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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.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Messy Flower Petals

Porches are important anywhere, I presume, but in the south they are ideal for our everyday lifestyle. We make use of them all year long. Often they help blend the inside of our homes to the outside.

Hoe & Shovel has yet to realize our dream home which would include a large craftsman style wrap around porch graced with plentiful rocking chairs. It's important to keep our dreams alive with images of what could be. But I digress.

Until then, we make great use of our humble and quite ordinary style screened lanai (or porch). It is partly under roof arranged with a couple of area tables and chairs for eating and relaxing. The remainder of it is open-air but fully caged with typical Florida-style pool decking and screening to keep all the buggies out. A brick paved patio just outside the screening transitions the hardscape to the back garden.

Countless family and holiday gatherings around the pool area have been the center of activity over the years. Most of our daily evening meals include cooking on the gas grill and then having our dinner (and many times breakfast and lunch, too) on the back porch.
The look of naturally aged cedar appeals to me more than paint at the moment so I've chosen to let the adirondacks weather naturally with time. Situated in the far corner (above) of the pool deck with the back garden in clear view, this is a primary summer spot for hubby and I to chit chat and enjoy coffee together. These days we wait until the intense temps of daylight taper off after sundown. A dip in the pool first helps us forget about the lingering humidity. During the rest of the year when temps are heavenly (winter and spring) and the sunshine is welcomed these chairs are privy to every visitor's conversation. This is "my corner" where I can be found doing much of my blogging, reading, and phone conversations.

Would you like to have a look around at the container plants making a mess on my back porch?

Container plants are 're-arranged' a few times each year. Much like a planting bed it becomes necessary to switch out plants as they no longer produce or sometimes I just do it for the season (like Christmas) because they are easy and fun to plant out.

Flower debris falling on the decking can be very messy. I go through stages of deciding I'm weary from the extra work they create then I'll make a definite effort to plant only colorful foliage. Yes, leaves are also messy but not nearly as constant as the tiny petals of indigo spire and mona lavender.

Sometimes it's as if I don't remember how the flower petal debris gets into the pool and on the pool deck and then requires so much more attention and I find myself planting flowers again. This spring I forgot.

I've forgiven myself for this lapse in memory, however, since the indigo spires (sometimes called mystic spires) and mona lavender have done so well in these pots providing so much softness of color and texture right through these sweltering summer months.

The swimming pool has given our family hours of entertainment and relief from the summer heat for all these many years. Much to our joy now our grandchildren are practicing their swimming skills in it as well. It is a blessed treat to take a dip after a day of long hours in the garden for me too.

The angel wing (or dragon wing?) begonia has a permanent home in the far corner year round. It is the one container that I don't change out due to its almost continual show of blooms. It is very messy dropping leaves and petals consistently. But since it has found a perfect home there I'll happily clean up the messes it makes.

The cobalt blue glazed pots in the opposite far corner were new this spring. I've been especially pleased with the lime green contrast of the creeping ginny and the variegated shell ginger (dug out of the garden) against the bright blue.

Darkness is pushed away each day as the sun comes up in view over the back garden. Even before the sun rises this is the table where most mornings I start my day with coffee and my Bible. I'm energized and refreshed by the sights and sounds of the outdoors as the day is dawning with all its promises for what lies ahead.

In the two pots to the left of the adirondack chairs I've combined african iris, dark pink polka-dot plant, miss muffet caladiums, variegated liriope, english ivy and mona lavender. It's been necessary to trim all the plants on the back porch back a few times since spring and still they are spilling over the sides of their pots.

This weekend I'm going to be busy with some renovation. Digging up some non-flowering plants from around the garden to create less-messy bouquets in these pots which will help solve the petal debris issue. I'm certain for a season I'll rejoice at less mess and then, who knows, when spring rolls around again and those pretty annuals are in the garden store, reason (and memory) is likely to fly out the window again.

Well, thanks for coming along with me on my back porch. I wish you could each sit in my adirondacks with a glass of iced tea and chat with me about your gardens.

Enjoy your weekend and happy gardening. Meems


  1. Beautiful post as always meems! It's hard to pass on Mona Lavender! She is quite wonderful and as you say soft and textural; don't you want to touch the leaves every time you pass by. Velvet.

    I love your porch and the screening is wonderful; I am assuming that the overhead is also screened. We looked into getting the Florida screening (that's what we called it) a dozen years ago for our patio....the mosquitoes are so horrible in Tennessee. No one knew what we were talking about! It wasn't available! I am really digressing, sorry.

    Love this post, your family gathering spot and your messy;) but beautiful containers.


