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, December 31, 2008

A Walk Back Through 2008 Garden, Part One

January 1, 2008

... started out with lots of color and mild temperatures... much like it is today... the last day of the year ... December 31, 2008.

January 3, 2008

... we woke up to ice on the leaves from our one and only freeze of the year. There was a bit of damage even though we blanketed all the tenderest of plants. But just enough mostly to make all the flowers ugly.

February 2008
... brings a flurry of azalea blooms in every color, every where in Florida.
... we built our first ever raised beds and started our first ever vegetable garden.

... Mona Lavender kept us dressed in shades of purple during that all important transition month.

This doesn't have anything to do with gardening but looking back through my photos I realized how very many wonderful long weekends we spent at the beach last winter and early spring. It is a gorgeous time to visit Florida... even if you already live here!

March 2008

... First of the Amaryllis brought us bursts of oranges and reds.

African Iris shrubs bloom with the spring rains urging them out of their buds.

Bromeliads that begin blooming in December are intensely prevelant by March.

April 2008

Oh, the month of April. So much of the garden is responding to warm temps and longer, sunny days by now.
There were so many projects still on-going at Hoe & Shovel in April... so many long hours spent glorying in the garden. I was inspired to try some new plants in 2008. Illustris Taro was just one of them. Happy, happy their deep purple leaves and lime green stems they did make this gardener for the entirety of the summer.
Meanwhile that veggie garden we started back in February with much fear and trepidation was producing yummy tomatoes that reminded me of childhood days when all vegetables were fresh and good.

May 2008
And then in the month of May there are so many blooms that will only be seen in that flourishing gardening month that we must spend a little extra time to take a gander at several photos now.
We'll start with the bloom of the variegated shell ginger above.
Don't forget to inhale very deeply as you peruse the ginger and the magnolia bloom coming up. You wouldn't want to miss the exotic fragrance of each as you take this walk back through the stunning month of May.
The very large blooms of Magnolia Grandiflora that will wake one's senses not only with its magnificent beauty but the scent wafting through the air is delectable.

Still, the vegetable garden is teaching me lots of new things and bringing me many delightful joys in May.

In May, the Agapanthus begin to shoot forth their tall and glorious blue/lavender pom-poms to bring yet another height and dimension to the colorful garden. Also known as Lily of the Nile, they are one of my very favorite blooms in the whole garden.
June 2008

All the garden is alive by now with blooms and lush foliage and is almost too much to keep up with except for long hours spent toiling along with the ever increasing heat.
Zinnias sown from seed in March, or was that February, are now cheering every garden visitor with their bright and perky variety of blooms.

June was the month I fell in love with lemon-lime draceana and began planting them in so many places to add interest with their amazing lime-stripey foliage. Not a single regret about that... they are still performing with great ease.

The critters abounded by the month of June multiplying at the rate we tend to think only rabbits do. There were good ones and bad ones. That Eastern Lubber hoard of grasshoppers tried hard to damage as much foliage as fast as they could. I managed not to spray any chemicals but kept my pruners handy for their sure demise as I tracked them down to find them before they chewed a perfectly good plant or bloom to the ground.

June was the month for coleus to make a statement as my beloved caladiums began to make their way up through the ground. It is also the month when we try to finish up all the expansions and projects due to the ever increasing heat and long days of humidity.
We'll leave it here for the first half of 2008. I used more words than I intended. For some reason I just have to talk about the photos. Hmmmm...
Thank you for coming along with me to take a look back through the journals of Hoe and Shovel. We'll have a look at July - December next.
Have a very happy and safe New Year!

"An addiction to gardening is not all bad when you consider all the other choices in life."
from Niall Edworthy's The Curious Gardener's Almanac


  1. Meems,

    You live in a lovely, different world! I can't believe how you can garden year round.

    Your photos are glorious!

    Happy New Year!

  2. Hi Meems, you review was just glorious and breathtakingly beautiful! I remember your worries about the veggie gardening, and it looks like they were for naught as the lettuce and tomato shots prove. Your garden is the stuff of dreams!
    Have a wonderful 2009 as we await part two!

  3. Hi Meems,
    I enjoyed your garden review. It looks to me like your May is our July, with lots of flowers in bloom.

    Your vegetables were as lovely as the flowers.

    Happy New Year,

  4. I also enjoyed the walk through your lovely garden. It really is beautiful and a joy to peek at! Thank you for sharing.

  5. Dear Meems, it was so fun to see the first six months @ Hoe & Shovel. It's amazing how beautiful February, March & April are in FL. Here, not as much.

    I look forward to the next six months. Happy New Year.~~Dee

  6. It is so hard to believe that you just built those raised beds this year. You have definitely had an abundant harvest with them.

    I enjoyed dreading your year in review!

