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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.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

When Winter Decides to Pass You By


Spring began in December at Hoe and Shovel. I know some of my gardening friends right here in Florida were visited by some dipping temperatures this winter. But here we were barely noticed by winter.

Only two or three nights when we dipped below freezing and hardly a plant was affected. I always attribute my protective microclimate to the canopy of mature oak trees.

I've diligently worked to install cold hardy plants into every planting bed as insurance for harsher conditions. That way *if* I lose my tropicals the entire garden isn't devastated.

But WOW! this year has been so nice. And SO different than the last four winters when we had so many frosts and unusually cold nights.

When winter passes you by it means getting to see winter bloomers that haven't flowered in January or February or March in many years.

Beauty that inspires outdoor activities, playtime, gardening time, breathing deeply, meditating pauses.

With mostly spring-like days encouraging growth of all the plant life there are annuals wildly sprawling when ordinarily they would be knocked back by natural conditions.

Don't worry the fast-growing Lantana camara is contained in a pot. It hides the well pump in the berm.

I'm thinking the Musa Sumatrana that seems to take forever each year to come back from the cold will finally put on some good growth and look its best by the end of spring -- for a change.

Never has the spinach tree bloomed in winter. It is a tender one that my friend KH (hugs, My Friend)gave me from a cutting. This year it has a chance to actually look like a small tree.
The butterflies love the small white blooms it produces.

Tropical leaves of all sorts continue to stand tall and erect through *the winter that wasn't*.

Tropicals are happy.

Color and blooms abound.

It's been a bit strange I have to say. Instead of cutting back due to frost damage I'm cutting back greenery and even flowers just for the sake of pruning perennials for their health. I like it for a change. It reminds me of the mild winters this area was known for when I was growing up.

It will be interesting to see how different the garden looks by summer. Starting out with almost no set backs. Gardening is always full of surprises. Happy 'official' spring!!! Isn't it exciting!!!

*** For ID or more information on any photo just click on it to take you to the web album with captions describing each one (you'll have to back click to come back to the blog).

20 comments:

  1. Thank you once again for the beautiful photos and for sharing your gardens with us! This is my first spring since starting my beds..I am so excited to see the lush growth and flowers.

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  2. Wow your garden looks like it hasn't missed a beat this winter. It looks so lush and beautiful. I like these kinds of winter too. LOL!

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  3. Fabulous and so lush...we did have winter with cold temps but a third of the snow. Now spring is here a month early with temps in the 80s..unheard of for us up N in the snow belt...

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  4. Your garden is spectacular! I can't imagine having so much growth so early in the season. I was hoping for a few great snow storms this year but we barely had a dusting. Hopefully, we'll get blasted next year. You have a wonderful blog! :o)

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  5. Kinda scary the lack of our (mild) winter here...when does everything "rest"? We are picking tomatoes when we should be planting them...gorgeous photos!

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  6. Dear Meems ~ What wonderful plants you have there in your gardens. I am always inspired when I visit you.

    I have a question for you. Can I use black oak (?) leaves as mulch? Our neighbors' tree is hanging over our property and depositing tons of the small leaves and little acorns too. I'd have to cull out the acorns, but there is some nice dirt forming under the leaves the past couple of years so that made me want to ask.

    Happy spring gardening ~ FlowerLady

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  7. Laura,
    You picked a good year to get started. With a mild winter it will give your new growth a great jump on maturity.

    Lona,
    It has been a mild one for much of the country. Nice to have a break once in a while. :-)

    Donna,
    Spring is early... I hope no surprises for you late in the season.

    Casa,
    I suppose if you're going to have snow you might as well wish for a blanket of it. :-)

    Cindy,
    Funny how the tomato seasons this year overlapped. We had better tomatoes mid-winter than mid-summer when it is too hot.

    FlowerLady,
    I can't think of any reason why you couldn't use black oak leaves for mulch. I thought they were larger than average with 7 or so lobes (like fingers)? The larger the leaf the better it is to shred them first. You could definitely pile them somewhere and allow them to break down and then use the composted leaves.

    Thanks so much, WG!

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  8. As a Floridian who gets summer-weary, I missed cold weather this winter. But as a gardener, I loved it! Plants that typically would die back to the ground, like passionvine and firebush just kept on truckin'.

    Your garden must be a delight with so many beauties in bloom now!

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  9. I've never seen a lantana that color combo. You're so right, it was an easy winter for us. Looking forward to sunflowers sooner than usual here!
    Happy Spring, Meems!

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  10. It was definitely a wonderful winter and I have enjoyed all the early blooms. Hopefully, we've turned the corner on cold winters and can look forward to future pleasant winters.

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  11. I too am wondering what summer will bring. Your gardens look beautiful and lush as always!

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  12. I am so excited spring is here - happy spring! What a lush and beautiful garden, your photos are amazing. I loved the African irises and was also surprised to see the spinach. Gardening is always an adventure. I just started mine and was working with my son - the only problem is he started digging up flowers instead of planting them :) Just made the progress a bit slower...

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  13. Hi Meems,

    Yes, I'm still going back to your older posts - actually, all the time! The photo links don't work on these. I wanted to see how in the world you have that gorgeous pink lantana in a pot - it looks huge! But when you click on the photo, it says something like "not found". Love your yard and all you do with it.

    Carol
    Jacksonville, Florida

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  14. Carol,
    Thank you for looking back at older posts and for letting me know the links aren't working. I checked all the properties and they should click over to the album. Hopefully it was just a glitch the moment you were trying it and all is well now. Let me know if you try it again and it doesn't work. That lantana was given to in a 1" pot and I stuck it in the side of the pot with the existing plants. This winter it took over and loved January. It makes a great cover for the well pump!

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  15. Carol,
    Thank you for looking back at older posts and for letting me know the links aren't working. I checked all the properties and they should click over to the album. Hopefully it was just a glitch the moment you were trying it and all is well now. Let me know if you try it again and it doesn't work. That lantana was given to in a 1" pot and I stuck it in the side of the pot with the existing plants. This winter it took over and loved January. It makes a great cover for the well pump!

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  16. Hi Meems,

    I'm sorry to let you know, but I still get the message "Sorry, that page was not found." All of your photos in all of your other blog postings work - it is only the photos in this posting with which I have had trouble. (I have had tried a number of times to look at that Lantana camara, so it wasn't a one-time thing.) I think you need to log out of your both your blog and your Picasa account to truly view your blog as a visitor and see it the way we (I) do.

    So a one-inch pot?! WOW! I just put a white one (Snow Flake) in the yard and I've been keeping an eye on it - but maybe it has some plans I don't know about!

    Thanks for all of the help, advice, etc.

    Carol
    Jacksonville, Florida

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  17. Dear Carol,
    I am so sorry for the trouble. I have changed the settings in this album to make them Public. I've checked to see if I can click on it without being logged in and it seems to be working. Kindly let me know when you have been able to see the photos you'd like to see. I'll go back in and change the settings again. I generally have my albums set to 'anyone with a link' rather than open to the public. The link is suppose to work from the blog. Grrrr. Thanks as always for your interest and your love of plants and all things Florida!
    Meems

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  18. It's working now! Yippee! Thank you so much.

    Carol

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Again I find myself apologizing for the word verification. I've tried several times to keep it off. When it is off I am inundated with spam. I've gotten emails that folks aren't able to leave a comment and yet there are comments that show up. Thank you to those who try and to those who do leave comments. I appreciate every one who visits, even those who only read and come here for the photos.
Have a blessed day!
Meems


September 2010

Back Garden: October 2010

Louise Philippe: Antique Rose

Tropical Pathway