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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, May 15, 2011

A Thrown-Together (Wildish) Flower Patch

There are very few (if any) adequate places for profusely flowering perennials that require a good dose of ample sunshine in my garden. The maximum amount on any one location is FIVE hours and that doesn't exclude the edible garden.

Last year we removed the remarkably broad drake elm located almost dead center in the back yard. The disappearance of its lengthy shade limbs created a drastically changed scenario in the perennial garden bed closest to the back patio. Unhindered rays from midday's hottest sun opened up a brand new set of considerations.

After that the Miss Muffet caladiums returned and the established Purple Lantana (montevidensis) were left on their own to live or die in their new climate. It turned out to be a less-than-stellar scramble with a tossed-in sweet potato vine sprawling over each other.

But I didn't care because there were so many other areas I was working on. Besides I wanted to observe it for a full summer season to judge accurately just how much light it received and moisture it retained.

Isn't that Gaura lindheimeri 'Siskiyou Pink' brilliant with morning's first rays illuminating her airy blooms!
Purchasing a tray of 4" plants from the garden center in February and putting them in containers was well thought out. But placing the remainder of them in the ground around the drake elm tree stump was done on a whim.

I've always loved the 'Siskiyou Pink' variety but until now didn't have a suitable enough sunny place for them. They can withstand lots of heat and dry ground. That's great to know for some of you with sandy soil and full sun gardens.

Then without too much deliberation I dug up some gaillardia seedlings that were taking over the edible garden and moved them to cozy up as good neighbors to the guara. While I almost always over-think these types of actions ~~ doing this was quite nearly the most haphazard thrown-together planting bed I could say I've created. I use the term 'created' loosely.

It's a bit loud as a color combination, too. The deep pinks of the guara with red stems are bold all on their own. Mixed in with yellow, orange, and red gaillardia (blanket flower)blooms cranks up the bold factor a few notches.

Mix that in with trailing purple lantana (which by the way has been in that same spot ~~ same plant ~~ for 18 years) and it is hollering out loud.

But do you want to know something? The view is a straight visual shot from my kitchen window and my back lanai. All those bright colors waving in the breezes are bringing me gardening joy.

While I'll always love my foliage gardens it's been kind of fun (and very different) to enjoy this willy-nilly planting of bright colors as the entrance to the circle garden.


  1. I guess there's something to be said for spontaneity, eh? Job well done!

  2. Maams, I like your thrown-together planting bed. I really do like the guara. I don't think I have ever seen it at a nursery. Where do you find it? I would love to put a few of them in my full sun butterfly garden. (I say this after I was told today that I really don't need to buy any more plants.)

  3. Meems - I think your 'spontaneous' garden is spectacular!

    It's cool to see Guara, bold and beautiful in your garden. I was gifted 3 plants last year, and didn't know it grew in Zone 5. It was one of the first plants out of the ground this Spring. Who knew something so 'fragile'looking could be so sturdy - no matter where it grows. --Shyrlene

  4. Daisy,
    It was definitely impulse planting. I remember clearly thinking when I did it I might regret it. But not much expense involved so I figured I could rip it out if I didn't like it. Someday I'll come up with a 'great' plan for that spot. :-)

    Siesta Sister,
    The guara doesn't seem to be in garden centers after the first of spring. I bought it up here in my favorite one ... Duncheon's. He always carries it early like in January and February. Look for it next year. Good news: I DID have some planted last year in a different spot (doesn't bloom as well with not enough sun) it came back quickly this spring when the soil warmed up so it's acting like a perennial.

    I actually used to see guara in counties north of me and didn't think it would do well this far south. There are a few plants that have good growing qualities in a wide range of zones. Not many ~~ but it always amazes me to find them. Enjoy yours, too!

  5. Funny, just the other day I was looking at one of my gardens (also the only bit of full sun I have) and thinking that I had not really color co-ordinated the flowers. Red and hot pink and white combine in a riot of colors, just like nature intended. Your butterfly sure looks happy about it all :)

  6. Wonderful serendipity!

    I love the guara, what a luscious color.