  7. Looking forward to watching how your garden grows again this year Meems.

  8. That was good. Looking forward to the second part. Happy New Year!

  9. Cameron, Thanks as always for your kind comments. It is definitely a year round experience... Sowed more seeds in the ground yesterday. I can't get by with being away from it for more than a day or so as there are always demands made by my plant friends.

    Frances, Thank you. So glad to have you along on this brief review. The veggie garden is being enlarged this week seeking to expand my sheer joy of eating all that good food. That gives me an idea ... I should stick with "just that food" for a while now after the holidays!

    Sue, you are probably right-- although our April is probably more like it. By May we are very warm most days wishing for a last shot at a cool front. I agree the vegetables are a treat when green, when flowering, when producing fruit... it's all good.

    Wendy, thank you... it's always nice to have you come along.

    Dee, Always a pleasure to join you in the garden... I have to say it is a treat to sit in/near the garden or just take a stroll any time of the year here. We never are without greenery and sunshine. (Not true for north Florida however- they are brown from several freezes right now)With weather like we've had so far this winter it is actually just about perfect.

    Robin, It is hard to believe but with two growing seasons I've realized there is a need for more beds. I just don't have room for all the seeds I've already purchased. That little problem is being resolved this week... just in time for the spring planting.

    Lisa, Thank you. And I'm looking forward to the time when you come down to see your relative in St. Petersburg some day. I'm thinking this winter would be a really good time. Kylee's coming in February (hint-hint)! :-)

    Darla, So glad to have met you this year... thanks for coming along on my gardening journey. I have had my grand-youngins' visiting for a few days now (not too many extra moments to myself) but I'll get the next 6 months finished soon. It's been fun looking back through the photos.

  10. Dear Meems, I hadn't discovered you in January so the photo of your frost was a big surprise! It must have been to you, too! It was a good day to chance up Hoe and Shovel...I have delighted in getting to know you. Maybe this year we will get to meet in person! Your garden, your writing, almost always are a meditative walk in breathing really does slow down and I feel peaceful after we take a stroll. Thank you for a wonderful year of flowers and friendship.


  11. it is all so lovely! i could almost smell the magnolia bloom. there are one of my favourites. i love the all white center too. well here's to gardening in '09. i hope you will discover new things that excite you and have the old faithfuls that make you feel at home in your garden.
    love you and happiest of new years to you!

  12. Meems, Wow! Thanks for the walk through your 2008 was lovely and I could almost smell the fragrances and hear the birds and bees. Especially love the blues...Mona Lavender and Agapanthus.
    Your photos are so sharp and beautiful...what camera do you use? I am thinking up upgrading, so doing some research.

  13. Best treatment for Eastern Lubbers, Meems: sturdy shoes. Grab one, stomp it, then jump around yelling "EWWW, EWWW, EWWW!" We need to pray for a natural predator for those things!

  14. Happy New Year, Meems. I hope you have a very healthful & prosperous year.

  15. Just Amazing !
    Let me see...hmmm
    I love the raised beds.
    I'm overwhelmed with your selection of flowers.
    And the beach...I'll have to wait till April to enjoy that.
    Everything is stunning !

  16. Dear Gail, "a year of flowers and friendship" would have made a good post title. I am so happy to have met you and shared our gardens almost all of "last" year. The Jan.2008 freeze was for a couple of hours in the night and did give all the tenders a good bite out of their tops. My neighbor had left his irrigation on which caused the ice to form on tree branches. We didn't have another all year. Although the last few have barely missed us by a degree or so. Or it could be my mircro climate under the trees that has protected us.

    Surely after our failed attempt to meet this year, we can make that happen next year. I'm sure I will be up your way again to visit Marmee.

    Thank you for always coming along on my rambling tours. It is humbling to hear how you enjoy it. All the very best to you and your family for a healthy and properous 2009... in the garden and out.

    Marmee, Thanks. It is really interesting to peruse back through the photos by months. It is so easy to forget some of the tales that go along with the digging, planning, planting, nurturing in a whole year of gardening.

    I'm working on the second half but having too much fun playing with the grand youngin's for the past three days. So there has been some "playing" in the garden with the older ones here.

    Anyway, thanks for all the well wishes... I wish the same for you. I can't wait to see what new plans you have for your 2009 spring garden.

    Connie, Thank you... I'm glad you were able to come along on this year in review. I am partial to the blues as well. It pleases me to know the photos show up sharply. Typically I compress them for the blog which seems to me to make them more pixely (not sure if that is a word). My camera is Canon Power Shot S5IS. My hope is to upgrade to an SLR ... someday.

    Penny, I like to have my gloves on when doing that grabbing but sometimes it isn't so... then I say EWWWWWW, EWWWWWW. A natural predator would be great. I do think the snakes might take care of some of the babies. In Feb. or March there will be mass amounts of the tiny black things covering entire branches and leaves. If all of them made it to adulthood I wouldn't have a garden left.

