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, April 18, 2011

Afternoon Tea

My Neighbor Nancy invited my daughter and I to an afternoon garden tea party last week. Altogether there were 6 of us.

Nancy has an unbelievably beautiful garden...so I new the 3 young girls that were coming would love walking barefoot along the many brick pathways that meander throughout her garden.

As tea parties go...there was a beautiful table set, colorful flowers and delectable cake, cupcakes and tea sandwiches that were enjoyed by all.
Don't you just love that unusual silver vase?

Breakfast tea and peach tea were served from pretty teapots.
 It was the perfect way to spend a late spring afternoon.

Now, how about a stroll through her garden.

I must warn you that the remainder of this post is going to be rather lengthy but when you get to the end I don't think you'll mind...in fact, I'm sure you'll be glad that I took so many photos of Nancy's garden. So, prepare to feast your eyes on a magical garden.

Take a look at that LARGE lotus begonia (left)...
It's a real beauty!
In the front yard the wave petunias are taking over the circle courtyard...

There are many pretty vistas in Nancy's garden...

What's that...oh, I hear your oohing and awing. It's beautiful isn't it?

And, lots of unusual bromeliads...

There's also whimsy in the garden...

And, a number of towering Australian tree ferns...
This one is at least 12 to 15 feet tall

And, there's a waterfall flowing down the hillside...
She made this waterfall herself...she's one talented woman isn't she?

There's lots of walkways...in fact, there's not one blade of grass in her large suburban lot...only mondo grass and lots of plants...

And, there's lots of rocks...each one put in place by Nancy herself...

Stone pathways...
Yep, made by Nancy...

Pebbled pathways...

Brick pathways and steps...
You got it...each brick layed by Nancy

Around every bend there's something else to see...

Nancy likes lions...they're all around her garden...
Fortunately, most of them are on the pottery.
See the lion faces at the base of the beautiful container.

Here's some more lions...

        Even some blue lions

And, another lion. This guy will truly keep the
 evil spirits out of her garden...
Notice the Nun's Orchid...it survived the freezes planted in the ground

And, sadly the tour must come to an end. I've only captured a portion of her garden...there's many more beautiful nooks and crannies. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed sharing it with you. It's definitely a magical place and is a testament to Nancy's creative imagination, love of gardening and lots and lots of hours in the garden!

This adorable parting gift was made and given to the 3 young girls by Nancy...
Isn't it sweet?

I hope that my daughter will never forget Nancy's garden, and that she'll be inspired to create a beautiful garden someday. I know I get lots of inspiration from Nancy's garden and always enjoy strolling through it to see what's in bloom.

Don't ya'll think Nancy needs a garden blog of her own?
 That way everyone can visit Nancy's garden whenever they want to!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Worth the Wait

Back in February I did a post entitled Anticipation on a handful of buds that were taking their sweet time to open. Thankfully, all the buds eventually opened much to my delight.

This red kalanchoe is a succulent from my late aunt's garden.
Planted in the ground...it survived the winter with very little damage.

My mom shared one of the offspring from her clivia...a member of the amaryllis family...with me.
It's the first time it's bloomed, and it's a real beauty.

The green onions allium planted in the veggie patch burst into bloom this spring.
 I like these unusual blooms so much that I'm planting seeds throughout my sunny garden beds.

Another passalong plant from my mom...this Nun's orchid is a stunning bloomer with it's large flower stalks.

And, lastly, Belinda's Dream has gorgeous, ruffly blooms that grow larger as they continue to open.

Was the wait worth it? You bet!

Gardening is definitely a lesson in patience!

Friday, April 01, 2011

March at a Glance


~~ Notes on the March Garden ~~   
If I had to choose a favorite month out of the year it would...without a doubt...be March!

Warm days...cool nights...and a RIOT of non-stop flowering plants. There's so much blooming at this time of year that I barely have time to catch my breath between the waves of spring blooms.


You could call it March Madness...not that boring basketball stuff (no offense :-) to all you basketball fans), but the wonderful madness of a garden exploding with spring flowers in all shades of the rainbow.

And it all started with the azaleas in soft shades of pink and purple.

Followed by the bright yellow Tabebuia tempered somewhat by the blue (Blue Sage) and white (Indian hawthorne) beneath her. But she definitely takes center stage.

Along with the warm weather comes the beautiful  winged creatures. Their return to the garden is a most welcome sight as they drift from one flower to the next drinking up all that first sweet nectar of spring.

And, then the roses!
After a short rest period and a trim in late February they're back in full swing.
Just look at all those eager buds.

Planted last year...this Double pink Knock-out has won my heart with its phenomenal flush of beautiful flowers. I can count over 65 blooms just on this one side...definitely one of the best bloomers in my garden. It must be very happy with its location...and all those sweet words of praise I keep lavishing on it.
It's an amazing transition from the reddish new leaf growth...to the first early blossoms...and then that "wonderful madness" of blooms!

Something New!
I like ground orchids...but I don't like the fact that they need protection from the cold weather, so this year I decided to try the Chinese ground orchid more commonly called the hardy ground orchid Bletilla striataThis orchid can be planted in the garden without fear of freezing. Its foliage disappears in late fall (similar to the peacock ginger and caladiums), and returns in late February for a March bloom.

I ordered a plant from an online nursery that quickly developed buds and bloomed. The funny thing is that I was visiting my neighbor Nancy, and noticed several clumps of this jewel in her backyard. I asked her about it, and she eagerly shared that this was the plant that got her hooked on gardening. She also insisted on giving me a nice-sized clump to take home with me. I split the clump...kept half of it and shared the other half with my mother, who also likes ground orchids. I look forward to dividing clumps of it in the future and spreading it around the garden.

Another newbie and first-time plant in my garden is the delphinium. I've admired them in other people's gardens, and this year I bought 3 and planted them in a sunny location in late January. They did not disappoint! Next year I'll plant a few more.
Don't you just love it when you discover you can grow plants you never thought you could?

 A little more blue and white
Left to right: Virginia sweetspire (wonderful fragrance), along with two natives:  Blue-eyed grass and Flag iris.

And, the WONDERFUL MARCH MADNESS continues...  

Is it obvious that I like color...all colors?
In the upper right photo you can see that delphinium towering up in the air.

Four Reasons to Plant a Bottlebrush Tree
This small tree was alive with polllinators...so much so that it sounded like the tree was buzzing.

Life's Simple Pleasures
So much sweet juicy goodness in one small berry!

As the month of March winds down...one by one...the amaryllis bulbs are joining in on the blooming madness of a Florida spring garden,

And the English Dogwoods are joining in, too. This airy, free-flowing plant will soon be covered in these simple but adorable bright white flowers.

This cold-tolerant plant...located in the shade...loses some of its leaves in winter, but spring brings a new flush of fresh green and pretty flowers, too.

It very slowly multiplies in size, and new plants can easily be separated from the mother plant.

But not all was pleasant about March. The last day of the month brought a scary storm...with winds over 60 mph...that left a lot of damage in its wake and a deluge of rain...so far 3.5 inches.

A large oak branch toppled many orchids on the back deck.

As well as knocking over a stand of hanging orchid pots.

Our back and both side yards are littered with small and large oak branches. The poor oak over the deck took a real beating.

I do hope that no one experienced devastating damage to their gardens from our uninvited visitor. Another bit of March Madness...but definitely not the good kind. We are fortunate that we don't often have such damaging spring storms. It looks like I've...and probably most of you, too...got a little clean up work to do. :-)

I have enjoyed seeing the many blooms in all my Florida garden blogger friend's garden's this month, and find it fascinating watching as spring spreads northward week by week.

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