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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.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

June's Flowers, Bees, Seeds, Bulbs and Okra

Let's have a look at a few of the flowering pretties that have happily opened up over the past couple of weeks. Starting with a couple of Florida natives...

A small flower born on the tips of wispy, tall stems, the Plains Coreopsis tinctoria aka Tickseed, started from seed in February are flowering along a border that gets only a couple of hours of afternoon sun. This year was my first effort with a few wildflowers just to give them a try in my not-so-sunny garden. Taking a guess as to where to plant it, I'm happy as a lark they are blooming.

The Stokesia laevis, stokes' aster blue danube, is one of the native plants purchased on my trip to the Dunellon native nursery back in March. This week its loaded buds opened up with their wonderfully compact but airy (considered blue) bursts of color. We will 'soonly' be making babies from this successful bloomer (read: divide and transplant after bloom).

Purchased in January (on sale) at my local nursery I didn't plant this pretty vine until March after moving it in and out of the garage during our unusually cold winter. Now clamoring up the arbor on the opposite side of confederate jasmine in the back yard it is blooming for the second go round.

Not a native but one of the top ten vines in Florida's Top Ten Garden Guide. I've been on the hunt for a Queen's wreath, Petrea volubilis since I first saw it blooming in my neighbor's yard a couple of years ago. She offered me a cutting but I wanted my own large start to this pretty wisteria-looking flowering vine. I've never seen it for sale at a big box store.

The almost-spent stalk of Salvia, 'Indigo Spires' made the post today because of its attractive visitor. Bees of all shapes and sizes just flock (do bees flock?) to these plants. You can see a better view of the overall setting in the top photo under my header above. These are common perennials here and easy to love as they quickly grow to the size of shrubs. I adore the spikes of purple as much as the flying critters do.

Okay. Please bear with this Florida gardener as I make over the simple pleasures of my 'first ever' seed-planted Cosmos bipinnatus from American Meadows.

A bit of a back story.

Since I've been blogging these sweet flowers were noticed in just about every garden north of Florida. I should add here that the general gist I perceived from those gardeners was an attitude of "oh, and the cosmos are blooming, too, but, hey! they are the weedy wildflowers that always bloom as summer wanes." Me? I'm thrilled they are blooming.

Cosmos were not a flower commonly seen around our area. (For the first time ever I did see them in 1 gal. pots in garden centers earlier in the spring.) I sowed my Cosmos wildflowers from seed. And wonder of wonders they are blooming.

I just love the airy foliage on the tall stalks and the variety of bloom colors produced. Readers will be seeing these frequently as I get used to having them around. So ignore me, humor me OR... just pretend to be as thrilled as I am.

Four (very large) bulbs of Amaryllis belladonna or naked ladies purchased from American Meadows were planted last spring. Absolutely nothing came from those bulbs. Until this year when the green strappy leaves appeared in very early spring. Only one of them is blooming however.

But for one bulb it is loaded with pale pink lily blooms planted among the Agapanthus, lily of the nile. For a very interesting story about the Belladonna lily supposedly being the only true Amaryllis you can click here to read it at the American Meadows site.

Three Firebush, Hamelia patens, shrubs were damaged badly with the freezes this January winter. Their unique tubular flowers have made a comeback this month after spending the spring putting on leaves again. I've yet to see a hummingbird which are reported to love them, but plenty of butterflies find their way to their pretty red and orange blooms.

If I had known how very pretty the flower of an okra plant was before now I would have planted them in more places. It reminds me a bit of a pansy. Such a deep magenta in its throat contrasting with a lovely shade of pale greenish-yellow it is a striking flower.

When I ran out of room in the veggie garden this spring I seed-sowed Clemson Spineless Okra from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co. over in the wildflower-native garden. Across from that planting bed among the coleus and xanadu is growing squash plants. It is so exciting to have veggies planted among the landscape as if it is ordinary. It used to be a practice seen in cottage gardens. It seems to be making a comeback. Comeback or not, I can tell you it is quite fun.


