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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.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Post Vacation Perusal of the Garden

What's the first thing you do upon returning when you've been away from your home for days? It is automatic. No thinking involved. When we drive up in the driveway I get out of the car and head for a look around the garden. Hubby starts to unload and I am long gone.

Now that I have a vegetable garden that is where I start my perusal. When we got home from our beach vacation this weekend, I was picking green beans within seconds of arrival. There were tomato plants to stake and radishes to pull. It is amazing how much growth can be seen after one's eyes have not been looking closely each and every day. All is well there.
Time to take a walk around from front to back to see how the garden survived without me. Fortunately, my next door neighbor (as I've mentioned in previous posts) is always willing and happy to keep everything watered for me. This time of year there is risk in overwatering. With shorter days giving less hours of sunshine most containers are not requiring as much water as previous months.

With pruners in hand I couldn't help but snip away at the spent and bushy pentas. Mr. Buzzing Bee flew in to welcome me home. I'm so happy they are still busy around here in spite of the unusually cooler temps we've been having.

Salvia coccinea knows how to keep the spark going in her corner of the garden. She's made several babies in some other areas, too, all from cuttings earlier in the summer and fall.

Our colder than normal temps have singed the edges of some of the more tender plants. I couldn't help myself but to prune away the pale-from-the-cold and burned branches of the coleus that just two weeks ago were blazing brightly in the afternoon sun. They actually have new growth towards the bottom of the plants. Now those are free to get more sunshine.
This is one of my favorite colorful combinations with the deep purple hue of purple queen next to the chartruese green of the potato vine. Add to that the contrast of the flax lily in front and the purple fountain grass, still blooming plumbago and lantana (not shown in this photo-sorry but they deserved a mention) mounding behind it.

Butterflies are still enjoying the leaves as a landing spot on the sprawling potato vine. This part of the garden is one of the few areas fully exposed without any tree cover. This closer shot of the vine reveals how the edges have been seared from the cold nights.

The end of hurricane season was Sunday and this part of the world breathes a sigh of relief. With that official announcement we got some much needed rain. A welcome respite after 3-4 weeks of utter rainless activity.
Overall, no great losses to speak of in the garden while I was gone. It's kind of funny how we think the whole garden will fall apart with out us.
I do love the cooler air we've been enjoying. I'm willing to give up some of the tropical foliage - I didn't say the whole plant - just some of the foliage -for the very pleasant daytime temps we've been loving to garden by these days.
Now, shouldn't I be getting all the Christmas decorations up? I'd rather be in the garden!


  1. Hello and good morning...I imagine your garden will welcome you back with more flowers and even more new growth. It looks lovely in your garden...even with a bit of winter wear and tear on the sweet potato vine. You are so right~~I do head out to the garden first chance, to see what has happened.

    No decorations here and there are 22 dys until the big event! I would love to be in the is just too chilly here today. Have a wonderful day Dear meems!


  2. Looks wonderful and I love how you combine all the interesting colors together, ( I was taking note). I head out to the garden when I arrive home too, sometimes with a flashlight! I would also rather be in the garden than decorating for Christmas. Some how I think my children would miss the decorations though. Welcome Home!!

  3. Good morning to you, dear Gail. This is the first year I can remember the garden even having the chance of any damage this early. It is kind of strange to see it slow down but I'm not minding that actually. I need a break. LOL

    Stay warm by your lovely fire place.

  4. Meems, I did enjoy my 'walk' around the garden with you. I also love that first look after I have been away, I find it exciting!

    Christmas and gardening, December is the one month of the year I don't garden (well not very much), it is cold (ish) and dark here and most things can wait a few weeks. That gives me time to put up the decorations over the weekends leading up to Christmas. This year I have a few things to do in the garden but will wait for a nice weekend - the last two have been wet and/or cold. I think if Christmas was in June - I would give Christmas a miss and garden! A holiday to garden in, that I would enjoy.

    Best wishes Sylvia (England)

  5. That's funny. I've done the flashlight thing, too, Darla. It's universal for avid gardeners I'm sure. We always have the garden on our minds (a little bit like our children) when gone from it.

    The world would stop if we didn't put up our decorations I suppose???? :-)
    Have a great day!

  6. I'd rather be in the garden too but along with your weather instead of mine. The thing I always enjoy is when you have been away from the garden a few days and then upon return discover all the new buds and blooms/veggies it has to offer. If you look at it everyday(like we probably all do) then we don't notice them as much. Girl, you better get in that house now and get to decorating!

  7. Now that's a great suggestion, Sylvia. A holiday for gardening! It is probably a really good thing Christmas is not in June... we might all be in our gardens and never celebrate that most important birth!LOL I really enjoyed your post over at tulips in the woods... so very nice to see a portion of your lovely garden!
    Try to stay warm in your coldish England.

