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!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

My Favorites...this month!

We're well into the first of the hottest two months in Florida. The time when the toughest plants...those that keep on smiling in the face of our searing sunlight and heat...are revealed. The true soldiers of summer! Undaunted by temps in the mid-90's and sporadic rainfall, this mix of hot and cool colors are the shining stars of my garden in July.

If only I could look this fresh on a hot summer day!
Liorope muscari 'Big blue' sports a stem of soft purple flowers, Pentas lanceolata...the red variety is my favorite, Rudbeckia "Cherokee' better known as black-eyed Susan...you knew I'd have some of these in my garden :-)...an unusual coloration, but pretty nonetheless.  The heat-lover Torenia fournieri in varying shades of blue and purple. Thryallis...Galphimia glauca is another plant that thrives in the dog days of summer. The soft texture of Pennisetum setaceum "Purple Fountain' grass...although I've always heard it referred to as red fountain grass...sways in the breeze ever so delicately. And, lastly, a bit of torenia with the gorgeous blue color of Lisianthus Eustoma grandiflorum. A flower you don't see often, but obviously doesn't mind a Florida summer.

Look closely at the foliage on this pentas.
Yes, it's variegated. I've never seen variegated pentas in the garden center...a friend gave me this one, and you can bet I'm going to root more cuttings from it. It's called the Stars & Stripes, and has grown nice and tall. I'll use it as a filler for some bare spots in my island bed.

Taking the heat
Torenia fournieri often called Wishbone flower is one of my "new" favorite annual plants for the summer months. It's a member of the snapdragon family, although it reminds me more of  violas. The hotter it gets, the bigger this plant get and the more it blooms. It grows into a nice mounded shape and so far, seems to be unaffected by snails or any other pesky pests...including those gargantuan lubbers.

In the shade
The Peace Lilies Spathiphyllum and impatiens don't mind the heat so long as they're planted in the shade or dappled sunlight.

A mix of sun and shade
The Blackberry lilies Belamcanda Chinensis in this border only receive a half a day of sunlight, but they don't seem to mind. I love to watch their butterfly-looking flowers bobbing along in the breeze. They seem so carefree.

Simple Summer Pleasures

Fresh Cut Grass...I always inhale deeply when I detect the scent of fresh cut grass hanging in the air. It's that age-old familiar smell from childhood that denotes the hot lazy days of summer...adults mowing in the heat, and kids running barefoot through the cool damp grass completely oblivious to the heat.

And, speaking of HOT...there's not much to do...well, there really is, but who wants to do it...but relax in the shade with a glass of sweet iced tea in a Mason jar, of course...better known down here as the "table wine of the South"...and a piece of  tart key lime pie (I like mine frozen...it's more refreshing that way).

There will be plenty of time come September to get my hands back in the dirt. For now, I'll just sit a while longer and enjoy my special treat in the shade of the Live oak...thank God for trees...LARGE ones at that!

What are your favorites this month? If you'd like to join me in posting your favorites for the month, please do...they don't have to be in collage form...but do leave a comment, so I can drop by and see your favorites.


NanaK said...

What a lovely view you have from your waterside seating area. That would definitely be a favorite of mine this month. Shade is a wonderful thing in July and August. I'm glad to hear about the torenia doing well for you in this heat. I've shied away from buying any because I was unfamiliar with it. It surely does add some beautiful color. I featured the Blackberry Lily you generously gave to me in my favorites this month. It seems to be very happy in the dappled shade spot where I planted it. Come see what other favorties I have this month.

Ami said...

I love the blue of Lisianthus Eustoma grandiflorum, got to look for this one! Glad to know that Torenias can take the heat (and sun??). For some reason, by the look of it, I always thought it needs to be planted in partial shade, no wonder I was not succesful last year (oh, wait! I planted in fall time since it was for sale in big box store that time!)

