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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, August 25, 2008

Drippy Wet Garden

Most of the weekend brought us typical Tropical Storm type weather. Weather that missed hitting us dead on thankfully but affected us even while skirting around us to the south, east, and north.

The Remains of Fay
Fay was traipsing back across the northern part of the state from the eastern coast the last couple of days. From her slow movement we got some squally winds and bands of rain sporadically with intermittent relief and even a little sunshine in between. During this kind of pattern it's quite unpredictable when the rains will start and stop.

Saturday morning I was able to get out in the garden for a couple of hours to do some weeding and trimming. It was not so bad that I couldn't keep working through some of the light rains. But just when we thought we might be clearing up for good, out of nowhere, the heavy downpours started again. Taking a walk around my garden with the camera, in between the rains, I took a few photos of my drippy wet garden.

Before the heavier rains started, my almost 80 year old neighbor, Helen, who lives across the street, called over to me from her front garden. Not an unusual thing. We often see each other out and about and then find ourselves chit-chatting in one or the other of our gardens. She can be found gardening almost daily in her nearly-acre lot. Helen has generously given me many cuttings or transplants from her garden over the years.

A view of her front gardens (above) taken from my front driveway reveals her natural, no lawn, style of landscaping. She's not real happy with some of the plants in this front section right now but a closer look would bring to light a wide variety of tropical goodies she brought up with her from south Florida when she moved here 15 years ago.
She kindly let me dash home for my camera and so I could take some photos of a few pretty things in her garden. From her pagoda flower (above) she cut a couple of branches a few years ago and passed them along to me. I literally stuck mine in the ground at the base of an oak tree, kept them watered until they rooted and now it is one of my favorite tropicals in the garden. I have several now as they are quick to drop seeds and reproduce without any urging.

Meandering through the pathways of Helen's garden, I just like to hear her talk about her plants. Interestingly, she rarely knows the names of them. She just knows how to take care of them. The butterflies often fly from her garden across to mine and then to my next door neighbor's. They have plenty to keep them busy between all of us.
If I were to try to count how many different plants Helen has given me over time, I couldn't. There are so many and so much variety. Some of them are plants that one doesn't find in the plant nurseries around here.
It isn't proudly that I admit how reluctant I used to be to take clippings from her. I was hardly excited about them years ago when I didn't have as much time to garden nor the patience for nurturing transplants. Well, needless to say, I have grown to LOVE even the idea of getting pass-along plants as there is so much to cherish when a garden is shared. Not only that but I have come to value even the thought of cultivating a cutting into a treasured plant in my garden.
The yellow flower (above) is growing as tall as her house under her oak tree canopy. A few years back she gave me a transplant from a red one just like this one... I still haven't found the name of it anywhere.

Pink Brazilian Plume Flower
Tibouchina urvilleana; Princess Flower
Just like so many other times in Helen's garden I came home with more cuttings. I'm not sure the Tibouchina urvilleana will root but it is in the dirt along with some other tropical beauty neither one of us can name.

It felt good to get outside and garden some this weekend even if it required dodging the rain off and on. Being stuck indoors for a few days is unusual around here. We've finally seen the last of Tropical Storm Fay. So getting back to sunshine means gardening in the early morning hours with regularly scheduled afternoon thunderstorms.
Happy summer gardening!


  1. Meems, lovely post of your garden and of a wonderful neighbor. To have someone near who shares the same passion is so dear. I'm sure along with the pass-alongs she has shared her knowledge as well. The butterflies are beautiful, as are all the plants-named and unnamed. We don't always need names to enjoy their beauty.

    BTW, I love your sidebar. So many glorious plants!

  2. Good morning Meems, I'm so glad Fay spared you from the worst of her wrath, and hope she's finally decided to leave Florida for good. Your neighbor sounds like a sweetheart. How lovely that she's shared so many pretties with you.

