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 04, 2016

The State of the Garden

Yes, 2016 is here! Happy New Year wishes to all my fellow gardeners. May your gardens thrive and bloom to your heart's content.

It's that time of year when we reflect on the old and dream about the new. A time to look back at the garden and see how much it's changed. My garden space is still in its infancy at 1 year and 3 months old.

When I first began to plant my tiny garden, I feared I wouldn't have room for all my favorites. I worried that maybe I went too small and that I might miss having a bigger lot.

As usual ~ the worry was for nothing! This postage-stamp sized lot has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Yes, I've had to make tough plant choices and leave out some plants, I would normally have included. In a tiny garden, the space often dictates the type of plant, and sometimes that has been a challenge to find the right plant. My garden space is manageable which has made gardening more enjoyable and after 1 year, the garden has really grown. As you can see, sanding the stone walkway is still on my to-do list.

In the past, I was somewhat - okay, VERY - controlling and somewhat fearful of letting my garden get too out of control, dreading the amount of work it would take to tame the jungle. But in this garden, that fear has gone by the wayside, and I find myself packing in the plants and loving the jungle feel. I've also discovered a new love for large-leafed plants and tropicals. Before I was much more into flowers than I am now. Don't get me wrong I still love my flowers, but I've got a whole new appreciation for foliage. It seems like an oxymoron but I can't get enough big-leafed plants in my small garden. Hhmm, I wonder what a psychiatrist would say about that!!

Revamping my vegetable garden is high on my agenda for the new year. There's only a very small space with limited sunlight in the winter months, so I've taken to planting leafy greens and herbs in with the perennials. I do think they make good companions though. And speaking about companions, there are 3 that accompany me in the garden these days. Tucked in amongst the kale and amaryllis is my big boo - Arthur,

my pretty girl, Makayla (don't you just love those eyes?). She is extremely cross-eyed and has trouble even catching lizards. She LOVES being outside.

This evil looking kitty is Allie. She's really a scaredy cat and a bit psycho! This is an old photo of her when she was only allowed on the screened patio. You can see that she's a plant lover though. Because the 3 of them spend time in the backyard, I've had to move the bird feeders to the front yard. Allie is the only one who shows interest in the birds and I surely don't want her to kill them. I do enjoy having the cats follow me around the yard though.

 We've been lucky to have many butterflies floating throughout the garden this year, and in my sunny spots I plant lots and lots of flowers and host plants to keep them hanging around.  

We've also been graced with the presence of many feathered friends, and I do love to watch them. Lots of squirrels, an occasional snake and a very pesky armadillo also visits frequently.

I've enjoying many of my old favorites . . .

as well as, many new plants I've never planted before such as this Tiger grass (from my  mom) which is now blooming and passion vines. My restricted space has somehow managed to free me from old fears of spreading plants and out of control vines, which are now easy to keep up with. It's funny how the greatest benefits end up being the ones you least expected. 

 Happy Gardening in 2016!!!


Leslie Kimel said...

Happy New Year, Susan!

Your garden looks so lush and beautiful; it's amazing that it's only a little over a year old. I just love your path and all your tropical plants; your placement of them seems just perfect, and the colors work so well together.

I agree that a smaller space is really fun to work with. When I lived in Atlanta I had a tiny yard, so I could keep it completely weed-free! That seems almost unbelievable to me now--because I have three acres these days and they are FULL of horrible invasives. I can never quite keep up.

I also wanted to comment on your gorgeous cats. What a good-looking trio. It is so much fun to have cat company in the garden!

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Your garden has really filled in and doesn't look like a new lot anymore. It is lovely.

You inspire me ~ Have a lovely 2016 ~ FlowerLady

Janice Taylor said...

Hi Susan, your garden is so impressive! I just love the tiger grass, and it's bloom. Everything just flows together so beautifully, great design. And, of course, your gardening buddies are all as cute as they can be.

Jean Campbell said...

Your garden and kitties are a treat to see. A freeze will reach us in South Georgia tonight. I don't recall a Christmas when Brugmansias bloomed, before.

Susan said...

Hi Janice - Thank you for your kind comments. The tiger grass really is neat and something that I never see in the nurseries. My mother bought it years ago.

Hi Jean - I hope that you don't experience too much damage from the freeze but with all the warm weather we've had the plants are really not prepared for cold weather. I have caladiums coming up and I've seen 4 crape myrtles blooming - unbelievable! Good luck!

Hi Lorraine - It is hard to believe that the landscape is only a year old. The front yard is even fuller and higher than the back. It's that good ole Florida sunshine.

Hi Leslie - You must have had fun going from a small lot to 3 acres. There's advantages and negatives to both, as there is with everything in life. Yes, I do love having my kitties follow me around. They really love being outside. I have one more kitty inside who is only 2. I don't let her out because she's full of energy and I know she would jump the fence in a heartbeat. The other 3 stay in the backyard which works out perfectly!!

Janice Taylor said...

Susan...had to tell you, I found "Central Texas Gardener". I'm enjoying it so much, thanks for the tip.

Susan said...

Good to hear that, Janice. They do a great job and the gardens are very interesting. I also enjoy touring some of the permaculture tours - at least the neatly kept gardens, but nonetheless it is an interesting concept. I"m sure there are many other excellent garden tours on youtube. Let me know if you find any others.

Lynn McIntosh said...

Your garden is so lush - I love it! It's quite a big change from the photos you posted when you just moved in. And I love the walkway, it is so inviting! Beautiful kitties, they are good helpers I'm sure, lol! I like having a fenced-in area to garden, unfortunately we're not allowed fences here (except the chainlink against the preserve)...I think you've done an excellent job filling in the space with such pretty plants! Thank you for mentioning the central texas gardens - I'll be checking out those too!

Anonymous said...

Your garden looks amazing and has really filled in quickly. I love it! And your cats are beautiful ~ the "cross-eyed" comment made me chuckle. :-)

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