Check Out These Pages, Too!

"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.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Inspiring Winter Edibles

Just a few short years ago framed beds were constructed and edibles were added to my garden for the first time. I'm not sure what took me so long to get serious about this aspect of gardening. But I can say now it was an experience that greatly escalated my well-established and already intense romance with gardening.

Right from the beginning it felt natural designing even more additional spaces to include herbs, vegetables, and ornamentals all mixed in together. Curvy borders intended to blend the edibles right in with the rest of the landscape gave me that cozy, comfortable feeling that "all is right with the world." That's important you know.

Spring-like freshness has been in the air for the past couple of weeks here in Central Florida. The crisp coolness during the day invigorates my soul and inspires me to make a big stab at winter clean up. A plant by plant decision is made whether to prune back the frost-bitten limbs. Each one done is a step toward a quicker spring recovery as new leaf buds are already pushing out everywhere.

Collard greens never cared how cold or frosty it got this winter. We've been harvesting tender leafiness from them weekly since November.

Although their leaves were rimmed with diamonds of crispy frost many mornings ~~ pretty shades of petite rouge romaine, cherry belle radishes, spinach, carrots, peas, and parsley didn't quiver under the weight of our cold winter.

Flat leaf parsley is popping up all over the garden from spreading its own seed. It is easily pulled up and added to container pots or moved around to more convenient locations.

Containers of rosemary, cabbage, daisies, violas, lavender, lobelia, and alyssum are grouped throughout to hasten the call to beneficial pollinators.

It doesn't take them long at all to respond as the warm rays of sunshine beam into the garden and brightly colored flowers lure all sorts of buzzing critters.

Broccoli and cauliflower have beautifully healthy foliage that thrived in the midst of frost. Now I'm still waiting on them to produce a harvest.

The edible garden needed some serious purging. All the lifeless remains of pole beans, tomatoes, green beans, and zinnias from early December frosts have been removed.

Space is now available for those same seeds to go in the ground in the next couple of weeks for a better chance at spring production.

Getting my hands dirty in the edible garden this time of year causes my heart to soar. In the cool winter air with sun shining brightly the whole earth and all of the wildlife inhabitants seem to come alive with the same joy and anticipation. Just take a moment to stop and listen to the buzzing sounds of tiny pollinators returning in numbers and birds' wings fluttering in the shrubs nearby.

It makes sense that the garden is where I spend a great deal of my time ~~ I can forget about everything else when I'm in the garden.

I know you feel the same way if you're reading gardening blogs. There are so many ways the garden inspires the gardener. What's the best aspect of being in the garden for you?


  1. I think the best thing for me is to being in the garden. After the planting, tending, weeding the being in the garden is the most rewarding.

  2. I am enjoying your lovely pictures and thoughts this morning as I prepare to go outside in just a bit. I think the best thing of being in the garden is the quietness compared to all the electronic noise I seem to be inundated with in other areas of my life. I like to hear those bees you have pictured buzzing, birds singing and to watch the silent butterflies floating. Being in the garden quiets my soul.

  3. dear meems,

    right now the best aspect of gardening is hope. hope for being in the garden and what can spring up from what now looks like a waste land of brittle branches. looking at your garden shows me what is possible here in just a few short months. i can't wait to get that giddy feeling you are describing from getting my hands dirty. what satisfying pleasures/work come from the garden! i love, love, love seeing what yours is producing.
    happy winter gardening.

  4. p.s. ALL your photos are amazing.

  5. Lovely post, meems. I feel like I've been in the gardens with you this morning. That's what's so lovely about blogging. We are 7° at this moment.

  6. This winter,we have had an over abundance of collards(YardBoy's fave,not mine.He's happy), turnips,tomatoes,and brocolli.Now,we have way too much cabbage.I don't think I'll ever figure out what is going to do well,each growing season.
    Yep,this weather has been amazing.Haven't seen too many bees or butterflies,yet,tho.

  7. Your Winter garden is really lookin' good. I just planted out a bunch of Collards into one of the raised planting beds here.This will be the first try with this bed so I hope they grow as prolific as your have. As usual Meems, your garden blog and pics are a source of inspiration.