  3. I'm so glad you didn't get hit worse by 'Fay'. Your neighbor's garden is gorgeous, lush & very tropical. How wonderful to have such a generous gardener across the street. Regardless of their names the plants are beautiful and exotic. I bet those butterflies are in pure heaven with all that nectar in your little oasis.

  4. good morning,beckie, It has been a joy for me to have Helen close by. Sadly until recently I didn't take the time to meander with her too much. Always too busy to stop. I'm learning though... to take advantage of the moments. She is a lovely lady who lives alone and gardening is a way for her to get outside and keep moving.

    good morning,Linda, very thankful we aren't dealing with what so many others are left to face from Fay. She was not a hurricane but definitely took her time visiting our great state and somehow managed to covered lots of miles.

    My neighbor is a one of the sweetest ladies I know. Always cheerful, always helpful, always giving. So nice to have life long neighbors to share our passions.

  5. It's nice to get cuttings from friends and neighbours - the plants will always remind you of them. You've got some very interesting plants and I'm so glad Fay didn't ruin your house or garden.

  6. perennial garden lover, It is so nice to be in my front garden and look over to my neighbor's and know the butterflies are well supplied.

    It's interesting to note that my sweet neighbor won't let me give her any of my cuttings. She asks about my ginger (pictured in the first photo) all the time but she always ends the conversation with, "I don't need another thing to take care of." I can certainly understand at her age, she is doing great to keep up with all she has growing now.

    Hi Katarina, I've been outside this morning picking up debris (fallen limbs and moss) from the shade canopy. But I can't' complain about that when so many others are out of their homes from flooding.

    My neighbor has been so gracious with her cuttings. It is true that I think of her everytime I see them or tend to them... those are some very nice thoughts.

  7. Hi Meems....what a wonderful older lady....and I love her front looks like a magical place to share plants is special, and as the garden matures we remember the wonderful people that gave them to us.......

    A delightful post.........

  8. Meems,

    Even in the rain the flowers sparkle or maybe because of the rain. I love saying Tibouchina! I haven't the faintest idea if I am pronouncing it correctly but it sounds really exotic the way I do and it is truly lovely!

    None of my immediate neighbors garden but I do have pass-alongs that I cherish. Practically Perfect Pink Phlox was one!

    Thankfully you weren't hit full force from Faye and we are appreciating the rains she brought a cost to others in Florida. The double edged sword.


  9. I want a neighbor like that! Really loved hearing your admiration for her and how you grew to appreciate her more each day. I can see she enjoys the fact that you enjoy her garden---a true sign of someone who cherishes their ability to plant and grow and adoring others who notice. Good for you Meems---you blessed her day.

  10. please, oh please, send some rain our way. i know you would if you could. it has been threatening for days but just spitting.

    your rain soaked leafs looks so cool and refreshing. i am sure your thirsty garden will drink it readily. i love that first varigated leaves image.

    some of those plants in helen's yard are incredible. i think i might just be hanging out in my front yard hoping she'd invite me over for a little cutting of this and a little cutting of that.

    your soil is so well cultivated to be able to just stick things in it and water them until you decide where they should go.

    our soil, right now is brittle and crusty. very unappealing!
    glad you got good rain but no major storm.

  11. What a lovely post Meems.

  12. I just loved your post today. How wonderful to have such a neighbor, gardener and plant lover to share with. I'm glad you are stopping and meandering more. You know, some of my most treasured plants are ones friends gave me, and you reminded me of those today. Thank you for that and your lovely photos.

  13. Beautiful pictures! And a beautiful post to go along with it. Your visits probably mean so much to your neighbor and it most likely warms her heart to be able to share her plants with you. I know when I share mine, it's a special feeling. :-)

    I love tibouchina!! The velvet leaves are so unusual. I used to have one but it didn't make it through one of our winters. It should root easily.

    Oh! And I think that last pic is Sanchezia speciosa.

  14. PS. Could the yellow one be Yellow Jacobinia (Justicia aurea) and the red one maybe, possibly Cardinal's Guard (Pachystachys coccinea)?

