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!

Friday, July 25, 2008

On a Funny Note!

This cute little comic appeared in our local newspaper (The Ledger), and I thought it was so cute that I would share it. In case you can't make out the words, one jalapeno pepper says to another "Watch your back. They couldn't hang it on the tomato. Now they are coming for us."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day - The Heat is On!

It's mid-summer, and only the toughest plants can keep from withering in the heat and humidity of a Florida summer. So, before I set about snapping photos for Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, I thought I probably wouldn't find too many. Boy, was I wrong! There was so much to choose from that I couldn't even post all of the photos. Some of the other plants in bloom (not shown here) are: hibiscus (I'll do a separate post on those tropical beauties), lantana, pentas, begonia and ixora (definitely summer stalwarts), bromeliads (they love their place in the shade) and thryallis (which was just getting started).

I'll start off with the cool colors of summer - two orchids basking in the impermeable humidity.

Can't live in the south without having crepe myrtles. They may not have a scent but they bloom in abundance - twice, if you dead-head the first blossom.

This Rose of Sharon or Althea has a soft, delicate appearance. You don't see a lot of these around, and I don't know why. They are beautiful!

The Peace Lily does better outdoors for me than in. The dark green foliage and bright white blossom lights up shady nooks in the garden.

Impatiens add a lot of color to shady spots. These volunteers decided to nestle up against a bamboo palm in the side yard. So long, as they are in the shady they're not water-greedy.

Another favorite of mine is the Mandevilla vine. It's not an aggressive vine that is hard to control, and it blooms, blooms, blooms.

I find that Portulaca or Moss Rose does well in patio containers. It's not a messy plant. The flowers dead-head themselves by rolling into tiny little balls and don't stain the patio deck.

Also, this Crossandra is not too messy and it rewards us with lots of blooms.

I love this combination of bright cherry red Knock-out roses and deep purplish-blue perennial salvia. I scooped these 4 salvia plants up off the "bargain shelf" at Wal-mart for next to nothing and they have rewarded me with a profusion of blooms all summer.

Even this variety of Liriope is blooming with abandon. I can't recall the name, but it's not one I've used in the past. I only hope it's not one of those that keeps on spreading and I have to dig it up and separate it (yuk!) I like plants that mind their manners and the boundaries of other plants.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

And Now a Word for Colorful Foliage

When it comes to color in the garden, flowers are my first choice. But I must confess that lately I find myself appreciating plants with colorful foliage. Flowers come and go, depending on the season, but colorful foliage is year 'round. And, in my opinion that makes the garden far more interesting. Plus it's easier to ensure that the yard always has color in it.

A lot of colorful foliage is tropical in nature - crotons, cannas, and bromeliads - and perform well in my zone 9 garden, with the exception of an occassional freeze.

This canna lilies have gorgeous foliage plus an added benefit of bright orange flowers.

This croton performs well in the shady part of my garden.

I love this wild and wacky croton. It's just a kaleidoscope of color.

This speckled bromeliad is new to my garden and hasn't produced any pups yet.

In the sunlight, the pinkish red color is much brighter on this bromeliad.

The bright red center of this bromeliad grabs my eye everytime I pass by it.

Caladiums are a summertime favorite. What a great splash of color in a shade garden. These guys are real GIANTS.

The soft purple/green hues of wandering jew are very cooling.

When placed in a sunny spot, this snowbush looks like its covered in blooms. But there are no flowers, only splashes of soft pink leaves.

With so many choices of colorful foliage, flowers are quickly becoming secondary in my garden.

Monday, July 07, 2008

The Dog (I mean Cat) Days of Summer

Makayla seeks cover from the July sun behind a large green intertube propped up against the screen enclosure. It's the time of year when it's just plain HOT, and we all seek shelter from the midday heat. You've got to get it wherever you can find it.

From the Green Side

At Hoe and Shovel I read about A Look at Gardens from the Green Side at Emma's A Nice Green Leaf, and I just couldn't resist joining in because green is my favorite color. Even though I love flowers and colorful foliage, there's nothing boring about these green leaves which sport numerous variations of green. A quick glance and you'll miss the beauty of them. You need to be upclose to admire the subtleness of "green" leaves.

A new thick, waxy croton leaf before it changes to include sunset colors (see background leaves).

The happy marriage of green and cream on the Pothos.

Deep blue-green coloration of Peacock Ginger.

A striped bromeliad with all shades of green.

Soft hues of blue-green and white sit atop a deep pink stem on this Snow Bush.

This begonia is the epitome of rich dark blue-green with a surprise of deep burgundy on the underside.

This particular succulent is a soft shade of green.

And, this shade-loving Cast Iron plant looks as though someone painted strokes of color on it.

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