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, January 27, 2010

Celebrating Evergreens

With the long-lasting frosts and freezes of the first two weeks of January, when all was said and done, the garden made what seemed like a rapid overnight decline.

But reality reveals otherwise.

When reviewed in photographs, journaling each days' findings, it is quite evident the colorful foliage, so very depended upon at Hoe and Shovel for varying hues throughout the year, was slowly losing pigment more and more each day.

Until it appears the most prominent place the eye is drawn is assuredly to so many shades of brown.

Finding any continuum of prettiness is not as easy as it was just days before.

Sitting here at my home office desk with the windows open the outdoor breezes refresh the air indoors. The birds heartily sing their melodious tunes just outside and it dawned on me ... the greenest view is right in front of me. Looking out toward the front garden.

Taking the above photo through the screen I'm easily reminded how I've overused Liriope muscari 'Evergreen Giant' in my garden.

And I'm oh, so unashamed that I have.

Under the dappled light of the sprawling oak trees Liriope grows to three feet tall, blooms its pretty purple spikes in summer, and never wavers from its evergreen habit, remaining its deeply hued shade of green year after year. In this front location it serves as the double-sided edging to the pathway winding from the front driveway around to the backyard.

Coupled with my beloved evergreen natives, Serenoa repens Saw Palmetto, this peaceful scene is helping me forget how badly the garden looks just beyond.


  1. I love the Giant Liriope too...It's so easy to divide and plant isn't it, you don't even have to plant it, just sit it on top of the ground and it will take off! You seem to see what needs to be done and not what has been done, it's beautiful!

  2. Meems, Every day since the big long freeze I look around my yard and I am very happy we planted the evergreens we did. In my yard its the variegated Liriope I thought we over planted, now we are glad to see them. Janis

  3. Everyone needs some evergreens in their garden. I think they look great.

  4. Deep in the winter doldrums, I think all gardeners are *sighing*, Meems! But the worst is behind us :)

  5. I've never seen GIANT liriope! WOW! Pretty understory for the trees.


  6. It is so hard for me to be patient with all this deadness around me with the hope that it comes back. Is there any hope for the cordylines? A few other things are beginning to show new growth...still, it has been a rough winter for Florida gardeners.

  7. Liriope is a plant that you should be able to use how much you want to, lol. It is a great space filler and looks great.


  8. Hi Meems~~ Liriope is like a miracle plant. I've got it growing in full, hot sun, in shade and places between the two and it thrives, keeping evergreen until I cut off the old to make way for the new. You've indeed got yourself a calm, refreshing vista from your window.

  9. That is a great view. The liriope is one hard working plant. I love the way you have left the saw palmetto right in its natural spot. I used to cut mine down year after year trying to get rid of them. Now, I too, let them be and enjoy them more then ever during these barren winter months. What a difference embracing the naturalness of an area can make.

  10. I am so glad you've found a peaceful place~Winter has been especially hard.

  11. Darla,
    The pathway shown here was planted at least 25 years ago. It was one of the first things I did after we moved here. I've learned since then how easily liriope is divided. Every other grouping of it throughout my garden has its origin from this path. It's a wonderful plant. Does it stay green for you all winter?

    Oh, I have overused (by other's standards not mine)the variegated liriope, too. I am SOOOO glad ... it doesn't freeze either. I've always known I love it for its many great qualities in our climate but I'm especially fond of it these past weeks (like you).

    In reality I have loads of evergreens... thank goodness. After this winter I'll be planting even more.

    Oh, I hope you are right, dear Joey. I'm surely counting on it being behind us ... since I've already started cutting back the dead.

    It's kind of interesting that it is actually called "giant". I gladly use to fill in so nicely in shade and sun.

    You are further north and more interior... I wish I could say for sure your pretties will come back. I have a feeling the roots of your cordylines were not frozen. Cut them back and you will know once the soil warms back up.

    My inspections here reveal most everything will come may take some time for the slower growers like the cordylines. Upon inspection it seems the coleus are the only plant that will probably NOT recover.

