Check Out These Pages, Too!

"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 29, 2008

It's A Great Big World

Just to say the word “Florida” evokes thoughts of sea salted gulf waters, palm trees willowing in the breezes, bountiful lakes and rivers, estuaries, marshes, cypress heads, oak stands, palmetto fields, lush tropical flowers year-round, national parks galore, not to mention beautiful weather.

Florida is unique in so many ways. It is the only peninsular state surrounded by the powerful Atlantic Ocean on the East coast and the warm salty Gulf of Mexico on the West coast. Each coast offers a completely different feel with its own range of waterways, wildlife habitat, beaches, islands and attractions. If you’d like to visit both coasts, you can drive from one side of the state to the other is less than 4 hours. The panhandle area provides even more options for miles and miles of beaches with sand dunes made from sugary white sand.

Located midway down Florida's Gulf Coast, the Tampa Bay Area is a center for business, industry, tourism, retirement, and professional sports. Making up the bay area are the cities of Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, and numerous smaller towns and resorts. This area offers an amazing range of activities, attractions, and some of the best beaches in the country. The city of Tampa (which had fewer than 1,000 people when the Union Navy captured it during the Civil War) and the surrounding communities are home to over two million people.
Hubby and I were both born in Tampa as were our three children. A few years after we were married -even though we stayed in the same county --we moved out of the “big” city to a small town immediately north of the city limits. We decided it a good place to raise our kids on a quiet out-of-the-way street and still have the amenities of big city life close by. Our one-street-subdivision which has 26 nearly-acre lots dead ends into a cul-de-sac. Even though we have neighbors we have loads of privacy, due to the lay of the land, which is just what we were looking for all those years ago and still enjoy.
rhere Hoe and Shovel grows on our little plot of ground in this big world.
Being that I am so enamored with water, wildlife and the fabulous outdoors that is where I will focus my “where in the gardening world are you” challenge. Jodi at Bloomingwriter is not only a talented and gifted published author but she creatively came up with this idea to publish a post directing readers to our geographical location.
Tampa Bay is Florida’s largest open-water estuary stretching 398 sq. miles. Estuaries like Tampa Bay, where salt water from the sea and fresh water from rivers and uplands mix, are nurseries for young fish, shrimp, and crabs. The freshwater sources of the Bay are distributed among over a hundred small tributaries, rather than a single river. Wildlife abounds along the shores of Tampa Bay. As many as 40,000 pairs of birds--from the familiar brown pelican to the colorful roseate spoonbill--nest in Tampa Bay every year. Others, including sandpipers and white pelicans, are seasonal visitors. The bay is also home to dolphins, sea turtles, and manatees.

The Gulf Coast is best known for beautiful white-sand beaches and exciting offshore fishing. I am a big fan of the Gulf Coast and it is my preference for beaches. We are about an hour from the closest one. The waters are warm, shallow, and most often calm. Beaches are located along a string of sandy barrier islands created by wave-washed quartz sand.

Just north of the Gulf Coast is the Nature Coast of Florida. "A string of counties studded with emerald-like gulf waters, deep springs and rivers, stretching along the same Florida coast." This was how world-famous naturalist John Muir described The Nature Coast in 1867 and enchantingly the coast still holds this charm today.
Much of the area has remained unchanged from its original appearance. The west Indian manatee, Florida black bear, bald eagle, Florida sand hill crane, red cockaded woodpecker, least tern, gopher tortoise, Florida panther and many other mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians are some of the endangered species that call the Nature Coast home.

At times it seems rather odd to me that I have lived here all my life. Florida natives are few and far between these days- much less Tampa natives. Hubby really likes the heat, which I do not. But I am in love with everything else about Florida. If I could change one thing it would be to plop some mountains somewhere close by so I could get from beach to mountains in minutes. But then I guess it would be California.
Now as I got this project completed just under the deadline- hubby and I are headed off to one of Florida's gorgeous beaches for the weekend. See you when we get back. Have a wonderful weekend in your corner of the world.
Thanks, Jodi, this was fun.


  1. You have the most amazing trees where you live on the street !
    Such a beautiful area to garden in and wander about taking pictures. The heron is awesome in that picture. So are all the other pictures .. I think I would be overwhelmed by so much to look at all the time .. really nice post !

  2. I was thinking the same about the trees Joy. What a beautiful canopy.

    Meems, thank you for sharing your part of the world. It's beautiful were you are. I hope you have a wonderful beach weekend.

  3. I know about deadline driving to clear the head, believe me, Meems. So glad you did this post, because again, it showed aspects of Florida beyond what we normally think.
    Have fun on the beach, and send some warmth and sunlight our way--we're near frigid temps today though sunny, and suppposed to get rain AND snow tomorrow. It is to scream!

