Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Progression of a New Planting Bed
It is July (you knew that) and for some reason I have never gotten around to sharing the changes that took place in the back garden this spring. While I'm working on the front lawn project let's back up a few months and have a look at another planting bed I created this season.
As far back as last fall it was decided there was a need (don't laugh, family & friends- I did need it) for an additional planting bed in the back garden. The need came in the form of balance. The north side of the back garden was lacking its very own planting bed which would aid in carrying the eye all the way across the garden from south to north. I'm definitely guilty of overplanting the views I see most from the kitchen window and the back porch.
Thinking ahead and in anticipation of the time involved in expanding the veggie garden we got started on the new project in January. First things first... the grass around the oak tree must be removed. Arrrrggghhhh ... sod removal.
It is as simple as 1) mark off the shape desired and 2) start digging.
With get-her-done resolve initially, the digging began... at the same time the veggie garden was tripling in size and I was expanding a bed on the south side. Then we had two freezes that month that not only took the wind out of my sails but they caused me to do some re-thinking in terms of what I would plant here.
The plants originally determined for use here with cuttings and divisions I had cultivated in the fall were not going to work for this northern exposure if it was important to factor in future occasional freezes. And after this year... it IS important.
Variegated liriope was divided and planted (112 of them to be exact) as a perimeter border. I don't usually do the border first but I was removing these plants from that other bed I was expanding and they needed a new home.
The next thing that went in came from the front garden. Well, initially they came from my dad's garden. I've been dividing them and moving them to the back in order to multiply as many as I can. A very hardy bromeliad with a favorite purple berry-like bloom that lasts for months and months.
I especially like the red foliage and when the sun shines through it - it is especially showy. By February I was deeply entrenched in the vegetable garden and the second bed I was expanding to make room for wildflowers and natives.
At this point there was not much being done to finish this project.
The native plants purchased as quite small specimens for very reasonable prices in March were planted out in stages as time allowed.
That native plant list included:
5 Saw Palmetto, Serenoa Repens
4 Coontie, Zamia floridana
9 Blue-eyed grass, Sisyrinchium angustifolia
9 Spider Wort, Tradescontia Ohiensis
3 Coral Bean, Erythrina Herbacea
2 Stokes Aster
1 Oakleaf Hydrangea
Coontie plants will not freeze, they are drought tolerant and they are slow growers. You can't beat that in Florida!
The morning sun filters through the trees giving the plants partial sun status. Then again in the afternoon the setting sun gives it another couple of hours of dappled sunlight.
By April the veggie garden was well underway and more time was allowed for this project. The bed was filling in with plants. I had done my best to allow for growth when placement decisions were being made. But it needed more of something.
I am happy with the way it shows up in photos at a distance now. And you know that is an essential element in the design of a garden. :-) Can you see it in the distant background to the left? No need to mention to Mr. Meems the nonsense I just said about photos and what shows up in the background and such... he's better off not knowing some of the thinking behind my digging and planting.
Turns out... in May when that cold air that killed so many things back in January was a distant memory I went right back to my old ways. I picked up some flowers and plants that will freeze and poked them in the spare spaces left for maturing natives.
Pentas are considered perennials here. They will come back after a freeze. That makes it more logical now doesn't it? Did you know butterflies are especially attracted to red pentas?
And no planting bed at Hoe and Shovel would be complete without some caladiums to brighten the view during the long summer months.
A ribbon of them winding through the longest side was planted with Scarlet Pimpernel and Red Flash accented as a sort of bow in the center of them.
The run down of plants in this bed excluding the natives already listed:
112 Variegated liriope ~~divisions from my garden
3 Variegated Shell Ginger~~divisions from my garden
7 Bromeliad ~~ divisions from my garden
1 Persian Shield - Rooted from my garden
8 Red Penta
2 Pink Firespike~~ rooted from my garden
1 Wild Violet (my neighbor just gave it to me- woo-hoo)
42 Society Garlic ~~ all divisions from my garden
11 African Iris ~~ all divisions from my garden
3 Holly Fern ~~ divisions from my garden
5 Variegated Schefflera ~~rooted from my garden
6 Pseuderanthemum, 'Black Varnish'
50 Scarlet Pimpernel Caladiums
8 Red Flash Caladiums
7 Gaillardia ~~ from seed
29 Giant Liriope ~~ divisions from my garden
All this detailed information is more for my records. I don't mind if you just look at the photos and let me know what you think.
By this time next year I may have to take a few things out to make room when everything fills in and matures.
It turned out to have mostly reds and purples for its color scheme. Which I admit wasn't a scheme at all ~~~When I look around my garden it is fairly obvious I am very drawn to those colors in the garden whether it be foliage or flowers.