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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, 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 **

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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.



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

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 **

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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