July 28, 2015

Central Florida...Gardening And Gators.

We had a rainy day yesterday, gentle showers, throughout the afternoon.  It was somewhat cooler, than it had been most mornings.  I decided to grab my pruners and start a few cuttings, from this...

I don't have a potting bench, but as it was misting off and on, I worked under the umbrella, on my back deck.

I did a tray of assorted coleus.

I use regular potting soil, and the 4 inch pots that I save each spring, when I buy annuals.

I also did a tray of toad lilies, desert roses, and a couple other plants.

I've never rooted a desert rose before, but hey, why not?  Free plants are all good.

These should all root quickly, especially, if our wet weather continues.

I'm going to root a few more trays over the next few days.  I also need to pot up the hydrangeas that I've been rooting in water.  If you remember, these cuttings were taken in June.

A few gallon size pots, to start some 'old garden' rose cuttings in.

These will stay in the shade for a while, eventually, I'll sit them out in the garden in dappled sunlight.  They won't get planted in the garden, until spring.

A new birdhouse, my Honey built for me.

And another... for me, but they're really for our winged friends to raise their families in.

We had a visitor yesterday, lying around in our boat ramp.  One of its siblings, somewhat shyer, was also chilling out in the water.  We usually have a couple small ones, like these two-footers, in our canal during summer.  They find their way out to the lake, when they get a little larger.

Soon, after I saw the gators, it began to rain too steady to remain outside.  I took that as nature's way of giving me 'permission', to go inside and be a little lazy. 


July 24, 2015

Garden Chat ~Central Florida

It's rained off and on, all day today, but I'm not complaining, I'm bragging!  We've had several good rains this week, and the plants are already responding to the extra moisture.  I did some weeding in between showers, the roots come out so much easier when everything's sopping wet.  Rainy days are the best for taking pictures too.  I'm always talking about the shade out back, and my little deck, just out the back door, here it is...

This is where we have coffee each morning, unless it's raining, then you'll find us on the front porch.

On the days we're working outside, we have lunch here, and it's where we always relax with a glass of iced tea.

Part of our live oak canopy.

We recently had branches trimmed that were heading over top of the house, but we still have plenty of shade.  There's two more live oaks to the left of these.

On to the front...the rain hasn't helped the roses too much, it's going to take some cooler weather for them.

On a whole, most things are looking refreshed.

Butterflies and hummingbirds were zooming about everywhere today, they're a big part of what makes gardening worthwhile.  The Zebra Longwing, that so nicely sat for a portrait, is Florida's State may have known that, but I just learned that today.  Lately, we've had an abundance of them, as well as the Swallowtails.

Looking all cheerful.

I don't even know what it is, some kind of houseplant.  Anyway, I stuck it in this rock several years ago(hardly any soil in it), and it just keeps growing.  I wish everything was that easy.  I'll leave you for now, happy gardening. 

July 22, 2015

Central Florida Shade Plants

Shade, in Florida, is a beautiful thing this time of year.  I've enjoyed our back deck, under the live oaks, so much this summer.  Honestly, without the shade we have, I wouldn't be spending much time outdoors, which would make for a miserable me.  The sunny gardens, out front, are only visited after a cooling rain, or early in the morning.  By nine o'clock, I flee the sun drenched front, and retreat to our shady haven around back.  This morning , while checking out front for new blooms, I came upon these two visitors...

Tiger swallowtail.


Butterflies seemed to be everywhere this morning, 'tis the season.  I followed several around, but they were 'nervous nellies' and wouldn't land, so I left them in peace and headed around back.  While I may not have many blooms under the leafy, oak canopy, I am not without color.  Caladiums and coleus do a wonderful job of livening up the shadows...   

Caladiums will always be my number one plant choice, for shade gardens.  The punch of color they add, their ease of care, and the fact that they return each season, bigger and better, makes them deserving of praise.  Coleus too, brighten up a shady spot, but they are an annual where I live, so they have to be purchased every season.  When I began this post, I thought I could easily rattle off my three favorite shade loving plants, but I'm stopping at one, and calling all the rest my favorites.    If you haven't figured it out yet, I love shade plants.  


Hostas bring the essential, restful green that a garden full of coleus and caladiums need.

They also have beautiful blooms.

Gingers are great shade plants, and are so varied.  I have curcumas, which are 'hidden gingers',  Disney, Peacock, Pine Cone, Shell and other gingers.

Variegated ginger leaves.

Then I have shrubs... azaleas, camellias, night blooming jasmine and of course, hydrangeas.  Hydrangeas occupy the only shady spot in my front yard.  Wouldn't you know, caladiums too.

Spring bloom.

Now, in the morning sun.

Just a few more photos of my 'shady friends'.

You're unique, your garden should be too.  Thanks for visiting.