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August 21, 2016

August Garden


Hell-o everyone!  I've been running in and out of the A/C today to get a few photos so I could share a post with you today.  I've been enjoying a number of post vacation, and 'new adventure' blogs from you guys.  My world has been pretty static this summer - awaiting cooler weather, like most everyone else.  I didn't spend much time out in our Florida sunshine, but I ventured out there just long enough to photograph my Purple Coneflowers... 



A Gulf Fritillary wandered by and landed on one of the least attractive flowers, but I didn't wait around for him to move to a prettier one.



The Pagoda Flowers and Firebushes are visited by hummingbirds throughout the day, but not when I am holding a camera...






The only other sun loving plant I photographed was one of the Beautyberry bushes.  They have been dripping with fruit this year, bowed over with the weight...



I retreated to the coolness (or less hot) back yard, under the oak canopy.  The shade gardens are as colorful as any flower garden, and best of all, they need little attention once planted.  I have caladiums everywhere and as they return each year they keep getting larger.  I've got pots of single varieties...





Pots of mixed...



Simple green and white caladiums...



Little guys that look as though they were splashed with paint...



A rainbow of colors...





Across the yard, in a tropical plant border, there's freckled faces...





Another favorite shade plant of mine is the Toad Lily, which like caladiums. return each year.



   I noticed today the Camellia shrubs are chock-full of buds.  That's one of the wonderful aspects of gardening...there's always something to look forward to.  I hope you're all having the BEST summer ever!

July 19, 2016

Some Like It Hot



My roses are pathetic this time of year, not so my gingers.  While gingers can't tolerate much sun, they handle our nearly daily 100 degree temperatures unfazed.  I've only grown most of my gingers for three years, but I'll continue to add varieties.  I find them easy to live with, needing little care, although some do need a good bit of elbow room.  'Dr. Moy' Ginger is a large plant that needs growing space, but her blooms are exquisite...she's just begun.



Another large ginger, 'Disney',  has been blooming for several weeks.  She still has new buds developing.





Curcumas, or hidden gingers, are a much smaller plant, rarely over two feet tall.  They make themselves right at home with caladiums, coleuses, ferns, and so on.







Out front in my full sun yard, there are a few daylilies on their second or third round of blooms,  The old fashioned yellow and oranges always repeat bloom.



The wild hibiscus love the heat...they bloom from July until frost.



I have lavender ground orchids that bloom in spring, but these yellows wait for summer.  They're planted in an area that gets only morning sun.



Desert Rose, it's name implies it can take heat, and it will.



Two more lovers of our summer heat, a  Thryallis bush, and the blue butterfly bush, Clerodendrum 'ugandense'.  Perfect shrubs for a full sun garden.



Coneflowers are also unaffected by their spot in the sun.



Tithonia is a magnet for butterflies, and stands up to the heat.





Hamelia patens, Firebush, also draws in many butterflies and hummingbirds.



That's what's blooming here in my 'Garden On Fourth Street'.  I hope summer is treating you and  your gardens well.  Thanks for visiting!



July 6, 2016

Gingers Are Blooming



I love ginger lily plants!  They can color up a shade garden all summer long, never minding the heat.  The blooms on my 'Disney' ginger lily are seven inches tall and the plant itself is six foot.  This one is planted in shade, getting only dappled sunlight.






Curcuma, another ginger lily, also blooms all summer long.  They multiply rapidly, and should be divided more often than I do. 





My purple blooming curcumas are making me wait for their blooms, they're just getting started.



A nearly white bloom...



Hostas are blooming too...



Bleeding Heart Vines on the fence, white and purple.



My favorite new plant of this year is my Blackberry Lily, Iris Domestica.  Tiny flowers that remind me of toad lilies, about an inch and a half across.





I started these purple coneflowers from seed in February.  I'm thrilled to be getting my first blooms...



The coneflowers are planted in front of another summer bloomer, Tithonia,  Mexican Sunflower.





I'll save the rest of my blooms for a later post, and give you an update on my chickens.  They're about 12 weeks old now...half way to becoming egg layers!  We let them out to free range every evening, but 'free' has it's limitations.  No, they are not allowed in my shade gardens, but they have plenty of area to roam.





This one looks mean, but she's a sweetheart...they all are.



They rarely stand still when they're out, unless they dig up something good, so this is what most of their photos look like.



Until next time...




June 23, 2016

Shade Gardens ~ Central Florida



Hot, humid, sunny, and miserable will best describe Florida's weather this week.  Staying indoors all day is not an option for me, so I'm thankful for my shade gardens under the Live Oaks.  The largest of my shade gardens is filled with gingers, cordylines, hostas, caladiums and a variety of elephant ears.



This border is somewhat subdued in color compared to my other shady areas.  I've used mostly 'Miss Muffet' caladiums in here to keep it restful to the eye.



'Gold Dust' Ginger bloomed before it's leaves came out as it's part of the family of  'hidden gingers'.



The flower that preceded the leaves a few weeks ago...



Curcumas are also part of the 'hidden ginger' family, but they bloom after they leaf out.





Curcumas with this garnet striped leaf will have a deep purple bloom in a few weeks...something I'm look forward to.



A Peacock Ginger in front of the border and 'Pink China' Colocasia, with the red stems...one of my favorite elephant ears.



A variegated ginger lily with 'Costus Spicatus', or Indiandhead Ginger behind it.



'Freida Hemple' Caladiums, sharing a barrel with a 'Devil's Backbone' plant.



'Mojito' Colocasia, a dwarf Split-Leaf Philodendron,  Tibouchina, and a deep purple Cordyline.



As we leave this border and go to the other side of the yard, there's lots of 'Dark Heart' Coleus planted as a ground cover.



Tractor Seat, or 'Farfugium japonica' is between blooms now, but the big, bold leaves are still beautiful.



Around this Bleeding Heart Vine is where the color really begins.  There's a rainbow of coleuses and caladiums mixed with hostas, toad lilies, and curcumas.





   Coleuses come in a vast array of colors and shapes and if they reseed they're usually something altogether different from anything you initially planted.  In my zone 9 garden, they behave as an annual and have to be replaced each year.  They root easily in water or soil, so you can make many plants from one.

  

Caladium bulbs can remain in the ground year round in Florida, returning faithfully each spring.  Too many varieties to name, but that is 'Kathleen' planted in the pot.
  


I think my favorite caladiums are the ones edged with a contrasting border, like this group behind a toad lily.



The shade gardens seemed to get off to a slow start this year, or maybe I'm not as patient as I once was.  Before summers gone, most caladiums will be knee high. 




One last look at 'Pink Lady' in morning's first light.



Thanks for visiting.