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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, February 2, 2014

An Old Focal Point Gets a New Focal Point

Although it's probably the best way to conquer a garden, my garden has never had a so-called 'master plan'. Instead, it has been created one planting bed at a time... usually I see something in my head first and then the reality of hands-on dirty work follows. Each planted area melds into the next as one completed design project inspires the next. The Circle Garden was conceived January 2010. The concept for it evolved in my head as the surrounding gardens that is its perimeter were maturing.  The Circle Garden was to be the anchor point for the back gardens. (You can read more about the stages of creating it here.)
Photo from April 2013 just prior to water feature installation.

The Circle Garden is aptly named. The Asiatic Jasmine (Trachelospermum asiaticum) installed as groundcover was purposely shaped into a circular formation.  By trimming and edging consistently, it took about 2.5 years for individual plants to become one continuous mass. The green carpet-like circle is flanked by a natural pine straw (pine bark mix) pathway. Meandering footpaths trail away from the circle and wander to points beyond; an element of mystery is invoked as each garden opens into another. [That description sounds more grand than it actually is. I have stated many times: my garden photographs BIG. To its credit, the lush naturalistic style of my garden and the shifting sun-to-shade conditions add to its mystique and if it's okay to say, its appeal.] Don't you appreciate walking through a garden that entices you from one place to the next?
The Birdhouse Garden is defined by 3 large birdhouses as a focal point that stand 6-8' tall among the plants that are allowed to grow to their natural form. (Photo from April 2013)
Every garden needs a focus, or focal point. Depending on the size of a garden it likely needs more than one, possibly several. Your eye should be drawn to something, a main thing, in each distinct part of the garden. This can be as simple as an outstanding specimen plant or as elaborate as a gushing rock waterfall and/or many things in between. These features, when placed appropriately, will unify and tie the garden together. Each one speaks to the gardener's unique personality and is complementary to your individual style.
As a focal point in my side garden, the 'Bromeliad Tree' placed next to the iron chair draws the eye first. Then the natural inclination is to look around and take in all the form and texture provided by lush plantings along the walking path. (Photo from August 2013)
In my garden, because of its naturalistic structure, focal points are especially important. Otherwise the expanses of densely planted shrubs, trees and perennials can appear to ramble together lacking definition. Placement of focal points is key for a pleasing visual flow. A focal point will cause you to pause and absorb the details surrounding the feature(s) that first grabbed your attention.

Photo from April 2013 just after installation was completed.
The Circle Garden has evolved since its beginning as all growing gardens do. Initially when I removed the turf grass here and replaced it with groundcover I placed an over-sized pottery container at the center. While I appreciate the large container garden that made its own small garden of flowers and plants and served as a fine focal point, it wasn't my first choice for the space. A water feature is what I envisioned. It wasn't in my budget at the start, but I never gave up hope.
The water feature stands sentinel in the center of the green carpet of Asiatic Jasmine while the large container found a new home at the entry to the Circle Garden pathway. (Photo from May 2013)
Three years later (April 2013), I saw my vision come to reality. Because of its central location the new water feature can be viewed from so many vantage points throughout the garden.

Photo from July 2013
Each spot alters its beauty and depth with a slightly different perspective.
Photo from May 2013
It is the simplest of features really. Electricity (on a timer) runs underground to control the small pump in an underground foundation on which the fountain sits. The water cycles (and continually recycles) through a small tube and bubbles up through the top and down the sides creating a gentle soothing trickle.
Seating is a separate focal point along the widest part of the Circle Garden pathway. Chairs are tucked underneath some overhanging branches from a Sweet Almond bush that has turned into a tree.
The sight and sound of water is cooling, peaceful and refreshing. A seating area is located along the shaded pathway around the Circle Garden. It is a quiet place to sit in the heat of the day. Blue-glazed pottery filled with greenery and lush varieties of foliage accentuate the surrounding circle to further unify the space.
Coppery colored water feature blends well with the natural informal style of my garden. Blue-glazed orbs and pottery complement the style and also mark the entrance to the Tropical Garden.  (Photo from August 2013)
January 2014
The addition of this simple water feature has been a great source of pleasure this past year. I've been slow to add structures of this sort to my garden feeling like it was more important and a priority budget-wise to get the plant-life in place. But I have to say, a water feature was a missing element in my garden. I'm feeling more and more like my garden is coming together in a complete fashion. Now for that pergola and flagstone landing ... still dreaming of course ...

