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, May 19, 2015

Serendipity in the Garden

Some of the best gardening experiences are those that are unplanned and unexpected.

Last autumn I purchased a couple of ornamental pumpkins to display on the front walkway. When Christmas rolled around, I sat the pumpkin (still in good shape) next to the compost bin in the backyard. In Spring, I noticed a large-leafed vine was starting to creep along the ground. When it started to take over and attach itself to all the plants, I decided to hang it along the top of the fence.

It wasn't long before large yellow flowers began to appear.

Look at the size of this flower and leaf. You can use the fence posts in the background for comparison.

At first the flowers died and did not set fruit, but then  . . . I noticed a yellow fruit getting bigger and bigger.

It looks like a large lemon hanging on the fence (LOL)! And, I swear, everyday it gets BIGGER! 

I'm not sure if the vine can hold this pumpkin up until it ripens. I may have to add a support beneath it. Isn't it huge??? 
Every time I see it I have to laugh!!!

I absolutely love seeing the fence covered by this large-leafed vine, and am going to miss it when it's gone. The ginormous leaves look so lovely as they float face up atop the fence. Another positive is the squirrels don't like it there. It interrupts their ability to scamper at top speed along the fence line (ha-ha). 

I'm so glad I didn't pull it out when it was small. It feels like a Jack in the Beanstalk kind of vine as it meanders along. It has truly been a source of entertainment and delight ~ ~ it obviously doesn't take much to amuse me (LOL)!

 As you can see in the photo it has also set additional fruit. There are at least 5 pumpkins altogether. Hopefully, I'll get a couple to display for autumn. 

It grows at least a foot a day and has covered the south side of the fence and is also growing on the west side (pictured above). I just keep weaving it through the fence posts, and enjoying this unexpected, serendipitous, wonderful surprise in my backyard!!!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Six Months Later

Before I started to plant my 25' deep by 120' long backyard I snapped a few photos. In that photo, the plants I had brought with me were staged around the areas where they were to be planted. This is the main walkway through the center of the garden.

November 2014

May 2015

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This is the same area, just opposite the large oak pictured in the photo above - looking in the opposite direction.
Nov 2014 

May 2015

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

This is the sideyard on the south side of the house.
Oct 2014

May 2015

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

This area is in the backyard near the south sideyard. It is my sunny perennial bed.
Nov 2014

 May 2015

It's amazing how quickly a bunch of potted plants can turn into a garden.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Mixing it Up

In my small yard there is a little kitchen garden which was planted last fall with broccoli, tomato, green pepper, green onions, garlic chives, basil and swiss chard. In February red potatoes, cherry tomatoes, bush beans and sugar snap peas were added to this little plot of ground. This month two blueberry bushes will be enclosing one side of the garden, plus I'll add a few peanut plants when the broccoli is finished.

But because the area is small I mix my bigger plants like collards and kale, plus some additional bush beans into my sunny perennial bed. I love the different textures and leaf colors and sizes that they add to the mix of flowers.

A no-fail daylily from my late stepfather is always a welcome reminder of him. He would be happy that his daylilys continue on and that we are enjoying them.

Another Georgia collard green is tucked in among the mealy cup sage, sun impatien and the black-eyed Susan.

The frame from an outdoor table umbrella has been re-purposed (my mother's idea) as a trellis for green beans and cucumbers. Mom was right ~ it works perfectly and looks nice, too!

An ornamental pumpkin that I sat next to the compost bin last winter has sprouted with wild abandon. It was taking over the plants, so I slipped it up through the fence posts. It did, however, give me the idea that I could use the fence as a trellis to grow other vining vegetables in the future.

The squirrels have helped to disburse the seeds throughout the garden, so it is coming up everywhere. I love the large leaves and the look of it draped over the fence, and will be sad to see it go. There are some small little pumpkins developing but they quickly turn brown and die. Hopefully, I'll get a couple of them that I can use this autumn for decoration.


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