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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, May 8, 2008

The Garden Waits For No Man

Hoe & Shovel - a view to west side of underplantings in one of the back garden planting beds- this one progresses from the back wall with a meandering stone path throughout. It is planted out with split leaf philodendron, snow bush, plumbago, draceana (many varying types), variegated schefflera, stromanthe, crotons, xanadu, holly fern, marble leaf, impatiens (planted and self seeded), mexican petunia, palmettos, variegated liriope, new guinea impatiens, blood leaf, caladiums, polka dot plant, bromeliads, philipine violet, ivy, geranium, and several others not visible in this photograph.

It seems it is the gardener's privilege to dream big and plan large during the slow months of winter. Even though we don't have much in the way of dormancy down here in the tropics of Florida and we garden all year long, still our winters make us long for the lushness of spring.

It is one thing to embark on gardening projects full of enthusiasm and soaring excitement. It is an entirely different thing to bring our projects to completion with success and then further to maintain them.

When life in the garden seems slow it is easy to think big. Does anyone else know what I'm talking about?

We want to enlarge our beds, multiply our plants, order new varieties, plant more seeds, build new spaces ... oh, the ideas are endless. Much like indoor designing of space and beauty, I have found that outdoor designing starts with one project and leads to quite a few more projects. All of which are beautiful, exciting and even useful to my gardens... nonetheless... in the end equals out to ... more projects.

Hoe & Shovel back gardens- a view of one 'patch' of zinnia seed sown in March.

Time marches on into the midst of spring with blooms and plant life faithfully resurrecting the visions we love in our gardens. As the beds seemingly fill out and bloom overnight the demand for time to nurture what we've created gets greater.

Hoe & Shovel back gardens- a tighter view of same 'patch' as above of zinnia seed sown in March.

All of a sudden just when we thought all the projects were coming to a close, the dead heading, the trimming, the hand-watering (all those flowers require lots of water), the harvest in the vegetable garden, and even replacement of already spent annuals left over from winter and on it goes and in some cases the cycle starts all over.

A view of a couple of the zinnias from "the patch" in all their glorious detail.

The zinnia seed sown in March was a mix of colors and variety from American Meadows. I sowed zinnia seed in three different locations. Not knowing how they would turn out as this was my first experience with them, my only regret is that I didn't sow more. They are currently making me a happy gardener. LOL

Gardening on any level requires a certain dedication and comittment. A passionate gardener doesn't mind at all planning our schedules around making sure we fit the gardening time into our day. As a matter of fact, we'd much rather be gardening all day on any given day. It would really be ideal in my opinion if I could put all the rest of 'life' on hold from February through May. Alas, life in general does have other requirements.

Hoe & Shovel day lilies are continuing to bloom- you know me- don't know the names.
Whether we have the necessary time our garden requires, our garden continues producing and flourishing with its best efforts to complete what the gardener began. At Hoe & Shovel the demands have increased due to the gardeners' increased design ideas (read: more beds, more flowers, more bulbs, more plants). Have you noticed that once started, the garden can't be put on hold for the other demands of life?
We are already at high temps during the day - 70's at night and practically no rain for weeks. Due to watering restrictions (only once a week with our in-ground irrigation systems) my biggest challenge right now is dragging the watering hoses around to keep all my blooms and newly established roots properly irrigated.

A view across from one bed to further beds - back garden- SW corner.

I love every minute of being in my garden. Some weeks/days (like this week for instance) I want to ask my garden to wait for me. I feel the need to explain that I can't get to everything I'd like to that day-- that there are other things in life that also demand my attention. If only I could stop the sun from being so hot for a day then all my little darlings wouldn't be so thirsty while I tend to the other aspects of life.
Only I think I hear my garden gently reminding me, it is only performing just like I've asked it to. Every plant growing taller, fuller and wider, every bud blooming out its petals and array of colors right on schedule, every leaf unfurling with the rythmn of time, every vegetable ready to harvest as if it is counting the predicted reaping days for me... just like I expect... just like I envisioned in the days when the garden was sparse.
I hear it reminding me it won't wait for me, because its compelled to do what it was created to do. It promises to keep producing diligently to display more beauty and peaceful vistas a gardener's heart can only imagine in the planning stages.


  1. All those flowers just want to invite us in and try to tempt us to stay in the garden all day. Lovely as that would be, time does continue to march on. Have you heard the saying if you love something, set it free...? All we can do is take care of our babies in the best way possible and let them bloom and grow.

  2. BTW- Like the new banner. Everything looks beautiful in your garden. I have noticed that even though I don't have a lot to work with I am always trying to figure out way that I can expand. A new plant, a bigger pot, trying something different. I'll see something and wonder if it will work for me. At times I just remind myself some day...

  3. cinj: Babies take lots of attention don't they? Occasionally I even have to get a baby sitter if I'm away too long. Hope all is going well with your garden.

