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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.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Native Bloomers

There is so much happening in the garden right now. This March reminds me of the Florida I remember well. Spring weather is here and the garden is awakening at a remarkable rate of speed. Everyday there is something else to notice. Yes, here I go again... Singing the praises of the native coral honeysuckle Lonicera Sempervirens. Those tubes are perfectly formed for butterfly proboscis and hummingbird tongues. And they seem to know exactly how to find them. Although it is definitely a vine it isn't a bully like so many in this classification of crawlers and sprawlers. Planted in the berm that divides my yard from my neighbor's it offers non-stop color clambering all over its trellis. There just isn't anything negative to say about the way coral honeysuckle blooms all year, doesn't freeze back, has no pest problems, grows well in high shifting shade, and provides nectar for hummingbirds and butterflies. Did I mention it is a favorite in my garden! Not exactly a drift of Sisyrinchium augustifolia blue-eyed grass. Yet. I'm working on it. This tiny blue flower is in the iris family. The plants are very easily divided by digging up the entire plant, shaking off the dirt, and gently separating the grass and roots by hand to transplant. I started with a small clump of these cuties. They require no maintenance. Tradescontia ohiensis spiderwort plants are just starting to bloom in my garden. Growing in the shady parts of the native garden it is behaving well so far and providing loads of fun for the bees. Rivina humilis Rouge plant is a new addition to the native garden this year. It's flower is sweet but insignificant. Berries will form later for the birds. Florida-Friendly NON-natives that blend well together. Ruellia Squarrosa or Prostrate Petunia is a non-native purchased at the native nursery. :-) Perfect for shady conditions it should spread as a ground cover. Red pentas sure do get lots of attention around here. It's that time of year when many varieties of butterflies are coming out to enjoy the spring flowers. Eranthemum nervosum Blue sage took a beating from winter's harsh temperatures. Battling to flower, after frosting almost to the ground, some of the lower branches persisted and flushed out in their true-blue blooms. Susan from Simply Susan gave me this hard-to-find goody. I've already made several more plants from cuttings. The foliage is even desirable and lush in the summer garden. Violas always say spring when I see their bright, cheery faces. Fortunately they can take some heat, too. Unlike pansies. They won't like our summer humidity but even so, they give it a good try before completely fainting. Happy gardening!


  1. As usual...♥ your photos. My intent this year is to increase the butterfly plants in my yard. I had tons of butterflies last year and am looking forward to even more this year. Trying to find more host plants to squeeze in.

    I am wondering how my plants took the cold last night. At 5:00 a.m. it was 38. Did not expect it to get that cold!

  2. Beautiful! I have to trade you for some Rouge Plant. We used to have it reseeding around our shady garden but lost in somehow, in the freezes, I suspect. I think it would look good mass planted and inter-planted with something else like upright bromileads (bilbergias)or ZZ Plants to add interest. I think it would also look good under-planted with Bolivian Jew.

  3. Oh Meems, once again you have me ooohing and aaahing over the plants that you have growing there. I have Blue Sage that I bought at a local flea market many, many years ago, it is one of my favorites, I also have spiderwort another favorite, and I may have that Prostrate Petunia, I've never known what it is. I love your honeysuckle, the rouge plant and the blue eyed grass. Have not seen any of them around here.

    Happy Gardening Meems ~ Your posts and pictures are always an inspiration to me.


  4. I'm partial to blues and your photos are just gorgeous! I'll be looking for some of these native today at the festival. Thanks for the heads up!

  5. Seeing all this color, texture and blooms makes me even more anxious for our natives to begin the show. It won't be long now.

  6. I love looking at your natives (some are similar to mine in the NE) and non-natives that are friendly...wonderful!!

  7. Ooh, I love encountering the native coral honeysuckle when I'm traipsing through the woods. It is a vine I might actually buy should I ever see one for spite of that vine phobia...

    Love, love, love the blue-eyed grass. That's another I never see in nurseries. I need to find one of those native plant nurseries around here. Spiderwort is a blue I certainly have, as I'm sure you've read in so many of my posts. Mine are traveling a bit, but they're in full sun, so maybe that's why. It took about a year to get moving, and the weeds got thick pretty quickly in a few (previously barren) spots. I do love it though (so far).

