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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, September 21, 2010


Getting away for a little break from routine is always a treat. It's restful, refreshing, and good for the soul.

But no matter where we go or for how long there's nothing like returning home.

As is the way with most gardeners, I suspect, the garden is the first place we go to have a look around. Make sure all is well. Do a little picking and pruning. You know the drill.

Blue plumbago is a perennial shrub I'm quite sure I take for granted. I expect it to perform well and I hardly notice it most days. But with fresh eyes, after being gone, it looks particularly blue and particularly appealing in September's morning rays.

My favorite caladiums, Miss Muffet, with her limey green leaf and adorable magenta freckles rests at the feet of plumbago in the raised bed bordering the tropical pathway.

It's good to see the White Queen caladiums still perky and livening up the back gardens in so many places.

Oh, and that wonderfully fresh fragrance from the butterfly gingers draws me to her. So glad I haven't missed her blooming.

The rains we were enjoying regularly have stopped for the past couple of weeks making it necessary to run the irrigation system for the first time in ages. Musa acuminata 'Sumatrana' (Rojo) banana leaves hold onto some left-over drops.

Easily charmed by insignificant details the papery brown petals of fading oakleaf hydrangea make me smile and remind me of simple pleasures.
In the way-back naturalized part of the garden plump beautyberries are weighing down elongated limbs.

Looking so bright and cheery and ready to be devoured by the wildlife that will soon discover them.

Red pentas fill out many places in this garden. My only complaint is they get too tall. Otherwise they are an all-time favorite.

Oh, and there is one of those containers of Christia Obcordata 'swallowtail' looking ever so light and airy this early morning. A big hug and thanks to my dear neighbor for hand-watering some of the thirstiest containers while we were gone.

Large leaves. No, extra large leaves. So very fun mixed into the tropical pathway.

The blackberries have all started to pop out on the blackberry lilies since we were gone. What a wonderful plant. First the prolific flowers bloom for months, then turning to seed pods that a few weeks later burst open revealing the blackberries.

What a nice addition the polly alocasia turned out to be in the tropical pathway this summer. On returning to the garden they are looking especially appealing to me.

Such a nice surprise. Finally. Bud stalks on the Queen Emmas.

Until now Lubbers have literally eaten every single one. Here's hoping the new ones will survive to bloom.

Mona lavender is blooming its head off these late summer days. An entire bed of them sits at the feet of the cassia senna. A sun lover, the cassia is, while it protects and shades the mona lavender.

In the sunnier, more exposed side of the same bed the goldenrod has burst into bloom while I was away.

It is what I deem the wildflower garden. Although I must admit I'm a hopeless failure at growing wildflowers. It's a good thing I've evolved toward a more naturalistic garden. This back side of the south gardens is looking pretty wild.

Not just this day, but everyday, the pretty blend of foliage that makes Stromanthe tri-color a great Florida-Friendly plant lures my lens to capture the sunlight streaming through once again.

It's nice to see black and blue salvia return her blooms after being severely trimmed only a few weeks ago.

Mr. Meems and I had a wonderful vacation but truly there's nothing to compare with being home and back in the garden.


  1. What a joy it must be to return home to such a beautiful garden. Just adore your Caladiums ... love the colour of the Plumbago which is a very familiar plant as it's commonly grown here. The Cassia and Mona Lavender would make a fabulous combination. Wonderful photos!

  2. So glad you had a restful vacation. I am especially intrigued about the blackberry lilly. I am unfamiliar with that.

  3. The polly alocasia look great next to the caladiums. Aren't the plumbago just gorgeous this time of year?

    I love checking out the see how many new pups are there.

    Love your blog!!

  4. A vacation is nice, but like you said it is always wonderful getting back home, especially to our gardens. Your gardens are always a delight to see. You have some real beauties and I love your naturalistic look.

    Enjoy ~ FlowerLady

  5. Glad you're home, safe n sound. Not only do I love the colors that abound in your garden, but the foliage is something to behold! I've gotta get some of that beautyberry! I'm hoping to attract more wildlife to our yard. Welcome back, Meems.

