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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.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Size Does Matter

I'm very excited about my new Taro plants. One is Midnight and I split the Illustris (above) to make two --planting them among the existing purple queen and lavender lantana. White caladiums should be popping up to surround these deep purple lovelies any day now.

It's definitely one of my least favorite things on the "chores" list. But sometimes it has to be done before you can get to the fun part of gardening. Seems I've done it a lot lately and thought I was doing my best to avoid anymore of it for this season.

It was not to be. I just couldn't get away from making one more bed just a little wider and just a little longer.

While there is much being written in the blogosphere by northern gardeners elated to finally have some spring weather and rightly so, I am trying to beat the clock that is quickly moving toward the soon-to-come heat and humidity. There was a 'front' that moved through here last week which produced for us some divinely dry (no humidity) and cooler weather. At least the days start out that way in the mornings... up to 80's in the afternoons but very manageable gardening weather especially in the shade.
SO... these last couple of weeks I have spent oodles of hours (read: days) in the garden. And it's a good thing because I'm still not completely finished with my 'project list'.

There were several sort of random plants I needed to get in the ground. Random... because I bought a few of this 'n that when I was in Tallahassee last weekend. Then on Tuesday of last week I received a shipment of bare root day lilies and irises (ordered in February), a box of 50 hurricane lily bulbs from another source and some seedlings I had gotten at a gardening-talk at the local library. Random... because none of them necessarily went together. So I ended up with lots to get into the ground and lots to figure out... as far as where it was all going to end up. Keeping in mind, I had convinced myself I was finished with new projects and plant purchasing for this spring... I've been doing this since February... I'm supposed to be winding down...

Let the Designing Begin
Most of my new purchases needed a sunny home and there aren't that many options for full-sun around Hoe & Shovel.
So here I go one more time ... finding it necessary to expand another bed which means digging out sod! Ugggghhh! This time the removal was only about 3 feet wide (@ the widest point) and about 12 feet long. Here's the rub... I had just a few weeks ago dug out part of this same area and planted what you see in the above photo. It just wasn't large enough .... already.
One of the beds I enlarged last November was the intended home for the awaiting day lilies. The more I thought about it though I wasn't confident that particular location, offering dappled sunlight in the afternoon, was going to give them the amount of sun they need. Instead I put the largest majority of them in another existing bed (in the back garden- shown below)
which will give them morning sun-- then later in the day ---filtered sun. It was necessary to remove a border row of variegated liriope to make room for them. Don't worry I made a new border in my new expanded bed with what I dug up.

All this bare root ordering/planting is completely new to me. When the on-line seller says bare root --- they mean bare root... root with barely any green growth. It's sort of a learning thing so what I've decided to do is divide up each variety and plant them in completely different spots in the garden. Then I can determine where they do best. I figure surely some will survive and then I'll know under what conditions which plants succeed. (Look closely at the photo to see the slug that already found this brand new growth on one of the day lilies- I was actually taking the picture to show how quickly the greenery is shooting up-- in just 4 days) I'm happy to report some of the lilies and irises already have new growth sprouting out (above photo) after only a few days in the ground.I think enlarging this bed was worth the trouble. It has a much nicer flow giving the overall side-yard area a more complete look. Also as you can see from the opposite-angle-photo below it lends itself to blending/continuing better with the front side-yard plantings.

So here's the run down for making this bed happen:

Moved yellow Bush Daisies to group three together next to Fire Spike.

Moved Butterfly plant next to bush daisies.

Planted Louisiana Iris (bare root)

Planted Day Lilies (Bare root)

Planted Midnight Taro in place of Butterfly plant removed

Planted Illustris Taro ( split it to make two and planted on either side of Midnight)
Planted border row alternating variegated Liriope and Amaryllis

Planted seedlings of Blue Porterweed (given to me by a master gardener at the library talk on day lilies)

Sowed Rudbekia seeds

Sowed Echinacea seeds

Sowed Coleus seeds

Planted 1 white yarrow (also given to me at the library talk)Much of what I've planted is new to me. Isn't that exciting ? I've definitely stepped out of my comfort zone. There's lots of potential for color bursting forth with maturity and growth here in the next months of the growing season. I'm certain to give updates as the blooming begins!