    Sorry, I'm not a stalker, I just have a weird thing about trying to id plants. LOL

  15. Hi Cheryl, her garden is so full of lovely ornamentals and winding paths throughout to find something new around every corner. I do think of her often when in my own garden because everywhere I look now there is something she has contributed.

    Gail, you are making me laugh again... there are some things that are just fun to say and tib-a-cheen-a is one of them. Is that how you say it? You got me thinking so I took a quick look over at a plant pronunciation guide and here is what they offer: tib-oo-CHEE-nah, ur-vil-lee-AY-nah. I guess I've been wrong all along... oh well, par for the name-course for me. I do hope this doesn't mess up your exotic pronunciation.

    Glad you are getting some much needed rain. At least Fay ended up better than she started. Georgia, SC, and NC are also getting some much needed rain from her too.

  16. Meems, the post (both photos and script)lovely. My garden also speaks of many shared gifts. And the weather? If every day was sunny and bright, how boring! Glad you fared the storm well ;)

  17. anna: Sadly I lost my favorite neighbor two years ago to cancer... she lived right next door and taught me so much about gardening when I first moved here 24 years ago.

    But this neighbor (Helen)is a jewel. She amazes me with her ability to take care of such a large lot still. She is a blessing
    to me!

    marmee: I sure hope you finally getting some rain tonight. The weather map looks like it might be so. Your garden will surely be thankful and you too.

    Do you know Helen actually leaves plants for me on my doorstep? Sometimes I'll walk outside and there is a bag or bucket with cuttings waiting for me. She is just so excited to share her garden. I wish she would let me return the treat but it only feels like work to her now to get cuttings. So, I have to respect that.

  18. karen: thanks so much for stopping by... happy you enjoyed the post.

    kim: I am truly learning to take more time away from my agenda. :-)It is so nice to have plants that remind us of specific people and times. I can still remember when Helen brought over my first Amaryllis bulbs ever. It was so exciting to plant them and now every spring when they come up I remember that day. I have multiplied them everywhere since then. She also gave me my first ever lily of the nile and now I have divided that plant so many times that it is all over my garden. Truly the gifts of love and friendship.

  19. greenjeans: You are my hero for the night! I am so excited you have a thing for because I have looked for that red plant for the longest time and had NOT A Clue! YES, I googled it after I got your comment and YES it is Cardinal's Guard. I'm so thrilled. Did I say that already? So is the yellow one a relative of the brazilian plume? I thought the yellow and red were twins except for color but now I'm a little confused by the names. I'll have to do some research to put it all together now that you've enlightened me.

    AND you are right about the Sanchezia also. I had that one written down somewhere but was too lazy to look it up. :-( She gave me a cutting of that one last year. It froze to the ground in our one day freeze in January. It came back but might hasn't any blooms on it. Hers is about 4 feet tall and wide.

    I have 2 tibouchina's but hers is a little different. Longer, darker leaves and it is a tree that stands about 14 feet tall. Thanks again for the help on the ID's and for visiting.

    Joey: Yeah, how boring would it be if everyday was like, well... like it is (almost)everyday down here in sunny Florida? :-) My garden is very happy for the rain it received. It was a nice dose right here in the heat of August.

  20. Wow! Your garden is a tropical oasis! I live in a zone 3 but us Northern gardeners are a tough breed!

  21. I'm glad you did alright during the storm...and I love the story of your neighbor...she obviously sees the gardener that you are and feels a connection. How nice for her to have an appreciative fellow gardener!

  22. it would appear from the photos that you live in a garden, surrounded by gardens. i think they should call your street "shady gardens" but then again, that sounds like a nursing home. :o)

  23. Oh good!! I'm glad those were the right names. Ok, from what I gathered in my quickie research last night, the Cardinal's Guard is also called Justicia lutea, Justicia coccinea AND Jacobinia coccinea so IS releated to the Yellow Jacobinia (Justicia aurea). And the Pink Brazilian Plume Flower is Justicia carnea so it's also related. :)

    I've had Sanchezia for a couple of years. I haven't had any luck propagating it and I haven't found the right place for it either. It didn't like full sun and seemed happier in the shade but the cold will knock it out in no time. I dug mine up and have them in pots for now. Do you have yours in sun or shade?

