Check Out These Pages, Too!

"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.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

That Was Then; This Is Now

What a Difference a Few Months Can Make!
Well, here we are in the middle of summer and boy is it a scorcher. While the plant life at Hoe & Shovel is growing like a jungle I thought this might be a good time to highlight some updates to plantings/projects featured in previous posts. So if you like that sort of thing, hang around for a few minutes to see how long hours of sunshine, some rain (finally), and lots of summer humidity are the elements that make a zone 10 garden thrive.

That Was Then (April 2008)

The above photo first appeared in an April post (here for the back story) explaining how this north side of the garden was all grass until it was decided the veggie garden would work well over here. Once the veggie garden was started (not visible in the photo) ... well, let's just say I couldn't be spending so much time over there without having some pretty plants to keep me company too. Digging the curvy bed out around the fencing to join the front bed seemed to be the best way to take care of that dilemma.

This Is Now.

Bush daisy found next to the fire bush in this planting.

I can tell you that without a doubt these curves will be wider in the fall. As soon as it cools down the shovel will be at work again to enlarge this area. There just isn't enough room here ... for the fire spike(forefront) and bush daisies are overpowering the border of amaryllis and day lilies. The fire spike is supposed to let loose with its red blooms late summer/early fall. It is a first here so I can only hope it will not disappoint. The big green leafy plant is sufficient enough for now. I discovered it's easily propogated with cuttings too. If it does bloom I'll be planting more of it in the fall using the plants I've started from cuttings .A view of the same bed from another angle.

A closer look (above) at how the side bed blends with the front bed around the fencing. The impatiens in the center of the white caladiums is a volunteer. Impatiens tend to behave like weeds around here popping up everywhere. Many times I actually pluck them and throw them in the compost (gasp) because they show up in unwanted places. I left this one because it turned out to be purplish pink but seeing it front and center in a photo makes it seem a little out of place.

Can I just give a shout out to the Illustris & Midnight Taro... also a first at Hoe & Shovel and planted back in April? It is just so fun to see it towering above the white June Bride and Jackie Suthers caladiums. Also in this bed ... an hibiscus (behind the midnight taro), lantana (not blooming now) crawling out either side, a Brunfelsia pauciflora in the corner(also not blooming now), all bordered by variegated liriope.

That Was Then (March 2008)

Around we go to the back garden (above). This is the closest planting bed to the back pool patio. The above photo was first featured in a post referencing the mexican petunia (behind the iron gates in background) and the variegated schefflera. It was time for a severe trimming of both back in March. The original post can be read in full here.

This planting bed is about 35' in length and 20' at its widest point over to the archway that connects it to another bed. The entire bed is anchored by a single-trunk Ligustrum japonicum (or japanese privet) on the far end (not visible due to height of it) and a drake elm on the closer end (in the foreground but not visible in this photo). Picture the long side of the bed running parallel to the pool .

This Is Now.

You can see the mexican petunia;Ruellia brittoniana towering at 5-6 feet tall again. I like to pretend the black iron gates are containing it. But alas... it is not to be contained in anyone's imagination or reality. An invasive species in this zone it is beginning to make me weary trying to keep it from taking over. It's been trimmed (not its heighth but its breadth) and shooters continually pulled up everywhere since the growing season started. The butterflies do love it so that is its one huge redeeming quality.

I would not recommend planting Mexican Petunia to anyone in this area and south of me. Except under one condition and that is if nothing else is growing nearby and you do not mind it turning into a rather large hedge. It starts out so purple and lovely but now after 6 (years) flourishing seasons, it seems as if it is out to get me... chasing me down at every turn... and all the trimming I'm doing to tame it is making it want to grow even better. HA! It is a good thing I keep my pruners in hand at all times.But the typical gardener would not be able to manage its unruly habits and THIS A-typical gardener is weary of doing it.

This Is Now ( a little bit tighter shot)

By the way... there are four container plants visible in the above photo. Can you figure out where they are? Stay tuned for a future post featuring the containers placed in and around Hoe & Shovel.

And Finally...

That Was Then (March 2008)
Staying in the back garden there are several more planted beds. This one (above--in the background) is situated at an angle in the S E corner of the garden. There is a grassy pathway behind this bed and then about 20 more feet of property planted out beyond it but SE corner suffices for this description. The original explanation of this expansion project that was done over the period of a couple of years (read: continuous digging) can be read here.

This Is Now.

