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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, July 28, 2014

Finding the Blessings

Often in life you have to look for blessings. Especially in sadness or loss or hurt. With an open heart and a big dose of gratitude, the blessings can be found even in the most difficult times. I'm finding the blessings in leaving my beloved garden behind and starting all over.
Front walkway that leads to front door.
The couple who lived in our (new-to-us) house/garden previous to us were original owners. They had lived here for even longer than the 30 years we lived in our previous home (the one next door). If you missed the back story and want to catch up on why we moved to the house next door, you can read about it here.
Street view to the house.
The husband ended up selling us the house as a widower. He had remained here alone for 6 years after his gardener-wife (and my dear friend) had passed. He did his best to keep up with basic maintenance, but gardening wasn't his passion like it was hers.
Side view of front street side (all those tall shrubs in the far background are in my *old garden*)
In the garden there are a couple of Old Shrub Roses that I've admired for many years. There is a prominent Knockout Rose that was planted by her sister as a memorial to her after her passing. Scattered here and there are many other suitable plants and established perennials.... liriope, Agapanthus, bromeliads, society garlic, Cordylines, a perennial peanut patch, peacock gingers, and a few extremely old Caladiums that have survived despite the gardener's absence. Azaleas galore, mature Camellias and a large stand of Indian Hawthorn are the notable shrubs. Mostly it's fabulous trees and woody shrubs that provide the structural elements for the yard.
Palmettos and a lot of overgrown Cordylines in the back garden.
There is also quite a bit of lawn weaving around the existing planting beds. Quite a lot of lawn actually (updates to come on my progress of removing portions of it already). Native saw palmettos (Serenoa repens) cluster among the oak trees in the front and among other random trees in the back to fill in parts of the understory. My original garden had lots of  palmettos beneath the oaks. I dearly love them. There is no mistaking that palmettos say "Florida". I'm so happy and blessed this property has them!
A view of the back deck looking out to the back garden (the banana trees belong to my neighbor).
There's a lot more to this new property than just the simple sale of a home and a switcheroo from our house to this one. As I've mentioned, the wife who passed seven years ago (this week marks that anniversary) was an amazing woman. Claudia was gentle, kind and very talented.  She and I often took long walks together and we shared our favorite recipes and life's ups and downs along the way.  I wrote a tribute to her in the earliest days of this blog. You can read it and see photos of her garden at the time (my garden now) here. In that post I shared a photo of the pink impatiens she planted to make the bed next to the driveway a pretty vision for passers by. In turned out to be the last time she'd add her beautiful gift of gardening to her front garden. I'll be forever blessed the ways Claudia touched my life.
Pink 'Party Punch' and 'Pink Splash' Caladiums in memory of my late neighbor and previous owner of this house.
This past spring when Classic Caladiums sent me a batch of Caladium bulbs to plant, they included some *pink* varieties. I didn't have to think long about where to plant them.  Claudia died of breast cancer after a long fought battle. She seemed to be fond of pink in the garden and often planted the bed by the driveway with *pink* annuals. In her honor and as a memorial to her I clumped 'Pink Splash' and 'Party Punch' Caladiums in the same planter by the driveway this spring. At the time I planted them, I never gave it a thought that it would end up being my pretty pink planting permanently. (Oh, say that fast three times. lol) I'm blessed with the surprise that pink Caladiums will remain mine and with the memories of Claudia.
Our new house from the driveway
Claudia and her husband designed this custom built home to resemble a cabin in the mountains. Their plan was to someday retire to North Carolina. Sadly they weren't able to fulfill that dream, but she had this house to inspire her and it kept that hope alive for her while she was here. For me, this style of home is closer to my dream (than the ranch style house next door) of someday living in a Craftsman style bungalow. I'm blessed to experience a change of home styles.
My birdhouses had to find a new home in the new garden too.
I imagine Claudia is smiling from heaven knowing I'm living here now and tending the very same soil she loved and nurtured for many beautiful years. Even though my heart still hurts a little for having to leave my garden behind, it's quite an honor and a blessing to follow in her footsteps. She was a gardening mentor to me when we first became neighbors those many years ago. I'm blessed and I'm finding more and more blessings in this new journey each day.

I appreciate each of you coming along with me on this adventure of making this new garden mine. More to come highlighting the changes I've already made.

Happy gardening,

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  1. Since you had to leave your other house you got the best deal. I can't wait to see what all you do to make this garden yours.

  2. Since you had to leave your other house you got the best deal. I can't wait to see what all you do to make this garden yours.

  3. wishing you every happiness in your new home, how lovely that your dear friend's garden will live on through you. I am certain it will become the most special place.

  4. What a beautiful tribute to your neighbor and gardening friend.Your new house/garden looks beautiful!

  5. Oh, Meems, my heart is heavy for you with the loss of your dear friend. I'm sure she is with you daily in the garden. She lives on through every bloom, leaf and stem. Blessings to you both.

  6. It sounds as if your heart is already planted in this garden. Precious memories will thrive along side the new. Blessings in your "new to you" home! I love the style, and share your sweet friends dream. (as I type this from a mountain in NC)

  7. What a sweet story and tribute to your dear friend.

    You have a lovely new home that was built with love and it and the gardens were tenderly cared for. I see love and care continuing on as you and your husband call this place home.

    Enjoy ~ FlowerLady

  8. What a beautiful post. Also, the pink caladiums are so making me want a bunch out in front of my house!

  9. I do know some of your pain, having left behind a beloved garden in Michigan when I moved here to Ohio. It wasn't easy, I'm not going to lie. But somehow, this garden, and the friends I've made here now mean more to me than what I left behind. Carry on, a new garden awaits!


Have a blessed day,

September 2010

Back Garden: October 2010

Louise Philippe: Antique Rose

Tropical Pathway