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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.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ever-So-Slight Hints of Autumn and Butterfly Ginger

Dare I say it?

Could it even be possible?

Not in Florida.

Not at all likely.

Not in August.

Having a look at a garden overview wouldn't necessarily indicate any signs of a change of season.

No. But there has been just a tinge of change in the air the past few days.

Slightly less humidity. And any less is a grand improvement.

And then there was that gentle, steady breeze after the rains.

Ever-so-slight hints.

But ever-so welcomed.

With a closer look into the native gardens there are some subtle signals indicating summer is waning.

The Callicarpa americana, American beautyberry plants are beginning to turn from green berries to those marvelous magenta clusters the birds will be happy to clean off to the stems.

After the cold hit the acetosella or False Roselle/maple-leaf hibiscus so hard last winter I yanked every one of them out of the ground... roots and all. But several have popped up here and there anyway.

Their deeply colored leaves remind me of autumn when the buds will form and flowers will bloom. I'm glad now they decided to come back without any help from the gardener.

Leaving the spent scapes of Agapanthus A. africanus to dry and go to seed helps me imagine cooler, dryer days are surely on their way.

They add a touch of the autumn 'feel' to the garden.

Zingiber zerumbet, Shampoo gingers emerge from the ground after dormancy in spring. I'm especially fond of their elongated branches sporting creamy-edged green leaves. The way they arch-over sort of like a banner lightly covering nearby plants is a unique characteristic.

It is the pinecone-like bracts popping out of the ground at the base of the plants in late summer that indicates a new season isn't that far away.

It is early yet to get too excited about autumn.

Way too early for certain.

But don't you agree even the slightest bit of relief is worth mentioning after the summer we've had!

This philodendron 'autumn' mimicking the pretty shades of that season make it easier to ponder what it will be like when evenings turn cool and mornings are temperate once again.

The papery Oakleaf hydrangea petals evolving from white to pink to the rusty shades that resemble an autumn arrangement is a subtle indicator, too.

And always when the buds begin to form on the Dichorisandra thyrsiflora blue gingers I know for certain summer is coming to a close. The actual flowers never ever appear until autumn is here.

And the Butterfly Ginger is a late summer fragrance that fills the air on light breezes hinting to a season change.

Oh, autumn will be celebrated happily but in the meantime we'll patiently wait and watch for its subtle signs.

Am I alone or has anyone else noticed the changes?


  1. Beautifully put! And who says we have no change of seasons in Florida? Gardeners always see the changes first!

  2. The relatively cooler weather in Florida for late August has made a huge impact on everyone at our nursery as we work outside in shade-houses and greenhouses. The many days of partly to mostly cloudy weather and plenty of rain have helped keep the temperatures down, spirits up and make the plants look happier and healthier too. Plant sales at Home Depot throughout the state are up 35% compared to last August which indicates we all are feeling the onset of fall. My Butterfly Gingers are smelling so sweet too. I bought rhizomes mail order from a web search. The prices vary widely so do a thorough search or you could pay 5 times as much at some sites. They ship in the spring like caladium bulbs. What a treat they are to have in your garden and they persist with very little care. Very Florida-Friendly.

  3. I have noticed a slight difference in the air, more than that a difference in my spirit....there's something exciting about every season change to me!

  4. This year is the first time I have grown a butterfly ginger. ♥ it!!

    It has been cooler, but just checked the the 90's all week with the normal humidity.

    Love your pics!

  5. Yes, I've noticed a hint of autumn as well. This week the temps are predicted to be cooler and that is definitely welcome. We had heavy, heavy rains Sunday night and that was wonderful for all growing things.

    I love virtually touring your gardens. They are such a delight and you have so many interesting plants.

    It's all lovely and inspiring.


  6. Your garden looks so lush and tropical that it reminds me of vacation instead of fall. I know that feeling you get though when the humidity lets up and the breeze is truly cooling. Aaahhhh.

