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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.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

August Garden Favorites

Belamcanda Chinensis, Candy Lily or Blackberry Lily

In the earliest years of this garden it could be said that August was a dreaded month. By summer's end it seemed all plant life was duly stressed, tired, and bedraggled.

If it wasn't the overbearing heat and humidity it was lack of rain or too much of it that was to blame.

Learning how to adjust to our summer conditions and plant what adapts well in this environment has helped remedy this 'August dread' for the most part.

Candy Lilies rise above the heat and the caladiums to produce their happy presence in this our hottest month of the year.

You should know I'm lagging behind. This party started on August 25 when Susan over at Simply Susan hosts a 'post your favorites for the month' each month.

I've never been great with memes but Susan has become a friend through blogging and I'd like to participate in this one. She is one of the early pioneers of garden blogging. She found my blog when I first got started back in 2007 when I didn't have a clue anyone else out there was loonie enough to have a garden blog like me. (Little did I know... there were lots of us).

I'm not making any promises about the future but I'm happily joining in this month's August Favorites.

Without question my absolute favorites this month are the caladiums I adore and depend on all summer for bringing cheer to almost every border in one way or another. Caladiums of all varieties planted here were featured extensively in my last post.

The White Queen cultivar known for its white leaf and magenta-hued central veining is featured above and below.

It is the scenery at Hoe and Shovel this month that I'm favoring. Broad sweeps of visuals highlighting the varied colors and textures present in the summer garden.

The entrance to the tropical pathway with airy container plants of Christia Obcordata 'Swallow Tail' floating in the light breezes is a favorite vignette.

Taking a look at the other end of the pathway the large-leaved perennial Alocasia Plumbea 'Black Taro' are among my most favorites from the time they emerge out of the ground in April until they go dormant sometime in mid-winter.

A favorite for all of summer for the gardener and the hummingbirds, butterflies, and buzzing critters are the 5 native Firebush Hamelia patens that can be found throughout the garden.

Contrasts of color and varying sizes of leaves and heights and textures are showing up strongly this month as we are reminded there is hardly a trace of the damage we incurred from our unusually harsh winter.

Mixing up and combining all these elements is what makes gardening so exciting.

A favorite succulent demanding attention is sited in a well-draining pot on the perimeter of the circle garden. It is Bryophyllum daigremontianum 'mother of thousands' and was a pass-along from a dear friend. This kalanchoe is considered invasive in Texas. It has grown so tall it had to be staked, standing sentinel, it is visible (amazingly) from the kitchen window.

Every summer I'm enthralled all over again with how very much the Pagoda Flower adds to the shady garden in the front. Some would call it invasive because of its habit to drops seeds and sends out runners. But somehow it works here. Probably because I have the room for it to spread. I need for it to spread and it obliges. It will be knocked to the ground by a heavy frost but returns to its heighth very quickly with the onset of warmth and humidity.

The August garden is completely aflutter with so many flying friends. They bring such joy and life as they flit about enjoying the nectar and the host plants provided for them here.

Lastly, these fellows are making their homes all over the garden this month. We've watched them weave their amazing webs only to have them knocked down by the rains. Not to be discouraged they just start all over and create them again in a matter of a few hours.

The garden ... a natural classroom ... always providing lessons for young and old.

Happy August and don't forget to stop by Susan's to check out her favorites for the month of August.


  1. Wow! What a profusion of contrasting colors and textures. That swallowtail plant is nothing short of amazing! Never seen anything like that. You have such balance in your garden, Meems. I'm learning so much from you. I am grateful for your generous spirit. daisy

  2. Thank you for posting the swallowtail plant pic. I have never seen anything like it. You are truly an artist.

    I am trying to strike a Firebush; it is only a couple of inches tall - your photos give me hope!

  3. Wow, your gardens are truly wonderful. It doesn't look like they are being bothered by the heat and humidity we've had.

    I love, love, love that swallowtail plant and have never seen it before. It is so unique and a delight.

    The butterflies and hummers love my firebush too. My bush is huge, and rambling up and over my shed.

    Thanks again for a wonderful tour of your lovely gardens.


  4. Beautiful photos of your gardens, again. The Swallowtail plant took my breath away. How about dedicating a post just to it...I'd love to grow it here.

  5. I'm loving all the texture and color in your garden this August. The layers just get me every time I see them. My little pagoda plant is perking up and wilting with a little more perkiness each day. I can't wait until it's huge like yours.

  6. WOW! Meems, you have it looking better than the botanical gardens and your photos are always so crisp and well framed with perfect light. I have spotted flowers on my blackberry lilies. I wonder how many variations there are and if there are dwarfer cultivars.

  7. Love that swallowtail plant. I've seen it on NanaK's blog, and it is quite unusual. Why have I never seen it for sale? Is it cold-tender? I personally love August, and summer in general, as my garden looks its finest from July to December. Perhaps it's the sort of plants I have. They thrive in the heat and humidity. Actually, you have showcased many of my summer favorites above...firebush, caladiums, arboricola, and blackberry lilies. I don't have pagoda flower, but I know what you mean about "invasive" clerodendrons. I'm forever pulling runners from the starburst clerodendron in my garden. I also have nodding clerodendron and musical notes, which seem to be less of a problem.

