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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 15, 2008

May Arrivals: GBBD

May is a fabulous month with each day announcing its own surprises in the garden. It is a month filled with buds and blooms, bulbs bursting forth adding oodles of color, scents, and lush foliage on which to feast the eyes.

For this month's garden blogger's bloom day hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens, Hoe & Shovel has decided to feature only the blooms that have come alive and made their first showing in the month of May. There are many others gracing the planting beds at Hoe & Shovel ... some can be viewed in the side bar or in other posts. For now its all about May arrivals.

The gardenias (above) are right on schedule blooming in May each year. Truth be told if I had had the manpower available back in March these plants would have been uprooted. They are very old (= scraggly and not as productive as they should be) and in an awkward location now that I've rearranged so many beds over the recent years. I really don't think it would be worth it to move them so it was my thought to say good bye to them. They seem to have defied my thinking and are for the moment reminding me how fond I am of the fluffy white, fragrant blooms for a short time each year.

Over the last week, many of the unmistakably perfumed blooms have made their way into a vase in my kitchen... their wondrous lemony scent wafting through the house. So for another season I'm glad to have these simple but heady flowers blooming.

Mona Lavender has proven to be a winner as a first time attempt to grow these delicate appearing blooms. I adore the foliage with deep purple undersides and shiny green topsides as much as the intricate flower . At Hoe & Shovel our container plants are like mini planting growing all year round just like the rest of our gardens. Depending on our mood we switch out the fillers, the thrillers or the spiller portion of the pot with the change of season. I'm happy to report the Mona Lavender has not only re-bloomed since its first planting back in February but it has grown twice its size.

Shown below in its combination with giant liriope, vinca, and english ivy.

The mona lavender container combination has a twin on the other side of the seating area on the back lanai.

Society Garlic Tulbaghia violacea
Here its blooming from plants I divided at the end of the winter to use as a border plant in an expanded bed. One of the attributes I love about this easy perennial is the fact it will bloom from now through the summer months.

Southern Magnolia Magnolia grandiflora

The showy white flowers that are 8-12 in (20-30 cm) in diameter high up in the 35' tree have a strong lemony fragrance and appear throughout the spring and summer. The magnolia tree has to be one of the showiest blooming trees in the south.

This month with the magnolias, the gardenias, and the confederate jasmine continuing to bloom there are heavenly scents breezing through the air from all angles of the garden.
Butterfly bush buddleia
This purple butterfly magnet is loaded with blooms and butterflies are indeed drawn to its vibrant color and long cone shaped blooms. It is planted in a sunny corner along with indigo spires, fountain grasses, red lantana as ground cover, and plumbago draping over itself also attracting butterflies. It has a carefree sprawling sort of habit, is drought tolerant, and holds up well in our extreme heat throughout the summer.


  1. As always beautiful flowers. The Butterfly bush is one of my favorites and especially that color of blue. It looks like the Adonis. I know those magnolias smell wonderful!

  2. Beautifull blooms´. I like the Mona lavender. I had never seen it before! We have society garlic in comon. Mine blooms almost yera round. They are such wonderful little plants.

  3. That's a nice array of new blooms for May. Believe it or not, my Dad tried to grow a southern magnolia way up here in Indiana. It lived for many years but finally just couldn't make it through one of our winters. It even bloomed a few times. Thanks for the nice memory brought back by seeing the picture of yours.

    And thanks for showing your blooms on bloom day!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  4. From your post, I could smell the heavenly scent of your flowers. So beautiful too. If you dig up the gardenias, what will you replace them with?~~Dee

  5. Your blooms look wonderful Meems! I'd have a hard time yanking out the gardenias. The blooms are gorgeous, and smell so wonderful.

    I have a potted one that never blooms. Maybe if I could get it out of the pot it's overgrown, it might. I might do that this year. I'll have to break the pot to get it out. The pot's diameter is smaller at the top than it is in the middle, and the gardenia is really stuck in there. I like the pot, so I've been avoiding doing it (for the past three years!)

  6. Oh my that butterfly bush is so beautiful. I love the deep color, mine here are all light lavender.

    The Society Garlic is a plant I wish we could grow here.

  7. OH, I wish I could have a magnolia.

  8. Before I forget again, your header is beautiful! Zinnia?

    If you ever do yank out the gardenias, please don't tell me! I'd cry! As long as I can remember, they've been my favourite flowers. I can't think of another that even comes close. Nothing else in the garden smells half as wonderful.

    I finally visited Tallahassee Nurseries before I got sick last week. I want that dragon! Did you check the price on that thing?! Shoulda brought smelling salts! LOL

  9. Magnolias are one of my favorite flowers and you got some great pictures of it.

  10. Wonderful wonderful blooms, I can almost smell their beautiful fragrance.
    I love the Butterfly Bush. I grow several here but none so vibrant as yours.