    I usually do things like I want to and using common plants like liriope is one of them... in a large garden it is quite economical to divide my own plants.

    And can you imagine it does well here in our hot sun! And just as well in the shade... a miracle plant for sure. We don't cut ours back... it just stays the same all year long.

    I do LOVE the natural "Florida" look of palmettos. They were one of the few plants here when we moved in and sort of shaped 'my view' for the design of the rest of the garden... along with the oaks of course. Definitely better to embrace the beauty of what we are already gifted with ... funny how those are the plants that work best anyway. We're learning aren't we?

    Dear Gail,
    How happy I am to be included in your 15 minute alottment.I hope you aren't stretching the recommendation. :-) Yes, a particularly hard winter... for everyone, I realize. Take good care of yourself.

  12. Meems, it's no wonder your garden looks so lush and's 25 years old!!! I am in my 5th year in this garden, and I so hope this will be a year of fulfillment. We'll see. Anyway, I know what you mean about the evergreens. I really don't appreciate the boring viburnum and Japanese yew hedges except in winter. I'm sometimes tempted to pull the tropicals out and replant with nothing but evergreens. But I think the summer color is really worth it!

  13. after every storm there is a rainbow - you just have to look up to find it. i'm glad you found a vista to give you an 'up' view in the aftermath of our freeze days. sometimes you must strive to keep a positive focus in the midst of dismal circumstances. even though you have had a very difficult month (freeze damage, new well installed & resulting deep ruts thru your veggie garden), keep looking UP! with a little trimming, pruning, and replantings from your protected cuttings, you will have a 'Spring' in your garden again soon ;-)

  14. Evergreen giant is a must-have for me, too. It's definitely a garden staple, and I never tire of looking at thick, lush borders of it. Sometimes I get some that seem to struggle, and I wonder if I plant them too deep. What do you think?

  15. Those evergreens are the saviors this time of year for sure. It will all make its way back soon!!!

  16. Bravo for your "over usage" of Liriope! I love it! I just planted some in one of my new garden beds. It's a constant, which is the foundation for everything! Be of good cheer...the recovery is coming! My landscape is full of brown with fresh new bright green leaves springing up everywhere!

  17. The Liriope has become the back bone of my garden.I agree with Darla.And it sets off the colors of the tropicals so well.

  18. FG,
    It definitely takes time to develop lush. I remember that well every time I start a new planting bed. The view here WAS grass all around the trees and palmettos when we moved in. It was my second EVER project of grass removal to make the pathway a couple of years after we moved in.

    Each time I create a new area the evergreens are the foundations and I build out from there.

    I know what you mean about the tropicals ... but, like you, it is just this few weeks out of the year when we question our methods. I'm learning more and more how to mix the tropicals with natives so I'm not completely disappointed when these frosts wipe out so much color.

    SG aka MOM,
    Thanks for the encouragement... I really am saying these things to myself as I take the steps toward repair. Those poor cuttings have been moved around so many times and were stuck in the garage for so long it's a wonder they have survived. But you are right I will use them to help spruce things up for spring.

    I guess it's possible you plant them too deeply. Since I haven't bought any in years because I always divide existing ones I'm not sure what it could be. I suspect it could be the stock more than what you are doing when you get them home.

    What would we do without them!! They surely stand out this time of year.

  19. Gorgeous Meems! I love liriope, and just googled 'Evergreen Giant.' Hmmm. . . hardiness zones vary beginning with 5 (yay!) Other sites say 6 or 7. I wonder which it really is!

  20. Linda,
    I'd love to send you some when the weather turns better for you and you can find out for yourself! Don't let me forget.

  21. Aren't evergreens wonderful? They do give us hope when all else looks rather sad.

  22. A liriope that grows to three feet tall would be just a dream here! I'm so sorry you've had to deal with freezing of your gardens again this year. :-( But I've no doubt your gardens will emerge on the other side better than ever.


Have a blessed day,

September 2010

Back Garden: October 2010

Louise Philippe: Antique Rose

Tropical Pathway