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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.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Three Florida-Friendly Gardens

Would you like to go with me to three Hillsborough County Master Gardeners' personal gardens for a brief tour? It's been quite a while since I took these photos and toured these gardens, but I'm catching up on blog posts that I started and never finished. Do you do that? Ack! I have lots of them. Where does the time go?

Laura gardens with low-maintenance and the nine Florida-Friendly principles in mind. In her narrow backyard, this shady spot is especially peaceful.
Love the blooming Muhly grass - sorta indicates the season :-) we visited. Notice how Laura reins in her mulched area next to the sidewalk. No loss of mulch when it rains.
Her home is a corner lot with sidewalks. You know what that means. A classic hell strip with which to contend. Most homeowners struggle to keep their grass looking decent in these situations where irrigation and pests are often a constant problem. Wisely, Laura removed her turf grass and in its place a lovely cover combining peanut grass and Asiatic jasmine. Both of these plants thrive in these conditions, unlike turf grass which struggles in our Florida weather with seasonal fluctuating heat, humidity and occasional frost.

Shrubs, Florida-Friendly plants, agaves and ornamental grasses make up the rest of the front garden. The stone pathway leads us to the back garden entrance.

Succulents, herbs and some edibles are grown in the one sunny corner of her back yard.

A small greenhouse/potting shed (not visible) and her chicken coup all fit on the side of the back garden. She's made the most of her space in her suburban yard in Tampa.
Three rain barrels connected to each other help her conserve Florida's abundant summer rain fall for use when she needs it.
I was coveting a variegated crinum she was growing.  I've never seen one before or since.

Maryhelen's garden is a surprise ~ a good one. It is relatively small, but every inch of her yard was filled with plants, whimsies and water features. You'd never think you could fit so much into one space. She and her husband have worked together to create an oasis and a retreat that gives the feeling of privacy within a suburban neighborhood.

This croton received lots of attention from all of us.

It is an older variety you don't see everyday. Croton 'Mother and daughters' is a stunning foliage plant.
There is lots of  whimsical yard art mixed in with her Florida-Friendly garden.

More great color from crotons in the back garden. Her carnivorous plants were healthy and stunning sitting in a shallow bird bath to provide them the extra water they require.

Perhaps the most unique feature in Maryhelen's yard was her pool. She turned her full-size in-ground pool into a Koi pond. They built decking all around it with part of it overlapping it which gives the fish more places to hide.

Beautiful colors and large size koi happy and safe from predators because of the depth of the water in Maryhelen's pool-pond!

Shari's garden resembled an artist painting. At each turn in her garden it was a new canvas painted with tasteful vignettes. These lovely container boxes hang from a white picket fence that isolates her pool area within a beautifully shaded part of the back/side garden.
Love those Queen Emmas also.
I got my idea to add birdhouses to my garden from this scene in Shari's garden. You can see how I interpreted this idea to my garden here.

Shari's sunniest side was full with colorful perennials like this Mexican bush sage (Salvia leucantha) blended with African bush daisy (Gamolepis chrysanthemoides) and red Pentas.
A hedge of great color and texture combinations along a grassy pathway.

Shari gave me/us cuttings from her Salvia mexicana that are growing and adding rich purple blooms in several spots in my garden now.

Clay pot characters guard the entrance to her little greenhouse. Yes, she made them.

Color and texture provided by the bottle trees complement the landscape and appear to be growing out of the 'Cuban gold' Duranta shrubs.

All of her artwork is tastefully placed. She commissioned these two Sandhill Cranes by a local artist.

The blue corner of Shari's garden inspired the addition of blue spheres to my existing blue container pots. I like the mix of shades of blue she's combined.
Angel fairies invite visitors to have a restful seat on the pergola swing in the shady side of the front garden.

I hope you enjoyed these three very diverse gardens. It's a wonderful learning experience to visit someone's personal garden. I always come away from other gardens with ideas and thoughts that provoke inspiration. Don't you?

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  1. What wonderful gardens! People are so inventive! The koi pond is absolutely brilliant!

  2. Thank you Meems for a glimpse into these three wonderful gardens.

    What a unique croton the mother/daughter is. I've never seen it before.

    Happy Gardening ~ FlowerLady

  3. Thanks for the tour! Lots of great ideas to copy. I've copied some of your style, might as well copy some of these, too.

    Happy Gardening,
    Mark (The Ancient City Gardener)

  4. it is great to see other gardens and all the ideas they have implemented. years ago i had a clay pot man in my garden in tampa. do you remember him? thanks for the tours.

  5. Beautiful pictures! Now I want chickens, water barrels, and a waterfall. :)


Have a blessed day,

September 2010

Back Garden: October 2010

Louise Philippe: Antique Rose

Tropical Pathway