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"Possibility and promise greet me each day as I walk out into my garden. My vigor is renewed when I breathe in the earthiness and feel the dirt between my fingers. My garden is a peaceful spot to refresh my soul." Meems

Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Florida Summer Gardening

Yes, it seems endless.  In Florida you never know exactly how many months summer will occupy. It begins too early and wanes too slowly and always too late for my liking. This week the calendar indicates the return of one of my favorite seasons.
September 2015; Part of the back garden from the pergola
If only Florida got the memo. Florida doesn't seem to read calendars. Especially when it comes to the change of seasons. I think we can all agree Florida does summer very well. It might be the only truly predictable season. Hot and humid. Hot and humid with a chance of rain. Hot and humid again. No need to look at the weather report. Hot and humid. You can bet on it.
The Birdhouse Garden. All the foreground plants were planted last summer. You can read about it and view more pics here.
So, while it still feels like summer in Florida I'm going to do some catching up here. I'm back tracking a bit and posting a few photos from the summer garden that, due to my own procrastinating, I never got around to including here.
The pathway that leads to the rest of the backyard beyond the Birdhouse Garden.
I admit, as far as gardening goes, I used to loathe summers in Florida. Go ahead. Put your hands in the air if you do or ever did dislike Florida gardening in summer. My garden suffered because I dreaded the humid conditions that greet you like a wet, warm blanket (yuck) when you walk outdoors in summer.
Summer glories. Rudbekia from seed flowering in large galvanized pots mixed with salvia and Caladiums.
Over the years I have changed my attitude about Florida summer gardening. I get out very early in the morning for summer gardening. My body seems to acclimate better to the humidity when I get started early. Even though the humidity tries to swallow me, drenched me and sap the strength out of me. Humidity is a bully. It is mean. It aims to drain all the good energy and inspiration I start out with. You know it's true if you garden in Florida.
So many inches of rain this July and August. 
I won't let humidity get the best of me. These days I actually wait for summer to do some of my work. Spring is Florida's dry season. Summer is Florida's rainy season. We might not know for certain when the steady rains will start, but rest assured, they will start and then you can count on them. Rain will come. The steady rains inspire me.
Deep pink Pentas surround my blue bottle tree. 'Tapestry' and 'Radiance' Caladiums keep them company adding color all summer long.
I'm inspired to go dig up those baby Pentas that seeded themselves in the spring. I move them around to more suitable locations. I'm inspired to divide and transplant ornamental and native grasses, lilies, and many other plants with a rhizome root system.  Sprigs of Pentas, African basil, Salvias, Amaranthus, and Coleus (plus many more) root quickly in small pots in these summer conditions. When I know it's going to rain, it propels me onward to get outside before the rain and get my small rooted cuttings in the ground.
The back corner of the NE side grew up to be full size plants this year. Last summer this entire area was planted from cuttings and divisions. 
Summer rains save me so much time and energy. Irrigation from heaven. It waters-in all my summer plantings without any help from me. I don't have to drag hoses all over the garden to make sure the sun doesn't zap the soil too dry before the roots get established.
Caladiums thrive in hot and humid conditions. 'Debutante' in the front garden. 
I really appreciate rain-cooled summer days,too. Any drop in temperature on a hot, steamy day in Florida is a reprieve. I've learned to enjoy every season in my Florida garden. I'd rather be outdoors than anywhere else.

Since we built the pergola at the end of last winter, that is where you'll find me most mornings at the break of day and as often as possible at the end of day, too. Every season. Florida's summer no longer dictates to me when or if I garden. We've become friends. We get along much better now that I accept summer's conditions and I've learned to work around them.

What about you? Do you loathe summer or have you tried to make friends with it?
Happy Gardening,

**** Come hang out with me and other gardening friends for daily updates from Hoe and Shovel on Facebook... here's the link
:*** Hoe and Shovel on Facebook**


If you've just arrived to this page as a new gardening friend or perhaps missed the back story about how we moved from our home and garden of 30 years to the house next door you can catch up here. 

All material © 2007-2015 by Meems for Hoe and Shovel Gardening Blog. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Why I Wait to Plant Caladium Bulbs

'Puppy Love'

It is so very tempting to jump the gun and plant Caladium bulbs in springtime when the soil and air first begin to warm. New shoots of Caladiums from the year(s) before respond to the seasonal transition and lingering sunshine. Out they come, slowly unfurling into glorious shocks of brilliant color. Fingers itch to put more of them in the ground right away.
'Burning Heart' is the larger, background Caladium with 'Tiki Torch' bordering.
It's perfectly acceptable to plant Caladium bulbs anytime after your last frost date and when the temperatures warm to above 65F (or so) consistently. But, I like to wait. Caladiums respond best to warm, moist soil, and humid air. These are the conditions that make them best suited for summer foliage plants. As my Florida gardening friends are well aware, our spring season is typically very dry.
'Classic Pink' in the front garden.
I don't know about you, but I tire of dragging hoses around to my newly installed plants in the spring. Caladiums do not tolerate drought conditions for any enduring length of time. As a matter of course, they prefer our summer rainy season. Happy they are to receive a good daily downpour as long as the soil they're planted in drains well. You don't want to put them where water collects.
'Puppy Love' in the front garden.
As difficult as it may be to wait past spring to plant, I do. My bulbs are ordered early from Classic Caladiums for the best selection. I don't actually have them delivered to my doorstep until June and often don't get the last of them planted until July (or later). At that point the soil is warm (day and night) and our summer rainy season has kicked in full force. New sprouts from bulbs rocket out of the ground in a matter of days and colorful foliage unfolds in what seems like time-lapsed speed.
'Celebration' under the blue bottle tree and 'Radiance' on the right in the back garden.
Happy heart-shaped faces of reds, greens, pinks, white, and even salmon colors shine for the entirety of summer, and often into fall, when planted later. The general life-span of Caladium plants each year when they sprout or re-sprout is about 150 days.
'Tiki Torch' mixed with 'Desert Sunset' in pots.
I prefer my annually planted bulbs, with their dazzling foliage show, to peak mid-August into September when many of the spring blooming flowers have faded.

'Lemon Blush' and 'Desert Sunset'
Summer is Caladium season. They thrive with very little attention once the rainy season begins and provides them with plenty of nutritious water from heaven.
'Classic Pink' to the left and 'Lemon Blush' to the right.
My garden is chocked full of Florida-Friendly and Florida native plants, but Caladiums are the stars of my summer garden. Waiting to plant them until after the spring dry season is well worth the patience required.  Especially when August rolls around and there is still ample color gleaming in my garden from their easy-care foliage.

*** All Caladiums shown are varieties from and sold by Classic Caladiums.

*** Other articles I've written on Caladiums.

**** Come hang out with me and other gardening friends for daily updates from Hoe and Shovel on Facebook... here's the link: *** Hoe and Shovel on Facebook **


If you've just arrived to this page as a new gardening friend or perhaps missed the back story about how we moved from our home and garden of 30 years to the house next door you can catch up here.

All material © 2007-2015 by Meems for Hoe and Shovel Gardening Blog. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

September 2010

Back Garden: October 2010

Louise Philippe: Antique Rose

Tropical Pathway