When I bought two of the hydrangea it was my intention to put them together in the very back side of the garden. They will get quite bushy and tall. Instead I put one in the front under the oaks and among the azaleas and palmettos and one in the back. I just had to have one that I could see as I come and go out of the driveway.
Not in this bed:
Planted the two Oakleaf Hydrangea I found in Tallahassee. (I am so thrilled over finding these and the thought of having them in my garden. It was necessary to amend my soil with lime to reduce the acidity around them .... hoping with all my gardening fervor these do well here.)
Planted some Bella Donna Lilies
and the Hurricane Lilies
planted coleus and
sowed some coleus seeds
I moved several other plants around in the back gardens and made a new bromeliad bed I'll include in a post sometime in the future.
After digging the sod it's all fun stuff from there.


  1. Oh what a busy girl you have been!

    Isn't it quite the domino game when you move things about! A friend calls it the unintended consequences, but then she doesn't garden and sees it differently than we might.

    The sun or shade issue is a big one even in Tennessee, I want the shade for those hot summer days, but it does create a need for a shade happy plantings. That is one reason I grow wildflowers; they bloom when the trees haven't leafed out.

    Meems, it looks so lovely, really inviting and pleasant.


  2. Meems...I know what you mean about hurrying to get everything done in the garden. It won't be long before summer arrives with a bang and then I'll be enjoying the garden from the pool where it will be much cooler:-). I've got one bed left to get trimmed back and I need a couple more bags of mulch. I love those black taro plants. That should be a beautiful combo. I've never heard of hurricane lilies - what do they look like?

  3. We get hot days here in summer, but it's always very, very dry. Our evening and mornings are almost always cool, even in the height of summer. When I go anywhere with humidity I think I'm going to die. I can understand why you would want to get the bulk of your gardening work done now!

    I widened some beds last year and now I think they need to be enlarged again :) Plus I have more sod to remove. Ugh. I hate that part too...what a job it is.

    I bought bare root plants for the first time this year and started them indoors. *Amazing* how fast the green growth came in. I'm very excited!

  4. gail: Thanks for your kind words. Isn't it kind of just like inside the house? ... when once we start on one area ... well, it just leads to the next. HA

    I'm with you... gotta have the shade but now days I find myself looking for sunny places for those sun-loving plants I just have to have.

    Nancy: I think I now have every variety & color of lantana. The one you noted is new to me (last year). It is so bright and vivid next to the purple blooms of the butterfly bush and the purple of the indigo spires... I'm really enjoying the results.

    Susan: I LOVE it that you know what I'm talking about.Next month I should really wrap things up as far as projects and all that's new should be well-established. Then it is maitenance mode for the summer which is plenty enough right?

    I should have been more specific about the hurricane lilies aka red spider lilies Lycoris radiata
    ... I'm so bad with botanical names. Here is a link to a Floridata description where you can also see a photo. I ordered mine from Steve - a contributor to Floridata - you can find that info on the home page.
    You'll have to copy/paste... not sure how to back link for you. Have a great week/weekend.

    Amy: Hot just isn't the same when the air is dry... I can handle that kind of hot so much better than humid hot. You'd think I'd be used to it living in Florida all my life. I wouldn't want to give up our winters but our summers are something to stay away from if you can help it... I'll be in the pool.

