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, May 24, 2010

My Favorites...this month!

FloridaGirl at Peace in the Valley said it so well in a recent post..."May is the Month of Garden Perfection!" How true that is. So true, that I had a difficult time limiting myself to 4 or 5 picks.  All of my choices are truly favorites.

(Click on photo to enlarge for better viewing)

The daylilies have been outdoing themselves. I only have two varieties in my garden...a solid yellow and a red with a yellow center. Both of these are "old-timey" tried-and-true varieties given to me by my stepfather. The plants grow tall (2 feet in height) and multiply like crazy. They're the only varieties that thrive for me.

Two of my favorite roses blooming this month are Double Pink Knock-outs ‘Radtkopink’ and the vintage Seafoam Rosa 'Seafoam'...a white rose with small but plentiful fragrant blossoms.

Caladiums are emerging all over the garden, and while it's hard to pick just one favorite...actually quite impossible...I selected 'Kathleen' because it sports my favorite colors...pink and green. ;-) I had to include a stalk of the gorgeous pink and white gladiolas. They are a real treat as a cut flower.

The white seahorse is a new favorite. It's actually the bottom of a birdbath that belonged to my late Aunt Erna. The water basin must have broken, but she kept the base in her garden as a decor piece. I immediately fell in love with it.

And, two very pretty purple flowers...Stokes' Aster  Stokesia laevis 'Omega Skyrocket' and Mealy Cup Sage Salvia farinacea 'Victoria Blue' are outdoing themselves.

What are your favorites this month? 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.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Is the Mystery Solved????

I found this photo of the Scarlet Ladies' Tresses in the Plants of FloridaFlorida Natives Orchid Gallery. Could the mystery plant be a native terrestrial orchid? I don't know...what do you think? Dr. Pryor click on the gallery link above to read more about the plant and let me know if this is yours. If so....how LUCKY can you get to have a terrestrial orchid growing on your property. I call first dibbs on the first orchid baby. :-)

Here's another link with more information: www.floridasnature.com/florida_herbs.htm

Thursday, May 20, 2010

HELP - Can Anyone Identify this Plant?

This plant belongs to a friend of my sister. No one in my "family of gardeners" can identify it...if anyone recognizes it, please let us know the name. We are impatiently waiting and hopeful that someone can help.

Is it a native plant, a wildflower, a rare exotic species???? Our curiosity is getting the best of us!

Every year this time, a leafless stalk emerges from the ground and produces this unusual but very pertty flower.

In the bottom photo you can see the leafless stalk of flowers in the clay pot. As the bloom fades the plant gets leaves resembling those of an amaryllis. The plant grows from a tuber type of bulb.

I do hope that someone is able to identify it, and satisfy our curiosity. Thanks for your help!

Friday, May 14, 2010

On a Whim

Anyone who spends time creating a garden is subject to act on a whim.

Whim: an odd or capricious notion or desire; a sudden or freakish fancy...given to whimsy or fanciful notions; capricious; pixyish.

Acting on a whim that pops into my head is fun! It's what makes the garden special...it reflects the personality of the gardener. When I act on a whim it usually involves...pieces of garden art...pottery...plant combinations or creating a special area in the garden.

I love terracotta pottery...but not when it's new. I like it when it has that aged look about it, and in Florida it doesn't take long for it to get the creeping green crud that makes the pot look like its been around for awhile. Birds...real or concrete...are another favorite. I guess I'm too impatient to wait for the real birds to find my birdbath. Fortunately, for my garden my husband acts on a whim when he visits Starbucks...he grabs a bag of used coffee grounds and brings them home.

Again, you can see that I like birds. A pair of concrete herons were a gift from my mom...can you guess who put the idea in her head? :-). And, the swan...well that was another idea I put into someone's head. The perfect gift for me is anything garden related. It's a creative exercise to choose seasonal plant combinations for a container...such as the cheery spring combo in the lower right photo.

Do you keep buying similar types of items for the garden? For me it's anything with a face on it...for my neighbor Nancy it's anything with a lion on it. My latest obsession is searching for pottery with faces on it. I've seen them in magazines but can't seem to find too many in garden stores. What's yours?

Here are two more fetishes I must admit to...anything flamingo related...and any piece of garden decor made out of metal. And, yes I did have a pair of those plastic flamingos in my yard...every true Floridian does...but they were so faded I had to part with them, and I haven't found replacements yet; so I've had to make due with my flamingo rainbarrel. The fern pedestal is a great item in my front yard. I change out the plantings seasonally. Someday, I really will put a fern in it.

A bench tucked away in a private corner is a real treat. I can sit in this corner...hidden by a palm tree...and look out at the world as it passes by. It looks like this friendly Florida lizard has a fetish for metal objects, too. The bottom photo is a planter overflowing with cool-season annuals.

And, here's a close-up of those herons frolicking in the sun. Doing something in the garden is always fun. I had this idea for a dry river bed along a walkway, and I was very pleased with the outcome. Having a brick walkway is a real splurge. My husband built one in place of a muddy path leading to our back deck. It's not only functional but it's wonderful to have.

More metal objects in the garden...did I mention that I love decorative metal objects? :-) The white mandevilla vine looks great on this metal trellis. There is one more pink flamingo...actually it's inside the house...that my sister gave me for Christmas. It's soooo pretty that I just haven't had the heart to put it outdoors yet. And, then there's the chartreuse adirondak chair...so old and rotten...but I love it!

When my daughter was younger, we created this fairy garden among the gnarly roots of an old Live oak. We called it the Village of Wee...for the wee little people that inhabited it. It was well known that the fairies were present when we could hear the tinkle of the wind chimes. This blissful village is surrounded by a stone wall, a bevy of colorful flowers and a trustworthy gnome who keeps watch for evil spirits. We had lots of fun with it, as did her friends.

As you can tell from above, fairies are magical creatures that inhabit my garden. And, this particular fairy seated on a toadstool was a great find. I just had to have her for my garden. Here she is at Christmas with a wreath of holly berries at her feet. Other Christmas whimsy includes a large bird's nest my mother found in her yard, that I decorated for our front porch.


Friday, May 07, 2010

One of the Best Things about Being a Gardener

One of the best things about being a gardener is cut flowers.
(Lotus begonia blooms)

There's always something in bloom that can be brought indoors to enjoy.
And, if there aren't any flowers, there is plenty of interesting foliage that looks pretty in a vase, too.

This year we've got gardenias blooming for Mother's Day.

Every year when I see the first flowers on the bush, I quickly run inside and grab my clippers. The sweet-smelling scent of just a couple of gardenias makes the entire room smell heavenly. They get special treatment at my home...they get to float around in a very pretty china bowl.

Have a great Mother's Day, and I hope each one of you receives some beautiful flowers!

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