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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 22, 2010

A Garden That Loves Humidity

Earlier this spring three new Red Rocket Crepes were planted. Two in the back and one in the front.

Quite unexpectedly their pretty red blooms flushed out in early July and they are still giving us color for summer. I thought for sure I'd have to wait one year for them to be so pretty. Nice surprise.

August is almost over and most gardeners are shouting hallelujah about it. It goes without saying how very hot and humid our summers are. Every year.

But honestly, summer is a gloriously, vibrant time in the garden.

The summer rains have been (almost) completely sufficient for irrigation. And the garden has recovered fully from the unusually cold winter we experienced. So what are we complaining about?

Over time we've learned better and better how/what to plant for this environment.

Humidity is a factor much different than heat alone. Moisture in the air remains at high percentages leaving humans feeling clammy, muggy, damp, and sticky. Think: Outdoor sauna. Lovely.

On the other hand, there are many plants that require these high levels of moisture present in the atmosphere in order to thrive. In keeping with our high temps that persist into the nighttime hours for the better part of summer and fall it is wise to choose specimens that can take the heat and humidity and be happy about it.

Once we find the right plants for our climate even better is to locate them in the right place within our garden.

These methods and principles will surely save on aggravation and frustration when summer is intensely upon us. Planning for these dog-days of August when doing our spring plantings surely does pay off.

Pentas are a good choice in any central Florida garden. A year-round flowering perennial here that becomes shrub-like and tends to need a little trimming this time of year. Easily rooted in good potting soil those clippings should not go to waste.

Butterflies, bees, small insects of all sorts are very drawn to their bright color. I've even seen hummingbirds visiting mine this year.

On a not-so-happy note is the bane of my garden. Easter Lubber Grasshopper.

Have. No. Mercy. On. Them.

One of my tattered and chewed Queen Emma Crinums. A favorite of the evil lubber. Just so you know... dozens of them have been recycled back into the earth ... usually headless. I must refrain from speaking anymore about the lubbers for I will say ugly things and well... I'm sure you don't want to hear it.

Back to happier thoughts...

There are a few plants blooming that ever-so-slightly hint of a change of season on the way. The Cassia Alata being a late-summer flowering plant serves as a striking statement in any garden.

As an added bonus they have hosted a number of cloudless sulphur cats during these warm days of summer.

I won't pretend I love this season (again, think: sauna) but my garden does. In Florida we are so blessed to garden all year long. So we adjust and we work with nature.

And ... we look forward to cooler days. No, that wasn't complaining. :-)

To view more photos taken today in my garden you are welcome to view the entire album by clicking here.

Hope your weekend was fabulous. Meems


  1. Oh Meems I love your garden! You have just the right balance of colour and never seem to have the bare spots I have when moving from one season to another. We in Australia are about to enter our sauna season (I like that term!), thanks for illustrating the highlights.

  2. Hate,hate,hate those lubbers!Thank you soo much for teaching me how to behead them.I have gotten quite good at it,thank you very much.
    And thank you ever so much for yesterday.It was wonderful!

  3. Meems,
    I really enjoyed myself yesterday. It was fun talking to all the experienced gardeners. I learned so much by asking questions and listening. I worked many hours in my yard today. I planted the plants I got yesterday and did lots of weeding. Your garden is spectacular. Your friends were all so nice. Thanks for a lovely morning.
    Your Painting Buddy

  4. I agree that so many plants here love the heat and humidity, even most of houseplants. I had trouble with indoor houseplants since they often love humid environment while indoor is so dry because of AC. Once I moved them outdoor, they are much happier! Thanks again for a wonderful tour in your garden! Lovely, lovely!

  5. You are so right about your garden loving this time of year. It looks even more lovely in person than in your photos. Thanks so much for the tour. I'm busily practicing with the camera :)

  6. Important rules that apply to gardens everywhere...Know your garden conditions and plant accordingly. Beautiful photos dear Meems~Love the photos~you've made even 'that which must not be talked about' anymore look good~ gail

  7. Why, thank you, Africanaussie, but believe me, we have bare spots. I just don't take photos of them if I can help it. :-) I don't envy you just getting started on your sauna time. But your plants will probably love it.

