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Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Certain places in the garden, more than others, have a stronger pull to my soul. This particular place holds its very own ambiance and gives that feeling of a garden within a garden. Being there I can hear the whispers of quiet urgings to be still, to listen, to pause. It's like a sanctuary in the midst of the wide open world.
It's been two years (although it surely seems like yesterday) since I covered up the grass (September/October of 2009) linking several expanses of planting beds. It was accomplished by layering newspapers and pine straw to create a pathway. You can go here to see the detailed "how-to" and more before and after photos.
From the beginning of its creation I've been calling this area in the back gardens the 'tropical pathway'.
It isn't because there are exclusively tropical plants here but it is a most protective place for them. Implementing my usual philosophy of mixing up Florida-friendly plants with sturdy natives this area is a blend of many varieties that require little care.
The towering, majestic oak trees have grown a dense canopy allowing just the correct amount of filtered light through as the sun rises and sets each day.
So many exotic and typically cold-sensitive plants such as bromeliads, ground orchids, begonias, bird's nest fern, stromanthe, spathiphyllum, and philodendrons are snuggly sheltered from summer's intense sunshine as well as freezing cold temps. There have been a few casualties in our record-breaking winters of late but no fatalities so far.
The soil here is rich with organic natural materials such as oak leaves decomposed over many years. This contributes to the water holding power and also good drainage which most of these plant types require.
With the addition of new plants ~~ either by divisions, gifts or the ones I can't pass by in the garden center~~ each season the pathway has become narrower and narrower.
These plants don't mind being crowded in together with their neighbors. It is the way of the rainforest.
It eased the width of the passageway when I recently ripped out the volunteer impatiens that had swallowed up the seating area. (They'll be back I'm sure ~~ it's what they do around here).
The butterfly garden that was added a year later adjoins this area. A separate pathway leads one to the property line on the south side. The autumnal southward sun coupled with the natchez crape shedding its leaves is allowing much needed rays for blooming.
This is the season for the white philippine violets to show off their pristine blooms. It is a perennial self-seeder that pops up in lots of places around the tropical pathway.
It is this time of year when the garden is particularly lush... even the pathway leading to the compost piles is worthy of a photo.
I find this peaceful and shadiest part of the garden a most restful spot. The stillness and quiet is alive with the abundance of nature. It is calming to my soul and confirming that gardening is the most productive therapy.
Because of the positioning of the birdfeeders throughout the garden the tropical pathway is also the corridor the birds use to fly low between the feeders and birdbaths. They are free entertainment! Visit Lowe's Garden Grow Along here to read my latest article regarding the birds that visit Hoe and Shovel.