I hope you've enjoyed the partial tour and update of Hoe & Shovel. It really does seem like everything is billowing over its borders this time of year. The heat is turned up to extreme as it is all over the country it seems. Only here you have to imagine the nights don't cool down much... never cooler than about 75 degrees but more like 80. I think the plants are growing by moonlight, too.

Hope you are all enjoying your gardens, too. Meems


  1. Wow Meems I have to say that your garden is so beautiful, it reminds me of a really is a credit to you.....

    The growth is amazing, you are going to be a busy girl in the months to come increasing those borders....

  2. i love the comparsion shots/
    it puts things in perspective.
    in every season your garden is a delight to peruse.

  3. What a lovely garden! You must spend a lot of time there!

  4. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour! Your gardens have such beautiful flowing lines! It's amazing to see how things can change in just a few months.

  5. Your garden gives a more meaningful description of LUSH. WOW It looks marvelous.

    I was given one of those taro plants this spring. I didn't think it would live but it has. It isn't near as big as yours is of course but I like it growing against a white fence.

  6. We have a wild petunia here and Mr McGregor's Daughter grows another variety in Illinois, I know I saw them in Charleston...they all have that wonderful lilac/purple flower and I think behave the same..."I want to take over the world"! Your then and now shots are wonderful; you are a great designer and I think a very hard working gardener!


  7. Just gorgeous Meems. It's amazing how fast your new beds have filled in. Nothing grows like that in my garden!

    Mexican Petunias are so pretty here, but they're only annuals and never have a chance to get that big. I can understand you being tired of keeping it in bounds.

    I'm drooling as usual over all those beautiful caladiums.

  8. Everything looks absolutely beautiful. I know that your little piece of earth has been enjoying the afternoon showers. Your family is going to give you a hard time about digging up more of the grass. :)

  9. Your garden is so lush and has so many wonderful combinations. Then and Now ...gorgeous!

  10. What a wonderful post! I like all the colors and before/after picks. I feel a TAD justified in removing my Mexican Petunia bush. Because I'm neither a typical gardener nor an Atypical gardener. And I just couldn't handle that thing that grew like kudzu.

  11. Okay... it's one thing when blogger eats your comments on someone else's blog but when it eats from your own... now that's just wrong! I know I left replies here to some of you last night.
    :-) So here we go again in a couple of installments.

    You are always so kind with your words,Cheryl... thank you again for coming here and adding to the value of my blog- I truly appreciate you.

    A park it is not but it is a happy place to hang out. The growth is intense right now... keeping me busy with trimming. The thing about a tropicalesque garden is the fine line between lush and overgrown.

    Thanks,Marmee, it is really helpful to have both - even some from last year of the very same areas. It is interesting to see the changes and variety of plants used.

    Thank you, Sheila. And a special thanks for visiting Hoe & Shovel. Let's just say, I spend more time in the garden than the average homeowner. Hubby keeps telling me I've created a full-time job without the pay. I remind him not all profits come in the form of dollars... he's a man (and a good one I have to add) ... he can't help thinking in terms of dollars... which is also fine with me as long as he keeps supporting my habits. HA!

    I agree, Chey, how remarkable the changes are during these intense months of growth. For some reason I tend to forget that simple fact every year and it seems to take me by surprise.I'm glad you came along for the before and after.

    I remember when you posted your newly acquired taro, Lisa.The fact that it is growing in Indiana and in Florida is true evidence to the way summer -especially July equalizes gardens all over the U.S. Of course that isn't fact... just my opinion. *grin*

  12. Good morning to you, Gail. I think I remember MMD mentioning her Mex Petunia on another post... maybe it is the dwarf variety. That one is NOT invasive even in my zone and makes for a much more conservative planting. It's characteristics are much different however, and would be useful in a border rather than as a focal point.

    I LOVE the design side of gardening.I am an interior designer 'wanna be' so the garden gives me a great outlet for that passion.

    Linda, I so wish I could give you a closer tour of the caladiums since I think you might love them as much as I do and that is hard to imagine.

    Thank you, Nancy. When you think about the growth here you have to remember that in the winter months all the shrubs and most of the perennials even some annuals (that act like perennials) are still growing... only not at the same rate as the longer days and warm nights of the spring/summer/fall. So we have such a huge headstart when the faster growing season takes off.

    Maybe my family won't read my blog or catch me digging, mjm. HA. If only they knew how many other designs I have in my head that will take up even more of the precious grassy playground.