  8. Like Nanak, I love the quiet in the garden. I can hear the sound of the Sandhill cranes and the ducks in the stream behind the house. I love to see the butterflies landing on their favorite flowers. Gardening is the best de-stresser.

  9. I feel a nearness to God in the garden. Being mindful of all He has created and continues to watch over. It's very humbling and I'm so grateful to be part of the ebb and flow.

    Your lettuce is absolutely mouth-watering!

  10. I think the best aspect of gardening is just the feeling of being outdoors with nature and birdsong, being part of the process.

    Your photos are beautiful, Cynthia and the prose equally enchanting.

  11. Meems, Yes, I too get lost in my garden, time just goes by. Leigh Spain just gave us a great weekend forecast, I know where all of the gardeners will be. Janis

  12. You have a beautiful looking harvest, Meems. I am hoping to start cutting back next Wednesday, if the forecast still looks good. I've been burned the last two winters, so I've gotten super gun-shy when it comes to forecasts. But I too have a lot of buds forming on branches, and some of the plants could use a good pruning before summer growth.

  13. Meems: The best aspect of being in the garden for me is the sense of relaxation of satisfaction. Your edible garden mixed with flowers, herbs are so beautiful. I tried some veggie garden in the containers, and harvested some beans and tomatos are also producing. That is fun experience. Wish I can have more space for some serious veggie gardening!

  14. Hi Meems...It is amazing that such delicate looking vegetables like broccoli, lettuce and parsley are unaffected by the cold. They seem so tender. I know you are enjoying all those home grown yummy vegetables fresh from the earth. What could be better than spending a day in the garden...the perfect thing to nourish my mind, body and soul. Plus, I sleep well with a feeling of accomplishment. :-)

  15. I love the sense of peace and satisfaction I feel in my garden. And I love that there is alway something going on just beneath the surface -- buzzing, chirping, chattering, slithering, fluttering and rustling!

  16. Lisa,
    It's nice that you have learned how to just "be" in the garden. What a gift the garden is to the gardener if only allow it to give back to us as we rest from our labors.

    So much quiet beauty when we turn off the noise of our 'normal' life. No cell phones even for me when I go to the garden.

    I'm hoping with you for a wonderful spring full of fun gardening activities. It will be here before you know it, dear sister. And you will have your hands full on your beautiful farm.

  17. Daisy,
    The lettuce has been great. To walk out to the garden and pick what's needed for a healthy, fresh salad is such a treat. I love the aspect of tending God's creation in the garden.

    I'm an outdoor girl, too. Just getting outside in the beauty of the garden lifts my spirits and feeds my soul.

    And coffee in the garden! I got lots done in the garden this weekend... I bet you did,too.

    I know what you mean about the risk of cutting back too early. I'm doing a plant by plant assessment and hoping I'm not jumping the gun. If we stay this mild as we've been ... it will all be okay Such a guessing game.

  18. Ami,
    Even when I worked full time I always had energy left over for the garden. Like you, it was my place to unwind and relax. Good for you for using what space you DO have and growing a few edibles.

    Seeing that tender lettuce with icy frost covering the leaves would make anyone think it would be mush afterwards. But not so. Hardy and resilient stuff. And we sleep well from all the hard work! (I can barely see straight this minute :-)

    The garden offers so much 'life' for all its inhabitants. It is a wonderful thing to only take a few steps out of our home and find ourselves in the midst of so much to refresh our souls with nature and beauty.

  19. Carolyn,
    Oh, that 7 degrees doesn't sound too good to this Florida native. I do hope spring comes early for you.

    Just fixed a "mess" of collards again tonight. Both of us are big fans fortunately. Sounds like your winter veggies are providing lots of meals, too.

    Collards are an easy favorite. Yours will do just fine I'm sure.

    Siesta Sister,
    I adore the call of the sandhill cranes. They nest very near by and fly overhead daily. So many great sounds in the quiet of the garden.


Have a blessed day,

September 2010

Back Garden: October 2010

Louise Philippe: Antique Rose

Tropical Pathway