  8. Susie, You are so right about what we see with fresh eyes. This time not so many new buds but that's what happens when you go away in the last days of autumn. I'm heading to the garden center today -- got some gift cards for my birthday that are burning a hole in my pocket. THEN... we'll get to the rest of the decorating. LOL

  9. This is a sight for sore eyes. I live vicariously in the garden through you.

  10. If only you could hear me at my computer...first the little - "oh look snowflakes on the borders!" and then oooooh, pentas growing in the garden rather than in the grocery store. That salvia is a real sparkler. My toes feel warmer already. Thank you.

  11. I love the combination of foliages you put together in your garden Meems. You have a great eye for it! Looks like the garden survived your vacation. :)

  12. Me to Meems....I would rather be in the garden than put the Christmas decorations up.....they can wait a while yet....

    I to worry when away....and think everything will fall apart without me....and of course it never does.......

    Your garden always looks wonderful, and your climate is so appealing when it is pouring with rain here!!!

  13. Your garden looks lovely - its nice to see some jolly plants at this time of year even if it isnt here in cold Britain

  14. If my garden looked as lush as yours I would have a difficult time getting any christmas decorating done. I like your favorite color combo too. It gives me ideas for next summer.

  15. Hi Meems. Thank you for your comment. Yes, I guess it is odd to think that in my part of the world it is summer now when everybody else around you prepares for winter rest. Meems, I see so many familiar faces in your garden but also some which are new to me. It seems your winter is similar to mine, colder but the garden is still green and different plants are blooming through winter. I have many native Australian plants which flower in all seasons.
    Your garden has survived well,while you have been away. It is always a concern to me too when
    I am away and always a great pleasure to come back and stroll around. Around the globe gardeners are the same concerned for their plants. Last year when I was overseas I lost all my cuttings because the vegetable gardener forgot to water them! I made new ones! Is winter time in your garden quieter too, apart from pruning and planting?!

  16. what fun to come home to the garden. when i am away i long for a walk in the woods or a stroll around the yard. but i also like coming home to my own bed, familiar surroundings, sitting in my sunroom. it must be nice harvesting veggies at this time of year. dh and i want a green house so we can be in it at this time of year. maybe next year.
    your yard and plants look so lovely. it is so great to have the satisfaction of your garden to come home to.

  17. WoW! I didn't realize I was SO far behind. Reckon you didn't feel too bad about missing the game the other night... or did you make it? People about town were blaming it on the rain... 'they should have practiced in the rain'.

    Great to have helpful neieghbours when you're away.

    I think your unidentified bird in the churchyard is a house finch.

    Whew... I'm just about caught up now... till next time. 8-}

  18. Ah ha! Finally -- after about six tries today, I can leave you a comment! (replacement DSL modem coming Thursday or Friday--on my new Mac now)

    Yes, when we get home from a trip, I go out into the garden before I go into the house! I know exactly what you're saying.

    Your garden is so lovely, one of my favorites!

  19. Donna, You are welcome to come by here anytime you need a visual of some growing-green.

    Barbara, Don't you think the green and brown snowflakes are so appropriate for Florida? It is the only snow you will see here. I'm glad you like it. The pentas are so tall I don't even have to bend over to dead head them... easy on the back.

    Racquel, the garden did quite well without me actually. This is the time of year for leaving it if one has to... my neighbor is a great help.

  20. Cheryl, I always get the feeling you and I are very much alike in our approach to the garden. This is truly the time of year to fully enjoy our climate. It has been perfect lately.

    Patient Gardener, Thank you ... I like that word jolly... it doesn seem as if my garden is still laughing.

    Lisa, I imagine our weather right now to be much like yours is in May/June. Although the days are very short so growth has finally slowed down a bit. Needless to say the sun shines brightly and I want to be outdoors. It is getting increasingly hard for me to make myself stay inside. LOL

  21. Trudi, I too, saw similar plants in your garden but many not familiar to me. Just this month growth is slowing down. It's a good thing with Christmas just around the corner. Then January growth will be slower too. I'll use that time to do projects such as enlarging beds. February I'll be really busy getting the veggie garden going and dividing perennials. It never really stops all together in our climates. Thanks for stopping by.

    Marmee, coming home to one's own bed is always good. Ahhh, a "green" house... now somehow that seems appropriate. ;-)

  22. Sophie, thanks for the birdie ID... I don't think we have house finches down here- do you have them up there? We were scheduled to go from Fernandina to Tally. Hubby was fighting a sinus infection so we opted (I bribed him not to go to the game)to come home a day early. Turns out he was very glad not to be sitting in that awful downpour. Our sons were both there and got drenched... not to mention the awful loss. We are sure it didn't have anything to do with the rain... sadly. Thanks for stopping by to catch up.

    Cameron, bless you for keeping on trying today. You say the nicest things about my garden... Thank YOU... I appreciate every visit.

  23. I am behind in my reading. I'm glad I caught this. Things are looking quite happy and healthy to me!


Have a blessed day,

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