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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.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Pre-Spring Blooms for GBBD

For Floridians (Central and South) it is difficult to tell when Winter transitions to Spring. North Florida experiences season changes much like the rest of the South. In my humble opinion, we are in the midst of some of our best weather-- that is, until the end of November and December rolls around again.

Unlike the gardeners north of me, I don't plant any bulbs in the Fall for Spring blossoms. I'm not that familiar with any that would actually bloom this far South. I've read about a few but they are always a risk. It just gets too hot too fast for the likes of tender tulips and such. My Amaryllis bulbs stay in the ground all year with their greenery making for a nice bedding plant. They should be showing some signs of life by next month. That is if the grasshoppers don't find them first like last year.

As far as annuals go, I don't even bother with pansies and snap dragons and the like since they don't last very long here. What most folks north of here are planting now (like petunias) I planted back in November in order to have any length of bloom at all. It won't be long and they will soon bow their little heads from exhaustion due to the heat.

Needless to say, I am really enjoying perusing all the northern GBBD with their lively blooming bulbs starting to burst forth. If you'd like to see more Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day posts, click over to May Dreams Gardens where Carol, who is the creator of this great idea, shows us her giggling crocus popping out of seemingly nowhere. Imagine what tenacity those strong flowers have surviving through weeks and weeks of snow and freezing temps. Aren't bulbs wonderful? A true miracle of the garden.

Well, enough chatter ... on to my post for GBBD March where I can chatter some more. One of the truly wonderful things about Florida is the fact that many annuals act like perennials. Even though they can go through a scraggly, leggy period because they don't die back in the winter, give them a little trim and they come back blooming over and over again. Such is the case with these Angel Wing Begonias. I have multiplied them with cuttings and have them in pots and also growing right in the ground under the oak trees. The prolific blooms they disply this time of year will continue right through the summer and fall.They are a must-have in a shady tropical garden.
All the pink varieties of azaleas are starting to drop off and just as they do the white azaleas , Mrs. G.G. Gerbing variety, are taking center stage. It helps that we don't lose all the azaleas all at once. Their bloom time is relatively short -- approximately 4-6 weeks -- no matter the variety.

This Diplademia (or Mandevilla) loves the sunshine. This one creeps up one side of an arbor (or arch) over a pathway dividing two beds. There is another one adjacent to it vining up a trellis in the same bed. They make a good pair as their bright pink blooms add a dose of cheer to any viewer.

Here I have Red Geraniums in the middle of a bed surrounded by white impatiens and white petunias. They prefer mostly sun but don't like to be rained on which is just what they've been pelted with for the last couple of days. I'm happy for the rain and their feet are happy but their heads don't like it much. They'll recover quickly fortunately.

What I love about New Guinea Impatiens is the deep rich tones of the foliage. In Florida it is vital to plant foliage offering varieties of color and texture that will afford any well planned area bursts of vibrance even when nothing is in bloom...which can also happen in Florida when the heat is at its best - or worst- depending on your view LOL.

I have three Jatropha trees in my yard. They can be grown as shrubs which is how mine began their journey at Hoe and Shovel. I separated and transplanted them when they started getting too big for the bed they were in originally. They've done well under the canopy of the oaks and camphor trees. Their perky red blooms have started popping out to add to the spring fun around here.
Hope you enjoyed the tour and all my ramblings. Let me know if you stopped in by leaving a comment to say hi. Please be sure to click the link above and check out the other gardens around the world... it is a fun way to get acquainted with so many other gardeners and gardens.
Hope you are having a great weekend!


  1. I am learning a lot about gardening in Florida through reading your blog. It all seems so "upside down to me". Plant annuals in November? No bulbs?

    Well, it all turns out beautifully in your garden. Thanks for joining us for bloom day.

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  2. Beautiful photos! Love that your bloom day is so different!

  3. Your winter and early spring blooms are like a breath of fresh air to me Meems. Love those angle wing begoinias. Actually I love all begonias. Especially the ones with the beautiful leaves. I collected them about 30 years ago. I got over that addiction but I feel the pull towards them every time I see a pretty bloom like yours.

  4. It is so fun to go from a garden blog in Nova Scotia to one in FL! The impatiens with their dark foliage are wonderful!

  5. Carol: "Upside down" is a good term because it IS very different. When I see blooms coming out of the ground (on northern blogs) just when the snow melts I am in awe.

    Layanee: Thank you and thanks for visiting.

    Lisa: Begonias are quite tropicalesque don't you think? I guess we all have our addictions... better plants than some other things I could think of.Thanks for your kind words.

    WWA:I am fascinated by the differences too. Thanks for stopping in.

  6. A beautiful tropical paradise Meems! I especially love the mandavillas.

    The jatrophas are gorgeous too. That's a new one for me - I've never seen them before.

  7. A lovely post, meems ... your garden sings of your soul. I find you truly know someone by their signature garden ... a delight knowing you better.

    Do you include Agapanthus ("Lily of the Nile")? I adore the color and form and though not hardy here, include pots throughout my garden. I lust having seen them used extensively in northern Florida and winter mine over on my 'crowded' sunporch filled with waking plants, itching to jump back outside.

    Snow is melting ... song birds wake me at dawn, excited as I am about welcoming spring.

  8. Everything looks so beautiful and lush. I think my favorite is the Angel wing begonias, they are just dreamy :-)

    Melanie, old country gardens

  9. Meems, I sure wish I had your problems with the heat rather than the cold. I think I could deal with them so much better. Anyhoo, one is never happy -they always want what they don't have.

    Your garden is so wonderful and makes me dream of Spring even more. We have another month before we can actually breath a sigh of relief that winter is behind us.

    Thanks for sharing your March blooms with us.

