

Gorgeous! I have some of those big orange daisies. They are one of my favorites in my garden now.

Meems said...

These are all great plants and very fun to work with all in the same planting bed! It looks wonderful and so very colorful. I hope that mexican petunia doesn't take over the entire bed. LOVE that white yarrow.

Ami said...

Thanks for listing all the plants in detail! It must have been great fun to make a plan and see them becoming reality. I too love that white yarrow! I also have blue sage in my garden bed. It started from three small cuttings, and now they grow huge, and have been blooming since winter.

Kimberly said...

Susan, your garden does have an abundance of color. The combinations really flow nicely, and I agree with your mother that adding white softens the bold. I'm not a white gardener but am always pleasantly surprised at its effect. Two of my favorites, that kept my garden going during the cold and recup period are the gaillardia and vinca. But now I have to tame them so the others can breath. I only have a few daylilies that I added late summer last year...none are blooming yet but a butterscotch has a bud on it. I want to add some blood lily this year...yours is beatiful. You've made wonderful choices!

FlowerLady said...

WOW, what a wonderful variety of flowers. The white yarrow is really nice. It's amazing what you are able to grow just a zone away. Your pictures have inspired me to get out into my gardens in spite of the heat and humidity, just out early before it gets too bad.


SiestaSister said...

How tall is your blood lily? I bought a bulb this winter at Selby Gardens. The other morning I did my daily "what's new" look around and there was the blood lily, but the stalk is only an inch or two tall The flower is lovely, but is it normal for the stalk to be so short?

Love your pics

ChrisC said...

I ove your color combinations.And that white yarrow is magnificent!Love it!

NellJean said...

You have a beautiful island bed, with many of the same colors and plants that I use and some I'd like to try like the pretty orange daisies.

Your presentation is just marvelous. I keep going back to look again.

Dani said...

Great photos Susan! Such beautiful colors in the summer.

Susan said...

Julie...The Indian blanket flowers really are great. They're non-stop bloomers.

Meems...I've always resisted planting the Mexican petunia in the past, but this new variety 'Purple Showers' is sterile not supposed to spread according to Riverview Flower Farm. I'll be yanking it out if it does.

Ami...Blue sage adds some nice color during the winter. Can't wait to see mine bloom.

Kimberly...My vincas actually froze back during the winter but grew back, plus they sprouted from seed, too. They do have a tendency to spread, but are easily thinned.

FlowerLady...I'm not doing too much work outside these days except for watering to keep things going.

Siesta Sister...This was the first time I planted blood lily and was a little disappointed that it was only about 1 ft. tall. I'm not sure if that's normal or not. I thought it might be about the height of an agapanthus stalk. It is a gorgeous flower but doesn't bloom long. I'm going to move mine to a more "specialty" type of place where it can really show off when it blooms.

Chris...Thanks! That white yarrow is great. It does have a tendency to spread underground, so it may be a little more work to contain it but I think it'll be worth it.

NellJean...Thanks! Do try some of the orange flowers...they are GREAT!

Dani...Thank you. They definitely are "hot" summer colors.

NanaK said...

Well, I THOUGHT I had left a comment here the other day. I must not pay attention when my word verification doesn't match.

I love that yarrow with the rose. It is a nice companion with the purple showers too. Making it through the cold weather is definitely a trait that adds to its desirability.

Floridagirl said...

Love the garden! It's exactly my style of garden, very colorful and loads of variety. I'm seeing so many of my favorites in there, too, like bush daisies and blanketflowers and daylilies. The butterflies will be thrilled with your choices!

Susan said...

Kay...That word verification thingy trips me up sometimes, too. I do believe that yarrow, pink knock-out and purple showers are my favorite combo in the island.

Floridagirl...The butterflies and dragonflys are regular visitors and I spotted a hummingbird on Sunday morning..Yahoo!

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