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, February 24, 2015

A Borrowed View

As I keep moving right along on landscaping my backyard, it takes a while before it all starts to come together and look nice. It's a plus when you can start with a "borrowed" view. And, fortunately for me, one of my neighbors has a nice fence-line of greenery. Having their jasmine vine drape over my side of the fence is a BIG bonus! It softens the hard edges and floats in the wind. I'm weaving the long strands throughout my side to partially cover the fence. Behind it is a crape myrtle whose flowers I'll be able to enjoy all summer long. The Sabal (cabbage) palm is another wonderful layer of green that provides some height, and one that the birds love.

Running down the fence line are 3 large viburnum. The birds use these small trees as cover when they dart in and out of them to the feeders and birdbaths. Higher up there's a nice canopy of oak trees.  All these combine to make me feel nice and cozy in my backyard.

From that angle and the side yard there's a view of a breathtaking native Chickasaw Plum tree in full bloom. I can't get enough of this tree. Fortunately, I can see it from my kitchen and I can't stop admiring it. 

I've never seen a Chickasaw plum this beautiful. It is loaded with small white flowers and is a buzz with pollinators. 

They are truly in "bee heaven" as they drift from flower to flower. Hopefully, some of them will lay eggs in my bee house located in a couple of photos above. With any luck the small plums on this tree will keep our neighborhood birds happy. 

From a distance you cannot tell that the flowers have any pink on them at all. But a close up view reveals that the center stamens are a very pretty soft pink. 

It is simply stunning, and I am thoroughly enjoying this "borrowed view"of spring from my backyard. 

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Daily Visitors

It was November 23rd when I noticed the first bird in my backyard. It was a Mockingbird enjoying a dip in the fountain that was filled with rainwater in my barren backyard. I was so excited that I immediately hung up several bird feeders and got busy adding plants to the backyard.

A short 2 1/2 months later and guess what? We've had a total of 15 different varieties of birds show up in our garden. How exciting!

Here's Mr. Cardinal taking cover beneath my neighbor's vine which hovers over my fence. I had the birdfeeder in the middle of the yard for 2 weeks without attracting any birds. Once I moved it next to this fence and vine, he showed up within an hour.

Here's the birds we've seen:

1 - Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal
2 - Gray catbird
3 - Brown thrasher
4 - White heron
5 - Red Shouldered hawk
6 - Ruby-throated hummingbird
7 - Northern Mockingbird
8 - White ibis
9 - Blue jay
10- Mr. and Mrs. Mourning dove
11- Carolina chickadees
12- Titmice
13- Carolina wren
14- Red-bellied woodpecker
15- Pileated woodpecker

It's amazing how quickly they show up when there there's food and some cover. We've placed some nesting material around the backyard and hung out a few nesting boxes in the hope of having some baby birds in the spring!!!! 

Putting Down Roots

Four months after moving into our new home, we are truly putting down roots. We are loving our little community, and with each and every passing month we are feeling at home. I've been on a planting marathon the last 2 months and our empty canvas is filling in very quickly.

 The 125 plants that I brought with me have almost all been planted and countless numbers of other plants have been purchased and added to our ever evolving little piece of paradise as evidenced by this growing stack of plastic pots. I've got to get them cleaned up and deliver them to the master gardeners.

Thanks to a mild winter that has brought steady rations of rain, my plants are noticeably putting down roots, too. No, I can't see their roots, but the plants are filling in and new growth is visible everywhere.

Just a couple more weeks . . . and I'll feel safe enough to plant some of my favorite tropical beauties. I can hardly wait until the end of summer to see how much the garden has grown and changed. Talk about impatience . . .I know . . . it's all about the journey . . .  yada, yada, yada! But, I still can't wait to see the plan begin to come together. So, while I wait, I take pleasure in the small signs of bigger things to come like the small baby leaves on the Red Buckeye tree that was started from a seed from my sister's tree. This tree is very slow to grow from a seed, and I'm excited to see that it likes its new location.

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