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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.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Flax Lily

When one hears the term lily it tends to evoke images of well-known flowers of varied colors and forms. All of which lean toward oooohing and awing our botanical senses.

There are not so many lilies at Hoe and Shovel as one might see in a zone more tolerant of some of the beauties that come to mind. We do have day lilies which can be seen popping up as early as March. But I've admitted shamelessly to my inefficient ways with this popular flower.
We also grow Amazon Lilies, Eucharis grandiflora (syn. E. amazonica).

Now that name conjures up thoughts of ginormous proportions. Actually, it is a normal-sized white flower. Its plant leaves disappear altogether in the winter and reappear in spring. However, this year the Eastern Lubber grasshoppers gnawed every one of the beautifully extra-wide green leaves to the ground. They are -- the Amazon lilies, not the grasshoppers -- part of the Amaryllis family and likewise depend on their greenery to generate the bloom. So, you guessed it, I never got to see one bloom from my plants last spring. I'll be moving them next spring (when they first pop out of the ground) to a location I frequent more often. Those dastardly grasshoppers are not going to steal my blooms another year.

Then there are rain lilies which we grow here effortlessly. We lean much toward these types of plants and flowers. Effortlessly is a trait we welcome in any plant. In rain lilies it is due to their habit of just "being".

But I didn't start this post to talk about THOSE lilies.

If you take a look back at the very first photo the green and white strappy plants in the foreground are the popular landscaping plant I wanted to highlight today. Yes, that's the one -- the border plant to the side of the purple queenon the left and the chartreuse sweet potato vine on the right (I do love that combination). It's called Variegated Flax Lily, Dianella tasmanica 'Variegata'. Looking very closely, again, you might notice a few very wispy stalks of an almost weedy characteristic growing from the center of the plants (second photo).

Obviously the Variegated Flax Lily isn't a lily at all by common lily standards. Where do they come up with these names?

You wouldn't know it unless you were making an effort to notice but these delicate, tiny-- and I do mean tiny --- flowers sit atop those weedy looking stalks all spring/summer long. I'm a little late taking photographs of them so most of the stalks have faded. But here we are into autumn and they are still blooming.

Because they are in great demand in my area they cost a little more than I like to pay. I bought a few last spring and divided them for this border. The summertime has been generous to them growing them to double proportions in this short time. I'll be dividing these up in the next few weeks to distribute them to more borders. This will be the process until they are placed in all the spots in my garden I envision them to add to the scenery.

This is a low maintenance plant and an easy grower. The foliage is a little more substantial in volume than the variegated liriope that borders so many of my beds.

I guess you could say my design style leans toward completing every bed with a border. I think borders give a sense of continuity and boundary by sort of pulling everything together --- no matter what it is that grows within. The use of natural borders allows the flow of tranquility in a tropical-style garden. I do like stones and rocks as well -- only they aren't as economical in this part of the country so they aren't used as often as I'd like actually for our landscaping at Hoe & Shovel.

Do you prefer borders? What do you recommend for that finishing touch in your garden? Some gardens are more woodlands and one might not think it necessary for borders in such a garden. I must say I love every style of garden, don't you? Gardens are much like interior decorating... you can like every style but you probably shouldn't display every style in the same house.

Hope you are all enjoying your gardens this weekend whatever style they are.

Happy Saturday, Meems


  1. Meems,
    You had me going with the lily stories!

    I like borders in the garden. I don't always use the same plant all the way around a bed. I have a grouping of stachys big ears in one section, but from there, it goes to gaillardia, then nepeta and lavender breaks that up from the coreopsis that gives way again to stachys, lavender and nepeta. I have to use drought tolerant, full sun borders. Delosperma cooperii is another favorite. My garden is still young (3 years in the oldest parts), so I'm working on the borders as I divide and conquer. Cameron

  2. Cameron, I'm glad you brought that up. I don't always use the same plant either for the entire border. It is a nice mix up when you can change it up and still make it flow with the overall scheme. I have so many beds that I have probably overused variegated liriope due to the ease with which it propagates... that way I don't have to buy hundreds of new plants... I just divide what I already have. The same thing I'll be doing with the flax lily.

    You have done wonders in your young garden. It is beautifully done.

  3. I like you're musing on the finishing touches of a garden. It's a gardeners eternal search for that finishing touch -- the next step -- that makes it a form of art that constantly evolves, and never ends. But it's that pursuit for such touches that drive its evolution.

