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, December 24, 2012

'Twas the Day Before Christmas

Twas the day before Christmas, when all thro' the yard,
 Not a creature was stirring, not even Nutty the squirrel;
 The decorations were hung on the windows with care,
 In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there....

When up in the tree there arose such a clatter,
I dropped my rake to see what was the matter.
 Away to the road I flew like a flash,
Looked up in the tree, and let out a gasp.
 The sun on the breast of the new fallen moss,
 Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below;
 When, what to my wondering eyes should appear...

but 2 visiting Bald eagles arriving here.
What a treat to have these beauties so near,
I ran for my camera to capture a pic
of this Christmas gift from 'ole St. Nick.

And one snap of the camera, caught their attention.
 One sprung from the branch, to his mate gave a whistle,

And away they all flew, like the down of a thistle:
 But I heard them exclaim, ere they flew out of sight-
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Tale of a German Giant

Back in July I placed my order for tomato seeds with Tomato Supply Co.  Their Website had promised a "free" packet of GERMAN GIANT seeds if you ordered a certain dollar amount. Well, my order didn't quite add up to the specified amount but they sent the free packet of seeds anyway . . . quite generous of them, don't you think? At first, I wasn't going to plant them but then I decided . . . oh, why not!

Well, I'm definitely glad I decided to plant the seeds after all. Not only is the tomato a giant but so is the plant. At 8 feet tall this healthy large-leafed plant just happily keeps on growing. 

I eagerly waited for the blossoms to set tomatoes. Each day I would go out and look for a tiny tomato. Finally, I spotted one. Each week the little tomato grew bigger and bigger. 

Four months after I planted him the first (and only tomato, I might add - I guess it takes a lot of energy to produce a giant) tomato is turning a beautiful holiday shade of red. Each day I checked to make sure he was doing okay, and a gentle squeeze revealed that he was ripening nicely. I went ahead and picked it fearing that I'd come out the next day to find . . . heaven forbid . . . that a bird had bitten into it or it had dropped to the ground and some other critter had devoured my GERMAN GIANT.

Ah, here it is . . . my beautiful GERMAN GIANT. He barely fits into the palm of my hand. 
Oh, I'm in love!

I proudly placed him on my kitchen island along with some other tomatoes from the garden and just admired him for a couple of days. 

Then the day came . . . time to slice this giant up and see if he tastes as good as he looks. Look at that beautiful red color and the meaty texure. My mouth is watering!

So what did we do with this GIANT (beef cake . . . oops, I mean beefsteak) of a tomato?

we made 3 BLT's

and 2 hamburgers . . . and, we still hadn't eaten the whole tomato. 

And, in case you're wondering. YES, the GERMAN GIANT tastes as wonderful as it looks. It's probably a good thing it only produced one tomato, as I'm not sure what we would have done with a dozen or more. 

I'm hopeful that if we don't have freezing temps we just might get lucky enough to have another GERMAN GIANT as he's still growing and blooming away.

Hope you enjoyed my little "Veggie" tale!"

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On a different note . . . Head over to Antique Art Garden to contribute to her "Flowerlady Love Offering" fund for Lorraine at Flowerlady's Musings who recently lost her husband after 43 years of marriage.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Olde Towne Gardens

My sister and I had fun touring the "Olde Towne Gardens of Mount Dora last month. We filed away in our memory good ideas from each garden. One garden in particular was a complete visual delight. I've saved that one for last because it's a real treat. So, I won't talk much while you sit back and enjoy the tour.
 See the ground orchids (above) planted beneath a shady oak. 
Great idea for a vegetable garden below.
A peaceful and tranquil garden.

Now here comes a real treat. This gardener obviously loves creating vignettes with a variety of containers and old stuff. So before you get started . . .  do yourself a favor and grab a cup of coffee cause you're gonna be here for awhile. I actually drank a cup of coffee (with a touch of nutmeg and whipped cream) and ate a few Christmas cookies myself while reviewing this post . . . it is the holiday season after all. Enjoy!

 See what I mean :-)

This area is immediately to the right of the front door. I like the way they created a sitting area in the front yard.

Here's a great idea. They turned a fountain into a bromeliad planter. Brilliant?

Part of the front yard is a mix of bromeliads, holly and bird's nest fern as well as other drought tolerant plantings. Very little turf grass in this garden.

Now, let's head to the side and back yards where their (husband and wife) imaginations really get going.

Here we go . . . through the arbor . . . a view to the left

And, a view to the right.

Isn't this cute?

They definitely like container gardening.

 According to the information in the booklet this couple attended lots of classes to learn how to create a garden suited for Florida. They wanted to eliminate turf grass and subscribe to the practice of "right plant, right place" golden rule.

You can see the driveway in the middle of this photo. You can't see it clearly but they've planted the right side of the driveway with lower plants first and then a tall hedge of podocarpus and crape myrtles for privacy.

More pretty containers on their back patio.

They've got LOTS of benches scattered throughout the garden. No room to sit for a spell here.

Another seating area with colorful containers.

This is a separate little shed in the far left of the garden.

Keep in mind their property is a typical sized neighborhood lot and they've been successful in squeezing a lot in without having it look cluttered.

More vignettes. Lots of old stuff . . . afterall this couple lives in Mount Dora which is an antique mecca.

I love this idea with an old picnic bench. This is to the right of the driveway which you can just barely see in the bottom left of the photo.

And, these are some of the plantings on the left side of the driveway.

Isn't it wonderful!

Look closely at the container these bromeliads are planted in. Yep, it's an old rusty dust pan. So many interesting surprises in this garden.

Did you enjoy the tour? I know that I enjoyed reliving it again while I created this post. And, the coffee and cookies were good, too. Hope your holiday season is off to a good start and that you're taking the time to relax and enjoy a treat along the way.

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