  6. What is rain?
    Your gardens are beautiful year round Meems. I adore that blue plumbago, so soothing to the eyes.

  7. Welcome home, Meems. Your garden and your pictures are so lovely -- the color is so rich. I don't know which I admire more, the garden or your ability to capture it with a camera. I think I would be driven to murder if my Queen Emmas were assaulted like that -- good luck!

  8. Yep, mean the garden is where the heart is. Your plumbago is so pretty! It is a shrub I take for granted as well, but every now and then, it catches my eye as I round that north corner. I've found it's hard to photograph, though, at least with my camera. The lighting has to be just right. I agree...the red pentas does get too tall and leggy. I recently pulled mine out and have decided to go with the shorter, mounded pinks and purples. That size and shape perennial is very hard to come by in Florida, I've found, at least when it comes to tough, sun-tolerant plants.

  9. You are so right about a gardener going out to check on plants first thing upon returning home. I'm glad you found all in such good shape. I've got my eye on a Queen Emma between seeing yours and Floridagirl's. I am scared of those Lubber attacks though. What an awful scene in that photo of yours.

    BTW - I haven't done this yet, but the lady who rooted my LP rose for me uses the method given in this link:

  10. Hi Meems...It's always nice to take a vacation, but coming home is really the best part. I can see that you missed your garden very much,and now that the temps are becoming more least in the mornings and's great to be able to spend more time outside enjoying all the changes happening in the garden. Your September garden is looking very lovely. Glad to see those nasty lubbers are fading away and Queen Emma is getting a chance to bloom. Have a great day! Susan

  11. Oh, Meems...I was so intent on your post and beautiful photos...smiling and enjoying every view and word. Then came the lubber. It's HUGE!!! To think how large its manible must be to go through a large, tough bud such as the Queen Emma. Oh dear!! I think I'm aquiring a slight phobia of these large tropical bugs.

    The blackberries are really great! I can't wait to enjoy them in my own yard.

    I'm glad you enjoyed your vacation, as well as your return!

  12. Ihave never heard a grasshopper called a lubber. This is a new term for me. I would want to squish his head off for making mincedmeat out of those pretty blooms. It is wonderful to come home to the garden. I came home this week invigorated and ready to do a little work in the garden. Then it got hot. UGH...THe heat takes it right out of me.

  13. Meems, have any of your caladiums started to fade yet? This is my first year with them, and the ones I planted first are looking horribly unhappy. I'm south of you. Your garden looks much better than mine did after being gone for 10 days to the Carolina mountains. But the break from the heat was worth it! Fall, we're patiently waiting!!!!


  14. Welcome home. Love that Blue Plumbago. I have an alocasia that looks like your Polly. Somehow a couple pups {I guess} maybe fell out of the pot & are growing in the ground. Should I dig them up & put them in a pot? Does yours stay in the ground all winter?

  15. Bernie,
    Thank you. The Cassia towers over the very tall goldenrod in the same bed.It curves from sun to partial shade almost blending in with the tropical pathway. Figuring out what to plant there is almost a science. It is looking like fall with those purples and yellows so vibrant in the autumn sun.

    Blackberry lily is officially called Belamcanda chinensis. I haven't ever seen them in garden centers. But if you e-mail ~~ me hoe and shovel garden at gmail dot com ~~ I'd be happy to send you some seeds from mine.

    Siesta Sister,
    Thank you ~~ what a nice thing to say. The plumbago really do seem to shine in September. My own estimation is that they like it when the rains slow up and the ground dries out a bit. But I could be wrong... it's just a personal observation.

    We can't be away too long can we? The naturalistic look is starting to take over in a few places. :-)

    Thank you... it's good to be back. Foliage charms me and draws me to it as much as any flower. There are many good reasons to plant both.

    Was up your way last week and it did seem dry up there... was wondering about that.

