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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, November 20, 2009

It's Like Spring All Over Again

Other than our shorter days and the southerly angle of the sun Florida's fall gardening is much like a repeat of spring. The garden calls out for the gardener to plant, to prune, to seed, to cut, to mow, to propagate... but more than anything to take time to breathe in the beauty of each day.

Our gardening days are full with plenty to do in order to keep things tidy since the passing of our endless summer. With a look ahead to springtime there are cuttings being taken for rooting new plants. This year I've made sure to pot up some of my favorite tender plants that I know I will lose if we get a random frost like last winter. They will find a place indoors if the threat occurs. Which means I'll be assured to at least have some starter plants without having to purchase new ones.
Please Don't Make Me Go Inside
Cassius Blue on Flax Lily bloom (both the flower and the butterfly about 1/2" in size)

It is so delightful to enjoy our butterfly friends who visit even throughout the cooler months. On the warmest, sunniest days many of them treat us to their company while we work.

There should be some caterpillars on the milkweed soon as the Monarchs have been sighted still laying eggs.

We have had the most divine weather of our autumn season so far. Finally, the humidity has given us a reprieve for the length of about ten days straight. Whew! It has been glorious outside with our lows at night hanging right around 60 and our daytime highs right around 80. What a glorious and much welcomed change it has brought.

This is perfect gardening weather! It's perfect outdoor weather! These are the days when I figure out how to spend every possible moment outside. I even take my paperwork to the back porch so I don't miss a minute of the splendor.

There are two large plantings of Plumbago auriculata, or leadwort in the back garden. They've both been blooming all summer and still they are putting on a great show with their true blue blooms. One does better than the other due to better placement in more sunshine.

They have a habit of sending out suckers making new plants all on their own. Not in an invasive sort of way but in a way that adds to the bushiness of the shrubs. I dig up those volunteers occasionally and pot them up for pass-alongs or to put them in a more convenient spot in the garden.

Last summer I was determined to see if I could get a cutting to flourish and to look pretty in a container planting. That poor thing has been moved around from place to place trying to find where it would be happy and produce. It was the scraggliest thing for the longest time. Just last week it flushed out with presentable blooms for the first time. It's always fun to try something new. Maybe by next year it will really good.

So many plants in the garden come alive and perky this time of year just like they do in springtime. Summer is relentless around here and plants have to be tough in order to survive it. But even the ones that tolerate the stress of summer nicely just seem to come to life again in the fall when the nights get cooler and the sunny days fade away much quicker.

We don't have too much in the way of foliage change this far south. It's the trade-off for the year-round tropical temps. So we opt to create our own autumn vignettes with shades of foliage helping to reflect the season.

At summers' end this un-named coleus what brought home from a nursery in north Florida. Making several more plants from cuttings it is giving us fall colors of bright gold on the upperside and deep magenta on the underside. A wonderful sort-of garnet and gold combination. *grin* Just right for the season. It's mixed with cuttings from persian shield filling out behind them and ground orchids blooming deep lilac flowers in front of them.

Speaking of deep foliage the Pseuderanthemum nigrum, 'Black Magic' offers a nice contrast in autumn. I like the way it echos the deep purple leaves of the purple queen across the pathway from it (seen behind it in the above photo).

The drooping white clerodendrum C. Wallichii 'bridal veil' is a happy bloomer that waits for autumn's change to flower its fragrant blooms.

You may remember the two Giant Spider Lily Crinum augustum 'Queen Emma' my neighbor gifted to me. One was situated in the back garden and became the centerpiece for the tropical pathway.
Autumn's Backyard Garden
It has adjusted to its new home with ease. One of the main joys of foliage plants is the way they remain steady all year. They just keep on giving in every season.
I do hope your autumn is filling you with joy. Have a wonderful weekend. Meems


  1. I am enjoying autumn but wow I can feel your enthusiasm. Of course if I had your garden to look at daily I would too. You have so much color and texture.

  2. Meems,
    Plants in your garden are so well cared for no wonder they look great!

    Jealous of your weather there, things are winding down here in NC although we still have 2 zucchini to pick in the garden!

  3. Meems,
    Just beautiful. I had ice on my windshield this past week. I think my garden is done for this year, which is a pretty good thing, because it looks mighty ratty right now.

  4. Meems, Your weather down there does sound PERFECT right now. Just getting rid of the humidity has to help ---especially to a gardener. As usual, your garden looks wonderful.