You and NanaK both show Blackberry lilies as this month's favorite. I love the look of it. I need to need to find some for my garden too :)

Since I spent most of this month in China, I did not prepare for this month favorite post, but I did post one about my China trip today, hope you will also enjoy it. I did not know your daughter is also from China!

ChrisC said...

That iced tea and pie looks so good!
The torenia is so pretty.i haven't seen those before.They do look like violas.

Susan said...

Hi Kay...That lake you see is an old phosphate pit (100 years or so ago). Nature has reclaimed it beautifully. This was my first summer planting torenia. I first saw it planted at the entrance of our subdivision and it did well throughout last summer. Glad to see that your blackberry lily is blooming and doing well. It is a nice addition to any garden. I'm headed your way to check out your favorites.

Ami...Welcome back from China. I almost planted violas instead of torenia...I sometimes get confused, too. I'll be happy to mail you some blackberry lily seeds later this fall when they are ripe for harvesting. Just let me know. I'm eager to read your posts on China. My daughter is from Shang Gao. We adopted her when she was 14 mos. old, and she is now 10 (you can see a photo of her when she was a baby in my "dog days summer book list" post).

Chris...Yes, I really enjoyed eating that pie and tea. Now you know why I include a "tablescape" photo, too! My secret is out! Thanks for stopping by.

Floridagirl said...

Well, there you go tempting us again! Iced tea in the garden is my weakness. And frozen key lime pie! What a great deck to sit at. Water is definitely missing from my views. I had torenias my first year in this garden, and they've popped up from seed all over the place every year since. I finally found a blackberry lily myself!!! This will be the first time I grow it in Florida, though I did have it in Atlanta, and absolutely loved it!!! I just read your previous comment about that lake being an old phosphate pit. You surely live in my neck of the woods!

Susan said...

Hi FloridaGirl...Yes, I do live in your neck of the woods...just a wee bit north of you. This is phosphate heaven for sure. Glad you found a blackberry lily. They're not easy to come by. I just noticed a hummingbird on mine this evening which makes me want to plant more.

Ami said...

Susan: That is very nice of you offering the blackberry seeds! Yes, I would love to have some to try when you harvest them in the fall! How should I send you an email with my address? Or you can send me your email address via "Contact me" tab on my blog. Thanks!!!

I checked your daughter's baby picture from your old post, and she looked so adorable! I looked it up where Shang Gao is, and is it in Jiangxi province? Maybe someday you want to take your daughter to visit the China again? China has been changing (mostly in the better way) every year, I even can hardly recognize some areas of my hometown.

Dani said...

You have such a beautiful piece of property Susan!

Susan said...

Dani...Thanks! The trees make it extra special. Fortunately, when they built the homes in our neighborhood back in the early 90's they didn't cut down all the trees.

Penlyn said...

What a help it is to share the heat lovers. Thanks! I'm doing shade at my mom's house, and since I have none, it's helpful to pick up those shady ideas, too.
My garden is almost entirely full sun. Even thyrallis on the north side of the house have gotten some scorched leaves. In addition to some of yours, my super troopers (drought-tolerant, too) are dwarf canna lilies, Knock Out roses, pagoda clerodendrum (a SUPER super trooper), datura, black-eyed Susan vine and blue sky vine.

Orlando Realtor said...

As usual, I just love your photos. Your gardens look wonderful...mine are starting to wilt from the heat.

Susan said...

Penlyn...I have some plants that are getting burned up on their tips, too. It's really been a very hot summer. I didn't know there was such a thing as dwarf cannas. I'll have to check into that.

Orlando Realtor...Thanks for your kind words. We've had a dry July and some of my plants are feeling the heat. I sure hope August brings a little more water our way.

Kimberly said...

I'm bummed that I missed your meme this month...I was distracted with my Fl Landscape evaluation...3 master gardeners in my garden was a bit nerve wracking! :) YOur faves are gorgeous this month!! The Blackberry lily is so beautiful...I think I'm adding this to my must have list. And the tea and pie...I'm always hungry when I visit you!!! :)

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