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, April 01, 2011

March at a Glance


~~ Notes on the March Garden ~~   
If I had to choose a favorite month out of the year it would...without a doubt...be March!

Warm days...cool nights...and a RIOT of non-stop flowering plants. There's so much blooming at this time of year that I barely have time to catch my breath between the waves of spring blooms.


You could call it March Madness...not that boring basketball stuff (no offense :-) to all you basketball fans), but the wonderful madness of a garden exploding with spring flowers in all shades of the rainbow.

And it all started with the azaleas in soft shades of pink and purple.

Followed by the bright yellow Tabebuia tempered somewhat by the blue (Blue Sage) and white (Indian hawthorne) beneath her. But she definitely takes center stage.

Along with the warm weather comes the beautiful  winged creatures. Their return to the garden is a most welcome sight as they drift from one flower to the next drinking up all that first sweet nectar of spring.

And, then the roses!
After a short rest period and a trim in late February they're back in full swing.
Just look at all those eager buds.

Planted last year...this Double pink Knock-out has won my heart with its phenomenal flush of beautiful flowers. I can count over 65 blooms just on this one side...definitely one of the best bloomers in my garden. It must be very happy with its location...and all those sweet words of praise I keep lavishing on it.
It's an amazing transition from the reddish new leaf growth...to the first early blossoms...and then that "wonderful madness" of blooms!

Something New!
I like ground orchids...but I don't like the fact that they need protection from the cold weather, so this year I decided to try the Chinese ground orchid more commonly called the hardy ground orchid Bletilla striataThis orchid can be planted in the garden without fear of freezing. Its foliage disappears in late fall (similar to the peacock ginger and caladiums), and returns in late February for a March bloom.

I ordered a plant from an online nursery that quickly developed buds and bloomed. The funny thing is that I was visiting my neighbor Nancy, and noticed several clumps of this jewel in her backyard. I asked her about it, and she eagerly shared that this was the plant that got her hooked on gardening. She also insisted on giving me a nice-sized clump to take home with me. I split the clump...kept half of it and shared the other half with my mother, who also likes ground orchids. I look forward to dividing clumps of it in the future and spreading it around the garden.

Another newbie and first-time plant in my garden is the delphinium. I've admired them in other people's gardens, and this year I bought 3 and planted them in a sunny location in late January. They did not disappoint! Next year I'll plant a few more.
Don't you just love it when you discover you can grow plants you never thought you could?

 A little more blue and white
Left to right: Virginia sweetspire (wonderful fragrance), along with two natives:  Blue-eyed grass and Flag iris.

And, the WONDERFUL MARCH MADNESS continues...  

Is it obvious that I like color...all colors?
In the upper right photo you can see that delphinium towering up in the air.

Four Reasons to Plant a Bottlebrush Tree
This small tree was alive with polllinators...so much so that it sounded like the tree was buzzing.

Life's Simple Pleasures
So much sweet juicy goodness in one small berry!

As the month of March winds down...one by one...the amaryllis bulbs are joining in on the blooming madness of a Florida spring garden,

And the English Dogwoods are joining in, too. This airy, free-flowing plant will soon be covered in these simple but adorable bright white flowers.

This cold-tolerant plant...located in the shade...loses some of its leaves in winter, but spring brings a new flush of fresh green and pretty flowers, too.

It very slowly multiplies in size, and new plants can easily be separated from the mother plant.

But not all was pleasant about March. The last day of the month brought a scary storm...with winds over 60 mph...that left a lot of damage in its wake and a deluge of rain...so far 3.5 inches.

A large oak branch toppled many orchids on the back deck.

As well as knocking over a stand of hanging orchid pots.

Our back and both side yards are littered with small and large oak branches. The poor oak over the deck took a real beating.

I do hope that no one experienced devastating damage to their gardens from our uninvited visitor. Another bit of March Madness...but definitely not the good kind. We are fortunate that we don't often have such damaging spring storms. It looks like I've...and probably most of you, too...got a little clean up work to do. :-)

I have enjoyed seeing the many blooms in all my Florida garden blogger friend's garden's this month, and find it fascinating watching as spring spreads northward week by week.


Dawn said...

Wow! I am bedazzled with the riot of colors, movement and texture in those photos Susan! I have been yearning for a double knockout rose for a while now, seeing your photo gave me the push I need to just go and get one. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful post.

Raedene said...

Your garden is lovely. I want to grow the Sombreiul rose, too, but haven't found one for sale nearby. The storms blew down my fence, which in turn, flattened my vegetable garden. :( Like you, there will be plenty of clean up going on over the weekend.

Ami said...

Wow, Susan, you have so many beauties in your March garden! I also just posted one for my March garden. This would be my favorite month of the year too!

We have lots of common plants, but you have lots new plants.

I think you figured out that I love ground orchids, now you made me want those Chinese ground orchids :) That double pink knock-out full of blooms got me hooked too!

Love that delphinium, deep blue is always my favorite garden color. Will do some research on this one. YES, it is wonderful to discover new plants that we thought we could not grow!

In my area, we seem did not got that storm you just had. You have lots clean up to do, but I think those orchids are tough enough to come through fine. Thanks for a beautiful post! Have a nice weekend.