    Things are getting bare looking up here now.

  5. What a teaser! Wonderful things are happening in your garden. And we are soaking...

  6. Lisa,
    I have to say the best thing about our autumn/winter is the ability it affords to enjoy the out of doors. It is a great time to just "be" in the garden. Probably a lot like your spring/summer.

    Randy Emmitt,
    Yay for you having zucchini. You are going to really savor those two!

    Ice already... kind of makes me shiver (along with your plants I suppose).

    It's all about the humidity! When that dried up a bit it makes such an amazing difference.

    This is the season we look forward to all summer long... we know its coming and it keeps us moving through the torturous heat. But the plants get a surge of energy with the relief, too.

  7. Hi Meems....what an amazing garden for autumn. As I look out on my space, what a contrast to your garden.....

    I love the blue butterfly, very very pretty. This is the first time I have seen this particular butterfly.

    I noticed plumbago growing everywhere when we visited Florida this year. I am so is an indoor plant for me.......

  8. I'm jealous! :-) Such a stunning garden you have!


  9. I couldn't have described it any better!
    Longwood, Florida (just north of Orlando)

  10. Your garden views are forever beautiful!

  11. Cameron,
    I think we share mutual envy... me of your sunny, stunning, cottage garden flowers and winding paths with waterfalls. Pure beauty!

    Orlando Realtor,
    We pay our dues in the summer waiting for this don't we? Glad you are enjoying the season, too.

    Maybe not forever but for now the garden seems quite content.

  12. HI Meems< Enjoyed my visit You have nice blog.

    Enjoy your day,

  13. Meems, I found your site through the Tampa Tribune and have studied each photo. Your gardens are just beautiful. I am restoring he historic gardens at Hillsborough high school. I just put in a tropical shade garden following your guide on a making path. Some day I would like to send you photos.Last year on Earth Day we restored the sun part of the garden. Thank you for sharing your gardens with us. In his service Janice

  14. John,
    Thanks so much for your visit... and your kind words.

    Wow. Thank you for visiting and for your kind words.

    I graduated from HHS... how ironic. Also I was just there (for the first time in years) last spring attending my granddaughter's dance recital. It felt so strange to walk those halls again.

    I am honored you could use some of my guidelines to help you create a tropical place for the school. Yes, please send me photos... that would be so gracious of you. Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know.

  15. I just wanted to thank you for stopping by my blog. I see several things in this post that I grow, some are perennial, some are treated as annuals. My milkweed is on its second wind and still blooming, just waiting for the frost to kill it cold.

  16. I enjoyed hearing about the Florida seasons, different from our central California seasons for sure - but both have challenging summers. I love looking at your lush tropical-looking blooms and the big floppy leaves that grow in your humid environment. Here everything guards itself against our arid summers, and the first rains of Fall bring - as in Florida - a welcome spring-like flush of growth, of tenderest green. (Welcome, that is, except when it occurs on weeds!)

  17. Meems, The garden looks inviting and beautiful. I can't think of a better way to keep up with paper work (it has to be done) then to sit on the porch and look up to see the garden. The cooler days of fall without humidity are a real gift and so are the critters that still visit. We have one or two sulphurs visiting the pineapple sage, but frost is forecast for the weekend. It can't be avoided! gail

  18. I just love all your flowers. In Sweden it is very grey right now! I came to Florida (Siesta Key) some 20 years ago and seeing your photos, I can feel the warm air.

  19. Meems,
    Your garden is truly inspirational to a novice Gardener like me. The best part is you don't charge admission. Thanks for sharing it.

  20. Hi Meema~
    Love your fall blooming flowers! The white clerodendrum is breathtaking.
    Happy Thanksgiving!!

  21. love your autumn/springish backyard. how nice the weather has been so cooperative. our autumn is coming to an end with cooler winds blowing won't be long before everything around here is either brown or grey.
    enjoy every moment you can be outside...
    happy thanksgiving.

  22. Hi Meems, It's Janice from HIllsborough high school. I need to share something with you, remember the path I was working on at the school after studying your path instructions? I had planted variegated liriope, banana trees, inpatients,walking iris,50 bromelaid, ginger, 1 giant lilly and MANY other plants. On Tuesday I was checking on the new garden and tree trimmers had pulled all the plants out and placed them in a pile. I am heart broken. I am going to start over again. Janice


Have a blessed day,

September 2010

Back Garden: October 2010

Louise Philippe: Antique Rose

Tropical Pathway