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!

Monday, January 31, 2011

January at a Glance

                 ~~ Notes on the January 2011 garden~~

The weather pattern of consistently cold weather continues...as it has for the past three winters. Our lowest temp. for the month was 28 degrees. The Florida Gold Mound Sedum has been a good addition to the garden, and I'll definitely be planting more of it. And, the Indian blanket flowers are another proven year round winner.

The good news is that the rain has returned. We received a generous 4.25 inches in the last two weeks of the month. The grass is slowly recovering from December's heavy frost, and I'm itchin to cut back roses, fertilize and get things going again. I have to keep reminding myself that winter is not over yet.

While I wait...new "cold-hardy" additions have been added to spots in need of a little bit of color.
From left to right...
Two Burford hollies were added as a food source for the birds and for their dark green glossy leaves.
More Nandinas (Heavenly Bamboo) were added for their berries and their vibrant winter color.
Two Abelia 'Kaleidoscope' were added for their colorful foliage which is more vibrant if planted in the sun. These guys can take the cold, so I'm anxious to see if they can stand the heat.
A Gardenia was added for its shiny light green leaves and wonderful scent.  
Also, added was another rosemary plant for scent and gorgeous texture.

Another new plant to my garden is this Japanese privet 'Jack Frost' for its pretty variegated foliage.

A couple of new camellias were added...the bright white Mine-No-Yuki  (below) and Northern Lights (a white flower with delicate pink edging). Once the flowers of the Mine-No-Yuki are fully opened you can't see the delicate yellow stamens in the center.

A second bottlbrush tree and a Louis Phillipe (Cracker rose) were added for the hummingbirds.
Already setting buds...it will soon be blooming.

A pleasant surprise was this matchstick bromeliad with variegated leaves from my aunt's garden. I have the solid green variety, but didn't know there was also a variegated one. It looks great even when it's not blooming.This bromeliad is also very cold-hardy.
One of my favorite winter flowers is the Fashion azalea. It's a small bush, but it blooms for several months beginning in December, and adds much needed color in the winter garden. The frost killed the first flowers in December, but she's back in flowering mode. (A note to myself to plant some pretty white alyssum in from of them.)

In the vegetable garden the snow peas are growing taller, and have begun to bloom again...they took a short break during the coldest weather. The first strawberry bud is emerging, and is a welcome sight. And, the broccoli planted in September continues to produce new side shoots. In the next week and a half, they'll be pulled out to make way for a potato crop.

January's Simple Pleasures

The weather has been more moderate, and this week promises a jump into the upper 70's...possibly even 80, and that has brought me out of hibernation and back into the garden for some necessary cleanup...mostly pulling weeds, shrub trimming, and my favorite...planting new plants. The plants hurt by frost and freezing temps have new shoots at their base and look eager for spring.


Meems said...

Amen to each of your points in the January garden. We got over 6" of rain here. Strangely wet for our 'dry season'.

I'm really curious about that Japanese privet (will be investigating). The current weather is deceiving. I'm also reminding myself daily as I work in the garden "it is only January and weather is still unpredictable". But it has been great for getting gardening chores accomplished.

You are going to love your LP rose and gardenia bush. Those camellias are pristine and pretty in winter.

Your garden has lots to offer in the winter-scape. Very pretty.

sanddune said...

It's funny how attitudes change. I used to hate to see the leaves falling knowing I would have to bag them up. Now they are like a gift from heaven free biomass to keep the compost bin percolating and I can't seem to get too many.

NanaK said...

Great new additions to your January garden. It's good too to see what has been reliable for you through the winter. Are you really planting now? I've been eager to do some myself but have been trying to stick with clean-up projects for now. I'll be a little skittish until later in February. I can't wait to see how everything grows for you this coming year. I've wondered about the abelia and haven't been brave enough to try that one in my garden yet.

FlowerLady said...

I love your camelia and your azalea, plus that brom too.

I agree with Meems you will love your LP. I have several of them and they are each a treat in their different areas of the gardens.

Happy Gardening ~ FlowerLady

Floridagirl said...

I do think our minds were thinking alike this morning...kind of summing up January. We didn't drop below 32 in January here at PITV, so it wasn't too bad of a month.

I also think gaillardias are amazing winter plants. I've had blooms all winter, though mine have succumbed to stinkbugs in the front and spittlebugs in the back that have the foliage looking horrid. You have some great new additions. I'm sure you know that camellias and LP roses and bottlebrush are three of my all-time favorite plants and, as you mention, great for the wildlife. We can never have too many of those plants.

Yay for leaf mulch!

Ami said...

Oh, I love all your new additions, especially that Mine-No-Yuki. What a pure white color!

Yes, with the weather warming up, I felt the urge to do more gardening. I also got quite a few new plants recently. It is exciting to find a right spot for each one of them. I just got a new matchstick brom as well, but not with variegated leaves. Yours is beautiful.

Happy Gardening! BTW: The blackberry seeds are growing well after a long wait. I am so looking forward to its flowers in the summer. THANK you again!!!

Susan said...

Meems...Wow, you got a ton of rain. My friend has a grouping of the Japanese privet and they've done quite well and look nice, too.

Sanddune...I actually go around my neighborhood on trash day and load bag after bag onto our truck.

Kay...I'm only planting cold hardy stuff right now, but am eager to pop in some fresh pentas. I'll wait on those until mid-march. I'm hoping the abelia will be a winner. It has great color and is cold hardy.

Hi Flowerlady...I've got two other Louis Philippe, and like you...I love them. After I saw a hummer returning to it time after time last year, I knew I'd be planting a third one.

Hi FloridaGirl...Sorry to hear about the bugs on your gallardia. I haven't had any problems yet. Summing up the month seems like a good way to keep track of the garden from year to year.

Hi Ami...I'm glad to hear your blackberry lilies are doing well. I just planted some small ones in the garden. You are most welcome!

daisy said...

Thank you for the inspiration. It's great to see so much color in your garden. Love the peas and strawberries! Wasn't that rain glorious? I think things will get even better from here on out.

Rainforest Gardener said...

Yay for winter color, especially when it comes from matchstick bromeliads! :) I have the variegated kind as well. I'm going to be adding more of the goldmoss sedum myself, particularly in a sunny spot where even sun tolerant neoregelia bromeliads suffered. I'm using it as a backdrop for my soap aloe against the wall.

Leslie said...

Susan, I just recently discovered your blog. It's so pretty! I am really enjoying it.

I'm jealous of your broccoli; I haven't been able to get mine to do much. (Maybe I just don't have enough sun?) And I love your Louis Phillipe rose! Those antique roses are the best--so hardy and easy to grow. The Tallahassee Area Rose Society has a big heirloom rose sale every year in mid-February and I'm getting so excited about it. I've made up a very long shopping list!

Susan said...

Hi Daisy...I'm optimistic, too about spring being right around the corner. I'm sure glad I don't live up north...with all that snow. The rain has been a blessing for my frozen plants and dried up grass. Already, things are looking better and more rain is on the way. Yippee!

Hi Steve...I think the sedum will look great as a backdrop to the soap aloe. I just love the chartreuse green color. It looks delicate but it has held up well in several locations in the garden.

Hi Leslie and welcome! I'm always excited to find another Florida gardener. I have one Louis Phillipe in a partly shaded area and it does quite well. I planted the new one beneath a live oak that gets quite a bit of morning sun. In the summer, the hummingbirds visit it often. I look forward to visiting your blog. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you'll return and leave me comments in the future.

Dani said...

Love, love, love the Cracker Rose!

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