  2. I wish I could sit there with you too. It's very lovely.

    I'm so enjoying seeing the pictures of swimming pools and surrounding gardens that bloggers are posting about. First Layanee and now you. As I told Layanee, pool surrounds are often left rather barren, so it's nice to see how a gardener treats them.

    We saw entire back yards and pools screened in when we took a trip to Disney World a couple of years ago. It was such a surprise to see how much people screen in Florida. I guess the bugs must be really bad. How do you garden though?

  3. Very beautiful Meems. I love the plants & flowers that surround your pool. I'm sure it can be quite messy & tedious to clean up at times though. The idea of colorful foliage is sounds like a great alternative to the blooms. I like the natural patina on your Adrionback chairs. What a great place to have coffee or a glass of wine with hubby in the evening.

  4. Hi back porch is such a lovely space....I know the pot plants make a mess with dropping leaves but they certainly add to the setting.....

    It must be wonderful to spend time with family in such a beautiful place.....

  5. I second and triple everything you said. Loved reading how much you enjoy it. I like craftsman style too!

  6. Your lanai is beautiful, Meems! I can see why you spend time out there. While flowers canbe messy, they do give us lots of beauty in return for a little inconveience. I know you will be spending more time in your wonderful chairs as the weather cools down some. Have a cup of coffee for me.

  7. gail,
    Mona lavender is a great plant for so many reasons. It has been easy to grow here and yes, a wonderful touchy-feely temptation. Today I yanked out all but one from the back porch. I moved them to outside the screen and put them in the ground. I think they'll be okay there and they can make all the mess they want to now.

    Funny how you knew what I meant by 'Florida screening'... and I'm kind of surprised you couldn't get some right there in Tennesee. What you did end up with is very much nicer I think.

    I will check out Layanee's swimming pool post that I must've missed.

    In smaller yards I have seen what you mention... the entire back yard enclosed around the pool. Some people leave their pools unscreened but they can't really take advantage of the livable space at night if they do. The bugs are very bad in the summer time. This summer has been especially bad I guess because of the rain.

    In my yard the mosquitoes love to hide under the heavy foliage during the day so I almost never go out to garden without bug spray on. I don't like it but I don't know what the alternative is.

  8. PGL: I saw your initials and thought I had a new commenter at first. Initials are easier to write for sure. :-)

    Thank you for your kind words. I'm glad you like my outdoor space. I got a head start on my weekend project today and pulled out every flowering plant except one mona lavender. It has all been replaced with colored foliage. I think it will solve this issue of constant clean up. I am happy with the new arrangements.

    Cheryl: Thank you. Our family has celebrated many an occasion in this space.

  9. anna: you know I love your house... I could make one like yours fit into my dream! Thanks for stopping by.

    beckie: Thank you. You are so right... my first choice is flowers for their beauty, variety, and even the challenges they bring to the gardener. But you know, not only are they messy on the deck but they even require more water than foliage and around here that can get cumbersome as well.

    Ooooohhh, I am really looking forward to some cooler weather. The VERY best days are in the middle of winter when the daytime temps are in the 60's (or 70's)and I can sit right out there any time of the day and be comfortable.

  10. A little bit of Heaven. I love your porch and pool. And like Gail, Ilove the Mona Laveandar. I am a touchy feely plant person. I love texture.

    A wraparound porch would be wonderful. My Uncle had one when I was growing up. I loved that porch. You could walk out of the dining room and walk all the way around to the front porch swing.

  11. I thoroughly enjoyed sitting on your porch with you Meems. I don't mind the petal mess. Your garden has so much beauty that I didn't even notice the petals. I like the way you are letting your chairs go natural.

  12. Love your back porch Meems. Gorgeous. I surely wouldn't mind sitting there with you talking about gardens & sipping iced tea. I didn't even notice the dropped blooms & foliage.

  13. eve: I do often imagine it is my little piece of heaven on earth. Thanks for stopping by to enjoy it with me. Are you going to be okay with the hurricane coming toward you?

    Lisa: You are so sweet not to notice my mess. :-)Thanks for sitting with me a spell!

    lola: thank you. maybe sometime you will be down here in this area? then we really could sit and talk about gardening...

  14. Although your 'dream porch' has not yet materilized, I see your beautiful life, Meems. Through the fruits of your labor, your post shines like 'Paradise'. From a fellow tender of God's earth ... Hugs.

  15. Hi Meems,
    I need a sit!!! It has been a while.

    Also, I am looking forward to some Post giving maintenance tips for end of summer upkeep.
    Specifically for leggy Caladiums!

