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 27, 2017

The Sweet Smell of Summer

As a kid I can remember walking through the neighborhood and smelling the scent of freshly cut grass. Even as an adult, I still take a deep breath and savor the herb-like scent of grass. The steamy fresh scent after a rain shower is another wonderful childhood memory. Everything is refreshed and the drop in heat is reduced to what feels like a blanket of steam surrounding me. I still love to watch the steam rising from the asphalt roads and off the roof tops of homes. Quite an eerie feeling but one that's so familiar. And, there does seem to be a feeling of comfort in the familiar. 

One of the most familiar scents of summer from my childhood comes from the Angel Trumpet that my mother grew in her yard. My trumpet tree is an offspring - many generations removed - from her tree. It is covered with blossoms following, what seems like, record amounts of rain in June. Even in a considerable amount of shade, this plant rewards me with flowers and scent all year round. It's one of my favorites!

A new plant to my garden is the night-blooming jasmine. This plant is a monster!! It has a mind of its own and I'm constantly trimming it back off of the surrounding plants. It gobbled up and devoured the peach tree (the 2 visible trunks in the photo) a long time ago. In the evening, on toward darkness this plant is intoxicatingly fragrant. My mom always tells the story that our neighbor told her. She said to "never plant a night-blooming jasmine outside your bedroom window because the smell is so strong that you won't be able to sleep." Of course way back then we all slept with our windows open because we didn't have air conditioning. 

A new very subtle and, unfortunately, short-lived scent is the St. Christopher lily. I brought this plant from my aunt's garden to mine after she died.

The plant is similar to a crinum lily but shorter in stature,

 and the flowers are shaped more like a chalice than a lily.

It's a beautiful flower that gives off a subtle scent when you're near it. They fully opened over night and this morning I noticed the flowers had lots of little gnats all over the inside. A quick Google search and I learned that gnats feed on pollen, and do perform pollinating functions. How about that? You learn something new all the time.  

 I hope your garden is full of the sweet smell of summer, too!

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

One Last Perfect Weekend

This past weekend the weather felt more like "early spring." It felt wonderful and was most welcome, as our endless summer is right around the corner. We still have a couple of amaryllis' blooming in the garden. This particular variety comes from Mrs. Flora's garden. She was one of our neighbors when I was a kid. It's nice to have reminders of people, from my past, in the garden.

The sunny perennial bed has enjoyed our mild winter and warm spring, despite the lack of rain. The black-eyed Susan's, snapdragons and pentas are in full bloom. This garden bed puts a smile on my face and joy in my heart every time I look at it.  

I just love the carefree nature of the Black-eyed Susan's. 

They keep reminding me to let go and let nature do its thing in the garden. 

The snapdragons did very little through the winter, but once spring arrived they shot up like little rockets, and have been showering me with pretty pink blossoms for months. I will be sad to see them go.

The black-eyed Susan's are all volunteers and they are without a doubt, one of the happiest plants I've ever seen. They're not needy, always look great and the bees love them!

 There were lots of little bees humming from flower to flower. The underbelly of his little body is absolutely drenched in pollen. They just can't seem to get enough!

A close up view shows all that wonderful yellow pollen that this flower contains. They are without a doubt, the gift that keeps on giving. I bet the bees would agree with me!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Cardinal & the Tomatoes

I haven't had a "Veggie Tale" to tell in quite a while, so I was happy that Mr. Cardinal showed up and presented me with a story to share.

About a month ago, I was drinking a cup of coffee and looking out the back window at my garden. All of a sudden, a Cardinal landed on the stone wall surrounding the patio. My first thought was of pleasure at seeing this beautiful red bird in my garden. Seeing Cardinals is a common sight, but one I never tire of.  

Then, much to my dismay, he hopped on to one of the tomato plants. In a split second, I went from being pleased to being anxious. The thought that he is going to take a bite out of one or more of the fruits had me holding my breath.  It didn't take long before I exhaled with acceptance, and a reminder to take the good with the bad. If I want wildlife in my garden, I have to accept the fact that they might want to feast on those delicious Sweet Baby Girl cherry tomatoes, too. Right? 

But a few seconds later, I was relieved and delighted to see him emerge from the plant with a big fat green worm in his beak. That sight put a BIG smile on my face, as I realized I was observing nature working together in one of the best ways. 

I went out and checked, and my shiny red orbs were untouched! I was amazed at how wrapped up I got into that little bit of garden drama. 

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Late Winter Garden

Last time I checked the calendar, it's definitely late winter even though it feels like the end of spring going on summer. We really didn't have much of a winter this year at all, and that means less spring clean up in the garden. That's a good thing!

There's lots of Milkweed in the garden and it's all abloom. It has reseeded itself everywhere, and for the most part I leave it where it comes up.  Sometimes, I'll move it to create fuller bushes inside the borders of the flowerbeds. Even the Monarchs are visiting and laying eggs. That puts a smile on my face for sure! 

I've seen this solitary Robin at the fountain a couple of times in the past week. 

The large flocks were through in early January foraging the Camphor berries. He seems to be staying a bit longer to enjoy the sunshine and warmth. 

I've been enjoying a steady supply of tomatoes and kale all winter thanks to temperatures staying above the freezing mark.

The two bushes are so large that they are falling forward, so I've had to tie the plant to the post with, yes, that's an old pair of panty hose - lol! Works like a charm every time! 

New tomato plants went into the ground and planting tower today. Hopefully, it won't get too hot too fast, so that I can keep the tomatoes going for a few months. Very thankful for a mild winter!

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