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, August 24, 2010

My Favorites...this month!

It's August...what can I say about August. Well, let's see...hot, humid, sticky, sweaty...oh, I'll hush for now, that's enough complaining. On the brightside...fresh, thirst-quenching rainshowers!

Thankfully, there are a host of plants (and creatures...I'm just not one of them) that thrive in these conditions.

And the winners are (from left to right)...Java Glorybower Clerodendrum speciosissimum insists on showing off and blooming the entire long, hot summer...yeah for her! But buyer beware...this tropical beauty is a wanderer, and she'll take over an entire bed if you let her. You can't miss the flourescent orange bloom on the Torch bromeliad Billbergia pyramidalis which blooms in profusion this month. Hawaiian sunset hibiscus is one of my favorites with its warm color scheme.  And the bromeliad on the left looks great planted in a wire basket. I don't know the common or botanical name (perhaps Steve at Rainforest Garden can help identify it). I think it might be Indian feather...but not sure. And, lastly the cute green anole soaking up some sunshine. I always smile when I see these guys in my garden. I definitely prefer them over the brown dinosaur-looking brown anoles that inhabit the screened patio.

And, now for a few cool-colored varieties.
It looks like bromeliads are at the top of my list this month. The white portion of this bromeliad turns a pretty soft shade of pink if planted in sunlight. Sorry, but I don't know the name of this one either.  Steve...please help! Another irresistable soft pink is the Brazilian Plume Justicia carnea. It's a real standout in the shade garden. The remnants of a thunderstorm...these delicate looking rain drops look like fingernails on the tips of a Norfolk pine. Star flower more commonly called pentas Pentas lanceolata is a fabulous butterfly-attracting plant. And, lastly, the delicate blue flower of Golden Dewdrop Duranta erecta. Another wonderful plant for butterflies.

Torch bromeliad Billbergia pyramidalis
You're more apt to know this commonly found passalong bromeliad by its more common name..hurricane bromeliad...because it blooms during the peak months of hurricane season. It spreads into large clumps quickly and is even known to climb the trunks of trees. If you see these growing in someone's garden,  I can guarantee you they'll be glad to share some with you. The blooms are bright and eye-catching. Unfortunately, the color fades quickly, but on the good side they bloom prolifically and they survived our past winter undamaged. 

Summer's Simple Pleasures

 Mowing the grass in August is a good old-fashioned workout. Why pay dues at a health club when you can accomplish two tasks at once. When I'm finished I head to the pool to revive myself with a tall cold one and a few salty pistacios. A reward for my hard workout!
 Ahhh, I feel sooooo much better now.

Canna lily 'Tropicana' and a sprig of Devil's backbone.

Now, that the end of August is drawing near...what seems like an "endless summer" will soon be changing. Already, the maple and elm trees have quietly been shedding their leaves. The raintrees will soon be in bloom, and within a few weeks the humidity will begin to ease up...ever so slightly...and the morning air will contain the most subtle hint of pleasant coolness. It's subtle, mind you...so you'll need to pay close attention. I'll take advantage of the milder mornings to start getting caught up in the garden. It won't be long now until the best "gardening" days are here!


NanaK said...

You have some real beauties this month. What a great looking brom in the wire basket. (I haven't used any broms in containers....just might have to copy that.) And, the brom with the pink tinge is very pretty too. I love the bromeliads myself. Tropicana is looking good - do you ever have leaf-rollers? This is the first time I've had them and I don't know what to do about them. Just gorgeous sky photo! Come see my favorites this month.

FlowerLady said...

What great blooms you have in our hot and steamy August. Your pool looks inviting as does your ice cold brew with the pistachios.

Enjoy the rest of your week.


Floridagirl said...

Great choices! Love your vriesia basket! This is probably V. carinata. The vriesias are often called by the common name "Flaming Sword," but "Indian Feather" sounds good too, and it looks like that, doesn't it? Speaking of common names, I call that Torch Bromeliad by the name "Foolproof Plant." Wow, it has a lot of common names! I love that brom, as it lights up our CFl towns so beautifully this time of year. Huge colonies can be spotted on every street in my town. Your canna is beautiful, and I love that container! You should join Noelle's MGB theme.

Susan said...

Hi Kay...I have quite a few broms in containers, and I like to stick them in among foliage plants for a spot of color. I stopped planting cannas in the past because of leaf-rollers, but this year I gave them another try. So far, so good. I used to just squeeze the worm inside the leaf...yuk! I'm headed your way to see your favorites.