  16. hey meems,
    love the views from your screened porch, i am going to call it that from now til you do realize the wrap around dream. oh such happy memories on that lovely porch! and recent ones, too! everything out there is always so inviting and beautiful. it makes you want to sit there regardless of the heat. especially with ipod playing and lots of coffee.
    can't wait til my next trip to fl to sit again with you sis.

  17. I just got off the garage after ripping off all the shingles and your pool looks too good to be true. I'd be there in a minute if you weren't a 1000 miles away. Instead I'll sit here with a cold beer and pretend I'm sitting in one of the Adirondack chairs chatting 'garden' with ya.

    I've buried the garage bed and crushed my wonderful Clematis and shrub rose under asphalt mulch. The other stuff I don't worry about. Once the ground freezes I'll be able to clean up without ripping the perennials up.

    So don't worry too much about some plant debris messing up your deck and pool. Things could be worst. I could be messing things up.

  18. Thanks for the tour, your garden is a perfect place for meditation and a good cup of coffee, I like your choice of plants for your containers.

  19. Joey: A girl has to keep dreaming, right? Hugs back to you.

    Pat: anytime you have a minute... you're welcome to come have a "sit". As your caladiums start to fade and droop just prune the individual leaves. That will give the leaves that are still healthy all the nutrients and water there is to be had.

    marmee: those are some kind words for an old porch that has seen better days. We certainly have made the most of it... packing as many tables and chairs under roof for too many occasions to name.

    As long as we can float around in the pool to cool off... we can hang out in the heat with the best of them.

  20. wise acre: You are too funny. You have been busy being a handy man while your weather is good. Crushing flowers and plants is the worst part of getting any work done around the house... it just can't be avoided most of the time.

    Rusty: you are saying thanksgiving prayers that Gustav missed you and Hanna looks like it is dying out too... thank God.

  21. Your garden looks so lush and beautiful, Meems. It's easy to see why your family spends most of its time out here.
    I love those cobalt blue containers! I've been eyeing some for awhile, but have been too cheap to buy any. Maybe I'll find them on sale one day...

    I can see why flower petals would be a problem for you, but it is hard to resist planting them, isn't it?

    So happy that Fay missed you! I hope that Gustav weakens before it hits New Orleans.

  22. Hello~
    What a beautiful garden you have created! Along with beautiful words. I love Mona Lavender too. I'm a Florida gardener too who loves and I mean loves flowers, been trying to create my own little cottage style garden for the last 5 years. I'm new to blogging, have just put my own blog up and am quite delighted to stumble upon yours. Going to add it to my blog list right now.
    Keep creating beauty~

  23. So gorgeous Meems. It's like taking a mini vacation to your tropical paradise every time I visit. What a lovely place to spend time with family and friends.

  24. Your second photo in this post stopped me in my tracks! That's a place to catch your breath and relax!! And wouldn't I love to! :-)

    I forget that some people actually are able to leave flowers(what we call "annuals") out year-round! ha.
    Have a great day!

  25. Rose: thank you, our family knows that if an occasion can be moved outside that's exactly where I'll be hosting it.

    Do you know much to my surprise I saw a trio of cobalt blue containers at JoAnn's for a very reasonable price - do you have that craft store in Illinois?

    My Mother's Garden: Hello and welcome to Hoe and Shovel. I always get excited to discover another Florida blog. They seem to be popping up all over the state. I'll be stopping by your new blog very soon to say hello.

    Linda: What a sweet thing to say. People think we're crazy but hubby and I have taken a couple of stay-cations in the last few months. The kind where you stay home, don't answer the phone, act like you're away, don't have an agenda and just enjoy what you work so hard to create. It's proved to be a very nice way to spend a weekend.(only I'm not allowed to garden till it's officially over :-)

    shady gardener: I guess the need to be outdoors just runs in my blood. Sitting in the open air in that corner with a good book (or the laptop) to relax or just take a break is a little slice of heaven to me. Having flowers year round is part of the treat I suppose. Thanks for stopping by.

  26. Hi Meems,
    I just ran across your blog - it's great.

    I'm an Extension Specialist in Horticulture with the University of Florida. I'm doing a presentation at the state Master Gardener conference in Coral Springs this Wed. 10/22. Title: Fabulous Foliage!

    Most of the plants I'm focusing on are featured in your beautiful garden and I would love to show the audience how you've effectively used them in your landscape.

    Would you allow me to use some of your images and also promote your blog?

    I agree to only use them for educational presentations such as this one - not for any books, publications, CD's, or any other commercial endeavor.

    Please let me know asap. Thanks,
    Sydney Park Brown

  27. Hi Sydney,
    I'm tickled you like my photographs enough to use them in your presentation. Now I'm having job-envy.

    Would you mind shooting me an e-mail with regards to this? Thanks.


Have a blessed day,

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