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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.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Florida Summer Gardening

Yes, it seems endless.  In Florida you never know exactly how many months summer will occupy. It begins too early and wanes too slowly and always too late for my liking. This week the calendar indicates the return of one of my favorite seasons.
September 2015; Part of the back garden from the pergola
If only Florida got the memo. Florida doesn't seem to read calendars. Especially when it comes to the change of seasons. I think we can all agree Florida does summer very well. It might be the only truly predictable season. Hot and humid. Hot and humid with a chance of rain. Hot and humid again. No need to look at the weather report. Hot and humid. You can bet on it.
The Birdhouse Garden. All the foreground plants were planted last summer. You can read about it and view more pics here.
So, while it still feels like summer in Florida I'm going to do some catching up here. I'm back tracking a bit and posting a few photos from the summer garden that, due to my own procrastinating, I never got around to including here.
The pathway that leads to the rest of the backyard beyond the Birdhouse Garden.
I admit, as far as gardening goes, I used to loathe summers in Florida. Go ahead. Put your hands in the air if you do or ever did dislike Florida gardening in summer. My garden suffered because I dreaded the humid conditions that greet you like a wet, warm blanket (yuck) when you walk outdoors in summer.
Summer glories. Rudbekia from seed flowering in large galvanized pots mixed with salvia and Caladiums.
Over the years I have changed my attitude about Florida summer gardening. I get out very early in the morning for summer gardening. My body seems to acclimate better to the humidity when I get started early. Even though the humidity tries to swallow me, drenched me and sap the strength out of me. Humidity is a bully. It is mean. It aims to drain all the good energy and inspiration I start out with. You know it's true if you garden in Florida.
So many inches of rain this July and August. 
I won't let humidity get the best of me. These days I actually wait for summer to do some of my work. Spring is Florida's dry season. Summer is Florida's rainy season. We might not know for certain when the steady rains will start, but rest assured, they will start and then you can count on them. Rain will come. The steady rains inspire me.
Deep pink Pentas surround my blue bottle tree. 'Tapestry' and 'Radiance' Caladiums keep them company adding color all summer long.
I'm inspired to go dig up those baby Pentas that seeded themselves in the spring. I move them around to more suitable locations. I'm inspired to divide and transplant ornamental and native grasses, lilies, and many other plants with a rhizome root system.  Sprigs of Pentas, African basil, Salvias, Amaranthus, and Coleus (plus many more) root quickly in small pots in these summer conditions. When I know it's going to rain, it propels me onward to get outside before the rain and get my small rooted cuttings in the ground.
The back corner of the NE side grew up to be full size plants this year. Last summer this entire area was planted from cuttings and divisions. 
Summer rains save me so much time and energy. Irrigation from heaven. It waters-in all my summer plantings without any help from me. I don't have to drag hoses all over the garden to make sure the sun doesn't zap the soil too dry before the roots get established.
Caladiums thrive in hot and humid conditions. 'Debutante' in the front garden. 
I really appreciate rain-cooled summer days,too. Any drop in temperature on a hot, steamy day in Florida is a reprieve. I've learned to enjoy every season in my Florida garden. I'd rather be outdoors than anywhere else.

Since we built the pergola at the end of last winter, that is where you'll find me most mornings at the break of day and as often as possible at the end of day, too. Every season. Florida's summer no longer dictates to me when or if I garden. We've become friends. We get along much better now that I accept summer's conditions and I've learned to work around them.

What about you? Do you loathe summer or have you tried to make friends with it?
Happy Gardening,

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  1. I loathe the deep hot humid part of summer. I have come to terms with it though. I am an adult that realizes that you can't do anything about it. I try not to complain. HOWEVER when the late summer drought hits. I revert to my two year old self and fuss a lot. Your garden is once again a show case. I love seeing all of it's tropical lushness.

    1. Thank you, Lisa. I don't imagine your hot, humid part of summer is very lengthy. Lucky you. I long for cooler days right about this time of year. Soon hopefully...

  2. I, too, would rather be outside than anywhere else. Mornings are always the most productive time spent in my garden, during the summer. I find myself out there, oblivious to the time, some days well into the afternoon.
    Your gardens are beautiful, as always. When I see a garden like yours, It's clear that it's tended out of love.

    1. Many days I work well into the afternoon also Janice. I like to go in for a break during summer and return when the sun is waning for a couple of hours. Thank you for stopping by. Like you, I garden with passion. It doesn't feel like work.

  3. How do you know which plants can be grown from cuttings?

    1. By experimenting mostly. I've tried many different ones and over the years some take and some don't. I start most of my cuttings in 4" pots in a good potting soil. Keep them moist until you see roots coming out of the bottom. Then plant them in the ground.

  4. I grew up in the sandhills of South Carolina. In many respects, the summer weather was very similar to Florida. It was hot and humid, if not quite as high in either regard. One big difference I have found is the wind. Here it seems like you can have a good breeze coming from just about any of the cardinal directions at just about any time. Taking the time to enjoy those breezes goes a long way in extending my time in the garden. As I work on building up my beds to provide shade, for summer protection, and wind breaks, for winter protection, I am trying to leave certain 'wind corridors' open to allow the breezes to blow through. Having clumps of Fakahatchee grass are great for providing structure, but when they sway and rustle in the wind, they're even better.

    But even growing up with this sort of weather, I still find myself pretty much done by about noon. The breezes and a shade hat (an absolute essential) go a long way, but there is a certain point when you know if you keep going for much longer you will be pushing a heat stroke. Another essential accessory is one-liter water bottle that I keep nearby. Staying hydrated is super important.

  5. Such gorgeousness. I marvel at your placement of color, size and texture. You're a true Master. I am certainly regaling autumn's commencement. Bring on the cool breezes!

  6. Summer in your garden is amazing. So many of the rest of us have burned-out moonscapes. Waiting for a little relief from the sun and heat! Have you ever posted a bird's eye rendering of your garden? (Maybe a picture from a drone? Don't laugh. They aren't that expensive, and it's getting quite common.) I would love to be able to picture in my mind what you mean when you write things like ". . . the pathway that leads to the rest of the garden beyond the birdhouse garden."

  7. Since I am only a visitor to Florida, I never get a chance to acclimate myself to the humidity! It sucks the breath from me. I'm glad to know that you do eventually get used to it, because we do hope to retire somewhere in Florida upon retirement. Maybe by then my hot flashes will be over, and I can tolerate the heat better! Ha ha!

  8. I think your garden is beautiful and am working on mine in Daytona beach. I would like to know what you do to get such great results. I compost and fertilize but don't get big lush growth.


Have a blessed day,

September 2010

Back Garden: October 2010

Louise Philippe: Antique Rose

Tropical Pathway