    You and me both... our first year for seed sowing and our first year for bare root plants. I know this sounds crazy but until I started blogging I didn't even know there was such a thing as bare root plants. I've learned all kinds of things from you northern gardeners that until now I just wrote off as things we couldn't do down here... it sure has been fun discovering new stuff to buy. HA

    You've probably got lots of digging to do for your beds since you're just getting going good in your garden. Although my family keeps asking me if I'm going to have any lawn left. I love the lawn too but the beds are addictive.
    Hope you enjoy the rest of your week. I'm headed out of town until late Friday night.

  5. Hi Meems, You did an excellent job reshaping your bed. It is much more flowing, and the bonus of a place for the new plants adds to the excellence. I need a nap after reading all the work you have done. We garden early in the day here in TN in the summer too. Sometimes it is humid, not like where you are I assume. Houston was the most humid place we have ever lived, we just dripped all the time. ;->

  6. Clever title, Meems. :o)

    You've certainly been busy. The only problem I foresee is that eventually you'll have no more sod to move!

  7. Meems this is exciting. My gosh I think about what wore me out today and then read all you have done. Gee I feel like a weeny.

    A friend of mine gave me 2 starts of Black Magic Elephant Ears which look similar to your Taro. I hope they grow.

  8. Frances, Thank you.

    We are much like Houston here but even further south.My sister lives in TN and yes, it can get really hot and humid but I think the difference might be that it doesn't cool down much at night here. So even our mornings start out hot and humid. BUT who's complaining? We have stupendous winters/spring and we never go dormant. Always green and always growing! HA

    silkgirl: yeah... this could be a problem ... but right now there's still plenty of grass to mow. Thanks for stopping by...

    Lisa: You are too funny. I just popped over to Greenbow and you are far from a weeny with all your building of fences...

    Wow... you have Black Magic... yes it is a taro too. I started out looking for Black Magic but ended up with Midnight which is supposed to be an even deeper shade of the lovely purple. I got the Illustris to plant next to it. Fell in love with the lime green stems and veins. I hope yours does do well for you ... I'll be curious to see how you use yours. LOVE them for the deep shade of purple and for the unique size and shape... AND so tropical looking. Oh can you tell I could go and on about them?

  9. One thing that really jumps out at me when I come to your blog is how organized you are. I admire that. Your bed turned out very neat and attractive. I've got a more organized looked to my chois this year. I enjoyed the thought and effort you put in to the process.

  10. Your newly-enlarged bed looks lovely Meems. I can't wait to see what it looks like later in the season. Ugh, digging out sod! It's good exercise, I'll say that much.

    I'm still watching my lirope waiting for it to emerge. Rabbits ate the tops off immediately after I planted it late last summer. I hope that didn't sap the plants too much and make them fail. Maybe I'm just being a bit anxious since in years past I've had a lot of stuff not come back. So far this year, I'm amazed at how much has come back. It's so exciing!

  11. anna: I admit to being called "organized" all my life... it works well for me. I'm excited about seeing all your new containers at your new house.

    Linda: Does that mean your liriope goes dormant in the winter? How fascinating... and how annoying that rabbits would eat their tender starts... I do hope they come back for you. It is a plant I have used in the hundreds around Hoe & Shovel

  12. Hey Meems, I always suspected it was true...and I am glad you had the courage to post about it! Hee Hee hey, skip over and check out my BIG NEWS!

  13. I need to rest after only reading your recent post.....I too am dreading the approaching heat and humidity but I'm not complaining.It's the trade off for having perfect weather like we had today....The taro you mentioned is such a beautiful plant with its giant bold leaves, excellent for creating contrast but you'll never convince me to enjoy eating it.
    Have a great week.

  14. You've gotten an amazing amount done! I will just warn you that I began by expanding the beds in my front yard and one day the last of the grass does what one must to find a home for needy plants!

  15. rees: definitely a trade off... I love my Florida.

    Leslie: my family already thinks I am on my way to giving up all the lawn... I won't b/c I love the contrast of the green lawn... even though beds are easier I think to maintain.


Have a blessed day,

September 2010

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Louise Philippe: Antique Rose

Tropical Pathway