  4. hey meems,
    my garden as you know is very young and needs many finishing touches along with garden plan.
    when we made the wildflower garden we used a black wrought iron fence as the border to hold it all in.
    our veggie garden was also within a picket fenced area.
    i just finished a new area on the side yard with rocks as it's border. we have plenty of rocks because of they are in the ground.
    i'm glad you're coming we can talk gardens and maybe you will have some good ideas for this blank canvas.

  5. ps
    those tiny lily are so beautiful. i like the way you use colour and depth in your garden. it is a gift you have for knowing the right stuff to put together.

  6. Robert: Your observation describing gardening are spot on... a form of art that constantly evolves, and never ends.

    It is the art form that is the internal connection for me. The design and beauty of living plants and flowers blending together creating more life... and it is ever changing and might I add easy to change.

    Marmee: I DO love fencing. Not the kind I have on the North side that was erected to barrier the dog we don't have anymore but exactly the kind you have. I have visions of a wrought iron type fence for a couple of areas of my garden... eventually...

    On property as large as yours you have smartly sectioned off some areas for emphasis. It is very nice you can use stones, too, that are prevelant in your area. Stones are a wonderful addition to any garden. I can't wait to see it and, of course, you know I'll do my best to have an opinion and perhaps even help with a plan. But, as you well know, being the shy sort, my opinion is sometimes hard to come by. *very hearty chuckle*!!

  7. Meems, I'd never thought about borders. The more good blogs I read, the more I learn . . . . I love those Flax Lilies - they are lovely. As I've "matured" as a gardener, I'm loving foliage more and more, and they deliver, don't they? But back to borders, yes, after reading your post, I'd have to say I do like them. In my recent perennial border re-do, I guess I added some bits of border. Maybe what I need to do is finish. . . . Thanks for a great post and another plant to covet.

  8. Love the lily stories.......beautiful photograph.....

    I love to see borders but my garden is more of a woodland dotted with circular beds.......I think you are absolutely right when you say it is good to see different gardens....they do reflect the personality of the owner I think.......

  9. Hi meems! The Flax Lilies do have a tiny little flower! Amazing looking.

    I use stone and occasionally fallen trees for edging my woodland beds. The plants like native asters flop over in some spots and that is fine.

    You do have a talent and gift for garden design....marmee is so right!


  10. Hi Meems, I love the up close pictures of the Flax Lily. Can't imagine why many plants are named as they are.

  11. I like the organized look a border gives to a bed. But unfortunately my beds are borderless. My gardens are all young and I'm still in the process of planting and planning. I would someday love to see a layered stone border.

  12. Good Morning Meems,

    It always amazes me when I stop by to see the difference we're in. Your gardens and flowers look perfect...I don't always comment but I want you to know how much I enjoy looking at everything. Thank you!

    Have a wonderful day,
    Kathi :)

  13. Lovely. Your blog is always so interesting. I never see these tender plants anywhere else.

    The first photo is so pretty. Great combination of colors and textures.

  14. I think as young gardeners we all experimented with every plant we love, finding a mess, then through the years hone a garden that speaks true love of plants that work well for us, coveting other loves elsewhere. You have such a gift for displaying your passions and for that, we thank you, dear Meems (I adore your flax lilies).

  15. Meems, I'd never heard of flax lily until now. They're Very attractive, and would be even if they didn't bloom. :-) I assume these lilies are some that I could only grow as annuals? (Or some I'd have to winter-over?) As always, you have many interesting, beautiful things to share.

  16. Kim, I am more dependent on foliage than I am on flowers down here in my humid garden. Fortunately it's humid enough that many of the foliage plants do put out a bloom of their own also... and most are quite unique, not so much showy.

    Your perennial border redo was quite pretty just as it is. I was referring more to the very large beds with assortment of plantings in them... to me, a border sort of reigns it all in without even noticing.

    Cheryl, Thank you. I adore the way your garden sprawls out in all of its sort of wilderness and natural affect. You have done a marvelous job staying true to the natural beauty on your property.

    Gail, I don't know about a gift but visions do dance around in my head!lol

    Fallen trees would be perfect in your woodlands and the asters flopping over is just the idea. Nothing overly manicured to keep with the lay of the land. Your garden is a favorite on my list!

  17. lisa, The names of plants often baffle me. And then the common names sometimes are numerous for the same plant. Very confusing.

    I've admitted many times that names were not an issue with me until I started blogging and realized folks do like to know. If I know a common name it still doesn't really matter to me if I know the botanical name. Fortunately the Internet helps me out A LOT!