  4. I noticed the trees too. What a wonderful place to live, minus the heat of course. Enjoy your weekend!

  5. Very well done and interesting. I think it's kinda exotic where you are. I love your trees and street. The only wildlife I ever see is birds and deer. We got one thing in common--I bet you get as many bugs as we do! I really did enjoy your post it was very well done.

  6. Yes, those trees are spectacular! I've spent a bit of time in FL, but always on the Atlantic coast in the Miami, Boca, Fort Lauderdale area. Very much enjoyed your Garden Bloggers Geography Project. Thank you!

  7. What a beautiful street - driving down it must just put everyone in a happy mood - great post! Thanks for sharing all the history and info.

  8. Meems...
    This BLOG is beautiful!!!! I am so looking forward to my Bday present!
    Have a good getaway!

  9. Beautiful well thought out post with gorgeous photos, Meems. Your corner of the earth is lovely. You are 'one lucky girl'. I have never visited your area (yet) but my sister lives on Amelia Island, another 'Garden of Eden' with live oaks as well as palm trees. Enjoy the weekend. (We're getting there ... expecting 'balmy' weather in the 40s this week.)

  10. It does look like a great lifestyle down there and my wife and I have thought a few times about moving to north Florida, even more so when it is march and we still have a foot of snow on the ground and not an inkling of spring anytime soon

    Steve From
    The Power Gardeners Guide

  11. Joy: Thanks - I'm glad you took a look at my little piece of earth and liked the photos.

    lintys: When we bought our house 24 years ago- on my list of must-haves was mature shade trees. They have been a life-saver in so many ways gardening in Florida. Thanks for sharing my world with me.

    jodi-truly amazing the contrast in our worlds but I will be wishing I was you in a few months! We hit 79 degrees today with clear skies and sun - laid out on the beach- perfect tourist weather... maybe next year you can plan a winter vacation. :-)

    Robin: minus the heat is never going to happen but right now it is "to die for" weather. If only it would stay that way...

    Anna: Bugs never die here. At least you guys see freezing temps which sort of gives everything a rest. Thanks - I think it is kind of exotic too.

    Weed Wackin': Thanks for stopping by Hoe and Shovel. You've spent your time in some beautiful places in Florida. We took a weekend trip to Boca last February- it is spectacular.

    Mary Beth: thanks- I'm glad you stopped by and glad you like my trees... we really do too.

    Pat: Thanks. You have a great getaway too.

    Joey: I appreciate your kind words. Thanks for visiting my corner of the world. I LOVE Amelia Island- it is so 'old Florida'. Balmy at 40 is funny! I always get excited if we get to 40 around here... means we can wear some of our sweaters or a cute jacket.

    Nancy: Thanks so much for walking with me through my world. It was a spectacular weekend. Like I said to Jodi- I will be green with envy in a few months when you folks are loving life outdoors and I am stuck inside in the a/c just to be able to breathe!

    Steve: Thanks for visiting Hoe and Shovel. We have a son who lives in N. Florida. It is more like the old south there. We really like it and I can see why you would think about moving there with never a thought about a foot of snow ... ever!

  12. Great job, Meems. I do believe you'll be hearing from the Chamber of Commerce with a job offer :-)

  13. We drove across part of the top of Florida when traveling from Austin to Carolina, but have never really visited your state, Meems. Movies set in Florida ignore the real people who live their whole life there, making gardens and raising families. For that kind of truth we need to read blogs of people like you!
    I'll be back to see more of what you're doing with that "almost-acre".

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  14. Susan: That's funny- wouldn't you have said all the same things?

    Annie: the north part of Florida is very different than the central and south sections ... which I am sure is true of your 'large' state as well. Would love for you to visit- it is a beautiful place wherever you happen to be. Of course to see it from a native's perspective is the real deal.

  15. Your part of the world is gorgeous Meems. My son lived in the Tampa area for a few years and I didn't ever get down there to visit. I wish I had.

    My hubby's uncle lives in the St Petersburg area. We were there last spring. Just seeing your pictures makes me wish we were there now.

  16. Lovely place. The Heron & the Egret come visit me in spring at the pond behind my house. They are such gorgeous birds. Don't you love to watch them hunt fish? Tampa must be a much better place to live now that your football team is no longer the joke of the NFL (now it's the Bears!).

  17. Mr. McGregor's Daughter: Welcome to Hoe and Shovel. I DO love to watch the Heron and the Egret fish. They are year round here and I never tire of watching them and photgraphing them. Thanks for popping in.

    We miss Tony Dungee down here but yes, the Bucs are doing better these days.


Have a blessed day,

September 2010

Back Garden: October 2010

Louise Philippe: Antique Rose

Tropical Pathway