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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.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Florida Wildflower Garden

Recently I had the joy of visiting a private garden in Plant City with my fellow Hillsborough County Master Gardeners. The owners have created a remarkably extensive wildflower garden in the area surrounding the house on their 8+ acres of open woodland. It was one of the most unique gardens I've ever had the pleasure of walking through.

Patches of golden yellow and bright lavender flowers from wild phlox and (Rudbekia) black-eyed Susans created flowing waves among the fields of grass.  

Winding pathways made from brick pavers and some of crushed shell meander through the front garden. Florida-Friendly foundational shrubbery like neatly trimmed Ilex Schilling contrast perfectly with lanky yellow native Rosinweed that blooms profusely in spring. Every space in between was a mix of Gaillardia, Narrow-leaf sunflowers, black-eyed Susans, Pentas, coonties, frost weed, gardenias, milkweed and many more. The huge, ancient live oaks with their broad, long limbs reaching into the blue sky act as strong architectural features around the perimeter. As the day progresses the shifting shade they provide creates a canopy of relief.

Relief the wildflowers don't need. They are quite happy to thrive beyond the oaks in the wide open heat and sunlight.

A pergola in the front garden is well placed along one of the pathways.

Every part of this garden was artfully designed by the owner. The butterly bench! Wow.

More Rudbekia along the side garden.
Butterflies everywhere.  This one, a permanent and perfectly hovering structure.

The back was an open field with wildflowers thickly planted in a huge bed and heavily mulched. Beyond the tended beds are self-seeded mounds of golden Rudbekia that draw your eye toward the horizon.

A mix of sun and shade is a blessing in any garden. In this one it seemed to be perfectly distributed. In truth, it was this wise gardener who used her sunlight and her shade to the best possible advantage. She put her signature on her land by installing the right plants in the right place and created an amazingly artful and beautifully designed one-of-a-kind garden.

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  1. What a delightful garden! Great space to have all of those wildflowers.

    Thanks for sharing ~ FlowerLady

  2. I would love to have more space... especially when I see gardens like this Lorraine.

  3. What a neat place. It seem odd to see Rudebekia blooming now. Mine is just getting it's foothold on the spring.

    1. I've never been able to keep Rudbekia in my garden, Lisa. It really prefers sunny, dry conditions and I have always had too much shade. I started some from seed this winter and I am hoping my new sunny garden has what it takes for some of those black-eyed Susans to actually bloom!

  4. Absolutely stunning! I love the use of rudbekia in so many applications. What a thrill it must have been to tour it. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    1. Do you grow Rudbekia, Daisy? That wildflower garden was so amazing. Those huge swaths of black-eyed Susans were not typical of what we see here in Central Florida. Wherever they pop up in the their fields, they mow around them. :-)

  5. Four years ago I got into gardening and since then I have been on a massive learning curve. One of the things I quickly got into was the use of natives in a garden and I got it in my head that I would incorporate many natives in my yard and show that it is possible to have a nice, well-tended garden while using natives (as well as a few exotics). This garden puts my vision to shame. It doesn't dissuade me, but it sets a higher bar. I know in my heart and mind that it is possible to have a good looking, natives-inspired garden, even though most Florida gardens of this type seem to look little better than deserted lots. It is so nice to see this garden that proves my point. I would love to see pictures of it in other seasons to see how it changes, but I understand that this was a special visit.

    1. I would also love to see this garden in all its other seasonal flowering stages, Nysson. I admire our ambition and I full agree that incorporating native plants into a well tended garden is completely possible. You will like my newest post about my sunny garden. You might like to read this post from my past garden also:
      or this one:

    2. Of the four years I have been learning, I have been quietly following your progress for probably 2 1/2 years for ideas and inspiration. My vision for my garden is probably the opposite of what your old one was. Where it seemed you had Florida-Friendly exotics with a few natives mixed in, I want to do natives with some Florida-Friendly exotics mixed in. I want "Florida with tourists". But beyond that, it is also very different in that I have very little shade, so my plant palette is very different. I could almost get away with a similar, smaller Wildflower Meadow, but that's not what I'm shooting for. I guess the best way to describe it would be largely-native, naturalistic, cottage-type garden.


Have a blessed day,

September 2010

Back Garden: October 2010

Louise Philippe: Antique Rose

Tropical Pathway