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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.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Not A Bloom in Sight Today

Shirl at Shirl's Gardenwatch sent out an invitation for garden bloggers to join Emma over at A Nice Green Leaf for a look at our gardens from the green side of things.

So often we are completely caught up in our colorful flowering blooms, we almost forget about the foliage that carries them.

In contemplating the photos I would capture for this post, I found myself looking at my garden from a completely different perspective... paying attention to the leaves and stalks and the simple way some of the greenery makes its own very distinct statement without a single bloom blessing its limbs.

Above is a view of a portion of the back garden with the first rays of daylight beginning to dapple the under-plantings. You can see how Hoe & Shovel makes use of layers and layers of foundational foliage with annuals and mostly perennials added for color and dimension.

Because we garden all year long here it is essential we make use of many shades of green and many colors of foliage in order to perk up the senses with variety. Afterall, we not only have to tend our garden through every season, we have to be happy with what we've designed through every season.

I hope you enjoy this parade of greenery. A simple identity will be shared with each photo of a smattering of the plant life that calls Hoe & Shovel home.

Starting with this delicately variegated foliage that came with a tag stating "exotic plant"... I do not know the name of it. It was transplanted outdoors into a container combination when its indoor life was waning. It appears to have flourished much better the last year living outdoors.

No Question I'm Partial to Chartreuse

Coleus... in the ground with several variety of deeper colors surrounding the lime green. Again, no specific name known for this one.

Creeping Ginny ... trailing over the side of a colbolt blue glazed combination planter.

Lemon Lime Dracaena... I'm so infatuated with the contrast of this easy to use lovely. This one in a combination container but there are many more in strategic settings planted in the ground around Hoe & Shovel.

Potato Vine ... combined in a very large planting with Purple Queen for a neighbor... here the PQ has trailed over its bounds to poke up through the potato vine that spills over a man-made two foot wall. Oops... I see a couple of zinnias making their way through the vine too... shhhh... don't tell anyone a bloom snuck in.

Now For Some Darker Values-
This Might Be Stretching the Call for Green a Tad... Please Forgive.

Begonia (again, not sure of the name)... a pass along from one of my neighbors. It peaks out between a large grouping of spathophyllum and another of azalea along the front walkway.

Angel wing begonia... The deep green and polka-dotted topside with deep red underside and shiny waxy leaf is an eye catcher which I use both in some combination containers and in the ground. It is very easily propogated with cuttings which is right up my alley.

Greens With Interesting Variations

Variegated Shell Ginger... a staple in the front garden as well as the back garden. The striped green and almost yellow patterned, extra-large leaves serve to break up the light in the partial shade beds.
Holly Fern... Several years ago six of these shade lovers were placed around the base of an oak tree. Since then there have been a few dozen divided out from those originals to add to growing beds as well as to combination containers.

English Ivy... with the lighter green of the new growth contrasting the darker green of the pruned leaves this trailing ivy complements numerous containers here. It is also used as a lush ground cover in a couple of areas. The variegated variety is also commonly seen around my garden.

Clerodendrum pagoda flower... although this plant is in bloom right now, the ginormous heart shaped leaves are so intriguing with their well veined surface adding tropical beauty to the front garden... I just had to share a display of it for this publishing.

Truer Greens.. If There Is Such a Thing
Giant Liriope... This evergreen is an essential element at Hoe & Shovel gracing almost every planting bed either in the ground or in a container. Down here they grow to 3 and 4 feet tall and as wide as 2-3 feet under the mighty oak trees.

Jatropha Buddha Belly... also in bloom right now but just have a look at the marvelous shape of this extremely large green leaf!
Herbs Too

Sage... this might be one of my most favorite green leaves in all the garden. The silvery gray bumps and veins giving the illusion of velvety softness.

Sweet Basil: Even in our ridiculous heat of late, this potted herb is still producing extra large tender green leaves for our cooking and salad making pleasure.
Tropical Delights
Split leaf philodendron... each mammoth leaf unfurling to create the back drop of the layers in the back garden. Individual sizes averaging 2-3 long and 2-3 feet wide. Another staple here for their ease of care and their abundance of greenery.

Xanadu... a relative of the aforementioned philodendron but on the miniature side comparatively. This easily divided evergreen fills in the broad spaces of numerous planting beds and multiplies itself once established. For a twist I like to pop them in containers, too.

Saw Palmetto... Nature planted these Florida beauties and I design around them with glee. They speak of all things Florida and woodsy and natural... I absolutely adore their fan of green poking up beneath every stand of live oaks here ... I am confident God placed them here just for me.
Spathiphyllum floribundum... you have to appreciate this shade loving, elongated, shiny leaved houseplant that thrives in the heat and humidity of our climate.
This was a fun project giving me pause to take in the garden with new eyes. Thanks to Shirl and to Emma for getting us involved.


  1. I just love even the name of the plant Buddah Belly. It is sweet. Must be a tropical I have never heard or seen. All of your greens are marvelous.

  2. I would describe your garden as "lush". All those greens and other foliage colors are striking and interesting, even without blooms.