  24. I had to go back and look at your photos several times. So many of the flowers and plants are unfamiliar to me (a northern Illinois gardener). What a treat to see them. And how pristine all the foliage looks.
    Tell your neighbor we enjoyed her lovely blooms.

  25. It is good that Fay decided to just water your garden for you a few days. I wish Fay was more generous with her rain and would send some up this way. We need it so bad.

    Your neighbors garden looks as lush and beautiful as your own. Those are some lucky butterflies to have all that lovely vegetation and flowers to themselves. A real paradise.

  26. the HG: Thank you. I guess we all have to be a tough breed with each of our various conditions.

    Leslie: We really got out of any adverse affects from the storm... I think every other part of Florida was hit harder than our area. My neighbor and I have an appreciation for what it takes to garden here all year long. It is my pleasure to have her living right across the street.

    s/s/m: Yes, now THAT would sound like a nursing home.

    green jeans: very good information on the flowers... thanks SO MUCH for doing my homework for me.

    The Sanchezia needs partiall sun. Mine is very small... Helen gave me a piece with roots on it. It grew well for a couple of months and then froze in January. It is now very small still. I'm thinking if no freeze this winter it will grow much faster and be decent size next year. Helen's is about 4' tall and wide with lots of blooms.

  27. Marnie: I know how that is ... going back and forth and not recognizing the plants... most of what I see in the northern blogs is unfamiliar to me. It is lots of fun to learn about them and especially to see them in use in pretty gardens. Thanks for sticking around to look at mine... I will let Helen know you liked her blooms.

    Lisa: It is surely good to see you out and about again. :-) The rain from Fay did the garden lots of good. I wish you were not so dry now... I know all too well how that feels.

    This is certainly the time of year when the butterflies are prolific... so fun to watch them flitting all over the place.

  28. What a lovely story-you are so lucky to have such a dear neighbor. I actually thought to myself a couple weeks ago that it would be great to visit your garden for cuttings and seeds-now I know how you managed to amass such a variety of plants!

  29. nicole: Helen has definitely added to the diversity here and given me plants I had no idea would even work in my garden. If you were ever in this area I would be happy to give you cuttings... it's not the South Seas or Trinidad but if you were here anyway...? :-)

  30. meems,

    Do we need to be concerned about you with this new tropical storm menacing the gulf?


  31. I remember the time that I happened to be visiting you when Helen invited us both over to walk thru her garden. She is so charming and delightful to be around. She is also generous to everyone. I left her garden with a few samples for myself that day and they are still a part of my patio plants these few years later. Gardeners always appreciate others who enjoy their garden and seem to want to share their first love and spread the bounty around.
    Now about those cuttings of your begonia?

  32. gail: you are so sweet to even think of me with the reports about Gustav stirring around Jamaica right now. They don't really know where it will go or how strong it will be... it's just another watch and wait game ... which is the hurricane way. Right now it's not predicted to come too near us but we will just keep watching... sad to say it will probably hit somewhere in the U.S. as a big hurricane.

    Thanks for checking on me. Hope you had a great day. I was occupied with my 2 yr. old grandson... we had a fun day.

  33. Mom, aka Senior Gardener: I remember Helen giving you your first Pentas when you lived in your other house. You are so right about her being a delight. And you are right about gardeners appreciating anyone who enjoys their gardens... you know how I can chew your ear off on a walk around mine. Thus blogging about it... solves all that need to share our passion I think. :-)

  34. Cherish the moments that turn into memories with your neighbor. Love to share with my friends where my plants came from.


Have a blessed day,

September 2010

Back Garden: October 2010

Louise Philippe: Antique Rose

Tropical Pathway