  1. Those are all such lovely blooms! I am growing cosmos for the first time this year, too. I think I'm going to love it. I bought a few tiny seedlings of the Sonata and they've been non-stop bloomers since planting. The seeds are yet to bloom for me -- I hope the birds didn't fly off with them! LOL

    For a "mostly shady" garden, you sure do have a lot of lovely blooms and colors.


  2. Everything looks wonderful. Our Firebush gets killed back every summer and comes back fine. Funny about the Cosmos as they are one of the easiest to grow from seed.

  3. I love cosmos. Beautiful, reliable and self seeds - what else do we need from a plant?! All your blooms are lovely!

  4. What is not to like about Cosmos and there are so many beautiful ones now. They bloom in any soil and reseed.
    Your macro shots are so beautiful.

  5. Oh Meems, I love seeing all of your flowers. In fact, I'd love to see a video of your entire yard. It has to be marvelous..

    Thanks for sharing.

  6. I love cosmos Meems so I can see why you wanted them. I think those ground orchids are gorgeous. I wish I could grow them.

  7. You always have the prettiest pictures. Everything looks great!

  8. Delightful to check in, Meems. Stokesia laevis will be blooming in my garden shortly and cosmos, well, what can one say ... delightful! But the best ... sister time together!

  9. Sure are purty, Meems :-) Long time no visit ! We missed you at the Chicago Spring Fling gathering this year.

    There's no way we can compete with those gorgeous Florida blooms. Heck it's June 10 and we're still wearing jackets today. It's the coldest June opening in a century. And the rain ! We've not even had to water the garden yet.

    Didn't make it down to Florida this year as I became a full-time Granny to my first grandchild, a daughter, born last November.

  10. Oh Meems, I am glad to know that your wildflowers are doing well with less then full sun! Your gardens and the flowers with their little visitors are delightfujl...the pollinators are here now that it is warm.

    Plains coreopsis is lovely and it was so easy to grow from's blooming here, too! I love it. But all the Shades of Pink zinnias I sowed washed away with three weeks of rain...maybe they will bloom downhill someplace! I've noticed the stokesia is looking good here...isn't June marvelous! Love the ground orchid photo. gail

  11. Waaaa!All the cosmos I planted came up,but then something has been munching on them,and now all I have are leafless stalks!So seeing your's makes my Waaaa even worse.I like that flower on the okra,too.

  12. Saw the picture of you and Helen. I am enjoying your blog so much.


  13. oh my, i am loving the okra bloom...ours are just greening out.
    don't worry about showing those cosmos too many times they are the best little/tall flower...i am so fascinated with them too. i have put them in more places this year.
    i got my firebush in the ground on wednesday and them it rained on and off today...what a blessing.
    i love the softness of the will probably just keep getting more blooms.
    that blue danube looks a little like a passion pretty.

  14. Those natives are gorgeous and all the blooms are so exciting...your garden is so full of color &'s great visiting your blog and it really helps me keep my spirits up as I pull my weeds in the heat! Ugh!

    ~ Tina

  15. I am also a big fan of cosmos, and I have lots of trouble growing them from seeds here in Miami, I was successful last year but they were never like the one growing in the north.

  16. hi meems,
    a great post! i have cosmos too! it thrives great here in our country. I think the stokesia laevis looks great!

    im marvin, im a doctor who recently started gardening. i have been seeing your blog for a long time, and feel that you could help me identify some of the unknown plants that i’ve posted in a garden blog i just started. if it wouldnt take much of your time. please, this is not spam or anything like that. thank you.
    -marvin md

  17. It struck me as funny when you mentioned seeing Cosmos in pots at the garden center. I can't imagine buying Cosmos this way. They are so super easy to grow from seed! If I don't deadhead, they will self-seed here, too. I thought I dead-headed last year, but I must have missed a couple, because there are a few coming up now, even though I neglected to plant some. I could still plant some if I hurry and get some seed.

    I planted okra for the first time last year and won't be without it ever again, even though we don't eat it. I plant the burgundy okra and the plants are beautiful, as well as the flowers, as you show.


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