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!

My Favorites


JANUARY
Some of my favorite plants this month . . . begonia, Indian blanket flower, cast iron, nandina (a/k/a heavenly bamboo), and a piece of "sunny" garden decor.

FEBRUARY
Some of my favorite plants this month . . . petite pink orchid, the soft green of lavender (whose leaves also smell heavenly), our cool-season snapdragons, a striped dracena with my favorite colors of pink, green and white, pastel pink camellia and double pink azalea.

March
Spring is well under way in this "perfect" month in Florida. Some of my favorites plants this month . . . collard greens, store bought tulips to enjoy, azaleas, orange blossoms, violas and African bush daisies.

APRIL
Some of my favorites this April are (from top left) fresh herbs . . . dill, oregano & basil . . . and green onions from the garden, the sunny blooms of the tabbebuia tree, and native flag iris. Serissa's tiny white blossoms are an added perk on this beautiful green and white variegated shrub, amarylis and heaps of salad greens and radishes.
  
 
MAY
My favorites this month are old-timey daylilies, Double Pink Knock-outs ‘Radtkopink’ and the vintage Seafoam Rosa 'Seafoam' and the caladiums are emerging all over the garden, and while it's hard to pick just one favorite . . . actually quite impossible . . . I selected 'Kathleen' because it sports my favorite colors . . . pink and green. ;-) I had to include a stalk of the gorgeous pink and white gladiolas. The white seahorse is a new favorite.  And, two very pretty purple flowers . . . Stokes' Aster Stokesia laevis 'Omega Skyrocket' and Mealy Cup Sage Salvia farinacea 'Victoria Blue' are outdoing themselves.
 
JUNE
The thryallis with its bold yellow color is really loving the summer heat. Among the crape myrtle family, the rich purple color of the Catawba is one of my favorites. And, finally, my last favorite might seem like a strange choice, but it's not only beautiful but fascinating, as well. The mottled-gray trunk of the Natchez crape myrtle cracks and peels off revealing a beautiful cinnamon color.
 
JULY
Liorope muscari 'Big blue' sports a stem of soft purple flowers, Pentas lanceolata . . . the red variety is my favorite, Rudbeckia "Cherokee' better known as black-eyed Susan . . . you knew I'd have some of these in my garden :-) . . . an unusual coloration, but pretty nonetheless. The heat-lover Torenia fournieri in varying shades of blue and purple. Thryallis . . . Galphimia glauca is another plant that thrives in the dog days of summer. The soft texture of Pennisetum setaceum "Purple Fountain' grass...although I've always heard it referred to as red fountain grass . . . sways in the breeze ever so delicately. And, lastly, a bit of torenia with the gorgeous blue color of Lisianthus Eustoma grandiflorum. A flower you don't see often, but obviously doesn't mind a Florida summer.

August
And the winners are (from left to right) . . . Java Glorybower Clerodendrum speciosissimum insists on showing off and blooming the entire long, hot summer . . . yeah for her! But buyer beware . . . this tropical beauty is a wanderer, and she'll take over an entire bed if you let her. You can't miss the flourescent orange bloom on the Torch bromeliad Billbergia pyramidalis which blooms in profusion this month. Hawaiian sunset hibiscus is one of my favorites with its warm color scheme.  And the bromeliad on the left looks great planted in a wire basket. I don't know the common or botanical name (perhaps Steve at Rainforest Garden can help identify it). I think it might be Indian feather . . . but not sure. And, lastly the cute green anole soaking up some sunshine. I always smile when I see these guys in my garden. I definitely prefer them over the brown dinosaur-looking brown anoles that inhabit the screened patio.

It looks like bromeliads are at the top of my list this month. The white portion of this bromeliad turns a pretty soft shade of pink if planted in sunlight. Sorry, but I don't know the name of this one either. Steve . . . please help! Another irresistable soft pink is the Brazilian Plume Justicia carnea. It's a real standout in the shade garden. The remnants of a thunderstorm . . . these delicate looking rain drops look like fingernails on the tips of a Norfolk pine. Star flower more commonly called pentas Pentas lanceolata is a fabulous butterfly-attracting plant. And, lastly, the delicate blue flower of Golden Dewdrop Duranta erecta. Another wonderful plant for butterflies.

September
My favorites this month are from left to right . . . a dwarf variety of Nandina 'Firepower' (heavenly bamboo, as I prefer to call it) whose green leaves begin to take on a reddish color if the plant is located in the sun. A red variety of Gaillardia . . . Indian blanket flower 'Burgundy' mixes well with its neighbor the dwarf nandina. Mexican Bush Sage that bursts into bloom in early September after spending the summer growing into a VERY LARGE bush (more on this bush in a future post). The blossoms are soft as velvet.

October
The orchids got off to a late start this year, but the wait was well worth it.

Roses love autumn, too, and Sombreuil's (antique French variety) simple beauty and intoxicating fragrance is wonderful. I love the unique color and the name of the waxy-feeling flower of Allamanda 'Cherries Jubilee'. The bright yellow Cassia "Alata' or, as I prefer . . . Candlestick bloom is a real eye-catcher and a favorite of the Cloudless Sulphur butterflies, and the chubby little bumble bee you see in the photo. Right on schedule, the Sasanqua camellias 'Sparkling Burgundy' . . . which are loaded with buds . . . will bloom into winter. And, lastly this cute little red tubular flower (sorry, but I don't know the name . . . perhaps someone can identify it for me) is popular with the hummers.

Soft purple and green foliage seems to dominate the autumn garden. The pretty cordyline was one I received as a passalong plant from my neighbor Nancy. Striking leather-looking foliage on the Alocasia 'Amazonica' was what attracted me to this plant . . . it's a real standout in the garden. One of my newly favorite plants is the Lorapetlum 'Ruby'. I love the dark-colored leaves in shades of burgundy and green, and the dark hot pink flowers that it produces a couple times of year is the icing on the cake. And, lastly American Beauty Berry is so very pretty in the garden . . . and, the birds love it, too!

November
There's one plant in particular that thrives in autumn . . . the rose.
The milder temperatures produce a bounty of large, sweet-smelling blossoms. So, this month I'm keeping it simple, and featuring only the roses in my garden as my favorites.

A mix of modern shrub and antique varieties

December
Since we had an early cold snap, my favorite flowers in the December garden are the ones that survived the frosty breath of Old Man Winter. And, these cold-hardy flowers are definitely bringing a ray of sunshine to my frostbitten yard. From left to right: pansies, cassia (can you believe they survived the frost?), ornamental kale, sparkling burgundy camellia and Gerbera daisy (notice the odd shaped center).

But, what's really catching my eye this month is the colorful tree foliage. The sweetgums and maples are astonishing! So much so, that I couldn't stop admiring them and snapping picture after picture. Generally, our leaves will fall before cold weather arrives . . . never having the chance to turn a brilliant color. Needless to say, I'm thoroughly enjoying the autumn color in early winter.

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