  10. You've got plenty of lovely plants blooming! Imaging havin a Jatropha tree in your garden - wow!
    /Katarina (Roses and stuff)

  11. Well, Meems, Florida's gardening ways are pretty different from Nova Scotia's, that's for sure, and I'm really glad because yours is one of the blogs I turn to to get some shots of garden colour right now. But spring will wander through here one of these days, too. I hope! Currently, we're waiting for the next snow tantrum to arrive!

  12. Your garden looks beautiful...I agree with the other comment-ers...I'm enjoying and learning a lot from your blog. The jatropha is new to me's not in my Sunset book so probably doesn't grow here.

  13. I'm with Carol, Meems - it's almost like you garden in a different hemisphere! Those jatopha blooms are lovely. I've seen small plants in pots (it seems impossible that they could reach shrub size), but I've sure never seen one in flower. Thanks for sharing your garden!

  14. That last photo is amazing! You are right for staying away from pansies and the like. They laways tempt me...then (like right now) dissapoint me for wilting the first week our weather is a bit warm. Take care!

  15. Just thought I would let you know that you have inspired me. While I don't have a garden to tend to, I have begun to do a little pre-spring clean-up around the house. :) BTW, your garden looks absolutely looks like all your hard work is paying off.

  16. What a treat, such beautiful blooms!

    It would be so different gardening that far south. I would really miss the spring bulbs. I guess there are advantages and disadvantages wherever you garden.

  17. those jatropha blossoms are gorgeous! i don't think i had seen them before either.

    i had to giggle when i saw the name of your blog. i probably should have looked around a little (in the garden blogosphere) before i named my partner always reminds me, "titles are hard."

  18. Great post Meems, I couldn’t have said it better. Carol is right we Floridians are upside down from the rest of the country when it comes to Gardening

  19. I'll be thinking about you when we get our little tropicals in the garden center. We know they will croak if not brought inside. Your gardens are beautiful. I don't know how you keep it all so lush and healthy looking. I don't see a single critter mark. Our NC weather has both hot and cold. It can be both in one day-lol.

  20. Lintys: The Mandevillas are a favorite of mine as well. Thanks for touring with me.

    Joey: Agapanthus is a staple in my back gardens.Their greenery provides foliage throughout the year and the blueish-lavender blooms should be presenting themselves in the next few weeks. I can't wait to see your blooms as Spring is very near for your crowded sunporch.

    melanie, The begonias do declare a soft lushness that causes me to stare.

    Carolyn- you know what they say... the grass is always greener... you don't have much longer to wait now and your spring will greet you with many happy days of gardening.

    Katarina: Thank you. The Jatropha feeds my particular love of red.

    jodi: Spring is assuredly marching your way. Come back anytime for the color fix you may need... I'll be visiting you soon for the same thing...

    Leslie: Jatropha has several varieties and I am not familiar with all the botanical names. This one is a favorite for many reasons... one being it easily maintained habits.

    Nan- I'm not in another hemisphere? LOL The Jatropha started out as a small plant-- then a shrub-- then I trained it to a tree- I have three of them now and one transplanted seedling in a pot.

    Ldybug: I learned the hard way with snapdragons and pansies. They are nice for about two weeks. LOL Not worth the disappointment for sure.

    Jane: Good for you on the pre-spring clean-up. Thanks for the kind words.

    Robin: I know what you mean. If I ever got used to all the bulbs I'm seeing on northern blogs I would surely miss them too. Then again, what do you think about gardening all year round? Here we never stop.

    Cake: Thanks for stopping by- glad you like the Jatropha. It seemed to be the biggest hit this GBBD. When I started my blog I didn't even realize there was a blogosphere to check with. It is interesting to me that your name is the closest to any I've seen like mine. There's room for both of us for sure. Welcome!

    Rusty: Completely upside down! But I love my Florida --as I know you do too.

    Anna: I often wonder what it's like to garden in NC. From the looks of your gardens you have it figured out quite well! Thanks for touring my GBBD.

  21. Sorry for commenting late, but so glad I visited for the vision of loveliness your garden offers. Mrs. GG is my favorite azaleas, sadly we lost a large one this last year from the late freeze and drought combo, they are a little later than some of them. Your jatropha and angel wing and mandevilla and impatiens, everything, are so colorful and cheering, a paradise of flowers. Thanks for showing us.
    Frances at Faire Garden

  22. Have you ever seen the jatrophas in Hawaii? They grow them in tree form like our Wild Olives, Cordia boissieri. Do you grow Wild Olives in Central Florida?
    Love your pictures, Meems!

  23. It's fascinating to see how much more tropical you are, Meems! We have a little overlap with your kind of climate here in Austin - we also plant petunias, snapdragons, and pansies in winter, and put the amaryllis bulbs in the ground - but we expect quite a few freezes each winter, too. And sigh for days in the sixties...well actually, I could take the hot days if it would just cool down at night in summer!

    Happy Spring!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  24. Frances, no matter that you stopped by a little after the show -you are welcome any time. I'm still making my way around - there are so many GBBD entries.

    Hope you are feeling better and sorry to hear about the loss of Mrs. GG azalea. They DO bloom later than the rest so we are still blessed with their full white branches for a little longer.

    Mary Beth- no, sadly I haven't been to Hawaii but I understand everything grows bigger there. We have a type of wild olive but it isn't as pretty I don't think as the Texas wild olive. Our variety is kind of scrubby looking Forestiera segregata. I looked it up- I'm not great with botanical names.

    Annie: I'm with you on the hot summer days... the real challenge comes because we get little relief at night. Texas weather can be very up and down much like North Florida with several short lived freezes and then miserable heat on its heels. I saw where TX was in the 90's last week... WOW.

  25. Wow! Tropical paradise. So different from England.


Have a blessed day,

September 2010

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Tropical Pathway