Ami said...

BTW, what is that orange small flowers in your header picture, similar to petunia, but smaller. I have the same one, and lost the tag, don't know what is the name :)

FlowerLady said...

I really enjoyed this post of your March gardens. I'm so sorry that you got that nasty weather yesterday. We had wind, no rain, and it was 93 late yesterday afternoon. We had a few sprinkles this morning, and it is considerably cooler today. The sky is blue and the sun is shining.

I hope nothing was totally destroyed, and that once everything is set back to rights, all will be well.

Hugs ~ FlowerLady

Susan said...

Hi Dawn...All the knock-outs bloom well...clean themselves...and bloom again. I've got the original color...both single & double blooms, the pink in the photo & the yellow. The yellow gets somewhat washed out, but I highly recommend the double pink.

Raedene...Hi and welcome! Sorry to hear that you received some damage from the storm, too. It was a nasty one! I've had Sombreuil for 13 years and she's survived two moves. She is a beauty with a heavenly scent.Keep on looking for her.

Hi Ami...Glad you didn't get the nasty storm. That little orange flower is calibrachoa...a miniature super petunia. I love the small size and they bloom so well.

I know you like ground orchids and I can't remember if you're able to plant the more tropical varieties in the ground in your area. I know Rusty down in Miami can. I'm excited for it to multiply so I can plant little clumps of it all around the garden. It was so pretty in my neighbor's yard.

Hi Flowerlady...I worked all morning getting the yard and the orchids back to normal. When you live under trees...a bad storm leaves a BIG mess! I can't believe you didn't even get any rain.It's noticeably cooler here today, which made working out in the yard nice. Have a great weekend!

Floridagirl said...

Wow, those azaleas are so gorgeous! I desperately need more of these, but I always talk myself into buying something else when I'm at a nursery. I have been sorely disappointed with my double knockouts, of which I have bought many. They seem to suffer continuously from powdery mildew, which is not supposed to be possible. I've even left the metal tags on a couple, and they have the name and patent info on them, so I know they're the real deal. I paid a pretty penny for them.

Love that bletilla! I've been searching for one forever!!! I just might have to break down and order online again, even though the last time I ordered online was a mess.

Oh, of course, I had to click over to Nancy. Wow, what a paradise! And full of those impossible-to-acquire passalongs, it seems. You are so lucky to have such a neighbor! But I imagine she thinks the same thing about your garden.

I had asked you in a comment if you got damage yesterday, but I see here you have answered that. Wow, what a mess! That was a wicked, wicked storm! Our little town seems to have missed the worst of it...just by the skin of our teeth.

Meems said...

Hi Susan,
I thought about you yesterday when I saw the news of how that storm was hitting your area (after it hit us first). You did getsome strong winds by the the looks of things. Hope all was okay when you sorted it out. We got lots of rain and high winds but other than debris in the yard we were okay.

On to the beauties in your garden! I can see why you are so thrilled with March... so many great combinations of flowers and color going on. It looks like spring all around your place! Those roses and ground orchids and bottlebrush visitors... all delightful to see.

sherryocala said...

It's all so beautiful, Susan, except for the storm damage. I planted a ground orchid last March and was told that the cold wouldn't bother it, but I haven't seen any signs of life. Big bummer. Sombreuil is beautiful. How big is yours? Love the delphiniums. I have larkspur starting to bloom from the seeds of last September. I see you have coreopsis, too. That's a great plant, so happy.

daisy said...

Wow! What stunning color! That blue delphinium is incredible! Thanks for sharing all these lovely treasures. Hope your clean-up isn't too bad!

Penlyn said...

Reading this post was like watching a movie -- birds chirping, flowers smiling, everything sunny and sweet and (cue the "Jaws" theme) WOOSH, the evil storm sweeps in.
Those pictures were PAINful, but your response makes me appreciate how much resilience we gain from gardening. Ten years ago, I agonized over every brown leaf. Today, I do still have periods of grief and mourning following disaster, but I get over them pretty quickly.
On another note, I, too, have the double pink Knock Outs and they are going crazy!! For anyone new to Knock Outs, they do like a good amount of water to get established, and you MUST cut them back by at least a third in February. I deadhead mine to boost bloomage, but that's a puttering job I enjoy. (I feel like the happy, drugged gardeners in those pharmaceutical commercials for athritis, osteoporosis, bladder control.)

NanaK said...

Ugh! Storm clean-up is not fun. We had lots of debris from the trees but nothing damaged. Hope your deck is in good shape under all those limbs and leaves.

You must be enjoying all that color in your gardens - just beautiful. And, butterflies too!

Masha said...

Spectacular! I came over from another blog because I was drawn by your picture of Sombreuil but you have so much going on. Your photography is superb, and I love the bounty of blooms in your garden.

Bee said...

Love the March Madness pictures!!! It would have to be my favorite month too! Love how much color you have in your garden!!!

Kimberly said...

Susan, your azaleas and delphinium are breathtaking! So sorry to see the destruction you experienced with the wind storms. Hope all is well now, and we don't experience anymore poor weather this year!

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