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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.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Annual Open Garden

If you live in the Tampa Bay Area or plan to be visiting in the next couple of weeks ~~~ for the next two weekends you have the rare opportunity to walk through a real, live, Florida-Friendly garden.

Monica Brandies is a writer, speaker, photographer and gardener. Every year she graciously opens her garden gate to whomever wishes to have a walk-through. Mom and I had the chance to go last year.

Among her plants and books for sale Monica offers many cuttings for free. She'll be available to sign her books and answer questions. Her family is on hand as well to help with taking visitors through the garden and serving up free herbal tea tastings.

It was last year that I bought my butterfly gingers from her. I also came home with a pretty ti plant and bromeliad that have flourished in my garden. So bring your own vessel for transporting goodies back home but don't bring a shovel. She doesn't encourage digging. Do you blame her?

There are two Saturday options available to plan your visit.

November 13 and 20.

Both days her garden is open to the public from 10 - 1.
1508 Burning Tree Lane, Brandon, FL, 813.654.1969

Remarkably she has squeezed-in numerous fruit trees onto her moderately-sized lot in Brandon.

You will find most of the plants have been labeled with markers for easy identification as you walk through.

One of my favorite plants she displayed in full bloom last November was the yellow Holmskioldia sanguinea Mandarin's Hat. Somehow I missed the cuttings for this one. It would be worth it to go back just for that.

After seeing her orange cosmos growing in a very partially shady garden I searched out seeds and planted some of my own. Mine never looked this good.

Ever since seeing this variety of calathea (I think that's what it is) I have been on the lookout for it to purchase. This would be a great addition to the tropical garden.

I find myself intrigued about an open garden concept. I've had lots of visitors come through my garden. But I don't think I'm brave enough to publish an open garden invitation. What about you? Do you think it would be a fun thing or is it something you'd even consider?

***Mexican sunflower in first photo was photographed in Monica's neighborhood. All remaining photos in this post were photographed in Monica's garden from tour 2009.***


  1. Oh, I so want to go! It looks beautiful! What a generous soul. Thanks for sharing Meems!

  2. I wouldn't take it upon myself to have a garden tour but I wouldn't mind to be included in a garden tour someone else directs. It would be fun.

    I can see why you would want to go back to this garden.

  3. That would be a great tour. Too bad I don't live closer.

    I would not want a garden tour here. Too much that needs doing to make an event like that happen. Plus, we are really reclusive. I think it's amazing that people open their homes and gardens for tours.

    Hope you get to go Meems.

    Have a lovely weekend ~ FlowerLady

  4. What a beautiful depiction of Monica's garden! I've been attending her open gardens for about 3 years now and look forward to it every November. In fact, I plan to be there tomorrow morning.

    While I love to have friends who know and LOVE me walk around my garden, I'm too insecure to open it up to crowds of people who don't know and love me. After all, the garden I see is not the same one others see.

  5. After reading your post...I really hate working weekends. If I weren't working, I would be in Brandon on Sat.

    I love to look at other gardener's gardens. orange cosmos were delightful this year. With the help of the bees I now have many different shades...even yellow.

  6. Wow, how wonderful of her! I recognized that name straightway and walked over to my Florida-garden book pile, where, lo and behold, the book on top listed her name as an author. Oh, I hope I can go.... We have a wedding one of those Saturdays, so that's a no-go, but perhaps the other....

    As for hosting a garden tour here, no way! This is such a tiny garden, and I would lose my mind stressing over weeds and trimming and refinishing furniture, etc., etc. Garden Design is not my forte. I'm not a big-picture person, after all, but I think most people are.

  7. I have opened my garden twice and attracted over 150 persons through our local Horticultural society. It was sooo much work and expense preparing for it however it was worth it to see other gardeners and plant lovers just enjoying it. Meems you should try it at least once. A garden like yours should be showed off once in a while.

    hugs my friend

  8. I too wish I can live closer to go to her garden. For me, my tiny garden would be too boring for people to see, and I too will be stressed to prepare. Although everytime friends come over, I always invite them to walk around my garden even they might not be the gardeners :)

    If you open your garden, I am sure lots of people would love to see your lovely garden. Now only if I can live a little closer ...

  9. Thank you so much for this garden tour Meems! You do such a lovely job. I will definitely plan to go next Saturday. I concur with all the posts about being garden tour shy! And also that you should do an open garden yourself!

    Hugz, Sherry

  10. Dear meems, Gardeners are really generous souls! I think about opening my garden to the perennial plant society I belong to~As soon as I finish a few projects! I think Holmskioldia sanguinea Mandarin's Hat and her calathea would both look great in your garden~gail

  11. My container garden isn't anything like most everyone elses but I enjoy taking our visitors on a "tour" of my plants. I think it is wonderful of Monica to share her garden and entertain guests.

  12. Thank you all for your comments.

    Monica is truly a generous soul. We were out of town and couldn't make the tour last weekend. I'll be filled up with Mimi time this weekend. Maybe next year I can make it work.

    I hope all you who wanted to go were able to get there.


Have a blessed day,

September 2010

Back Garden: October 2010

Louise Philippe: Antique Rose

Tropical Pathway