    Oh, those lubbers do plague me and my garden. So glad you came yesterday. It was SO much fun for me, too.

    My Painting Buddy,
    Good for you... working in your yard today.I hope you got some the good rain that came through. So happy you came yesterday. I was glad it happened in between your travels. It was a fun time for me, too.

    You are so right about the plants inside. Our AC really dries them out and they are proned to bugs... a real pain.Outside in the ground they thrive. Thank you for stopping by. One of these days we will gather up bloggers from all over the state... yesterday was just a small group of bloggers close by.

    Practice is what will make you feel more comfortable. I'm still learning stuff all the time. It was lovely to have you tour the garden and getting to have everyone together at the same time was delightful.

    It took me many years to get that figured out. August was the worst time of the year for my garden in the early years. That awful lubber DID photograph well... posed arrogantly right on the crinum leaf. Grrr.

  8. My Queen Emmas are chewed badly this year. I will have to use one of the strategies Penny posted next year. I know I killed 1000 this year if you count all the emerging black babies in spring. Your garden is stunning. Thanks for all the images.

  9. Thanks, Meems, for taking a positive spin on this season. Coming back from vacation, there was plenty to do in the garden this weekend. Thankfully, we had overcast skies culminating in a couple of days of teriffic thunderstorms. As always, you inspire me to garden with an open heart.

  10. Your garden and your photos are lovely! Thanks for sharing them. I admire your hard work, especially in August!

  11. Hi Meems. Your garden still looks wonderful and does love the heat and humidity. I for one will be sad to see summer come to an end.I would like to start over with Spring again. LOL!
    There use to be so many grasshoppers here when I was a child but I hardly see any anymore. That must be a good thing LOL! Beautiful images.

  12. Ah...Florida in August.

    My mother-in-law lived in Lake Worth...Palm Beach County. Her birthday was in fact, she would have been 100 on the
    29th this year. We always melted a little, when we went to celebrate with her.

    Still...the gardens were always stunning. As yours are, especially.

    Stay cool.


  13. Meems, what is the name of the bronze-leaved alocasia at the top of your post? I have several, and I'd love to know what they are.

    And beautiful, beautiful, photos, too.

  14. Hi Meems... It is definitely the season for tropicals and that red rocket is a beautiful deep color. I planted a Muskogee crape in my new garden in July right before the rain dried up. It was a real challenge keeping it going until the rains returned in August, but it made it by the grace of God and now is showing lots of new growth. I'm seeing lots of dead lubbers in my garden. Hopefully, they'll be gone soon.

  15. Hey, Meems! Very nice post praising the humidity. You're right...many really don't like it, but our gardens do. And, actually, I like to think of it as a daily facial. I mean, people pay a lot of money for such a treatment and we get it for free!!
    The lubbers are not nice. I haven't had a problem with them, though, and am staying positive that I won't. Ever. Your crinums are you prune the pups away?

  16. Rick,
    Not sure which of Penny's methods you are referring to... I was under the impression she was a beheader like the rest of us. I'll be checking with her also to see if she has some better tricks. The lubbers were/are relentless this year.

    The overcast skies are a real blessing on any August day. Some of these rainy days offer a welcomed break just after the rain,too. We have to catch the pockets of relief when we can. :-)

    August is challenging for certain. While it is not my recommendation to embark on big projects this month we do still get out and make the most of the garden. Early mornings are best. :-)

    Good for you... no more grasshoppers. For us the last few years have been the worst. I can imagine you'd like to start over with spring. You will have some very non-gardening months to deal with. But your fall will be so lovely.

    Celebrations and other activities this month are absolutely NOT my favorites. Gardening is different though. Sweating is expected. Not so much when dressed in street clothes. I don't like that at all. :-)

  17. Penny,
    I'm not certain I know which one you are referring to but the ones in the 4th photo down are Alocasia Plumbea Black Taro. Is that what you asked?

