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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.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Florida Garden: February GBBD

The azaleas at hoe and shovel have been blooming for a couple of weeks now.
I was so excited at the sight of them I already published one post with photos this month. Since then the white variety, 'Mrs. G.G. Gerbing' have begun to blossom. I'm especially fond of how the white shows up so well planted at the base of an island of oak trees with the background of
saw palmettos peeking out above them.

So while I was outside today I took even a few more photos of these wonderful blooms for my contribution to Carol's May Dreams Gardens February GBBD. Happy one year anniversary of Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, Carol. It is certainly a fun project for so many garden bloggers.

After all ... can we really have too many photos of azaleas to fill our senses in these bleak days of February? My magenta Formosa Azalea shrubs are some of the few plants I still have in my garden from when we originally purchased our home 24 years ago.

The side bar of my blog keeps a running log of what's blooming here so I won't repeat what's already there.
I thought this lantana could help get us in the mood for spring with its tender lilac coloration. Here I've purposed it as ground cover - I've planted the trailing lavender variety which joins together with white lantana under a red blooming Jatropha tree. Lantana also does well in containers as it spills over the sides. Even though all varieties are great for our hot humid weather I find they all bloom best with ample water.

Okay, I know this isn't exactly a bloom but I found it to be an unexpected wintery look. Besides that ... we don't get too much of the white fluffy kind of anything around here. These are the seed pods from scarlet milkweed. I've read in several places that milkweed isn't likely to bloom during the winter months but honestly these have never ceased blooming right through the freeze we experienced on Jan 2. I can't wait to see how many volunteer plants sprout up from this natural process of seeds floating away on silky parachutes to find new homes.

One more burst of fluffy white. Oddly enough the purple (pictured in my side bar) passion vine flowers a rather insignificant and kind of ugly orange blossom. Once the flower is spent this snowy spray burst forth from beneath the bloom. This wonderful vine supplies us with brilliant foliage color all year long.


  1. Love the azaleas, they just don't grow very well up here in Indiana. The soil is too alkaline, for one thing.

    All your blooms look great, and are wondeful to see in February.

    Thanks for joining in for bloom day again.
    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  2. At this time of year, when azaleas are blooming everywhere, I always think to myself - "Why the heck didn't I plant more azaleas?" So pretty!

  3. I could never get enough of azaleas. It is really only during the early spring that I long to be back in the south. I miss seeing azaleas everywhere.

    I really enjoyed your Bloom Day Post.

  4. Thanks for the great photos. We have lots of azaleas and they have done well here in TN until last years' late freeze and the drought. I vowed not to get new ones as replacements, but...We also have Mrs G. G. Gebring, one of the toughest and best of the lot, so glad it wasn't killed last year. Keep up the good work!

    Frances at Faire Garden

  5. Hi Meems,

    Great post. You can't be too thin, too rich or have too many azaleas. Teehee.

    The Korean azaleas grow well in Chicago and can endure our cold winters. And there's another outstanding cultivar named 'Karen' that is absolutely spectacular in bloom and habit.

    Another perfect day in Florida!

  6. Meems, these are wonderful...what I like about the very different gardening climates is that we'll get to enjoy azaleas several times, now, when you southern types have yours blooming, and again in May-June (for me) when mine come into bloom.
    You asked about the indoor azaleas; they are dwarf and not hardy here, grown for the houseplant trade, but I don't really know much more than that about them. They'd grow outdoors for you just fine, and in fact probably ARE types you'd grow. (Note to self...learn more about them!) And you were right--that was my bromeliad peeking out--it's doing very well, I posted about it a couple of weeks ago when it seduced me into bringing it home!

  7. Carol: It's always a treat when you visit. I was beginning to think there isn't anything that doesn't grow well for you... although I feel certain given the right soil you could grow azaleas!

    Thanks again for the GBBD fun! Have a great weekend.

    WG: It might be because when they aren't blooming they aren't the loveliest plant in the lot. Then again if you want more... there's always a way to get them. :-)Thanks for stopping by. You should be having some marvelous weather up your way these past few days.

    robin: Azaleas actually do much better north of my area and in AL, GA they are breathtaking and last a little longer. Thanks for popping in for GBBD.

    frances: I DO love the white variety and glad yours didn't freeze- I'm guessing yours will be blooming in a month or so. Look forward to seeing photos of yours when mine are all faded away. :-)

    Carolyn: You made me chuckle with your opening line... my thoughts exactly. I thought of you Friday and Saturday (and today even) when I was working in my garden for hours. THIS weather is so PERFECT. I don't want to oooo and ahhhh too much since our northern friends are having such a tough time with snow and such. But since you are here and you are getting to experience it too it's really hard not to. :-) Enjoy it!

    Jodi: I'm so glad you took the plunge and purchased the bromeliad. I hope it does well for you. The way I see it is even if it doesn't last as long as you anticipate- it still gives you lots of joy while it does last. I have that particular variety blooming in my yard right now.

    I look forward to seeing your azaleas later - that way my azalea joy is extended as well.
    Have a great weekend.

  8. I don't think there's such a thing as the "loveliest" plant - but azaleas must be on the shortlist.

  9. Love your azaleas - especiall with the fan palm leaf in the background! Beautiful combination. Mary Beth @ Cultivating Paradise

  10. HI Meems, your azaleas are beautiful. I am the same as Wicked Gardener. Every year I kick my self for not planting azaleas, but I had such bad luck with them before.

  11. sue: thanks so much for stopping by- I've peeked at your balcony garden in Milan and will come back for a more thorough look. You are right, I don't think there could be a loveliest flower... or tree... or bird...

    mary beth: so glad you popped in... I have to tell you I adore the palmettos... SO Florida and SO natural!

    rusty: believe me... every year I kick myself for not fertilizing them or doing whatever it is you are supposed to do to help them. So some years they do better than others.

  12. Beautiful photos. I'm jealous. I'm hoping to be able to grow azaleas at my new home. I enjoyed your blog today and it's fun to see stuff blooming.

  13. Anna- Thanks so much for stopping by for GBBD. In no time you'll be planting Azaleas at your beautiful new home. They should do well for you in N.C. I took a peek at the slideshow of your progress... it is a most lovely home... your back porch is wowzers!


Have a blessed day,

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