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!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Island in Summer

A year ago, I wrote about our sunny island bed in the front yard of our new home. Well a lot has changed with that garden bed since then. As we all know, it doesn't take long for plants to mature in our Florida gardens.

One year later the garden bed has just about doubled in size, and all the original as well as the newly added plants have grown substantially.

Here's a view of the left front side of the bed.

And, a view to the right...

The majority of plants are cold-hardy perennials and foliage plants, but I do leave room in the front center of the bed for some colorful annuals...especially in winter. Below clumps of African iris and flax lily are surrounded by lots of red pentas, angelonia, black-eyed susan, coneflower, blanket flowers, and periwinkles.

Blanket flowers take front stage in the the center of this bed. They bloom and look great all 12 months of the year. Behind them is a mix of butterfly-loving perennials.

These coneflowers...planted last year were the first ones I've ever planted. I was delighed to see them return this spring in a slightly thicker clump. You know what that means don't you? Yep, I'm adding more coneflowers to the backside of this bed...the part I see the best from inside the house.

Bush daisies and dwarf heavenly bamboo frame red pentas, white angelonia & blue torenia for a little patriotic red, white & blue action going on for summer.

African bush daisies provide wonderful winter color and are joined by the daylilies which bloom from April through June.

Two roses were added to the bed for year round color. Here's a double knock-out...original color...next to its neighbors...Mexican petunia (sterile variety), Russian sage and purple fountain grass...

And a double pink knock-out sharing space with more African bush daisies on the opposite side.

And, now a couple of views from the backside...

flowering maple, purple fountain grass, Mexican petunia and daylilies.

along with some agastache, milkweed and sweet almond adding a bit of fragrance to the bed.

The sunny island bed is the heart of our front yard and its colorful mixture of flowers work hard in the blazing Florida sun to brighten our day...and hopefully others who pass by. 


Ami said...

Susan: Wow your island bed is really filled in and looks great from all different angles! Is your blanket flowers are compact dwarf type? Mine got a little too tall and fell down. I had to remove them, and start them again from those voluntee seeedlings. Did you start your coneflower from seends? I tried this year, but the seedlings seemed never grow bigger, and eventually died. I will try again.

Both colors of your daylilies look so lush and beautiful. I did not know their blooming period is that long. I thought they could not tolerlate the full sun. Does your bed receive the full sun, or just partial sun?

daisy said...

How beautiful! I can't believe how many different varieties you have in one bed. Wow!

Dani said...

Look how talented you are Susan!

FlowerLady said...

Wow ~ What a lovely island bed you have. I am amazed at the diversity you have growing in it. Enjoy all that beauty you have surrounding you there.


africanaussie said...

How full and lush - every plant looks so healthy. I wish I could get that blanket flower here, it seems such a consistent flowerer.

tervy said...

Your island in the sun is just devine. Thanks for sharing!


SiestaSister said...

Awesome island!!
I tried coneflower seeds like Ami did and they didn't work for me either. I did buy 1 plant recently at HD and it isn't looking too good. Maybe I am not meant to have coneflower.

I love my blanket flowers! Planning to spread the seed to a few other areas.

Thanks for the pics of your island.

Susan said...

Hi Ami...I believe the variety of blanket flowers in the pics are Goblin which is a hybrid. The coneflower was purchased as a plant. I read that the pink variety does best here. My plant does get a bit of shade from a small tree planted nearby. Don't know if that makes a difference. The daylilies are an old-time vareity from my step-dad. I've tried growing other varieties in the past but they've all eventually died off, although I've seen other FL gardeners who've had success. These plants continue to multiply every year. I gave 24 plants away to 2 neighbors last year. This bed gets full sun all day long. It's wide open and hot. Good luck trying the coneflowers again. Perhaps a different location will bring different results.

Daisy...All those plants keep the weeds away! :)

Dani...Thanks...I know you have success with coneflowers, too.

Hi Flowerlady...The more the merrier, isn't that what they say. The plan is to have plenty of blooms year round.

Africannussie...You would think with the lack of rain things wouldn't be as lush, but these are pretty tough plants. It's too bad you can't grow blanket flower...it is as close to a perfect plant as you can get to me.

Dianne...Thanks! Everyone needs an island of their own, don't you think?

SiestaSister...Wherever I have a hot and sunny location, a blanket flower gets popped in there. Good luck with your coneflower. As I mentioned to Ami, mine does get a bit of shade from a small tree nearby and the plant itself is shaded by other nearby plants. Perhaps that might be an idea to try instead of having it totally exposed to the sun. How are you caladiums growing?

Deborah (The Consummate Gardener) said...

I love seeing your pictures, and I take notes so I will know what will do well up here if I finally get some gardening space. BTW, thank you for your encouragement on my blog. I really appreciate it.

Rusty in Miami said...

I like the way you mix your plants, that’s my kind of flowerbed. I wish I had the space to do something similar.

Susan said...

Hey Deborah...Hopefully you'll have a new gardening space soon. Keep the faith!

Hi Rusty...It is a fun bed to play in and because of its large size I can pack a lot into it.

Desiree said...

What a wonderfully full, diverse and colourful flowerbed you have created. We have a mostly shaded garden and so I'm not able to grow all the varieties you do even though we live in a hot Mediterranean zone. I love the stone edging you have used, too! I use lots of collected and nursery bought rocks and stones in addition to plenty of bark mulch and logs. This helps to keep our soil cool in summer and helps slow down evaporation. In winter, when it rains, this helps prevent runoff.

You seem to have a lovely home and garden, Susan. I'll be back :)

Meems said...

That looks like the quintessential Florida garden sunny bed! I love all the varieties. It must be so fun to have a bright sunny space after all the shade at your other house. I picture lots of butterflies enjoying all those bloomers as much as I did getting to see it all filled in. I remember it from last year and you are right... it is amazing how fast everything grows here.

ChrisC said...

It looks beautiful! For me,the hardest part of gardening is waiting for the beds to fill in. Your's has filled in wonderfully!

NanaK said...

Wow! That is a big growth spurt! Everything looks so lovely and full. Lots of flowers in that bed. I'm envious of the cone flowers right along with some of the other commenters. That's one that doesn't seem to like my conditions. I love them though. You must have hummers and butterflies all over that island.

Brandy said...

Susan: Absolutely beautiful. My butterfly garden I created late last July did the same thing. I began gathering plants in May, and the plans to excavate the lawn--or weeds--occupying that area were postponed until the last of June. By the time I got the plants in the ground, they were pitiful. I was worried when the freeze bit everything to the ground in the winter, but you would never know it. That bed is almost as tall as the 6' fence that borders the East side of it. I love our Florida climate, and am going to be very sad to leave it for 4 seasons in Virginia this summer.

Nanette O'Hara said...

Simply Susan, your front bed is Simply Gorgeous!

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