    Susie: Layered stone would be a good choice... I, too, love that look. I find myself drooling over them whenever I spot them in a magazine... we don't see them used down here too much. The thing I've found about gardening is that it never gets old. It is ever changing and we are ever learning. Your garden is growing and some day you will have that border.

    Kathi: good morning and can I give you a big hug for your kind words? Actually I would hug every one for their kind words so don't get scared. I REALLY appreciate you coming by to look anytime but leaving a comment is 1000 x's more fun. This way I can say hi right back to ya. You have a wonderful day too... I'm heading out for a full day in the garden... as a matter of fact I'm getting distracted with blogging... I planned to have already been outside by now. ;-)

  18. Marnie, You say the nicest things and I have to tell you I look forward to your visits. That bed is a perfect example of how easy it is to change things up. It took me three seasons to get it just like I wanted it. Mostly I enlarged it from the back a couple of times- the part you can't see in the photo. I do love the way the deep purple queen border runs into the border of the chartreuse potato vine and creates an explosion of contrast... both by the way will last right through the winter - if we don't have a random freeze that is.

    Joey, you are so right. It took me years to find the 'just right' groove for THIS garden. Now it seems like a breeze to make choices although once in a while I'll toy around with the idea of planting something that catches my eye knowing it probably won't like it here. Isn't that what makes gardening such an adventure?

    Shady: The bloom is so insignificant that indeed it is marketed for its light green and white foliage. That light green foliage is the draw for me as well. The wonder of it is that it does well in the shade or the full sun. How many plants do that? Not many that I know of so it is very popular. It's a hardy fast grower down here. But you are probably correct that you could use it in containers and would have to overwinter.

  19. I really like these flax lilies, Meems! They make a beautiful border, so I'm glad they are producing enough for you to divide and add elsewhere. I like borders of flowers/plants more than some kind of edging--that is my goal in each of my flowerbeds.

    Enjoyed all your Bloom Day flowers--it may be autumn, but your garden says "summer" to me:)

  20. Hi Meems,

    As always, love reading your blog. Funny the timing when you mention borders. I have been trying what to put down for my borders. In the front shade garden, I have no border. I just keep it mulched and try to separate the grass from creeping into the garden with a shovel. in another front garden I have the black plastic bendy border that works like a charm, but not very attractive. So I got some variegated liriope like a "certain someone" has and used that in the back garden. Looks very nice I might say! I have it broken up in sections by ferns and peacock gingers just to keep it from being monotonous :) Thanks for the inspiration!

  21. I enjoyed your look at lily-named flowers. I, too, tend to spread around certain plants that divide easily, such as my iris. There are always a few already to go into a new border.
    Borders of plants around beds do give a finished look to the garden. They unify everything, helping it pull together.

  22. Dear Meems,
    The Flax Lilies are charming.
    I like all the lilies...
    Wouldn't a lily garden be lovely?
    There are so many different kinds. Not all are true lilies either.
    Very pretty.
    My 30 year old gardens are undergoing a shift as I plant more native to my area and more host plants for the butterflies and shrubs with berries for the birds.
    Our gardens change as we do.
    Yours are lovely.

  23. Perhaps a few of the fancy tetraploid daylilies for variety?

  24. Rose: Thank you. I'm glad you like the flax lilies and my GBBD blooms. Summer? Well, we are glad summer is behind us. By the end of summer the garden is fairly stressed from the long days of sunshine. Now it is perking back up a bit with cooler night temps and the angle of sun is giving it a break as well.

    Susie: I use an edger to keep the grass out of my beds... otherwise it would be useless as St. Augustine grass is notorious for its runners. I like your idea of breaking up the border... that can be done in very effective ways. never have thought about using peacock ginger for a border. Does yours stay around all year? Mine completely disappears in the winter and comes right back in the spring. One more thing - that liriope will grow and you can divide it up to spread it to other places... it's a nice contrast in the shade with its lighter green color.

  25. northern shade: oooooh... we have a few irises too but not the bearded variety... they do not like our humidity. You are right they divide up easily and I do that as often as I can... also give them away when I can.

    Sherry: I do suppose a lily garden would be lovely if they were of the large and colorful sort. I don't think we have enough variety down here but you could probably do one. I am also increasing my use of natives, berries and butterfly attracters.

  26. Di: I wish I had better luck with daylilies. I have a small grouping of them that bloom every year but nothing to rave about. You're so fabulous with them... do you know if they just don't like our high humidity?


Have a blessed day,

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