August 23, 2017

Central Florida...Butterflies & Blooms

Butterflies reign over my gardens this summer!  We watch spellbound, as though our watchfulness will deter them from abandoning our offerings.  Now, you can rightly surmise that we are oldsters, easily entertained.  Salvias, firebush, pentas, Mexican sunflowers, and pagoda plants surround our front porch where we enjoy our morning coffee, awaiting their arrival.  They have varied tastes, but the pagodas and sunflowers seem to be favored.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail...pagoda plant

Giant Swallowtail...pagoda plant

Giant Swallowtail and Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

And now, matching bookends.

Pagoda plants also entice our hummingbirds.

Our Passionflower Vines and Milkweed have hosted lots of Gulf Fritillary and Zebra Longwing caterpillars.  This one was just drying its wings one morning, after emerging from its chrysalis.

Mexican Tithonias are always decorated with Zebra Longwing and Gulf Fritillaries.

Coneflowers are another attraction...

Last butterfly picture, I promise.  There were six Gulf Fritillaries on this Penta, but I could only get four to sit still.

I haven't posted since the middle of June so the following photos will give you an idea of what's been blooming the last two months.  Gingers have done really well since drought conditions are over...

Disney Ginger

A variety of Curcuma Gingers

Angel's Trumpet


Gloriosa Lilies

Shade gardens, always colorful.

Blue Ginger, blooming favorite ginger!

Thanks for visiting.  See you in Fall.

June 16, 2017

Summer Blooms ~ Central Florida

Ah, summer.  Love it or hate it?  I love summer!  Summer means Daylilies are blooming their heads off and there's nothing more cheerful than yellow blooms in the garden.  Yellow mixed with blue Agapanthus just make me smile.

And first success with them.  I finally gave up on buying plants and started these from seed and they've rewarded my efforts.

Especially pretty with an under planting of Joseph's Coat.  I believe this is 'Purple Knight'.

My entire garden is created with common plants, more so this year than ever before.  I have failed with roses so often that now I stick with a few 'old garden' varieties and Knockout roses.  I'm finding my garden much more enjoyable and just as lovely without the labor intensive, fussy flowers.  Pagoda flowers are super simple to grow, but as with many easy to grow plants you have to stay on top of the seedlings or you'll be quickly overrun.  

The flower heads of these plants are easily over a foot tall.

Thryallis  shrubs are another easy-peasy plant for Florida gardens.

All my daylilies are common, old sorts too.  Nothing fancy, but they all bloom and rebloom, lasting a good part of the summer.

I can't talk about plants that are carefree without giving Firebush praise.  Attracting both butterflies and hummingbirds...this plant's a winner.

Tibouchina shrubs have intense purple blooms that I've never been quite able to capture in a photo.  They bloom in shade or sun, perhaps a little heavier in sun.  This one is in full bloom while my other two are just beginning to bloom.

The shade garden Tibouchina is beginning to show color.  The large 'Disney' ginger on the left will be blooming soon - she's worth waiting for.   Since the summer rains have begun, the shade garden is a little on the wild side.

I hope you are having a great summer...happy gardening.

May 30, 2017

Sun Lovers

Hell-o!  So, our weather forecasters are predicting rain for my neck of the woods over the next few days.  I hope they've got it right this time!  I'm watering so much and feeling like I'm just keeping plants alive, but they're not as stunning as they would be with a normal rain pattern.  The hardy, sun lovers, like daylilies, agapanthus, coneflowers, and firebush aren't batting an eye at this weather, but some others are not at their best. These photos were taken during this week in my full sun front gardens.  Desert Roses love both the heat and the sun.  It's hard to capture the intensity of the red in their  blooms..

I've had both these Desert Roses for several years and have repotted them a few times, but these pots will be their permanent home.

The canes are normally very erect, but this one is bowed down from the weight of its blooms.

Lovely white Crinum Lily blooms only last a few weeks and are often destroyed by lubbers.  We've been vigilantly watching over them this year.

Firebush  is unfazed by our high temps.  I have some that are Florida-native shrubs and some non-native.  Hummingbirds and butterflies love both kinds.

Another hummingbird favorite, Pagoda Flower.  If you have one, for sure you'll have many more because she's a spreader.  They bloom throughout the summer when most plants have given up, so I don't mind pulling their offspring.

Thryallis, yellow daylilies  and Agapanthus...must haves for a summer garden.

Hands down, my favorite border is by the front porch.  Tithonia, coneflowers, salvias and volunteer zinnias to name a few...

One more great summer bloomer, Natchez, Crepe Mrytle.  This one shades the entry to my vegetable garden - smells delightful, light refreshing scent.

Gingers in the shade gardens will be blooming soon.  Until then...happy gardening.