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, August 31, 2011

August at a Glance

~ ~ Notes from the August garden ~ ~                                                                                                  Along with the hot weather that typically accompanies the "dog days" of August we were very fortunate to receive a generous amount of rain. The zinnias loved it and reciprocated with an abundance of colorful blooms. The veggie garden has been planted with high hopes ~ as usual ~ for a bountiful harvest, and now I eagerly wait for the days of lower humidity that I know are right around the corner. What a joy it will be to work in the garden without sweat running down my face.

The month started off rough for the yard. Some much needed tree trimming was on the agenda but, YIKES! those guys were rough on the turf and the plants. Fortunately, the yard is bouncing back quickly. The trees look great and are hurricane ready...as ready as they can be, that is.

Not a Pretty Sight

The Flowers of Summer
Rose of Sharon - a practically maintenance-free plant

Lorapetlum Ruby - Fabulous year round foliage color

Candlestick plant - A favorite of the cloudless sulphur butterflies

An Unexpected Bloom
The bloom on this Abelia 'Kaleidescope...planted earlier this spring...was a complete surprise, but a very pleasant one.

The American beautyberry has completed its transition, and is sporting a nice collection of  beautiful purple pearls that the birds will soon be devouring. You might wonder why a piece of shovel is in my garden. Every broken shovel ~ ~ the workhorses in my garden ~ ~deserve an honored spot in the garden for all their dedicated hard work. 
What can I say~ ~ I'm a sentimental person. ; )

Faded Glory
I can see that the summer flowers are winding down. More and more seed heads are beginning to show up. The seeds are from left to right: stokesia 'Omega Skyrocket, blackberry lily and agastache 'Golden Jubilee
Anyone want seeds? Let me know.

My daughter found the creepy looking bug above on our dock post. A few days later she made the I.D. while looking at a framed collection of insects at our local extension office. Quite a coincidence don't you think? 

We were amazed but not that surprised since an army of dragonflies dart back and forth over the lake on summer evenings scooping up mosquitoes. An amazing and entertaining sight!

Life's Simple Pleasures

I'm still sitting in the shade taking it easy. Hope you are, too!

Monday, August 22, 2011

The White Garden

Years ago I read a story about a white garden ~ ~ sometimes referred to as a moon garden or twilight garden ~ ~ and ever since then I've dreamed about having one.

The simplicity of the green and white plants really caught my interest which was unexpected because I'm a big fan of color. I was amazed at how beautiful and soothing a garden of green and white could be.

A new house in 2007 provided me with a clean slate of property in which to plant my white garden. So, come along and I'll give you a peak at how my white garden is growing.

Humble Beginnings
Here's a photo of its humble beginnings in early spring 2008. The layout was established and a couple of philodendrons were planted as a screen from the neighbor's home, and as a dark green tropical background for the garden. There's a vein of white clay that runs beneath this bed with only an 8 inch topping of poor top soil. In summer this area is very wet and in winter...very dry.

One year later in 2009 ~ ~ the philodendrons were growing nicely and a few more basic plants: iris, foxtail asparagus fern, variegated cast iron, Aztec grass, yarrow and bromeliads were added, along with a couple of garden accents. The process was slow going.

But by the summer of 2011...the garden is maturing quite nicely. Hints of other colors can be found at different times of the year such as the pink in Miss Muffet caladiums in summer. And, spring brings a complement of blue color from flag iris, Regina iris, and African iris, but predominantly the garden is varying shades of white and green.

The yellow-green foxtail asparagus fern has become a favorite of mine. It really stands out against darker green plants. Variegated Aztec grass was added in clumps here and there, as well as St. Bernard's lily and a variegated hydrangea.

The pink in the hydrangea that blooms in early summer beautifully fades away to a celery greenish and linen  color with hints of pink. Holly fern add beautiful texture while white impatiens and African mask alocasia fill in the gaps. Love that shiny, waxy leaf of the alocasia.

Dark...almost black foliage is included with the addition of the black stemmed elephant ears and the African mask alocasia. I love the way the white just pops out against the dark foliage. 

Most of the garden is in shade but the outer fringes where the Acoma crepe myrtle, white guara and variegated ornamental grass are receive a good portion of sunlight each day.

Two variegated Chinese privets encircle the back corner of a patio area I'm working on. They really glow at twilight.

Siam lilies add a punch of white in the summer, and the variegated bark of the amorphophallus adds a soft bit of whiteness to the garden, while its umbrella-like canopy of foliage adds a tropical feel.

Variegated cast iron plants are such easy shade-loving plants and they seem to like their spot beneath the Australian tree fern.

A peak from behind the var. ornamental grass reveals an overall look at the white garden. I think the gray Spanish moss hanging from the live oak goes nicely with the white and green.  Recently a patio of white pavers (my mother gave me these from her garden so I needed to find something to do with them - - aha, the white garden, of course) were set down and dwarf mondo grass was planted between each one. Eventually a white concrete bench will be placed at the back of the patio for a spot to sit and rest.

The white garden continues to evolve with plans to add some lime zinger and black beauty alocasias, flax lily, more varieties of white caladiums and white angelonia next spring. It is one of my favorite spots in my yard...it's so peaceful and relaxing to spend time there.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

In Transition

In the heat and humidity of August it seems like autumn is only a distant thought, but when I look around the garden I notice the transition from summer to autumn is already beginning. 

Almost overnight the berries on the American Beautyberry are ripening, and I noticed the leaves on the Sweetgum trees are also beginning to take on a yellow-cast.

Transitions in life are not always easy, but I look forward to and welcome the slow change from summer to autumn in the garden (and in my own life, as well, as the years creep by).

 It reminds me to savor the days of summer ~ ~ bright & sunny days, a good thunderstorm, beaches, bare feet, swimming, ice cream, bar-BQ's, tree swings in the shade and lots of iced-tea.  

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