    Happy Gardening ~ FlowerLady

  7. Meems, I've missed our communications. I've been dropping in again these last few weeks to read what you are doing, but haven't taken time to comment. Your garden is as lovely as usual - and just as inspiring. Congratulations on the Lowe's garden blog also. What a perfect situation for you.

    I try to keep the weeds under control in mine but other than that have had little opportunity to garden at home. We have a garden going at Incarnation School that the students have planned and planted. We are pleased with the initial results but hope to improve it next year.

    School is out in a few weeks. I'll have more time then to catch up with you.

  8. Hi Meems, Thank you for your nice comments on my blog. I've been rather lax in visiting your blog [and many others] too. As usual your photos are stunning and a true visual treat. I love Gaura too!!

  9. Meems-Dontcha love it when it all falls together?
    The most'favoritest' parts of my garden are the ones which were kind of thrown together. Haphazardly.We,as gardeners,can plan all we want,but Mother Nature has a bigger plan,I think.
    Love your photos.Gotta get me some Gaura.Do you think it will grow in clay-ee soil,full sun?

  10. I've always admired your well-planned garden areas. Your thrown-together worked out well, too.

  11. love this style of gardening Iguess thats is how I have my garden its my Paul Jackson Pollock garden;)

  12. Absolutely gorgeous images. I feel totally immersed in summertime just looking at them.

  13. I can see why you like that view from the kitchen window. You have taken good advantage of that new sunny spot. I'm sure you will come up with a "plan" for that area, but in the meantime it sure looks great to me and those butterflies!

  14. As much as I love the soothing factor of green in my garden, I do love some loudness in certain area of the garden! Your view from the kitchen window is lovely. I wonder why I never saw Gaura here for sale, sounds like it should have a spot in my garden considering I do have quite some sunny places.

  15. P.S. My purple trailing lantana seems growing hugging the ground, not upright like yours. Maybe because mine is still young, and yours is 18 YEARS OLD!!! :)

  16. Hey Meems...with flowers I don't think it's possible to go wrong...the more, the all colors. I love them! It's wonderful that you can view your patch from inside. I'll bet you catch your eyes drifting to that spot quite often...and I'll bet it makes you smile everytime you look at it. So much happiness in such a simple but wonderful form!

  17. Thanks for sunny pictures to warm me up on another grey and rainy day! I keep wanting to get out to the garden but it keeps raining. Gee, you'd think I lived in Seattle instead of the other side of the state.
    Love the butterfly in the first photo!

  18. Africanaussie,
    The butterflies have really appreciated this sunny spot and I suppose all those bright colors help to signal them.

    The magenta stems of the guara with the pink flowers is a great combination.

    I have MISSED YOU! At least you're getting to garden at school and helping the children at the same time. We've lots to catch up on. Let me know when you get finished and have some time. A visit is in order.

    No problem. Life is what it is and we can't always get around to doing everything we want. Good to see you when one of us makes it to the other's blog. :-) (((hugs)))

  19. Chris,
    I would think guara would grow in your soil as long as it gets DRY in between waterings. It prefers neglect, sun, and dry.

    It does kind of go along with my goal of blending naturalistic with tidy. As long as their is some sort of order to the sprawling I'm good with it. :-)

    I've been a colossal failure with wildflowers in the past because they never get enough sun.

    That area DOES have a summery feeling with the direct sun and bright colors. Thank you.

  20. Kay,
    Even Mr. Meems makes comments about how pretty all those 'flowers' are while we are sitting on the back lanai. It's definitely kind of fun to have a bit of sun for flowers.

    You would enjoy the wispy flowers of guara... they wave in the breeze above the rest of the planting. I think my lantana is reaching for sunlight as the bed is crowded... and the base stems are fairly thick for lantana because of its age. (I cut it back every spring to allow new growth).

    I'm with you... most flowers go together. I'm not real finicky about that. The red centers on the blanket flower offset the VERY bright orange (which I'm not usually a fan of at all) petals and the yellow rim helps tone it down. All that brightness does draw my eye and smiles. :-)

    I hope you get some clear weather to go out and enjoy some spring gardening soon.

  21. Wonderful plants! I'm agog at how incredible that butterfly is.



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