  13. The combinations in a garden are what gives me so much energy, Mother Nature. Don't you just love coming up with designs that work together and compliment the entire planting? Sooooo invigorating!

    I know I gave you a hard time about taking yours out when you did a few years ago, serious/silly/me.I retract all the harassment and say you were definitely right to do so.

    AND you are a poet... "I just couldn't handle that thing that grew like kudzu." But we knew that already... :-) Thanks, my 'non-gardening' friend, for reading my 'gardening' blog. I love you even more for it.

  14. Thanks for stopping by my blog today. We have alot of the same plants. Love the pictures. I've been trying to take more, but I've been so busy. Love the rain lilies, they are one of my favorites.

  15. Your gardens are magnificant!! Your blends of varieties are perfect! - Beautiful - I enjoyed my visit!

  16. Indeed a lovely garden tour, Meems. You have a gifted eye for color, texture and form. Sit in the shade and relax for a bit, enjoying a job, finely crafted.

  17. greg: Thanks for stopping in I suspected we might have some of the same plants since you are in the south. The rain lilies are fun due to their habit of re-blooming over a long period of time.

    spookydragonfly: Welcome to Hoe&Shovel I appreciate your visit and your comment. This is the time of year when all the hard work in the early spring months rewards the gardener!

    Joey: Thank YOU! You too have the same eye if even I do possess what you so kindly describe. I'm sitting on my back porch right now with the ceiling fan blasting. Sitting in the shade is still really warm and muggy this time of year. I do take advantage of the early morning hours and then its the a/c for me.

  18. I really like your before and after photo idea. Think now would be a good time for me to start that. It should help me with the thinning and transplanting next spring.

    The caladiums and taro are spectacular. Thinking about trying some in pots next year.

  19. How beautiful your beds are. I wish mine were as organized and lush!! I love the variegated liriope and the caladium. I bet you don't even have to dig up the caladium in your climate, huh? Sigh... :)

  20. roses and lilacs: Thanks for stopping by... you would enjoy the caladiums and taro in pots... they'd actually look good in the same pot.

    jamie: Welcome. I use the variegated liriope everywhere here mostly because I can dig up extra large clumps and separate it out for new borders... very easy and I never have to buy it anymore. No, I don't dig up my caladiums. They stay in the ground year after year. Most of them come back every year except where I've accidentally disturbed them when in their dormant stage with my incessant digging/planting .

  21. Meems, I greatly enjoyed the garden tour! The difference between the "then" and "now" photos is dramatic, and it's always fun to see those (instructive, too). You are not a designer wannabee, you are a designer! I could certainly use some of your color/space/design sense in my own garden. I love my garden, but yours is a sight prettier, so I plan to visit often.

  22. Your borders are lovely.....they have filled in beautifully over the months.

  23. I don't know what I love more - your sweeping beds or your stunning plant combinations - Just beautiful, Meems!

  24. kim, Sometimes I think I'd like to lend a hand to other gardeners who want help with their designs... it would possibly help ME to quit buying so many plants if I could spend other folks money for their gardens. :-)

    Connie:It really helps to have the photos to compare. Otherwise I forget how this season grows everything up so quickly.

    Mary Beth: thank you! I tend to think the design of the beds is as important as the combinations that thrive in them.

  25. Good Grief!! I remember you saying something about expanding--hoe in hand---determination! But wowsers. Pretty soon--it's going to be..has anyone seen Meems? She went out to her gardens and hasn't been back for days. It is all so beautiful. I love the before and afters. I love the caladiums. The white really smacks in your garden. Bravo!

  26. This is the worst invasive plant I've experienced. It absolutely thrives on neglect and drought, laughs at attempts to remove. No matter how deeply you pull on the stem you cannot remove the root. You have go get under the big root with weed puller, one by one, very carefully, takes minutes per plant. And if you don't get it all, it comes back better if the ground is disturbed, since it broadcasts seeds best into exposed bare ground.

    It can be out-competed by healthy St Augustine which shades the ground too much for it. Best solution I've found. But the water wasting grass has to be kept fully green and mowed to perfection, no matter what, or any little neglect and the mexican petunias spring right back since they love neglect but St Augustine demands sacrifice.

    I take an hour or two to clean my mower after mowing these things down. Don't want to spread those nasty seeds anywhere else. Now planning to get a second mower so I can keep one seed free.


Have a blessed day,

September 2010

Back Garden: October 2010

Louise Philippe: Antique Rose

Tropical Pathway