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 08, 2010

A Sun-Loving Island

I bet you thought this post was going to be about some gorgeous "sun-loving" island in the Caribbean or the Mediterranean...right? Sorry to disappoint you, but the "sun-loving" island I'm talking about is a large island-shaped bed of sun-loving perennials in the front yard.

A couple of years ago we built a new house (that we will eventually move to), but for now we spend our weekends there relaxing, finishing projects and of course, creating a garden. Last summer every chinch bug in the neighborhood (or so it seemed) feasted on our newly established turf. From one weekend to the next, they decimated a huge section of grass in our front yard...OUCH!

So, as my husband began the task of resodding, I jumped on the bandwagon and claimed a large portion to create an "island-shaped" flower bed...an idea that had been perking in my head since the house was completed. It's a large front yard so it needed a large bed for the right scale. A small bed would surely have gotten lost in the sea of green.

To say the least, I was excited about the prospect of this large virgin space. I spent hours flipping through garden design books, researching specific plants and dreaming up the placement of plants. I rooted and separated existing plants from my own garden, and purchased new ones that seemed well suited for the area. Each weekend I stuffed "cold-hardy" perennials into my car, and my excitement of producing a four-season flower show grew with each plant I popped into the ground.

With each group of plants that were planted, the plan slowly began to come together. The finishing touch that gave the "island bed" a definitive look, and a strong presence in the front yard was the border of limestone rock.

All winter long the Indian blanket flowers, African bush daisies and fashion azaleas defied one blast of artic air after another. In April, the roses and the daylilies kicked into high gear and...WOW...my wildest dreams for this garden space were coming true.

Sorry that this post has gotten a bit wieldy...you know we gardeners can go on and on and on about our plants...so I'll show you close-up photos of the flowers and list the plant varieties I planted in the next post. :-).


Ami said...

Oh, Susan: I knew what it will be about when I saw the title, and I can not wait for opening the post! I have a mostly sunny garden, and have been struggling to find suitible sun-loving plants. So, I just want to know what you put in this bed! Of course, I also envy you have such a big space for you to play :) I have been starting indian blanket seeds, so that I soon will have this beautiful flowers brighten my sunny bed as well. I wanted to ask you what is that white flower, but I guess I will tre to be patient to wait for your next post :) But I am glad that daylily is also good for the sunny spot. I need to find more!

Antique ART Garden said...

Beautiful yard beds you have, lots of work have paid off, Gina

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Love your island bed. It is always great to see an idea come to be. All of your hard work and vision have paid off. Your home from what I can see is beautiful with that stonework. I bet it is a welcome retreat on weekends. How exciting to know that it is yours, and you will one day move there.

Enjoy and thanks for sharing your lovely island.

I'll be watching for your next post, as I also want to know what the white flowering plant is.


NanaK said...

Well, you certainly know how to create interest in your next post! I can hardly wait to get the details. That is a beautiful island bed. It's good to hear what made it through the "arctic blast" and to see what has filled in with blooms this spring.

Very exciting that you are in process of moving to a new home. I hope all goes smoothly for you.

Meems said...

Oh, Susan, what a great project. It is SO fun to start from scratch and pick out your plants according to the need for sun! I always wonder what it would be like to have any places that get that much sun. Love the rock border!

I have white yarrow but it never blooms. I can only guess it doesn't get enough sun. But the foliage is so beautiful I praise it just for that aspect.


Floridagirl said...

A beautiful transformation in such a short time! Guess all that research paid off. My beds take much longer to really take off. I too can't wait for your next post, though did recognize a lot of the blooms. As for resodding, we lost our entire front yard last year. Well, we lost such huge portions, that husband decided to kill the rest and re-sod. Tomorrow's the big day!!!

Jean Campbell said...

The only thing better than an Island in the Sun is more Islands.

The only thing better than limestone rocks is bigger stones, another of my favs.

Orlando Realtor said...

Susan, You didn't fool me. I found exactly what I thought I would in your "Sun-loving Island". It looks great.

sanddune said...

What a great place to showcase your plants. I like the natural limerock border. Very nice .

Susan said...

Ami...Having sun is a real plus for growing flowers. I do love my shady gardens, too. The white plant is yarrow. My neighbor gave me a few small plants and they have multiplied nicely. They even made it through this past winter's cold snaps.

Gina..Thank you! It was a lot of work, but the fun kind of work. ;-)

FlowerLady...Glad you like my "sun-loving island." It was lots of fun dreaming it up, and planting the plants.

Kay...It will be awhile before we officially move, but in the meantime my garden is growing.

Meems...I have white yarrow in the shade and it doesn't bloom either. The plant is low growing and only reaches a height of about a foot, but it does have wonderful foliage.

Floridagirl...Sorry to hear about your sod loss, too. I hope you grabbed some of the area for a flowerbed. Hopefully, this summer will be better for grass. Maybe the cold weather froze them...I wish we could be that lucky.

NellJean...You're right about that!

OrlandoRealtor...Oh, you guys are so hard to fool.

Sanddune...I got the rock idea from my neighbor. All her beds are surrounded by rock...how lucky!

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