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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, August 14, 2007

florida natives

maybe because i'm a florida girl i am especially fond of saw palmettos. palmettos conjure up several feelings for me. they remind me of a time when florida wasn't as congested and the streets were not as wide; when there weren't as many restaurants and buildings and crowded neighborhoods. when we first found this house (23 years ago) even though i didn't know much about gardening i got pretty excited that we had substantial amounts of oak trees and at the base of them- palmettos.

i guess not everyone thinks of them as fondly. my former next door neighbors came from the north and they promptly removed all the palmettos from their landscape. i tried not to gasp out loud.

for me they serve as foundational plants - sort of the backdrop for all the other plants i've chosen to layer in front of them. as you can see by the photos i typically crowd other plant life right up next to them. in some areas it will be azaleas, sometimes it is bromeliads, in other areas it is caladiums or combinations of each of these.

Palmettos give me that feeling of both florida woods and the beachy tropical settings we all know and love who adore this beautiful state. i often cut the fronds for fresh arrangements to bring indoors. the bloom on them makes its own statement in a striking cut flower display.


  1. Okay, palmettos are nice, but how do you protect yourself from their stickly, prickly edges when you are working around them? As a Florida cracker girl, growing up in the southern half of the state where the palmettos abound, I suffered many a scratch from playing in the woods full of palmettos. And how do you control their growth, since they multiply so readily and you cannot kill them without a vigorous effort to remove them entirely as your neighbors did?

  2. sg: i hear ya... the saw-toothed leaf stems can cause some damage to human skin in a fast hurry. wearing proper clothing to cover arms and legs would help... but it is too hot here so i usually just try to be careful.

    as far as their growth i just don't let mine get bushy and wide. i keep (or try to anyway)the brown fronds trimmed off and only leave the healthy fronds that are growing upright.i've tried to acheive a 'natural' but 'kempt' look so i've planted things tightly together but i keep them from growing into and overlapping each other. hope that makes sense.

  3. I don't like palmettos. And I guess I'm a Florida cracker too. But they hurt and remind me of the desert. So dry and sharp and brittle looking. Not to mention all the SCRATCHES a girl can get.

    But your post was lovely...the writing and usual! Now go put some aloe on those scratches!

  4. Palmettos are one of my top 5 absolute favourites! When I read about your neighbours' removing them all, I pert near slopped my dripper! There are some varieties that aren't so prickly. We used to cut a frond, sharpen the end and stick a weinie on it to roast over an open fire. Then, of course, marshmallows. Aaaahhhh, those were the days... thanks for the memories! 8-]

    Have a JESUS-filled day! ^i^

  5. mlm: next time could tell me how you REALLY feel about palmettos?

    i keep thinking i should give YOU some aloe to have on hand around your house.

    sophie: i remember the hot dogs and marshmallows, too. we had such fun with them over the open fire in the woods. great childhood memories!

  6. Palmettos will always remind of days spend afield with my Pappa, hunting quail over fine bird dogs.

    The woods we hunted were chock full of palmettos and tall pines. They were some of the prettiest woods I have ever laid my eyes on. I often think while I am out there what it must have been like for those earlier settlers trying to traverse them in covered wagon and on horseback. Those stump base's must have made for treacherous going.

    I like them because like you mentioned they are just so Florida. I am glad you have kept them in the yard. It is no surprise those darn yankees took them out.;)

  7. nt: i am particularly glad you have those memories. what you describe is also what i experienced growing up with your papa.


Have a blessed day,

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