    Jane: thanks and thanks.Ahhh, gardening dreams... I know them well. Yes, someday all your dreams ARE going to come true.

  4. Meems your garden is what dreams are made of, lush beautiful blooms. So many colors and textures. Just marvelous.

    Yep, I am one that knows just what you are thinking when you are dreamin and scheming during winter. When some area lives up to those dreams it is a wonderful feeling and a wonderful sight.

  5. I know exactly what you mean. I had a list of projects - nothing big mind you to complete this winter and I didnt. I still have two outstanding and one to finish but now the weather is warming up and Ihave seedlings to transplant, deadheading, weeding and gardens to visit I dont think I will complete them before next winter

  6. Meems, Oh the Dilemma! do we maintain what we have or start yet another project. The more grass I did up, the less time I have to dig up more! But would we really have it any other way?

    Best wishes Sylvia (England)

  7. Thank you for such a beautiful post. Your garden is a credit to you and I so understand your longing to be out there as much and as often as you can.
    To walk around your garden with you is to see planting from another gardeners perspective. I enjoyed it.

  8. As much fun as I'm having, I start to get a bit panicky at this time of year. Everything moves so quickly now and there's a very small window of opportunity for me to carry out any of my plans! If I don't do it in the next two months I'll have to wait another year. Our garden centres are only open from mid May until about mid July and then it's very hot and dry until fall.

  9. meems,

    I loved this post, it is so very thoughtful and reading it has the effect of slowing me down just a bit to enjoy the moment of looking at your flowers.

    I often wish I could slow time down so I have more time to enjoy the spring wildflowers...they are gone so quickly and it seems I blinked and they were gone!

    The Zinnia closeups are delightful!


  10. nancy: I would love for you to dream away an afternoon here. This week has been a little too busy with other things and it gets a little frustrating but all is well and somehow it all gets caught back up as some point.

    Lisa: Thanks so much for your kind words... it is truly a peaceful shady haven for all my garden passion to be expressed.

    helen: it's easy to make the plans isn't it? There will be time eventually to get to them ... I keep telling myself that anyway.

    sylvia: I LOVE new projects and took on several this winter/spring... now comes the maintenance and it is the part that never waits. No, I wouldn't have it any other way most weeks. LOL

    cheryl:How nice you joined us for a walk around Hoe & Shovel and thank you for your kind words. If only I could order up everyday like I like it... HA.

    amy: you remind me of how very different your growing climate/season is. So completely opposite of here. I get myself in lots of trouble with continuing projects due to the fact that we grow all year and the garden centers never close. I can understand your feeling too given your short time frame.

    gail: you always make me smile. thank you for slowing down and looking at the flowers. It is true this mild time of year seems to breeze by so quickly. And while the blooms are fleeting we are feverishly working with the hope of using our mild weather time wisely. In the flurry we can sometimes miss some of the very beauty we work so hard for...

  11. Lovely post, Meems. Once planted, a garden has a life of its own, requiring dedication and comittment ... the joys and woes of a gardener. I wish I could put a hold on the month of May and treasure each lush gift that changes from morning to night ...

  12. Joey: Once started a garden is eager to grow. Then it is eager to be attended. They work hard to perform for us. The month of May definitely goes by in a swoosh bursting with growth...

  13. I actually resent all the non-gardening things I have to do in May because, as you so wonderfully put it, the garden cannot wait.
    I feel your pain with the watering restrictions. In the drought summer of 2005, I had very impressive biceps from hauling the bucket of shower water out to the garden. I think water restrictions are the wave of the future, & we all need to learn to work with them.

  14. MMD: Our gardening season is all year long but during the end of winter and the first of spring when so much is getting established and growing so fast the garden requires even more attention than we remembered when having so fun with the planting. When my children were home I didn't get nearly as involved with new projects... it was all I could do to maintain my large yard. Your day will come when you will have much more time and the children won't be there. Of course if you are anything like me you won't skip a beat and your time will fill up just as fast as it let up. Enjoy your children AND enjoy your garden... there's room for both.

  15. Hi Meems, beautiful post with such lovely photos. You are quite the photographer. I echo your sentiments. No garden waits for us. Especially during the growing season, they make us work very hard. Ah, but the results are worth it every time.

    I too love zinnias and I plant them, but I have to spray sometimes for mildew.~~Dee

  16. Your garden looks amazing right now!

  17. dee: Thank you for all your kind words. I am really enjoying my zinnia plantings... taking dozens of photos of them :-) daily. Every year I forget how hot is gets and how fast it gets that way... every year I forget that all those new projects need copious amounts of water to get established in our heat... it takes lots of time and when a plant is thirsty ... it can't wait!

    Emily: Thanks. It is a good time of year for growth. Already getting very hot down here though - I thank God for my shady areas.


Have a blessed day,

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