  8. Your honeysuckle is just beautiful! Does it need a trellis, or will it grow up a solid fence?

  9. Oooh, love that coral honeysuckle. Still no blooms on my "suspected" vine. I'm still hoping that it is just putting all its energy into growing and will bloom later. You have a lot of natives going and the non-native friendlies are all looking great. Love all the blue.

  10. Meems, lovely, lovely! I really must get some of the blue-eyed grass; it's so pretty and I'm glad to hear it's easy to divide. What sort of light is yours getting?

    Have you got the native verbena, too? I got some cuttings from a friend last summer and have one in a pot which gets a lot of sun and, after a rocky start, it's so vigorous I'll have to cut it back soon.

    -- Penny

  11. Siesta Sister,
    I'm pretty sure we didn't get that cold up here... just 40's. I hope all fared well for you. It's always fun to add more butterfly attractors. I've been seeing them in increasing numbers each day.

    My rouge plant is newly integrated with holly ferns, bromeliads, palmettos and african iris close by. I've heard they re-seed which is why I only bought one to mix into the native plant garden. Happy to share cuttings.

    Check you local Home Depot store for the blue-eyed grass. You can purchase one and divide it to get you started. Or e-mail me... I'll be happy to send you a piece from mine.

  12. Daisy,
    OOOhhhh... a festival!Wondering what you came home with...

    Soon your garden will be bursting with excitement. It warmed up here so quickly it almost took me by surprise.

    Thanks so much for the visit and for enjoying the Florida natives.

  13. FG,
    As far as vines go this is one that behaves pretty well. The more sun, the more vigorous growth but manageable ... even for those with vine phobias. I do think growing spiderwort in the sun might add to its quickly reseeding. You may find yourself pulling out a few here and there eventually. In Florida we always take a risk with that. Like I was saying to Flowerlady... I'll be happy to send you a piece of the blue-eyed grass. Shoot me an email if you'd like some.

    The coral honeysuckle has been a good native. It is not a clinging vine but a twining vine so it does need something to twine around in order to climb. You could attached some type of trellis to the fence perhaps? I've seen it clambering successfully on a single 4x4 upright timber at a native nursery.

    Thank you. I'm thinking your vine will start putting on buds in a short while and turn out to be a confederate jasmine. You should send me a photo (close-up) maybe I could ID it that way.

    Thank you. The blue-eyed grass is getting high shifting shade and a stream of late afternoon sunfor about 1.5 hours. Hope that makes sense. No direct sun in other words. It is located in about 5 different sites around the garden... none in direct sun.

    Do you mean the Tampa Vervain Glandularia tampensis? If so, yes. It is not far from the blue-eyed grass in the photo seen here. It gets about 2.5 hours of late morning sun. I'll have to take some cuttings to see how it does.

  14. Great photos, Meems. I like how your non-natives are flourishing. Good luck with your eranthemum. -- Bom

  15. Your garden looks so bright and pleasant... I'm sure there is a lot of butterflies and birds activity happening already. Cheers:)

    I picked some Coleus and added to my Plumbago and Jathropa collection I like the colour combinations of all these plants.

  16. Hi, Meems! I'm really loving your blooms!! The coral honeysuckle is truly beautiful...and it blooms all year - BONUS!! I love your blue eyed grass, too. It grows wild in my easement...I'm going to dig some up and relocate inside my yard to enjoy. The neighbors are surprised that I don't mow the "weeds" of asters, spiderwort, blue eyed grass and yellow tickseed in the easement. I explain that many people pay for these lovely specimans and we get the show for free! :D I'm a big fan of Pentas, too!

  17. Bom,
    That eranthemum is coming back so quickly with all the warm weather. It is a great little shrub.

    Green Planet,
    Just in the last week there are so many more butterflies. They are loving this warmth as much as the rest of us. Thank you for the visit.

    It's nice you can educate your new neighbors. I've tried growing tickseed and I can't get it right. But it is everywhere on the roadside growing wild.

  18. Wow beautiful blooms. Maybe pansies will thrive in our gardens too if they do well in Florida. However, it seems not common here as i dont see one. thanks Meems, as pansies are favorites although not found here.

  19. meems, I love spiderwort and it looks luminescent in your garden. The Ruellia~looks a lot like our Ruellia humilis~It's a pretty little plant. gail


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