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!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Bird's Eye View

One nice thing about living in a two-story house is that you can look down on your garden for a whole different perspective. From this bird's eye view I can see how my color combinations are working, and where I need to place another plant. You know, I'm always looking for where another plant might fit! :-)

This area is my most favorite spot in the yard. There's usually a nice breeze coming off the lake as I sit on this deck shaded by several live oaks. That old chartreuse colored adirondak chair is just for looks these days. It is slowly rotting away but I just love the color it adds to the garden, so I'm sure to warn any visitors not to sit in it. A friend just recently suggested covering it with bromeliads which I thought was a great idea.
That large plant was here when we arrived. I have no idea what it is but I love it. It weathered temps down into the upper 2o's this past winter as did the bromeliads. This area seems to have a special micro-climate that protects my tropical beauties.

The top portion of this section belongs to my neighbor. We share a joint flowerbed. He knows how to landscape with ti plants. Usually people have one here and one there but this large bed of them is stunning. And, those lady palms just love the shade!
So now, I know what the birds see from their perch high up in the old oak tree.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Queen of the Dark

My neighbor, Nancy, called me at 9 pm last night and invited me over to look at her cactus flower. Well, I already had my p.j.'s on and was hesitant about changing and going out in the 84 degree still-heat of the night, but I said I'd be right over. And boy, am I ever glad I did. It was no ordinary "cactus flower." This giant, night-blooming cactus is astonishingly beautiful and awesome!
I took a photo on the top of my cooktop so that you get an idea of the size of this beauty. I'll be quiet now, so that you can admire this stunning flower in all its glory, whose beauty is reserved only for creatures of the night.

This cactus is a vine that sprawls high up in her Live oak trees. It begins to open around 9 pm and closes prior to dawn. What a shame that this magnificent flower is missed by humans.

Whew, It's HOT!

It was soooo HOT this weekend, I had to work in shifts. The temperatures were tickling the 100 degree mark, and at the end of the day, I felt like this coleus - wilted! Fortunately, the weather forecasters are calling for rain Tuesday and Wednesday and a return to our normal weather pattern.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A New Favorite

This Indian Blanket flower is one of my favorite new plants. I planted one plant last summer and it has bloomed continuously since then, only slightly slowing down periodically to produce a new batch of stunning blooms.

It made it unscathed through the winter months with lows in the upper 20's, and the patch has spread to be about 2' x 2'. The eye-catching vibrant bold blooms cover the entire plant and can be seen from anywhere in the front yard, including the road. It does not spread by rooting in but instead just lays on the surface of the ground like a blanket would - perhaps that's where the name comes from. Now with all that being said, it is definitely a keeper.
I have been in search for more of these plants this summer and just recently found some at a local nursery and also at Wally World. My mom and sister did find another variety (Torch Blanket) pictured below at a nursery in their area. When all of the tiny little flowers open on this variety it looks like a ruffly mum. It also is very pretty but not quite as vibrant as the Indian Blanket. I would definitely rate this plant as a "10" for Florida gardens!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Small Space

There's a 3' x 16' space between our screen enclosure and an outside deck that has always been a problem to landscape. This space is mostly shady so I started by planting some impatiens. They did well and soon spread to encompass the entire bed. After looking at them for awhile I got bored with only having impatiens.

So, I pulled some out, added some Aztec grass and caladium bulbs. You can't beat caladium bulbs for summer. Their colorful foliage adds a real spark of color in the shade garden. As I pruned a potted wandering jew (the bluish purple plant above) on the second floor balcony Iwould toss the clippings over the railing and soon noticed they had taken root in this small space. As luck would have it, it looked great with the pink & purple impatiens, the green & white Aztec grass and the pink caladiums. I added the hot pink bromeliad later to finish off this section.

Another volunteer showed up as well. A potted spider plant (above) sitting on the deck had a couple of its babies take hold in the soil. They looked great so I left them, too. I later added the Chocolate Mint coleus in the upper right hand corner to finish off this section.

And, I added another coleus (variety ?) in this section for that chartreuse green color. So far things are shaping up pretty good for this small space.

Two years ago I added the orange crossandra. I mentioned before that orange and purple are one of my favorite color combinations in the garden. It's an odd match but for some reason it works for me. Some might think it garish but I find it cheerful.

Here's a photo that gives you a good view of the size of this small space. With a little help from Mother Nature and the volunteer plants this small space finally came together, and for the first time in 7 years I am very happy with the end result. Gardening is definitely NOT for the impatient!

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