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, February 24, 2010

My Favorites...this month!

Click on the photo to enlarge it for better viewing

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.

If you'd like to join me in posting your favorites for the month, please do...they don't have to be in collage form...but do leave a comment, so I can drop by and see your favorites.

Monday, February 22, 2010

February's Orchids

Each month I like to photograph the orchids that are blooming. I do this for two reasons...to keep track of how long they bloom...and in what month. The following 4 started blooming last month, and are still in bloom despite having spent much of the month inside due to nighttime temps below 50 degrees. The orchids and the flowers don't fare too well indoors...dry air....and less watering. They definitely miss being sprayed down by the garden hose 3 to 4 times a week.

The cattleyas (top two) amaze me...their flowers generally don't last very long.

This phaleonopsis opened its buds the first week of February. I eagerly awaited the slow unveiling...that's one nice thing about having them indoors... of its contents because I knew it contained a surprise inside. And, I wasn't dissapointed when I saw its purple speckled face.

Here's a close up look at all those wonderful deep purple speckles...or perhaps in the orchid world they're called...freckles.

And, here's a new addition to the family. I stopped by Lowe's in search of a River birch tree, and...of course... I had to go over to the orchid table to see what's new. I'm sure you know what I mean...for some reason that table keeps calling my name. Even though there's the usual plants there...lavender, white...you know...the basics, I still HAVE to go and check it out. I'm always hoping there's an unusual one there.

As I did a quick scan with my eyes...there were lots of them...right before Valentine's day....this petite soft-colored phaleonopsis kept catching my eye. Ahh, I don't really need another orchid....but this one is just so delicate and petite...I don't have one this small. Of course, in the cart it went. :-)

Really...I mean it...who could resist this sweet little face, especially so close to Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Month Later...

It's been about a month since we experienced the two weeks of frost and freezing temperatures in the 20's  that took its toll on my zone 9 yard. When it comes to brown dead stuff in the yard... I have no patience. I know they say to wait until middle or late February to cut back plants... but that doesn't work for me. The first part of the yard to get cleaned up is what I see directly out my windows.

So, I thinned some plants out...clipped some dead stuff off...stuffed as much as I could into the composter.

As, I walk around my yard, I notice that the Fashion azaleas are back in bloom...their first round of flowers having been burned by the frost. And, the grass is greening up again...hurray! Things are already looking up.

Frozen plants are already sprouting from the base of the plants. 

I learned a couple of important lessons...or should I say, remembered from previous freezes that I had long since forgotten.

#1 - Trees make a BIG difference. My bromeliads and other tender plants fared much better under the canopy of the trees where frost was unable to reach them.

#2 - Create a good structure of basic, cold-hardy green plants - good bones, if you will.  That way when the less hardy plants succumb to freezing temperatures, the garden will still look good. This is especially true in the front yard.

#3 - Plant pockets of tropical plants. I'll plant my favorite tropicals as little pockets of color in areas throughout the basic green plants. That way I can add color and interest to my landscape without leaving it vulnerable to a devastating freeze. It's kinda like having your cake and eating it, too! :-)

Once again the garden is humming along with the expectancy of spring.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Valentine Bouquet

A bouquet of camellia blossoms to celebrate one of the sweetest holidays of the year.

Posted by PicasaClick on the photo to enlarge it for better viewing

Friday, February 05, 2010

Weird Name...Cool Container

A friend...she's a gardener of course...gave me this really cool "hypertufa trough" as a Christmas present. I've seen them in magazines before, and thought they were neat looking but was never interested in having one. But now, everytime I look at it....I absolutely love it! And, of course....yes, I want more.

The look of it reminds me of coquina stone which makes it a natural for the Florida garden. And, this particular trough has been decorated with seashells...a favorite of mine...pressed onto the rim of the container.

Below is a sideview.
She did a wonderful job selecting the succulents which look great in this type of container. So, am I going to try and make some more? You bet! And, you can to with these instructions I found from Fine Living. I guarantee you'll love the results and your new unique faux stone containers.

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