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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, August 19, 2011

Summer Growth

My sincerest and heartfelt gratitude to each one who comforted me with your kind and thoughtful words in my previous post. Losing a loved one this close to me is fortunately not an experience I've had to face in life until now. The grieving process is taking me a bit by surprise as I'm not typically tripped up by my emotions. As a logical and no-nonsense sort of girl, reason and pragmatism guide me in my daily life. Daddy wished for his family to rejoice and not be saddened as he passed over to the heavenly realm. I'm really doing my best to honor his wishes. But I have to admit, my heart is not cooperating fully.

The following photos were taken just prior to my leave of absence to be at my Father's bedside. I'm not feeling particularly creative and words are not coming to me easily but I thought I'd go ahead and share these updated views of the front garden renovation. Progression of this project and the backstory can be read here.

Removing the lawn in this area has been accomplished in stages. During the spring of this year the last remaining blades of grass were eliminated from the front garden. The view (above) from the driveway shows signs of newly planted ground covers filling in from summer's heat and humidity in full force. [The bare spot in the forefront is empty from the recently extracted beach sunflowers. It was beautiful during our dry spring but once the summer rains came the undergrowth turned black and wilted. It does better in a truly 'dry' situation.]

White 'mixed' cladiums are planted in clumping drifts along the front border between flax lily and xanadu. Well, I guess it used to be the front border when grassed edged along its perimeter; now it is sort of the 'middle' border among all the various ground covers.

Both sides of the driveway make up the front garden and only pinestraw pathways and plants fill up the spaces now that the grass is gone. (One clump of beach sunflower remains as the visual above indicates).

Agastache 'black adder' got a trim back after its spring bloom and now it's rebounded with another summer flush of purple spikes for the pollinators to enjoy. A wonderful light licorice scent is the bonus with this blooming perennial.

Morning shade makes this seating area a peaceful place for coffee and quiet before the bustle of the day begins.

In the very center, which is the newest planted area, I used very low-lying ground covers while medium-tall sizes were used along the entire perimeter ... except for the driveway side of course where the two openings to the pathway are accessed. I wanted the eye to graze over the middle out to the edges where the butterfly plants add color and the structural plants provide texture.

Interwoven drifts of varying ground covers that overlap in assymetrical forms keep it from being too predictable. My aim was to mimic the undergrowth of an oak hammock but in an acceptable residential environment sort of way.
The native Mimosa strigillosa or sensitive plant has turned out to be an excellent choice so far. Its airy and fern-like texture is perfect for the center area. [My 12yo grandson took the photo above].

White Wonder Caladiums have a low-lying habit and do well as a border species in sunny locations.

The front garden is a collage of Florida-Friendly combinations mixing in native plants for the maximum effect and least water usage.

Summer is in full swing and the caladiums are shining brightly through all the rain, dry periods, humidity and heat. I'm so pleased at how they fit in with naturalistic appeal I'm moving towards in the front garden.


  1. Everything looks absolutley lovely. Continued healing on this day...

  2. this looks so incredible...we all go through this process of grief differently and you will find your own way through...he is always with you and that knowledge when my dad passed has kept me going....wishing you peace!!

  3. Gardens are living reminders of the continued process of rebirth and renewal we experience throughout our lives. Thank you for sharing yours with us as you go through what I know is a most difficult time, Meems.

    P.S. Intrigued by the agastache. Where did you find it?

  4. Lovely garden, even on hold. I'd love to offer a helping hand. If you just need a weed puller, until you're heart feels inspired again. The precious tradition of "sitting" shiva can be done in a garden, too.

    Blessings, Kelly

  5. That first photo looks so peaceful, and mekes me feel the cooling sensation in this hot summer. I love Agastache 'black adder' very much, but I just looked up, seems it only for up to zone 9B, I guess zone 10 weather is too hot for them?

    I need to get those white wonders caladiums for one of my sunny spot in the front, and I think they will look very beautiful in the summer along with other greens.

  6. Dear Meems ~ This was a wonderful, peaceful post, filled with beauty. The pictures speak for themselves. I love the last photo.

    Grieving takes time, and even though we know where your father is, it is rough being left behind. May you feel healing as you work and relax in your gardens.

    Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

  7. It's really filling in nicely Meems, so lush and natural looking. Hope everyday gets a bit easier for you. :)

  8. It looks so wonderful Meems. Looks like a great spot to set and contemplate the day. The reds around the bed makes your whites just pop. Very pretty.

  9. My dear girl. Don't be surprised by your grieving. It is a natural thing. It doesn't matter how logical one is, when you lose someone you love it isn't easy. When my Mother died I too was surprised by the grief I felt. It took me a whole year before I could do anything in my garden. One just has to let the grieving go through you. Let it go. It might take awhile. Love and Hugs.

  10. That front area looks terrific! It has filled in perfectly. I love the pinestraw pathways and am dreaming/planning such for some areas in my own grass eliminating endeavors. That first photo is my favorite (for now.) Everything just flows so nicely.

  11. Daisy,
    Safe travels to you and a belated happy birthday.

    So glad for your visit. I'm sorry you lost your dad, too.

    Time is on my side. Each day looks a bit brighter. My dad's fingerprints are all over my garden ... it is a beautiful living reminder.

    I ordered my 'black adder' from Santa Rosa Gardens They return each spring after dying back in a freeze. Locally you can find a similar one called 'blue fortune' which I also have but it hasn't done as well for me.

    Agastache really prefers lots of sun and drier conditions so I have it on a slightly sloping area next to the street.

  12. Kelly,
    I'm touched by your kindness offering to lend a helping hand. The first morning I returned home from my dad's I spent two hours *weeding* the un-ceasing, pesky camphor tree sprouts out of the native garden. It was extremely cathartic... not to mention a task that was overdue. Thank you for your offer... I may take you up on it.

    Check the link I left above for Nanette. Black Adder will do well in your zone according to Santa Rosa. White Wonder would be a perfect addition to your garden. I think you will like the shorter growth habit, too.

    Working and relaxing in my garden has been just the thing to soothe my tattered soul. Thank you for your always kind and considerate thoughts, dear friend.

    I am pleased with the natural feeling this area evokes... each day is a gift of peace... thank you. (hugs)

  13. Lona,
    The seating is tucked into an alcove that is much more private than I would have thought for a front garden. We DO enjoy sitting there once in a while as it is shaded in the morning longer than the seating is in the back garden.

    Sweet Lisa,
    Wise words ... so appreciated and embraced. Thank you ((hugs)).

    The pinestraw pathways are a calming element. I just hope my sensitive plant doesn't go dormant in the winter. :-) oops!

  14. Your garden looks fantastic. It sure has responded to the love & care from your dad & you.
    Wishing you all favorable feelings forever more.

  15. Hi Meems, i am sure your garden will help you tremendously in these times of heartaches. As in time, your mind will tell your heart that we go there, just one-at-a-time, and it is okay! That last caladium photo is my favorite, but your mimosa is a severely invasive weed here in the tropics, and a headache for farmers.

  16. Lola,
    The front garden is coming along now with all the summer rain. It's nice not to have to think about how much water it is getting.

    So far so good on the sensitive plant... a fast grower here but not invasive.


Have a blessed day,

September 2010

Back Garden: October 2010

Louise Philippe: Antique Rose

Tropical Pathway