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, November 17, 2008

More on the Light

This Lady palm is my favorite. The sunlight really lights up these fronds, and the blocks of dark green where the leaves criss-cross makes for a very interesting photo.

The dark burgundy backside of this Calathea leaf turns to shades of rose when drenched in sunlight.

The large leaves of the Lotus begonia look fabulous all lit up.

The neighbor's Ti plants look extraordinary.

Large-sized leaves, such as this Calathea, look great illuminated by the sun.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

All Aglow

As the late afternoon sun shines on my garden at an angle, certain plants just light up with a gorgeous glow. These three plants are all in close proximity to each other, and they seem to come alive as they are drenched in soft autumn sunlght.

This bromeliad is part of a larger patch. Iwish I had a better picture that shows the entire bunch. During the day they are a deep burgundy color but once the sun shines on them they just burst into a vibrant glow of color. I love looking at them and find myself taking frequent glances, as they are located outside my back porch and I can see them from the kitchen and patio.

This poinsettia is more subtle than the bromeliads but very beautiful in its own way. As you can see the flower is not the only part of this plant that is red.

Friday, November 07, 2008

It's a Jungle Out There!

Newcomers to Florida always say how hard it is to grow anything here. But the truth is, we're blessed with warm (and a generous portion of hot) weather year round and sufficient showers - all you have to do is plant it, and it will grow (even in sand)! Throughout the summer months my suburban yard transforms itself into a jungle.
A hodge podge of tropical delights - caladiums, crotons, bromeliads and pothos vines all blending together.
If you like neat and orderly, then you won't like gardening in Florida as plants easily multiply filling in every bit of space in the flowerbed. And, forget about plants that need trimming. You could spend your whole summer clipping away.

Instead, it's easier to sit back and enjoy while the plants have their way with your garden.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Cracker Rose

I've grown numerous antique roses before but Louis Philippe (also known as the Cracker Rose) is only one of four that has survived. I've had this plant for 10 years, during which time I moved it from one home to another. And this winter, I'm going to move her again to our new home. This time will be more of a challenge since she is now quite large.

Once the milder days of autumn arrive she kicks into gear with plenty of beautiful and (much) larger blooms than in summer. She even does well in partial shade. I'm guessing she probably gets about 5 hours of sunlight each day. This French rose is low maintenance - no blackspot - even in humid Florida. I hope she doesn't mind making one more move, as I just can't bring myself to leave her behind.

A Burst of Autumn Color

Fall color isn't always easy to come by in Florida. The signs of fall are there (in subtle ways) but you have to really look for them. Aside from our Golden raintrees, you can occassionally find a maple tree that is more colorful than usual but the leaf color is indeed minimal. Fortunately, we can count on flowers to add plenty of color to our fall gardens.

As I was taking a walk the other day I happened upon this bright yellow display of chrysanthemums in my neighbor's yard. I hadn't even noticed that these mums were growing there until they burst into bloom. I thought that he had placed these in the perfect location (center of his front yard), right next to the vibrant pink Ti plants. Now, everytime I drive or walk by, I enjoy glancing at this colorful patch of fall mums.

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