Red Powder Puff, Calliandra haematocephala~~ The only foundation plant I chose that isn't cold hardy to at least 25 degrees.
When creating a new space it is helpful to know what expectations you have from the area.
The idea of erecting a fence the length of our backyard has never appealed to me. Although many of our neighbors do have fences of some sort delineating each property line. Ours has always been wide open immediately to the north and the south on either side. I prefer the openness. Even so, I had been scheming to create some sort of natural barrier between us and our neighbor’s yard to the north. Not that I want to keep them out. Or us in.
It was more about appealing to the aesthetic value of framing that side of the back garden.
With the help of construction trucks running through my vegetable garden and into the back yard to dig a new water well for us in January all the mess they made actually jump-started me into some schemes I had conjured up in my mind last summer and fall.
You can see in the photo above the over-sized, above-ground portion of the well casing. My hope is that someday it will not be so visible. An eye-sore but like the well-diggers kept telling me, "you gotta have water". And they are right about that. The up-side is the handy location of the spigot for the back garden.
Tea olives are not the prettiest plant on the planet. At least not in Florida's climate. I'm pretty sure we are on the outer edge of the zone requirements. Still... they are worth their weight in gold for the immense fragrance produced from the tiny white clusters of flowers that are in bloom most of the year.
Having had my eye on them for a while and trying to figure out where to locate one or two at Hoe and Shovel it seemed fitting to purchase three of them to plant atop the new berm. They are slow growers, long lived, and cold hardy.
Cold hardy was a requirement for all the foundational plants going into this new planting bed.
It was my desire to incorporate some palms for what I consider a bit of a change of pace for Hoe and Shovel. Yet I felt they would blend in nicely with the existing environment. They would be my specimen trees if you will. Did I mention they had to be cold hardy!
The three I chose are each slow growing, cold hardy, and will only reach a mature height of around 20 feet.
- Chinese Fan Palm, Livistonia chinensis has large bright green leaves that are dramatically divided. Cold hardy to 15F
- European Fan Palm, Chamaerops humilis has fan shaped green leaves that grow more upright and stiff much like a Saw palmetto Serenoa repens (which I love, too). Cold hardy to 10F.
- Pindo Palm, Butia capitata has blue-green long, arching leaves. Pindo is under-used in our area as it is cold hardy to 10 F.
Florida Palm Trees has a most useful site with tips, ideas, and great information displayed in easy to use format when searching for a just-right palm for your garden.
The Coontie Palm, Zamia floridana is not really a palm although it is palm-like. It is a cycad. So I'm not really counting it as one of the palms I chose even though 5 more coonties were added to the new berm because the planting bed it links with also has coontie growing.
I like to mirror some plants for continuity that are growing nearby while introducing new ones for interest.
Rather than using the same plant for the entire border I decided to blend in a few different varieties. Making use of one of my favorites, Variegated Flax Lily Dianella tasmanica 'Variegata' it went in the length of the curvy front side. The side that faces inward toward the rest of the garden. Except for a few feet at the transition where this bed links to the next bed. There a blend of Liriope muscari 'Evergreen Giant' or Giant Liriope and Liriope muscari variegata or Lilyturf was incorporated.
Is your head overloaded yet? There's more. Oh, so much more than you likely want to know. But this is my journal. This is where I keep track of the projects. I'm happy you are tracking with me. We'll have more of a look-see in the next post. Lots more plant files coming up...