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!

On a Whim

Anyone who spends time creating a garden is subject to act on a whim.

 Acting on a whim, that pops into your head is fun. It's what makes the garden special . . . it reflects the personality of the gardener. When I act on a whim it usually involves . . . pieces of garden art . . . pottery . . . plant combinations or creating a special area in the garden. 

I love terracotta pottery . . . but not when it's new. I like it when it has that aged look about it, and in Florida it doesn't take long for it to get the creeping green crud that makes the pot look like its been around for awhile. Birds . . . real or concrete . . . are another favorite. I guess I'm too impatient to wait for the real birds to find my birdbath. Fortunately, for my garden I often act on a whim when I visit Starbucks and see a bag of used coffee grounds and brings them home.

Again, you can see that I like birds. A pair of concrete herons were a gift from my mom . . . can you guess who  put the idea in her head? :-). And, the swan . . . well that was another idea I put into someone's head. The perfect gift for me is anything garden related. It's a creative exercise to choose seasonal  plant combinations for a container . . . such as the cheery spring combo in the lower right photo.

Do you keep buying similar types of items for the garden? For me it's anything with a face on it . . . for my neighbor Nancy it's anything with a lion on it. My latest obsession is searching for pottery with faces on it. I've seen them in magazines but can't seem to find too many in garden stores. What's yours?

Here are two more fetishes I must admit to . . . anything flamingo related . . . and any piece of garden decor made out of metal. And, yes I did have a pair of those plastic flamingos in my yard . . . every true Floridian does . . . but they were so faded I had to part with them, and I haven't found replacements yet; so I've had to make due with my flamingo rainbarrel. The fern pedestal is a great item in my front yard. I change out the plantings seasonally. Someday, I really will put a fern in it.

A bench tucked away in a private corner is a real treat. I can sit in this corner . . . hidden by a palm tree . . . and look out at the world as it passes by. It looks like this friendly Florida lizard has a fetish for metal objects, too. The bottom photo is a planter overflowing with cool-season annuals.

And, here's a close-up of those herons frolicking in the sun. Doing something in the garden is always fun. I had this idea for a dry river bed along a walkway, and I was very pleased with the outcome. Having a  brick walkway is a real splurge. My husband built one in place of a muddy path leading to our back deck. It's not only functional but it's wonderful to have.

More metal objects in the garden . . . did I mention that I love decorative metal objects? :-) The white mandevilla vine looks great on this  metal trellis. There is one more pink flamingo . . . actually it's inside the house . . . that my sister gave me for Christmas. It's soooo pretty that I just haven't had the heart to put it outdoors yet. And, then there's the chartreuse adirondak chair . . . so old and rotten . . . but I love it!

When my daughter was younger, we created this fairy garden among the gnarly roots of an old Live oak. We called it the Village of Wee . . . for the wee little people that inhabited it. It was well known that the fairies were present when we could hear the tinkle of the wind chimes. This blissful village is surrounded by a stone wall, a bevy of colorful flowers and a trustworthy gnome who keeps watch for evil spirits. We had lots of fun with it, as did her friends.

As you can tell from above, fairies are magical creatures that inhabit my garden. And, this particular fairy seated on a toadstool was a great find. I just had to have her for my garden. Here she is at Christmas with a wreath of holly berries at her feet. Other Christmas whimsy includes a large bird's nest my mother found in her yard, that I decorated for our front porch.

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