    I'm enjoying the red rockets and as they get bigger there will be even more blooms.

    Dead lubbers? Like you didn't have to kill them dead? hmmm... that's never happened for me if so.

    Ha! Free facials... it is true that humidity does much better for our skin than drier climates. See... one more positive thing about living in a sauna.

    Three of my crinums were chewed so badly they hardly resembled a crinum. Yes, I prune away the pups and either plant them or give them away.

  18. Well, Meems, I just love your blog and am very inspired by your lovely garden photos. You are a fantastic photographer, what fun! Are you sure you aren't the Bok Tower Gardens master gardener? I'm adding you to my blog roll and will be keeping an eye on your blog now.

  19. Meems, yes that's the one plumbea black taro. Thanks much.

    The only thing I suggested about catching lubbers is to look for the small nymphs, which cluster together, because it's easier to deal with them.

  20. Interested in your success with 'Red Rocket' crepe myrtle. Talked with the breeder, Dr. Carl Whitcomb, yesterday. Unlike 'Natchez' and the other "Indians" that were introduced by the National Arboretum, Whitcomb's produce little seed, so they bloom longer. They also include vibrant reds, like 'Red Rocket' and, of course, resist mildew. That would be mandatory in your garden, right?

  21. I agree about the lubbers. We had terrible problems with them at Brookgreen Gardens in Pawleys island, SC. When mating season started, we had to keep the children away. Talk about heavy appetites. Beautiful shots as always.

  22. Mary,
    So happy to have you. I love Bok Towers and need to visit more often. :-) Thanks for adding me to your blog roll.

    I adore that is a fave of mine. I tried my best to kill as many of the nymphs as possible. I would never have thought so many adults made it.

    Resisting mildew is a must. How very exciting your meeting Dr. Whitcomb. I'm really appreciating the red rockets so far.

    I'm always happy when I find them mating. That means I can kill two at once. Gruesome. I know.

  23. Sounds and looks like you have had a great summer --in your garden... That may be the ONLY good thing about humidity... ha ha

    Beautiful pictures... I still would love to see your garden in person someday...

    Thanks for sharing..

  24. I must tell you that I was moving some plants around that have been encroached upon by my monstera last Sunday in between rain showers--when all of a sudden one of those grasshoppers jumped out of the shade bed onto the lawn! Just like the grasshopper, complete with my little Kombi Spade in hand (with the jagged blades), I jumped out of the shade bed right behind it and pulverized its head into the ground. I did this repeatedly until when I stopped, I feel back on the ground and laughed loudly. I think someone would have thought I was a cannibal if they'd seen me, but all I could think of when I saw it was our conversation when you "introduced" me to them. Funny moment, but not funny that I've been invaded. Well, maybe that's the one insect we need to find a means to eliminate. Well, I could think of a few more...mosquitos...

  25. Betsy,
    Not many humans like humidity or choose to hang around it on purpose. :-)

    Ack! It really IS a lot easier to kill them than all that stomping. A simple smash of the head is sufficient. :-) I hope you do not have a greater infestation of them now that you know what to look for.

  26. Your garden looks great! It is really perfect especially your plants. I am envy with all the flowers you have. My garden is doing well except for the rose iceberg. They have dark spots in their flowers and I don’t know why they got them. I just hope for the next bloom of flowers they can be the perfect ones.

  27. I totally agree on you that you weather is a big factor before you decide to introduce a new plant in your garden and after that you should find the right place in your garden. Your garden really looks great and wonderful of all the gorgeous plants that I saw in the pictures.

  28. Most of the plants love humidity rather than super heat or super cold. I love your Red Rocket Crepes! I tried planting it in the front yard but it didn’t grow well. When total heat came by my Red Rocket Crepes died. I will try it next year again and just plant it in a pot and put it inside the house. Do you think it will work?


Have a blessed day,

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