  11. gardenia, Magnolia and Buddleia - great pictures of gorgeous plants! I wish I had them all...

  12. I have been sighing for the last two days...Bloom Day has been wonderful, so here I am sighing again.

    I can almost smell the gardenia and the magnolia. I love that both blooms yellow as they age.

    Is the Mona Lavender a Plectranthus?
    You may have said that but I missed it, probably because I was scrolling to see the next pretty.

    thanks meems for s lovely tour!


  13. Hi Meems
    I have the same problem with my gardenia, last year nothing it looked sickly and in the wrong place. This year is looking better and today I discovered the first flower of the season with many buds on the way. You can beat the fragrance

  14. Lovely photos! The gardenia is beautiful...I can imagine it would be difficult to yank it out after it performed so nicely!

  15. The Gardenia are so pretty! Don't do away with them! Mine is only a year old and it has ONE bud...not sure it will ever do much but oh how I love the look and smell of this plant!
    ~Maggie, Gardens of Casa Martin in Texas

  16. Your blooms are just marvelous Meems. I can almost smell the gardenia.

    I thought about you this week when the news was showing all the wild fires in FL. I hope your lovely garden isn't near any of the fires. Take care.

  17. Thanks to everyone for stopping by to see the blooms that showed up in May. Hoe & Shovel smells the best this time of year... if only we could scratch & sniff our monitors we could share fragrances from our gardens.

    Dee & Sophie: Every year the gardenias lead me to believe they are pooped out. Every year before they bloom I try to muster up the courage to dispose of them. If ever I do, I probably won't replace them with anything. They are too tall standing at 4 feet just outside of the screened-in lanai partially blocking the view to the back gardens. I suspect the pool chemicals having something to do with their generally poor performance. We now have a salt filter so we don't have to use chlorine anymore- yippee!

    Planted underneathe them is variegated asian jasmine ground cover and caladiums. I WILL manage to get more gardenias and put them somewhere (??) - no southern garden should be without them.

    Sophie: I didn't see the price on the dragon but I can tell you their prices were higher than any garden store down here. Still, it was really a great place just to walk around a gawk wasn't it? The price of admission was fair.

    Emily: I do wish I could get as high as one of the magnolia blooms to snap a photo of the gorgeous center when they are fully open. When the tree was smaller I could keep cuttings of the flowers in vases and oh my... one flower can perfume and entire room.

    Gail: yes, the mona lavender is a plectranthus... there is a link in this post back to an earlier post dedicated just to the mona lavender.

    Lisa: We are not near any of the fires burning north and east of here. Last year our state experienced the same trouble with low humidity this time of year and no rain. The smoke from that far away blankets our city when the wind is blowing which is pretty telling of how big the fires are.

  18. meems,

    Thanks, how did I miss the link! I do love Plactranthus and our ready source for her has dried up, really gone out of business...looks like an internet order!


  19. That gardenia is lovely! I don't ever yank anything to throw from my garden. I go dig up and move them though. Your garden has really come to life this month.

  20. Gail: Seems the mona lavender is all the rage around here... they began showing up in our garden centers last fall and now they are everywhere. I have found them to be easy to grow AND they bloom in the shade!

    cinj: I usually can't throw away any plant either but when these gardenias aren't blooming they are not at all attractive (to me anyway)... I honestly think they are beyond their flourishing ability. We'll see if I get brave enough to do away with them after this bloom. :-)

  21. I've seen Magnolia grandiflora in bloom once, you are not exaggerating its charms. It must be wonderful to have one. I looked at your post about it, & the flowers are so pristinely perfect. I'm glad your Gardenias are behaving now. It's funny how plants start performing after you threat to yank them out.

  22. Your bloom day is gorgeous, Meems - thought I made a comment so either I'm going batty or blogger ate it.

    I'm so drawn to fragrant plants, and you have so many that I love - magnolia, gardenia, jasmine, lavender, buddleia... and they're all beautiful as well as scented.

    The Mona lavender is very intriguing - seen the name on garden forums but not the plant. If it shows up I won't resist!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  23. MMD: Sometimes the fragrance of the magnolias still catches me by surprise like this early morning as I walked abou the garden and for an instant I think, what is that wonderful scent?

    Annie: Let's go with blogger ate it.. it happens. This time of year is truly the most fragrant around here at least. I have to tell you I am newly in love with the Mona Lavender... it is kind of too good to be true. Grows in sun or shade and is blooming its head off right now. Get some if you run across it... I would love to know how it does in your clime.


Have a blessed day,

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