    Lola, A most happy New Year to you as well. Maybe you will create your own blog in 2009? That would be so fun! :-)

    Patsi, Hi. Thanks for joining me on my tour of 2008. April is a VERY good month to come to the beach. Which one are you planning to visit?

  17. What a great post idea! I'm looking forward to Part Two of my walk down memory lane!

  18. I say it every time I come visit--but gracious, Memms, yore work--garden and photos is jes' gorgeous. I is so impressed.

    But now, I curious enough to be nosy--how long is ya in yore garden each day? or does y'all have a battalion of garden elves doin' the work?

    What a pleasure to come see what youse got posted fer us.

    Happy New Year!!!

  19. Beautiful Meems! It was a beautiful year for you and much deserved! I feel certain that 2009 will produce more of the same. I hope I get to EAT some of it!!

  20. Meems, Thank you for taking us on this tour of half the year. I could almost smell the magnolia and the shell ginger--so lovely! The blue agapanthus is a stunner, though--I love anything blue in the garden. I wonder if it can be grown in zone 5.
    Those chaises on the beach certainly look inviting right now; I hope you're planning some time to relax, too.

  21. Happy Mew Year.

    At this time of year Florida looks like the place to be. I'm 'trapped' in the house again and your gardens are a winter wonderland for those like me tucked under a blanket of snow. Now I remember why I came by so often last winter :)

  22. So many great photos. I can't help but be envious.

  23. Rissalee, Thanks for coming along. Even though you get to actually "be in it" all the time you are good to come over and leave me a sweet comment.

    Aunty, If you have a batallion of garden elves I can borrow please let me know. LOL. No, I'm the one and only gardener in this household. Mr. Meems just likes to sit in it with me when we get a chance. To answer your question: There probably isn't a day that goes by that I'm not in the garden to do something. Most days its a couple of hours. During the really intense gardening season it can be anywhere from 20-35 or so hours a week. Happy New Year to you,too. Thanks for the kind words.

    Pat, Hard work does pay off in the garden. Now I'm enjoying all that intensity from earlier projects. I'm looking forward to 2009.

    Rose, Sometimes I break off a leaf of the ginger just to have that fragrance near me while I garden. It is so fresh and strong. I think you can grow the agapanthus in a container. They like to be crowded so it might do well for you there. I'd get it started right away and maybe keep it indoors until it gets warm.

    WiseAcre, I can't imagine being trapped indoors anytime. I'd go stir crazy. Florida is a perfect place to visit in the winter. I think that's why we have so many snowbirds down here.

    Marnie, No need to be envious... you have your own beautiful place. It will be back before you know it and you will be happy as a lark come spring! Thanks for coming by.

  24. It just amazes me about your year round gardening Meems. A tomato in April! It's hard to imagine. Our climates are like night & day. I love seeing all the wonderful plants that would be tender tropicals here. You had a glorious first half of the year. I'm going to go check out the second half now. Thanks for all your nice comments on my post today. :)

  25. That butterfly photo is just perfect!

    So should I expect to see azaleas in bloom the second week of February? I hope so, because I love them!

  26. Racquel, Our seasons and climate are definitely completely different. Your summers are probably much more endurable than ours and tomatoes get weary from the humidity and bug infestations. They are doing better right now than in the summer time. Of course if it freezes they will be done in.

    Kylee,it's possible you could see azaleas by then... depends on the temps and the rain ... the peak time varies every year. What you will see down in Manatee county are lots of Oleander, bougainvillea, and the pink trumpet trees that are so glorious. Let's hope for some azaleas for you.

  27. Both of the last two times, I came home from Florida with small bougainvilleas (bought at Home Depot for a song). I just love them. One is a raspberry color and the other is 'Imperial Garden'. So I'll be happy to see some of those.

    I'm not sure what the pink trumpet trees are. Maybe I'll find out!

    The hibiscus should be in bloom, right? I love those, too.

    I'd like to go to Thomas Edison's home this time, and maybe back to Marie Selby Gardens for a third time. And of course I don't want to miss Hoe & Shovel. :-)

  28. Kylee, did you take the plants home on the plane or did you drive that trip?

    Hibiscus are blooming now but should continue throughout winter and you can click here for my post on the trumpet tree to see what I'm referring to.

    Can you believe I've never been to the Selby gardens? Drove right past it last weekend and didn't have time to stop.

  29. I took them home on the plane. I'd called to see if it was okay and they said they had no restrictions within the US. International flights are another matter, of course. I would imagine taking a fruit tree into Florida or California might present a problem, but they didn't care what I took out!

    Shame on you for not visiting Marie Selby yet! It was voted the Number One Botanical Garden in the state! It's truly a treasure. The orchids alone are worth it. It costs $12 to get in, but if you are a member of the AHS (I am), you get in free. :-)


Have a blessed day,

September 2010

Back Garden: October 2010

Louise Philippe: Antique Rose

Tropical Pathway