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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, May 24, 2015

Sunshine on my Garden

So what's the best thing about ample Florida sunshine in the garden? Flowers. Yes, enough light to grow a variety of flowers. I refuse to grow fussy flowers though. The plants (trees, perennials, shrubs) in my sunny garden that produce flowers absolutely must survive on mostly rainfall.
Daylilies adore sunshine
During the driest season (spring for us;some winters), once in a great while, I turn on my irrigation. Only when a dry spell twists my arm and forces me do it. Did you know your garden will adjust to less water than you think it needs. Over-watering teaches your plants to demand more.

Gardening with an abundance of sunshine is all new to me. My previous garden was mostly shady in front and back. This garden has an open area in the center; between the trees situated along the perimeter. That gaping hole allows morning sun, midday sun, and afternoon sun to stream down in hot, dry, glorious rays. Good for growing flowers and foliage I used to only dream about.

May 24, 2015
There's a story about these daylilies. You know I have a story about most of the plants in my garden! I'm sure you do also. Because every plant means something. And some plants mean more than others. And the backstory of design and thought and reason is just as important as the result. 
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So about those brightly colored burnt orange and yellow daylilies ... from my house next door I noticed them flowering each year. They especially caught my attention because I didn't have enough sunshine for daylilies to flower sufficiently. They were planted in a rather insignificant clumping fashion with no particular style, yet they were faithful to flower. It was clear to me they were an old, reliable variety whose scapes tower high above the evergreen strappy foliage.



When we bought THIS house (with the daylilies) I transplanted many of them to my sunniest spot (in the other house) and hoped for the best. THEN, when we decided to sell THAT house and live here permanently, I moved the daylilies BACK TO THIS HOUSE. Did you follow that? Whew! Bottom line is those daylilies are mine! :-)


An old photo from August 2014 soon after I transplanted the daylilies (that's them in the front). The sunny garden has four sides because it is in the center of the garden. This is the angle facing northerly.
Before and After photo.
This angle is from north to south across the width of the back yard. Due east is to the left of the plantings in this photo.
When I dug out more grass in the back last year I placed the daylilies in a more prominent position than they originally held. I divided them, spread them out, and multiplied them by planting the little plantlets they produce when they are finish blooming. They've adapted well and now they are blooming their big burnt orange heads off. They mean a lot to me because they belonged to my previous neighbor. That's the daylily story that makes me smile every time I see them. I'm pretty sure they are smiling back at me in all their bright glory.
In this sunniest section of the garden I've included a mix of tough Florida natives and suitable Florida-Friendly plants. Right plant- Right place is the key to sunny gardening. It's the key to ALL successful gardening. Most of the plants I chose flower during one season or another.  What fun it has been to have this new experience. A partial list of the suitable plants includes Bulbine frutescens 'Yellow Rocket', crown-of-thorns (Euphorbia milii), Louisiana irises 'Sinfonietta', African irises (Dietes vegeta), native grasses (Fakahatchee and Elliot's Love), Pentas, Agastache, Thryallis, plumbago, roses,  red bottlebrush tree (Callistemon), Indian Hawthorn 'Majestic Beauty' trees, powderpuff tree (pink), dwarf powderpuff, dwarf bottlebrush (Callistemon Citrinus 'Little John'), Allamanda, maple-leaf hibiscus 'Mahogany Splendor', Calamintha, Pineland Lantana (not invasive), swamp sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius),  perennial peanut and lion's tail.
Standard bottlebrush tree I moved from my other garden. It never bloomed there. For 4 years. Why? Not enough sun.
Okay, there's more. There really is. 'Wendy's Wish' Salvia, coonties, Rosinweed, cat whiskers, cross vine 'Tangerine Beauty' (Bignonia capreolata), African blue basil, Celosia 'spicata', Fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus), Coccinea salvia, blackberry lily, scorpion's tail, Carolina aster, St. Bernard's lily, spotted beebalm (Monarda punctata) and of course there are sun-loving Caladiums. That's not all, but I'm sure I've lost you by now.

I didn't even realize how many different plants I had planted until I started typing. Whew! I've been busier than I thought.
May 24, 2015
Do you know what might be even crazier? Most of these plants came from my other garden by way of small rooted cuttings or divisions or transplants. Several of them were pass-along plants from gardening friends and neighbors. I've only purchased a very few in this part of the garden. Now that's been super exciting and those gifts from others has added to my sunny gardening fun.
Orange barred sulphur on salvia (not sure the variety~ salvia cutting from my neighbor.)
When we first moved here I was actually thinking I would add trees right away. A little time to mull over the space, observe it for a while, start getting the feel for the lay of the land and I changed my mind. Those factors along with the challenge of figuring out how to make it work was all I needed to determine I'd leave that wide open spot for the sun to beam down from the sky.
White Peacock butterfly on Agastache 'Blue Fortune'
Butterflies thrive in the sunny garden. There are hosts plants and nectar plants throughout my garden.

I've had a blast learning to plant and tend my new sunny garden. I try to make sure I work there early in the morning or late in the evening. It's excessively hot once the sun comes out. Timing is everything for gardeners. If I work it at the right time the work there is just as enjoyable as tending the shadier parts of the garden.

What's blooming in your sunniest garden this late spring?

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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:
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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.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Florida Wildflower Garden

Recently I had the joy of visiting a private garden in Plant City with my fellow Hillsborough County Master Gardeners. The owners have created a remarkably extensive wildflower garden in the area surrounding the house on their 8+ acres of open woodland. It was one of the most unique gardens I've ever had the pleasure of walking through.

Patches of golden yellow and bright lavender flowers from wild phlox and (Rudbekia) black-eyed Susans created flowing waves among the fields of grass.  



Winding pathways made from brick pavers and some of crushed shell meander through the front garden. Florida-Friendly foundational shrubbery like neatly trimmed Ilex Schilling contrast perfectly with lanky yellow native Rosinweed that blooms profusely in spring. Every space in between was a mix of Gaillardia, Narrow-leaf sunflowers, black-eyed Susans, Pentas, coonties, frost weed, gardenias, milkweed and many more. The huge, ancient live oaks with their broad, long limbs reaching into the blue sky act as strong architectural features around the perimeter. As the day progresses the shifting shade they provide creates a canopy of relief.

Relief the wildflowers don't need. They are quite happy to thrive beyond the oaks in the wide open heat and sunlight.

A pergola in the front garden is well placed along one of the pathways.

Every part of this garden was artfully designed by the owner. The butterly bench! Wow.


More Rudbekia along the side garden.
Butterflies everywhere.  This one, a permanent and perfectly hovering structure.



The back was an open field with wildflowers thickly planted in a huge bed and heavily mulched. Beyond the tended beds are self-seeded mounds of golden Rudbekia that draw your eye toward the horizon.

A mix of sun and shade is a blessing in any garden. In this one it seemed to be perfectly distributed. In truth, it was this wise gardener who used her sunlight and her shade to the best possible advantage. She put her signature on her land by installing the right plants in the right place and created an amazingly artful and beautifully designed one-of-a-kind garden.



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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.

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