  7. We are indeed kindred spirits!!! Just as I was reading this, you were commenting on my joyful goodbye to August post! These subtle changes have been so delightful, haven't they. And for August it is truly remarkable. Your garden is so beautiful, Meems. I read that winter is expected to be kinder this year and I immediately thought of you and your beautiful gardens. Hope you are having a perfectly delightful week.

  8. It will be 99 degrees here tomorrow and we're watching Hurricane Earl approaching and hoping he won't be another Fran.

    It is not looking/feeling like autumn here at all. The butterfly ginger is in bloom, though!

  9. Grower Jim,
    This is the season change I welcome most and to enjoy a few days with less humidity is glorious.

    That makes so much sense. The clouds alone have been such a relief many days as I've worked outside! And to get some changes in late August is a BIG blessing.

    I got my butterfly ginger rhizomes last fall when I visited Monica Brandies' garden. She was selling them for pennies. I put some in the front and the back gardens... they are VERY easy and heavenly when blooming.

    It really does make a difference in our spirits... just renews and invigorates!

    Siesta Sister,
    It was in the 90's yesterday but with a bit less humidity it was bearable. The humidity makes such a difference ... I hope it lasts for a tiny bit anyway.

    I guess the rains have stopped for a few days but they surely were nice while they lasted. Thank you for visiting ~~ it is always nice to see you.

    I'm sitting on my back porch this morning and I'm comfortable. Can't do that here in the summer without sweating even very early mornings. It is rejuvenating to say the least... so very refreshing.

    Ha... I love it when that happens. Your post is stunning. Thank you for the kind thoughts and comment. Looking back at all that cold damage I'm thinking it probably did the garden good in the long run. Surely makes me appreciate it more this time of year whether ~~ even in the heat.

    I thought of you when I heard news of Earl's pattern. Let's hope for the best. It will be in the 90's here, too but with a bit less percentage points in humidity it is still a relief.

  10. OMGosh, Meems, I was thinking the exact thing this morning as I went for my daily constitutional. I'm almost afraid to even think it, lest I jinx us. I think we're all ready for the change. Enjoy each teasing reminder of what fall is in Central Florida. Cheers!

  11. Dear meems, Even those little changes are major mood lifters! The breeze has returned, the light is changing, but I can really tell by the smell. There's a subtle difference and it says falls just around the corner~

    Your garden looks fantastic~There's one shot that so clearly shows the complexity of your planting, the texture and color. It's beautiful.


  12. i was up early this a.m. (yes, dd, early!) and stepped out on the patio to a 20o cooler temp than just 10 days ago! ooo la la! i almost feel tempted to do some gardening myself in this milder weather ~ not!! but, you're right, autumn is just around the bend! what a relief!

  13. I'm so glad you posted this. I mentioned to my hubby just last evening that I could feel the season changing a bit as I was setting out tomato seedlings. He didn't agree. The seasonal changes in your garden are lovely. The butterfly gingers are so pretty as are all the rest of your gardens. My white butterflies haven't bloomed yet. Hope their blooming is just around the corner; as is FALL!

  14. I've definitely noticed a shift. It's cooler in the mornings and the light is different. Even though the temps are in the mid to high 90s this week and a hurricane is heading this way! I'm patiently but eagerly waiting for those cool crisp fall days. My favorite seasonal transition.

  15. Nope. No changes here, Meems. None whatsoever. It will be summer for many more months.... And I'm in denial. LOL

    Mostly I've noticed the way the sun is more slanted and golden.

    Your garden photos are just as gorgeous as ever. I so wish I could grow more of these large leaved colored beauties! And that my garden was frost free... Oh well, I'm done bellyaching for now, thank you for listening. :)

  16. I swear the air smelled of autumn as I walked in the garden yesterday evening. So strange. My heart is pulled both ways by the approach of autumn. I am always saddened to see my caladiums and gingers shrink into the ground, but thrilled to see the camellias and tis come into bloom. In looking at your photographs, my eyes are always drawn to your impatiens. What is with this garden of mine?!!

