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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.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Promises We Make to Ourselves

Do you make promises to yourself about your garden that are difficult to keep? When you get the chance to start a new garden after being in the same one for 30 years there are certain promises you might make to yourself.  Mostly promises about what you will or won't repeat in the new garden. You know what I mean? Some promises have to do with lessons learned from all those years of experience. Some are just simply new choices you promise to make based on the level of maintenance you think you want to sustain.
Pathway to the north. Perennial Peanut Groundcover encroaching into wide open pathway last week. 
I wrestled with what to do about the groundcover taking over the pathway. It is so lush and healthy as it creeps its way from one bed trying to reach the other.
Pathway to the north. Perennial Peanut Groundcover shaped with weed wacker a few days after photo above.
The mulched pathways in this area of the garden were large swaths of St. Augustine grass last summer when we moved here. In July/August I layered the grass with cardboard and covered it with 3-4" of pine bark to eliminate it. The new pathways created a unifying floor of mulch that connected 4 distinct spaces: the 2 sunny gardens, the Birdhouse Garden and the fire pit. The #1 promise to myself about the new pathways was to keep them wide and open (there's another one to the right also, see photos below). The one in the above photo leads north; the other (below) east, both with some curves along the way.

July 1, 2014, view from west to east BEFORE pathways.


Pathway from west to east AFTER pathways, photo July 2015.
They are each 10-15' wide at various points. In other words, I have to deliberately consider each installation along the borders in order to keep my promise to myself and not to allow whatever I plant to encroach into the open space. That's not an easy discipline for a plant/design/garden lover!
8.2.2014 I layered the entire pathway with cardboard and pine bark. Same pathway as first photo, only this photo is north to south. Same direction as photo below.
Almost a year later. Same pathway as first photo, only this photo is north to south. Same direction as photo above.
Recently, I trimmed the perennial peanut groundcover (Arachis glabrata) because it was creeping its way past the middle of the pathway (as you can see in the first photo). The Florida-Friendly perennial peanut was one of the few plants already growing in this bed when we bought this home, but it was barely surviving and weed-infested. I made the decision to keep it even though I had no prior experience with it. It is a lovely mat of soft green foliage and bright yellow flowers. It's easy enough to trim, but I've broken a promise. A promise to myself not to have any groundcovers in this new garden that needed regular maintenance like trimming with a weed wacker. I had to trim the groundcover in order to keep the other promise. I really do want those pathways to stay wide and open! With that confession, I will say I am sticking to most of my personal vows about this new garden trying to keep maintenance low (ish).

What about you? Which promises do you make about your garden and keep? Break?



**** 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 **

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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... http://www.hoeandshovel.com/2014/07/a-new-journey-bitter-and-sweet.html 


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

Saturday, June 27, 2015

A Year Later

Pinch me. I think I blinked and an entire year has passed.  June marks a year since I've been gardening in my new garden. What a year of gardening it has been!

Grass has diminished, gardens have increased, root cuttings became plants, transplants settled in, divisions have grown, structures have been built, and newly purchased plants continue to find their way to this new garden.
This was the first bit of grass that needed to be removed to make room for plants I couldn't live without from my other garden.
On June 1, 2014 we signed a contract to sell our previous home andgarden of 30 years. Before I could even begin to think about packing the house my mind raced with gardening plans. How was I going to keep my most beloved plants? Plants that loved ones and friends had generously shared with me over the years. How could I make enough space in my new garden quickly to at least start slips and divisions that I knew I couldn't afford to replace? I hired a couple of teenage helper-boys to start digging out grass on June 6, 2014. For the next 5 weeks I was on an Adrenalin high until we officially closed on the deal. The boys (usually one at a time) dug grass and moved the heavy pots and stones and garden furniture while I planted plants, mulched, and started root cuttings. If my amazing mom had not steadfastly urged me to start packing also (and helped me packed - along with so many family members) I'm not sure I would have ever made it inside the house to get our household stuff moved also. I would have been happy to just get the garden moved.


One of the stipulations when we signed the sale contract was that I could take my gardening accessories with me.The birdhouses in the Birdhouse Garden were moved over late June to their new home. You may remember that I had only had them for a year.  This scene remains one of my favorite spots in the garden. 

I picked that spot because it can be viewed from the open back deck and from the inside dining room as well as from so many vantage points in the garden. 


The opposite viewpoint. From the east looking back toward our open deck.
I'm surprisingly content and happy with the way this garden is coming along. Surprised because I cried a thousand tears at the decision to leave my old garden. This garden had some great bones to start with! There are always more projects to finish. Visions dance in my head with new ideas. That's what gardening is all about though. It's a journey. A working garden is never finished.
The Birdhouse Garden is on our south lot line and runs perpendicular to our house.  Our lot line ends about 30' beyond the chairs you see. The large banana trees you see in the background are my south neighbor's. The cypress hammock and water conservation to the south of us keeps our property filled with wildlife and visually adds to the width of our property. 
Thank you ALL for being so encouraging along the way and for following this journey. You have each been a huge source of inspiration every step of the way. Some of you have had to make much harder decisions and it was your stories of leaving your beloved gardens that comforted and consoled me when I couldn't imagine ever loving another garden. All is well. I do love my new garden. God knows me better than I know myself. He gave me the strength I needed when I needed it. 

More before and after photos to come...




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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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... http://www.hoeandshovel.com/2014/07/a-new-journey-bitter-and-sweet.html

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