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!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Fragrant Gardenia - Can You Smell it?

My nose catches the sweet fragrance of gardenia as I walk to the mailbox each day. Without even thinking, I am irresistably drawn to place my nose right up close to this flower for another wift of its potent scent. A few cut flowers placed in a bowl will soon envelope the entire room in fragrance. This pretty plant has a commanding presence in the garden when it is in bloom. She makes it difficult to ignore her.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I Love a Rainy Day!

These days I am very thankful for even the smallest shower to quench the thirst of my garden, and provide me with a break from my watering routine. A day when the rain pours steadily all day is purely an invitation from Mother Nature to toss my usual routine out the door and relax. When one of these deliciously lazy days comes my way, I treat myself to a cup of cinnamon-flavored coffee, a sweet treat and a good book.

The impending dark clouds, the soft sound of rain falling on the roof and my purring cat curled up next to me create a feeling of warmth and gratitude for this special day spent snuggled up inside my dry cocoon. While others may feel pampered from a day at the spa, I feel rested and recharged from my time spent indoors on a rainy day. You might say, I’m as happy as the ducks splashing in the puddles outside.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Squirrel Antics

This befuddled squirrel has discovered a resting place on the back of this heron garden statute. It looks like he has taken to new heights in trying to figure out how to get around the squirrel baffle on the birdfeeder located next to the heron. Perhaps this is his thinking chair, or maybe he's trying to sweet-talk the heron into lifiting him onto the birdfeeder.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A Bouquet of Hollyhocks

The hollyhock is outdoing itself. It is adorned in clusters of beautiful flowers and continuing to reach for the stars.

A First!

This is the first time I have ever grown hollyhocks. Until a couple of years ago I didn't even know it was possible to grow them in Florida. I learned it was possible when I spotted them in a garden club's flowerbed at the local library. I was so taken by this towering beauty that I wrote down the name of the variety and set out to grow some of my own.

The first year I planted the seeds in September and watched them through the winter, but when spring came they didn't do anything. Soon summer arrived and the plants died out. Last summer, I planted seeds (summer carnival) a little earlier in August and planted them outdoors when the plants were a good size. In January I purchased a 4-pack of small plants and planted them in the garden as well. To my total delight the plants flourised and began to grow tall and set buds in early April. They have now been flowering for about two weeks.

Both the seeds that I planted and the plants I purchased at the nursery were the variety summer carnival. However, as you can see by the photos they are two very different varieties. The plant I grew from seeds is also different from these two. While it is the same pink color it is a single flower like the yellow one. When I think back to the one I saw at the library I seem to recall that it had several different shades of pink on one stalk???? I don't know which varieties these are, but I am enjoying their beautiful flowers immensely.

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