  17. Yes, I can feel the autumn is coming as well, especially in the evening and night time, it is much cooler than summer.

    Love that philodendron 'autumn', I have a philodendron 'moonlight'. I love yours better since it has red tone as well :) I saw you put it in the circle garden area. Mine seems not tolerate any sun. Once I put it in a place that got a little sun, the leaves got burned. Now it is in a almost full shade area, maybe just a little bit early morning sun.

    That butterfly ginger flower is just gorgeous!

  18. Yes, there is a definite change in the morning air. Even the afternoon don't feel as oppressively hot as they did a week or two ago. It is indeed a welcome visitor.

    Our elm tree is covered in yellowish dry leaves and the maple tree has been dropping leaves for the past several weeks. I'm waiting for the rain trees to sprout their yellow blooms. That always makes me feel that fall is just around the corner.

    In Florida, the hints of a changing season are very subtle. I look forward to less humidity.

  19. Yes, I felt a hint of cooler air at sunrise and my skin has been a bit less sticky out in the Florida "sauna".
    I'm glad you mentioned the maple-leaf hibiscus. We did the same thing.....pulled out what was left after winter and stuck those in pots into the "plant hospital" Surprisingly, they are popping up everywhere. We haven't seen any buds yet, so I don't know if they will make it that far on their recovery. I cannot remember when they were blooming last year???? Regardless, the colors of the leaves make them worth keeping in the garden!

  20. Meems- I posted the same thing on my Facebook page yesterday! I feel like it's been different the past week too. Spent the morning in the garden on Sunday without getting heat stroke and took my son to the park today in the late afternoon and, dare I say, it was NICE!


  21. Aaahhhhhh, yes! We've been slowly emerging from the summer doldrums. We actually drove with the windows down a couple times this week! When we stopped, of course, the humidity hit us like a brick wall, reminding us it is, indeed, still August. Your pictures are so lovely! Thanks ever so for sharing your beautiful blooming buddies!

    Have a JESUS-filled day! ^i^

  22. The feel of Autumn is wonderful.
    We're not feeling it yet but soon life will be a little slower,this is a good thing.
    Great shots...thanks for sharing.

  23. I am feeling your autumn too in our location Sister the butterfly ginger!

  24. Yes, even though it was a 100 degrees at 5:00 when I came home from work, it did feel cooler this morning. It gives me hope! Love that ginger.

  25. Daisy,
    The early mornings and the late evenings is when I've noticed it the most. It is a tease I'm sure... but I'll take this kind of tease in August anytime.

    Yes, especially here in FL when it is usually September at least before we feel any little changes.I do love the way the light begins to shift.

    SG aka Mom,
    Isn't it pretty that early in the morning? I've been sitting on the porch very early again ... and not sweating. So very nice.

    Most of my butterfly gingers are still just budding out but a couple are blooming. Last night I worked in the garden for a few hours until dark ... definitely more pleasant than usual.

    Yes, the transition from summer to autumn is one of my favorites. Love the sunlight shifting especially.

    I know you would like your pretty summer to last longer. If I had summers like yours so would I... I don't blame you one bit for not wanting to see it go. But here it is a completely different story.

    Hey, speaking of large leaves... I saw your red banana in a pot in your garden and it was gorgeous!

    I know what you mean about your heart being pulled in both directions... none of it can last forever though. Oh,those pesky impatiens. All that you see here have seeded themselves. None have been purposely planted here in years.

    Oh, the moonlight is also lovely. You are right the 'autumn' is in the circle garden but in a spot that only receives late afternoon sun for a couple of hours. Right now I'm watching it closely as it may be getting a tad bit too much light. They really don't need very much light to thrive.

  26. Susan,
    The changes you mentioned are surely subtle but certainly hints that our summer humidity is possibly going to give us a break before we know it. It will be so nice not to sweat when we step out the door.

    Those maple-leaf hibiscus will bloom in November if not sooner. I'm with you. The foliage is enough to make me glad they decided to come back on their own.