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  3. Wonderful post. Your gardens are Gorgeous!! Don't compare mine to anyone else. I had to use old photos for "greens" today. :-)

  4. Fabulous meems, both photos and plants. Goodness, I want a Buddha Belly...plant not the belly! I couldn't help but laugh at the plant labeled exotic! It does actually look familiar, like a tropical at a nursery or maybe it's that it looks like it wants to take off flying.

    I am thinking about the notion of gardening all year. Interesting to think about!


  5. nancy: Did I say "enjoy" all year? Hee-hee... it can be work to keep up year round but I don't think I could manage to live where it wasn't green year round.

    lisa: I think it is tropical... my neighbor passed it along to me and she brought it here from even further south.

    Gee thanks, Carol. Lush is a compliment for the kind of garden I've worked to acheive using lots of varied foliage. I still like the blooms of whatever can stand the heat down here.

    Shady: Thank you. I'll be over to check out your greens soon.

    Gail: Yes, plant not belly... ha! That label thing happens a lot down here ... I wonder if that happens other places? It didn't matter much to me at the time I was looking for small plants to go in a specific planter for inside. It has worked out really well in the container it was transferred to outside even if I don't know the name.

    The thing about gardening year round is you never get to take a break... hmmm ...a break is a notion that's interesting to think about.

  6. Your layers of plants create a wonderful garden. I enjoyed the foliage tour.
    I always wish that plant tags would give more detailed information, but I giggled at the plant tag saying simply 'exotic plant'. I pictured a worker charged with printing the tags and knowing nothing about plants, randomly printing 'something with green leaves', 'a growing thing', etc. We've eliminated the animal and mineral categories.

  7. Yes I too fell in love with Buddha belly - but also that variegated shell ginger.. I would love to grow some of those beautiful plants. How lucky you are climatically! Lovely photos.

  8. Hi again Meems, what a great foliage you have :-D

    I love the variety of leaf shape you have too. I am struggling to decide my favourite from your selection. Great photos too :-D

    It has to be the Clerodendrum followed by the Split leaf philodendron. I am always sold on simple leaves and flowers but I also love the unusual too. Mm.. I also love the Lemon Lime Dracaena. ..

    Have a great weekend :-D

  9. What a "green" post...very trendy indeed. I think my favorite might be the lemon lime dracaena.

  10. northern shade: thanks for stopping by Hoe & Shovel...I'm not very good with the botanical names anyway I just know what I like and most importantly what works in this climate. But it is kind of funny a plant can be sold without pertinent information for a healthy life. :-)

    emma: we are blessed to grow some unusual foliage and of course the fact that we rarely have a frost or freeze. There are trade offs for that ... like enduring our summers... but after that all is bliss.

    Shirl: Hi. I'm with you on the Clerodendrum... it is about 7 feet tall and at least as wide right now with bright orange blooms and looking oh so tropical with its very wide perfectly green leaves. The butterflies love it too.

    mjm: Ahhh...yes,the lemon lime just keeps capturing my adoration over and over. Fairly new to the garden....I keep wondering why I didn't notice these beauties. before.

  11. Such a stunning display of greens! I've seen your comments on several blogs I read regularly but never stopped by to visit. Your garden is breathtakingly beautiful!

  12. meems,

    I didn't want to bring up the no break thing! You know, in case you hadn't thought about it;->

    You will never lose a tag if you start a 'bouquet of bloom tags'! Just put them all in a cup and there they are! Well, maybe a dozen cups! Of course, you do have to go through them all to find the matching picture, but then there is the distraction of looking at the plants that didn't make it, the ones you want to get more of and the ones you love! Fifteen minutes later you have forgotten what you were looking for....but other than that, it's a good system!


  13. rose: Welcome... glad you stopped by Hoe & Shovel and thank you for the nice compliment.

    gail: It would be nice to have a break in the winter. Growth definitely slows but still there is always gardening to do. I really appreciate seeing "green" all year so I'm here to stay with my hands in the dirt every season.

    I remember your tag bouquets... they do have their merits.

  14. On the off chance that you have not found out the name of your "exotic plant" since posting this, it is an aluminum plant, Pilea cadierei.

  15. I love how you have the pics on the left so you can go to posts about some plant you are interested in. I saw the first pic in this post and thought it was an aluminum plant. I only know that because a friend gave me a cutting. Read through the posts and was surprised that no one had named it, especially since this was posted in 2008. Got to the bottom and saw Mr. Subjunctive beat me to the punch this year.

    Some day when I have nothing to do (ha ha) I will spend hours looking through old post in your blog.

  16. Siesta Sister,
    Thank you for mentioning that you like the links on the sidebar. My biggest desire is to help other Florida gardeners. If sharing my successess and failures helps in any way then all this 'blog work' is well worth it. :-) Someday I also need to spend some time going back through old posts and probably 'clean them up' and just read them to remember what I've already written about. And someday when I have more time I'm going to add more to the sidebar. I think you've inspired me to spruce it up a bit. Always nice to visit with you and thanks for the ID on the aluminum plant. It's a sweet little foliage but was overtaken by a giant liriope in an overgrown container pot since that photo.Speaing of... I need to clean up some container gardens too... oh my you've got me thinking.


Have a blessed day,

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