  8. I've never seen that swallowtail plant before, and it's leaved are so fascinating to me! Some day we plan to retire to Florida, and your blog will be my guide to gardening in my new climate.

  9. I love all your favorites! Since I got my sidegarden bed opened, I have been collecting different kinds of coleus. Their colorful foliage really brighten the shade garden, and I hope they can stay pretty as long as possible. Do you have any tip to keep them longer?

    I too really love that swallowtail plant, hmmm, wonder where I can find one...

    Gorgeous butterflies and spiders pictures! I still don't have much lucks with the butterflies...

  10. Hi Meems...So, glad you joined in with your favorites for August. Your garden is looking crisp as a daisy following last week's rainshowers. Weren't they great?

    The caladiums really are a star performer in your summer garden. You are so right about the combining of different colors and textures is what makes gardening fun. And, you're a master at that. You've got a great eye for color.

    Gardening is definitely an expression of the gardener's personality and likes. Thanks for joining in again.

  11. Meems, I'm so glad you joined in! Yeah!!! You've picked your favorites well. I love the swallow pretty! And I agree...your landscape itself is a sight for sore eyes - lovely scenery!

    The Blackberry lily is teasing me...I can't wait to add them to my landscape! Thank you for your comment on my blog and your very kind offer...I'm waiting for seeds from Susan. If she doesn't harvest any, I'll definitely let you know!

    Finally, I have some of those same kalanchoe...I had them first in the ground but transferred to a pot as it is extremely aggressive. They don't call her Mother of 1000's for nothing! :)

  12. Dear Daisy,
    Developing a garden is a progression and an act of love and passion for sure. What good would it be if not to share the beauty of plants! It is my pleasure. Thank you for visiting.

    So good to see you back. Good luck with the firebush. Mine were all sticks after winter. They have come back with vigor!

  13. FlowerLady,
    The heat and humidity has been quite high this year. The shade saves many of the planting beds from the intense noonday sun. I only have a couple of pockets that get sun those hours. Oh, that firebush is just marvelous for hummers and flying critters of all sorts. Thank you for visiting and for your kind comment.

    Hmmm... hadn't thought an entire post for it~~ but it surely is getting my attention and everyone who sees it. After having some fellow-Florida-bloggers from close-by visit my garden a couple of weeks ago they all went out and looked for it in their nurseries. Most of them took cuttings from mine as well. I'll have to check with them to see if the cuttings have rooted.

  14. Kay,
    So glad your pagoda is responding to your good care. I'd put it in the ground as soon as it is steadily perky. You may still get some flowers on it in the fall. They don't have to be as tall as mine before they flower. Some of those seedlings in the pathway are flowering at 18" tall.

    I have blackberry lilies with spots as well. But some with none.I'm not sure if their are dwarf cultivars. I'm just so glad these were added to my gardens (only last year)! They are delightful and none-stop summer bloomers.

    The Swallow Tail is NOT cold hardy. It is a tender plant that I splurged for because it WAS SO unusual. I'm growing them in three containers at the entrance to the tropical pathway. That spot receives dappled sunlight and late afternoon sun. It seems to be the perfect place for it.

  15. Robin,
    The Swallow Tail has definitely been a great conversation piece. I wonder if I'll still be blogging when you join us in sunny Florida?

    I love coleus almost as much as caladiums. They should last you until winter mostly. Keep them pinched back and don't allow them to get too leggy. I never let mine flower. Well, I TRY to never let them flower. Pinch the flowers off. I've been cutting mine back and sticking the cuttings in 4" pots to root. They root easily that way or by putting the cuttings in water. Either way you can make more plants very fast. Hope that helps.

    I know you are enjoying your new shady spot. It has been fun watching it progress.

    The light in the cloudy garden happened to be just right yesterday. So fun to click away after the rains and when the light cooperates. The rains were so fabulous. Thanks for offering the meme to everyone. It was fun to finally put one together with the rest of you.

    Yes, let me know if you'd like some additional seeds ~ I didn't realize Susan was taking care of you :-) I haven't tried to grow them from seeds but I think I will give it a try as the pods dry up. It would be fun to see if I can make it happen. LOL on the mother of thousands... so true.

  16. How wonderful it must be to grow tropicals outdoors. Here they grace the inside of my home. Your gardens are magical!

  17. The foliage in your garden looks so lush and exotic Meems.

  18. Meredehuit,
    I guess down here we sort of don't think too much about planting houseplants in the ground. It is what we are used to. Thank you for your comment... it reminds me to be grateful for our climate. So nice to have you visit.

    The summer garden is doing well for August. I think it is very thankful to come back after the unusually bad winter we had.

  19. Always in awe whenever I visit your stunning garden, Meems, you have a gift for sharing/showing/teaching in the most creative way. I hate to see summer end and your colorful post fed my soul.

  20. Hello Meems, I've just found your blog through the GGW contest. Your swallow tail caught my eye and led me here! So glad to have discovered your garden. It's beautiful, lush and wonderfully designed. We have a love for many of the same plants. I too have quite a bit of shade and plant quite a few coleus, caladiums and elephant ears. I wonder how the swallow tail would fare here in Austin. I'll have to google! Thanks for the tour, I enjoyed it.


Have a blessed day,

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