FlowerLady...On these hot and steamy days I need a dip in the pool and something to quench my thirst. You have a great week, too.

FloridaGirl...Thank you for identifying my bromeliad. It definitely looks like a flaming sword. The torch bromeliads really are an old southern favorite. Lots of yards around here have big patches of them, too. It certainly is foolproof. Even a non-gardener would find success with these plants.

Meems said...

What a pretty combination all these photos make. All those tried and true broms are great in the summer garden. The pool has been my friend more than ever this summer. I'd substitute your cold one for a tall glass of lemonade and be good to go.

africanaussie said...

Lovely, thanks for highlighting all the lovely summer blooms! We are heading into our hot and humid summer (although our winter has been anything but cool. I am swimming already!) who says we dont have seasons in the tropics? Hot or hotter!

Susan said...

Hi Meems...It does seem to have been a hotter than usual summer or perhaps it's just me these days. Anyway, the pool is a life-saver after working in the garden.

AfricanNaussie..Hello and welcome! The same holds true for us about hot or hotter. I'm sure your summers are long, too. I'm glad we're finally coming to the end of ours. I'm ready for a break. Thanks for visiting.

Brando said...

So nice to meet you last Saturday! Your landscape looks very cool and inviting. I am happy to see how my Plume flower will look when it grows a bit...but I have to keep my "puppy" (at 100 lbs) from plopping the tennis ball on it first. It's sturdy, though, and to live in my landscape, that's a prerequisite. Beautiful picks. I hope you don't mind...I'll pick some favorites and post them too. Good idea. I've learned of new plants I want.

Ami said...

Susan: Beautiful choices of this month! Everybody seems blogging their Torch bromeliad this month in florida. The flower is stunning, I LOVE it!

Sounds like Brazilian Plume is a flower in the shade area? Need to remember this when I need one for the shady area.

I planned to join in, just again time not permitting. Maybe tomorrow? :)

Kimberly said...

Susan, your August blooms are outstanding! I love all of your broms. I don't have that many and am always collecting more. I need some hurricane broms...they're gorgeous! Steve helped me ID my broms this month so I'm sure he can help you out.
I really love that pink pom pon on the Brazilian Plume. I'm going to look for one of these!
Love your reward, too! :) I find it amusing when asked how I keep in shape...my answer is always "gardening, landscaping and mowing...it's the best workout around!" There's no better motivation than having to finish mowing before the rain starts! No gym can provide that!

Susan said...

Hey Brandy...Glad you stopped by and left a comment. It was a pleasure to meet you last Saturday, and please feel free to post your favorites every month of the 25th, too. I don't have a dog...I'm a cat lover :-)... but I can see how it would be difficult to keep a 100lb dog off your plants...yikes!

Ami...I'll miss your favorites this month, but I know you've been busy with your side garden and getting your boys back into school. Hope you can join in next month.

Hi Kimberly...Yes, Steve really knows his broms. The Brazilian Plume flowers are hard to find. Mine come from a local nursery. Good look finding some. The don't freeze and they bloom very easily. Yes, I agree with you about gardening and exercising...it's a good workout and a lot more fun than heading to the gym.

Ami said...

Susan: Just a short note... I was able to find sometime to organize my August pictures for "this month favorite" post last night! Yay, I made it!

Susan said...

Hey Ami...I'm headed over right now to see your favorites for August.

Meems said...

Hi Susan,
I'm really late but I've actually managed to get a post up this month to join you for August Faves. Thank you for providing the fun for a good 'garden visit' get- together on the Internet to all our favorite Florida garden blogs. Hope you have enjoyed your weekend.

isabella diaper said...

Those are really a beauty of nature and you are really lucky for that. I don’t have luck growing such gorgeous flowers in your house. I am envy of your Hawaiian sunset hibiscus. They are really shining in the photo. Make me want to plant again like that.

Susan said...

Hi Meems...Welcome, and thanks for joining in. It is kind of fun to pick out some favorites each month. Fun but not always easy, since most of my plants are favorites.

Rose Forever said...

Oh. This just made me miss the happy days in the past! Drinking beer by the pool and waiting for the barbecue to be ready and laughing with friends from high school! Now, all I can do is drink beer after work and sleep! LOL. Times do change. Well, Thanks fo r sharing this post. I love the photos too!

melanie tiger said...

I love the orange flower photo of yours. When I visited Philippines I once knew a flower named Gumamela and it really looks like that but instead of orange it is red. I really love that one but when I planted here in my garden it died because it didn’t survive the winter cold.

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