    I'm glad you noticed it too. What an unexpected treat it has been this early to enjoy a change in the air.

    Hello dear. So nice to have you visit. We can't get too comfortable yet can we? For us just having the early mornings and the evenings change up a bit is a blessing.

    We never know down here in Florida what kind of autumn we will have. It could be hot and it could be lovely. So we take any kind of changes to cooler happily. Thanks for stopping by.

    Oh, good... I'm glad so many are getting their share of this little break from our summer intensity.

    Island Rider,
    The temps WERE high today and in the middle of the day... whew! it was hot! Even last night the thermometer read 88 degrees @ 8:00 but with a tad bit lower humidity ~~ it doesn't feel that bad.

  27. OH OH, I guess that means the humidity is on its way here..... ! Our "winter" has been exceptionally wet and hot, so not sure if that will make the summer easier or not.
    I love that philodendron 'autumn' I have never seen anything like it - does it change colour in the autumn or is always those bold hot colours?

  28. I so look forward to that day in October that hints of cooler weather in the air. It's a bit too early for us, but I've noticed migratory birds, specifically redstarts and barn swallows, passing through, which is much earlier than usual. They must know something we don't.

    Incidentally, the local NWS office just issued a press release saying June through August has been the hottest on record for SE Florida.

  29. Africanaussie,
    It is always hard to tell if one season affects the next. Our winter was long so it seemed to shorten our spring. Summer has set records for heat and now we are getting a break early. The 'autumn' is always that color as the new foliage unfolds.

    It will be later when you feel some cooler air... this is really early for us. The air isn't really cooler the humidity has been lower which makes a BIG difference no matter the temp.

  30. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Yes, I have felt the change in the weather and worry that it is too much to ask for after the summer we've had. I mean I hate to get my hopes up just to have next week go back to how it was, but I'm just enjoying each day. I love your maple hibiscus. I haven't seen any of those around here, do they normally bloom in the fall?

  31. I am bittersweet about the change of season. It's been so nice to get out in the morning before daybreak and wander around the beds without sweating profusely right away. It dawned on me yesterday that this is only September and it seems too early to be so pleasant out. My new plants in pots, yet to be set out have loved it, though. They've grown quite a bit. Yes, fall is in the air, and much as I am sad to see the days shorten and the nights grow cooler, I am happy for some early relief from the humidity.

    I love your butterfly ginger. I have a small sprig growing next to the house. It's in a place that doesn't get as much visual attention as other parts of the yard, so I kept wondering what that smell was. Finally, I followed my nose. Now, I must either move it where I can enjoy it more, or get more of it...hmmm, knowing me, I'll get more of it.

  32. Char,
    We definitely shouldn't get our hopes up. It has been a sweet relief but won't last. It is typically well into September or even October before we get this kind of reprieve. The maple-leaf blooms in November. It is a quick grower and not a particularly sturdy stem. I cut them back several times before bloom to force branching.

    Definitely bittersweet. I'm going with mostly sweet. The shorter-days part is not my favorite admittedly.

    Most of the plants DO love the break in the intensity from humidity ... I know this gardener REALLY appreciates it. The heat I don't mind so much ... it's that high dew point I could live without. Have a great day.

  33. I wish we had the beautyberry here, Meems. It looks so... well, beautiful!
    I have Red Gingers and Torch Gingers but not this one. Looks like I have to go shopping. Shampoo Ginger should be counted as a household necessity, right?

  34. Hi Meems, it's been nice to hear from you at my blog. It's so hard to keep up with all the nice garden bloggers out there. So stop by when you get a chance and don't feel guilty when you don't have time!
    We're feeling fall here, too. That means the high temps (which we only reach for an hour or so in the afternoon) are going from mid-80's to mid-70's and nights are dropping into the 40's.
    Brrr! I'm glad you're getting a break from the humidity. The ginger is gorgeous.


Have a blessed day,

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