    You are kind to comment. I am often concerned if the photos portray what the garden really is. It is my aim to illustrate that planting a successful FL garden can be done even by a novice.

  16. FG,
    Don't worry it's not your camera. Plumbago definitely fades out with the bright rays of sunshine. I try to capture it early or on a cloudy day. I've been pruning back my red pentas a little each week. That way they are always flowering. In the front gardens they are a good 4.5' tall. But the butterflies flock to them so I'll never be without them.


    This trip we pulled in the driveway at 12:30 am so I had to look around the front by moonlight. But very early the next day I was out making sure it did okay without me. Oh, those lubbers have mutilated my Emmas. It's been particularly hard year for them. I'm still killing 3 or 4 a day. Did they all converge on my garden this year?

    Thank you so much for the link... will try it out.

    These mornings and evenings have been wonderful... it's a big relief isn't it? Those three Emmas I moved from the front to the back are actually coming along well with new foliage.Still lots of chewing going on but at least they are going to survive. I wasn't too sure there for a while.

    I know. The lubbers are nothing to fear but they are relentless and stealthy. They have just been awful this year. I've decided it is what comes with removing lawn and adding so much foliage. They've got a whole lot to chew on around here.

    Fortunately you don't have to worry about Lubbers. They are in the southeast and they are very highly populated in some areas in Florida.
    They have been most bothersome here this year. Don't worry. The one in the photo died by pinching just after the picture. I hope you cool down for some autumn fun in your garden.

    Many of the caladiums that were left in the ground and started popping out in May are fading. But I do a succession planting in June and July to prevent losing them all at once. Most of the ones planted later are still doing well. It has been VERY dry for a couple of weeks and I can tell by the end of each day they are wishing for some rain.

    Glad you got away to the Carolinas... it's always so nice there.

    My pollys are in the ground. They will fade away lasting into winter like most alocasias and return when the soil warms in the spring. I'd like to add some to containers next year.

  17. Meems: I have been very busy these days, and even did not know you had a vacation. It is always a treat to see your pictures. Did you place your plumbago in full sun area? Mine is in full sun as every book told me, but it is not growing well. The leaves got burnt, and no flowering (maybe a couple). Thinking about moving them... My mona lavender is in a container. It has been blooming very well, but recently is also declining. Wonder I should try to plant it in a shady area in the ground.

  18. Ami,
    My plumbago plants (about 12 in all) are not located in full sun. As a matter of fact I am always concerned they might not get as much sun as they prefer with the overhanging trees filtering morning light to them. But up here I've seen some planted in full sun that do well. Down where you are I would have a look around to see if any others are doing well in the same conditions. These plants will get VERY large so be prepared.The mona lavender appreciates some sheering off of the outer layer occasionally. I find that keeps them blooming in my very filtered sun locations (in the ground).A good slow release fertilizer might also extend the bloom time but I haven't used any yet.

    I hope your busyness is all good and you are doing well.

  19. and i agree...home is the place to be.
    taking a vacation is necessary but coming home is essential to ones well being.
    your garden beckons to be strolled around in and admired. everything is so well cared for and it shows.
    plumbago, caladiums, mona lavender, goregous alocasia all beautiful in there own right but combined to perfection in your garden. you have worked hard to have the beauty that welcomes you home.
    hope you had a wonderful time.
    happy september.

  20. Dear meems, I loved this post and the lushness in your garden~I want to lie down on the grass and look up through the overhanging live oak branches~After a summer of forced absences, I am glad to be home until Thanksgiving~that's when I get to visit my son. gail

  21. Thank you, dear Marmee,for encouraging words and kindred spirits. It is a beautiful time of year to be in the garden.

    Ah, Gail,
    It has been a while indeed since we've had a good laying on the grass to view the wonders of nature through tree limbs. The little one and I are commencing with picnics again now that the weather is changing. He is the perfect reminder to slow down the pace and breathe in the beauty.


Have a blessed day,

September 2010

Back Garden: October 2010

Louise Philippe: Antique Rose

Tropical Pathway