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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, December 12, 2010

Gardens Within The Garden

Three Swallowtail plants (Christia Obcordata) positioned in containers at the curve to the tropical pathway were the cause of many Florida gardeners swooning in late summer. Oh, there is no question they were worth the few extra dollars spent. Swaying lightly in the breeze and reaching taller than the bordering flax lilies. Their movement mimicking butterly flight was a lovely view for these last few months.

Alas, as the autumn weather waned-on they became less and less swoon-worthy. Faded leaves and lanky stems called for their removal.

Out with the Swallowtail and in with Philodendron 'Rojo Congo' and Macho Fern, Nephrolepsis.

Gentle digging around hibernating caladium bulbs and trailing Golden Globe Lysimachia was in order to replace the central focus of those three containers.

There are so many advantages to container gardens. Smaller plots of soil, much better regulated often times. Each one with the capability to grow its own unique garden within the garden.

I have long been a fan of gathering a few plants together and snuggling them side-by-side in their very own habitat. Can you tell how many of these plants are in containers? It is the best way to grow Rosemary in my garden.

Truth be told, creating containers is a gardening habit I've attempted to curb. It is no use.

The down-side to these mini-gardens (if there is one) is the extra attention of watering needs they often require.

Potted up plants can perk-up a patio or walkway. They lift colorful focal points in height among foundational plants when placed within the landscape design.

And they warm-up a cozy seating area just the same as a proper accessory does in an indoor design.

Who is that pretty flower in the pink and white dress? Why that's my friend, Helen, from Barbados and author of My Rustic Bajan Garden. This was her second visit to Hoe and Shovel. We had a delightful afternoon together once again. Helen, thanks especially for the laughs!

In an effort to work around that eensie-weensie problem of containers requiring more hand-watering than time usually allows, my recent goal has been to stick with drought resistant and hardy(er) combinations. Especially in the pots furtherest away from the water source.

The idea for containers located in the screen-enclosed lanai has been to eliminate flowering specimens which shed petals attributing to an unnessecary extra mess. Foliage varieties and colorful glazed pottery make excellent substitutes for short-lived annuals and shedding blooms.

Succulents do especially well in their own specific containers where the soil can be left to dry out in between waterings. Placed in the sunniest positions their locations are rotated as the lighting often changes as the seasons shift .

Autumn is the perfect time to review conditions of container plants. Often summer takes its toll on these small gardens that live in limited soil with competing nourishment.

The inspiration for the Philodendron 'Rojo Congo' replacing the Swallowtails? The Philodendron 'Autumn' that have been great performers in a large center pot since summer began.

They've been consistently brightening the circle garden seating area with simple foliage, miss muffet caladiums, and green airy Macho Fern, Nephrolepsis.


  1. Meems, It was your garden that I first saw and swooned over your butterfly plants. I planted mine in the ground and so far so good. You have a great knack for container gardening and they are a highlight in your garden. Merry Christmas Janis

  2. Very pretty gardens within a garden. Containers can be so many different designs and combinations. Almost endless. Your displays of them are really nice. It is nice to see so much color. A little grey here in Niagara Falls this time of year.

  3. Hi Meems~~ Beautiful shots. Containers are wonderful mini~gardens as your photos attest. Helen looks like a dear kindred spirit. What a delightful day you must have had. Love that swallowtail plant.

  4. Lovely garden with so many varieties of plants, never seen so many in one container! Its so nice to see other blogger like Helen from Barbados to visit you in your beautiful garden.

  5. Love you succulents! Mine are all very small. Can't wait until they grow so they will make a lovely statement in the garden.

    I'm a bit south of you. The next two nights are bad ones. I know as soon as I get home from work I will need to get busy covering plants.

    ♥ your garden and ♥ your blog. Thank you!!

  6. Seeing all this green and some actual flowers is soul enriching right now for me. My garden is under snow and the winds are howling making it feel like -11. Brrrr Love seeing Helen in her beautiful dress too. It will be some time before I am dressed like this. Lucky you tohave a blogger friend visiting.

  7. Meems ~ This was a wonderfully inspiring post. It made me want to get outside, but it's too cold for the next couple of days. I do need to get out to hand water a few things though. Brrr.

    Your many gardens are lovely and oh so colorful.

    What a great picture of Helen. It's always nice to put faces with bloggers.

    Have a wonderful Christmas season filled with love and peace.


  8. Janis,
    You're making me think I should have put mine in the ground instead of in containers. I can't wait to see how yours do into the spring.

    Thank you. I was in Niagara Falls this past summer. The plant-life there was beautiful then. But I'm sure very grey (or white) now.

    Helen is a bundle of joy. Very fun. I love that she comes to see me when she is in the states.

    Thank you. It is a joy to have bloggers I've gotten to know over the years spend some time in the garden with me.

    Siesta Sister,
    Thank you for the sweet words. It is very windy and cold here already and the next two nights will not be good for the garden. Survival of the fittest. Winter has come early. :-(

    I don't know how you do it. That is SO cold. Please stay safe and warm.

    The wind is making it more cold this time around. Not a good day to hang out in the garden. Just have to get out and cover those tomatoes again. Poor things... the veggie garden doesn't know how to handle all this winter weather. Stay bundled down there in the SOUTH. It's going to get cold for you, too.

  9. Your beautiful container gardens really do add to your overall design. I love the way so many are "hidden" within the larger garden. All my potted plants are on the back porch under old quilts and sheets. The tomatoes are there too since they are containerized as well. Sending warm thoughts your way.

  10. I had my swallowtail plant in the ground, but it was starting to look stressed, so I dug it up, put it in a pot and it is spending the night in the garage. Sure hope it makes it through the winter.

  11. Oh I often read your posts and postively swoon with envy! I would love to find that swallowtail plant, but not sure if it is available in Australia. You have a real knack of putting containers amongst other plants and making them look just right. You are a wondeful source of inspiration!

  12. Hi Meems...your container gardens look lovely. Very colorful and chalk full of tropical beauties. Pretty pottery can definitely be addictive, but they do look really nice in the garden. I hope all your pretty container gardens fare well tonight.

  13. Kay,
    Wow. The tomatoes are not liking all this cold weather. I moved some smaller containers under the lanai... no blankets on them though.

    Siesta Sister,
    Please keep us updated on how the Swallowtail does through winter.

    Thank you. They definitely look better than others at times... I try to keep foundational plants in each one.That way something in the container looks good even when some plants get weary.

    Many of the container plants are too tender to make it through tonight. It will be interesting to see in a few days what makes it... and what doesn't.


Have a blessed day,

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