You thought I didn't realize it was the first week of spring with my title. Truth is, I admit, I started writing this blog several weeks ago.
It WAS a wonderful winter and I also realize I have been absent from this blog. Not at all absent from gardening. Honestly, could Floridians have asked for a more beautiful winter season? Winter is probably the time of year I love most. It's so refreshing when the temperatures drop into the 40's at night and the daytime temps rise to high 60's. Dream weather for me.
Although there isn't nearly the maintenance to keep up with in the garden during winter there are still plenty of gardening days to keep a Florida gardener busy. The weather is so inviting with all that beautiful sunshine and less humidity, it makes you want to find ways to be outside,
Weeds and more weeds right? Weeds you don't even see during the other seasons. They pop out because it's also their favorite weather. Cool nights, warm days. Rather than let weeds go all winter and collect them all at once when it warms up, I feel so far ahead of the seed heads that can spread the weeds when I'm diligent to pull them along and along. You will love your garden much more when it's time to trim back in spring if you aren't scurrying around also managing winter weed control. It's so much easier to pull weeds when it's cool anyway.
Florida has so many months of hot, sweltering heat that the cooler months inspire me to get in gear on new projects. I wait for a cold winter day to start new planting beds. This year that meant a mid-January weekend. I watched the weather and in anticipation of a day staying in the 50's F (no sweating on that day) I had potting soil and mulch delivered to be ready for my project.
|The southwest end of the front garden. It needed a bit of a balancing refresh. The northwest end (next to the driveway) is all plants. I've been thinking since we moved in here that this end needed plants instead of grass.|
For over a year I've been mulling over a solution for this corner of the front garden. The grass needed to go, but there are two pine trees that shed badly above this space. If you have pine trees you know how messy they are. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the needles for mulch. But those same needles get caught in every branch of every shrub and literally layer on top and through the branches of underplantings beneath the trees. It's a catch-22. Love the pine needles to collect for mulch; dislike them hanging in the Azalea shrubs and drowning out the smaller ground covers. In the end I've decided to keep the pine trees and make the best of it.
|This photo is taken from the opposite view as the one above. The end of my property line is a couple of feet beyond the cardboard. A strip wide enough for one mower swipe.|
|In this photo (taken from the street) it isn't finished, but a good start with perennials and low-lying shrubs.|
Making decisions about what to plant in this spot has been interesting. I knew for certain I wanted to add Agapanthus. My elderly neighbor supplies me with an extremely hardy and vigorous variety that we haven't been able to find in garden centers. There is a good number of these beautiful lilies planted at the northwest end opposite of this. It should look pretty great when they all bloom at once. That probably won't happen this year. For some reason Agapanthus like to hold out on me for a good year after being transplanted. I dug up about 20 of them from my neighbor's yard to transplant here and so far they all seem to be adjusting pretty well. I just cut off the leaves that yellow from the shock of dividing the bulbous roots.
|This was the best BEFORE photo I could find taken in early January. |
From the street you can see the entire corner is entirely lawn. It has a gentle slope toward the street/rocks.
|Photo taken the first day of spring, 2016, from the street. See, I really do know it's not still winter in spite of my title.|
|Another view of the front garden this week with some of the Azaleas deciding to peak for spring's arrival. We like this patch of lawn that breaks the expanse and gives the eye a rest between gardening beds.|
I've removed a lot of grass in this new garden already, but mostly in the back yard. I don't have plans to remove anymore in the front after this. Do you remember my front yard projects from my old garden? There wasn't a blade of grass left in that front yard by the time I took out one section at a time.
The weather this week in West Central Florida? A surprisingly cool front came through making the beginning of spring feel a bit more like Florida's winter wonderful! I'm loving every minute of it. Happy spring.
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