What feature have you added to your garden that you feel like really completed it? Or what are you dreaming of that you still hope for to help complete your garden?

Happy Gardening, Meems

You might enjoy reading these articles also:
How to Make a Bromeliad Tree
Decorative Meet Functional
Circle Garden:: Lessons in Patience
Design Tips for a Naturalistic Garden
Can Naturalistic and Tidy Meet in the Middle?

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  1. What a lovely garden feature Meems and it really adds to your already wonderful gardens.

    Everything looks so lush there.

    Have a great week ~ FlowerLady

  2. I remember when you started that bromelidad tree - how lovely it looks now. I enjoy "wandering' through your garden to see what new ideas you have. I was given a very pretty little bird bath, and am looking for the perfect spot to place it....
    Your fountain is perfect. How I would love to settle for an afternoon on one of those chairs with a book :)

  3. Love the fountain! Everything has come together so beautifully!

  4. When you don't give up you are usually rewarded with what looks perfect. Love the fountain. The bromeliad tree is a real eye catcher to me too. Wish I could have something like that here.

  5. Another wonderful element to your already amazing garden. Your creativity is definitely inspiring, I just wish it was contagious! ;0)

  6. We have many similar elements...alas, our bubbler gave up the ghost sometime back!

  7. Love seeing different focal points in the garden and your fountain is lovely, particularly with the seating that allows it to be a sensory garden as well.

  8. Thank you Lorraine ... We've had another mild winter here. Enjoy your week. Meems

    africanaussie ... A birdbath can draw the attention of human visitors as well as serve the birds of your garden. They make a living, active focal point. I know you will find that 'just right' spot for it.

    Christine... thanks so much.

    Lisa ... sometimes the wait to find that just right thing is part of the fun right! (You could create a bromeliad tree and put it on rollers to bring in during the winter.) Yes?

    Daisy ... you have your full share of creativity that keeps you mighty busy. :-)

    Linda ... time to repair the bubbler to get back that soothing sound. :-)

  9. Thanks, Diana... sitting under the sweet almond bush will inspire you to bake a cake it smells so wonderful.

  10. Your circle garden has filled in beautifully, and the fountain fits there perfectly. It's hard to believe that it's been that long since you did it. We've been so lucky this winter not to have a severe freeze. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a few more weeks.

  11. You are so right about a focal point. The circle garden is so creative, and the water feature just makes it even more perfect! Still haven't added my water feature yet - maybe this year...Gardens are never complete, so surely there is still time!

  12. Hey there. I just found your blog tonight. I will probably spend days reading. I'm from Texas and have found Florida gardening a challenge. I'm anxious to learn more. I live in Wesley Chapel. Do you recommend a good nursery in the Tampa area?

  13. Susan, this winter has been one of the most consistently cold yet no real trouble with freezes or damaging frost. I was secretly hoping for one to clean out the jungle-y garden truth be told. Now it will be a nightmare to prune back in the spring.

    Thank you. Just when I think my garden is "complete" my brain thinks of another project. LOL it's the beauty of gardening actually...

    Hello Michal and welcome. There is the Wesley Chapel nursery on 54 and then there is Duncheon's on Hwy 41 (where I shop most of the time) for starters.


Have a blessed day,

September 2010

Back Garden: October 2010

Louise Philippe: Antique Rose

Tropical Pathway