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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.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Good Intentions

For the second winter in a row the climate, in my Central Florida location, has acted more like spring than winter. Not one single threat of freeze or frost with temperatures only as low as 36F one night.

This Florida girl can take the heat of summer better than most. Truly though, I revel in the change winter promises with brisk coolness and low humidity! This time of year has always been a favorite season for me.
Front garden seating
January is a great month to convert grassy areas and create new planting beds. I've spent every January and February for the last several years doing just that. My garden has expanded and become more garden than lawn as a result and I'm happy and satisfied with it so far. This might be the first January in many years that I decided not to start on any big projects or make major changes to the garden.
Trumpet tree (Brugmansia) blooming repeatedly this winter
This year I was determined to see what it is like to ... wait for it ... take it easy in January. Take a break from the intensity. My thought was to just 'maintain' the garden I've already created. What a concept!
Sanchezia speciosa
You know what I mean? I have in mind that maintenance-only looks something this: keep up with weeding, pruning, mulching, watering, and tweaking while NOT being in the middle of creating simultaneously.
Striking foliage of Stromanthe Trio-star
I love maintenance. I do. But I have to admit it is more difficult to get around to it when my head is swirling with imagination and my hands are busily creating.
A portion of the back garden Tropical Pathway Garden
It didn't take long for my good intentions to be challenged.  One of my neighbors decided to trim their trees the 3rd day of January. Pine and oak trees chopped into fine bits make beautiful mulch for planting beds and pathway reinforcement.
Saw Palmetto (Serenoa Repens) Florida native for fabulous winter structure and year round evergreen beauty!
I listened to the hum of powerful saws, heard the grinding wood chipper, smelled the delicious scent of pine chips for an entire day. My mind argued against itself. It reminded me of my idea to rest from the garden for one month. Still, every fiber of my good instincts wanted to inquire about that available free mulch.
Love this winter blooming Star begonia (Begonia heracleifolia) just beginning to bud.
I've done this before. I know what it involves to rid my driveway of mounded mulch by loading so many wheelbarrows full of glorious organic matter.
Unloading on the driveway

I think you know the end to this story. Of course I couldn't resist. I asked. The tree company was happy to share. It saves them a trip to the dump.

Needless to say, I've been working as often as possible every chance since that day to distribute the 10+ yards of yummy free mulch. I don't regret it for one second. Mulch is an essential element in a healthy garden. It helps hold moisture, keeps the weeds at bay, regulates cold and heat and when it breaks down it slowly adds organic matter to my sandy soil. So much for a January-rest from gardening. So much for cleaning out some closets and catching up on indoor projects.
A portion of  the back side of the north-side privacy berm/screen (created in Jan/Feb 2010)
between my yard and my neighbor's.
In the interest of full disclosure, there is one tiny exception to my good intentions. I do have a scheme in my head to take out one more spot of grass along the north side and replace it with plants. I had a plan to wait until February to get started. You know, after I paused from the garden in January. :-)

After I complete that project ... I'm really going to see what it's like to just maintain my garden for a while.

You may also enjoy reading these articles:
10 Easy Steps to Make a New Planting Bed
Tips for Designing a Naturalistic Garden
Building My Garden: A Steady Pursuit
A Stroll Down the Tropical Pathway
Morning's Hopeful Glow


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Happy gardening,


  1. I would've done the same thing! All that glorious mulch free for the taking! What a blessing!

    Your garden looks lush as ever. Enjoy your wheel barrel trips!

  2. Good luck with maintaining your maintenance. What wonderful mulch. Even here where we have had more snow and rain than in past years I have been out whenever possible. Just can't help oneself.

  3. Oh that we 'could' just 'maintain' our gardens, especially down here in FL where we are able to putter in our gardens 365 days a year. It's been a glorious winter season this year.

    I love your Stromanthe Trio-star, haven't seen that before, a real beauty. Love Begonia heracleifolia too. I have one begonia with white blooms, that has huge leaves, the flowers smell sweet and it grows very well in my gardens.

    Happy Gardening and enjoy all of that free mulch.


  4. there is just too many "things" to do in your garden year round. plus it is your passion. how does one set aside ones passion for a whole month. january was a beautiful month in florida as i discovered in my time at st. augustine mid january. february is turning out quite nice as well. maybe you could consider taking a month off in the hottest month...july or august? or a week?

  5. OK, you've earned a rest now, Meems! You're making lazy gardeners like me look bad!!

  6. I keep thinking one of these years I'll have a "maintenance-only" garden, but just a couple weeks ago another idea for a new bed popped in my head and I can't get it out, so I guess I'll "have" to do another project :-) There's always next year.

  7. What a nice treat with the free mulch. You do deserve a break every once in a while. Good luck with the new project.

  8. Here in the north, we really do take it easy in January. I've often thought that it must be wonderful to garden year round, but I have to admit that a break is nice too!

  9. I can so relate to massive piles in the driveway. I just finished moving 8000 pounds of flagstone.

    I love your gardens and your blog is so interesting

    Fellow Florida gardener


  10. I really love the way you discuss this kind of topic.
    Patio Cover Ideas


Have a blessed day,

September 2010

Back Garden: October 2010

Louise Philippe: Antique Rose

Tropical Pathway