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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 26, 2017

They Say It's Winter

I'm certain all my Florida gardening friends remember that awful winter of 2010 when we experienced an out-of-the-ordinary winter.  If you don't remember, state wide there were several back-to-back below-freezing days/nights. I think we all vowed to give up tropical plants and only replant with cold hardy evergreens after that winter. 

Seven winters later it's hard to remember how we felt when all our pretties turned black and melted away from that unusual spell in 2010. 

This winter has been like spring. More so than last year when we considered that one to be mild.

We've been able to have a few fires inside and outside, but not very many nights/days have been cold enough.

Mild mornings and evenings mean we spend a lot of time outside. We eat outdoors often. We prop our feet up and read and drink coffee. It is Central Florida's season to be completely comfortable outside.

Whether it's too cold or just right Florida's winter season is a time for Azaleas and Camellias. This garden has some ancient shrubs of each.  To see them flowering makes the front garden feel like spring.

There are other plants that offer color in Florida's mild winter. Bromeliads love our mild weather. Many varieties color-up just for this time of year.

Begonias mixed with bromeliads add lots of pizzazz along my back walkway.

Winter is an excellent time for seasonal veggies. This year I'm only growing some heirloom kale and collard greens. But, oh my, are they yummy.

Even the butterflies think it's mild enough to keep hanging around.

The hardest part about the weather being so mild is trying to resist the temptation to garden like it's spring.  I'm ready to cut every lanky and overgrown shrub back by February 1. It is advisable to wait until the last chance of frost date. I try to comply. Not so much because I think we might have some sudden freeze, but more so because the bushy shrubs protect the plants around them even when those temps drop into the 40's at night.

Truth be told, I haven't done very well adhering to those good practices with this spring-like weather. If all goes well, at least I'll be way ahead when spring does come around. Heck, it might be time to  cut back again by that time.

They say it's winter, but the only clear indicator around here is the calendar. How is your winter going?

Happy Gardening,

***** I post to my Facebook gardening page almost daily. If you'd like to join us there to keep up with Hoe and Shovel Gardening here's the link: Hoe and Shovel on Facebook or if you need to copy and paste. ~~ If you've just arrived to this page as a new gardening friend or perhaps missed the back story about how we moved from our home and garden of 30 years to the house next door you can catch up here. All material (text and photos) © 2007-2017 is authored by Meems for Hoe and Shovel Gardening Blog. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.


  1. It has been ultra warm here, SW IN, this winter too. I most of my major spring chores accomplished already. All I need to do is commence battle against the weeds that will be, are, popping up so soon. It feel strange to be so far ahead.
    I so enjoy seeing the plants in your garden. In the 5th photo from the top what is that big plant just to the right of the staghorn fern on the left side of the path that looks like big green dinner plates? It is so unusual, very striking.

    1. I've been hearing that from other northern gardening friends, Lisa. When it's warm where you are, you can be sure it is extra warm here. Big green dinner plates indeed. Those are my Begonias nelumbifolia. I brought over one rhizome from my other garden and this is how they've multiplied in almost 3 years. You can read more about them here...

  2. I, too, have the itch to start trimming bushes, but I will wait another week or so. We are acclimating to the North Carolina winter, which has been pretty mild as well. We are just now starting our veggies going, with lettuces, leek, cabbages and indoor starts of tomatoes.
    There is so much color in your garden, and it does make me miss the butterflies that I had year-round in my Central FL garden to see yours flitting about. Enjoy your lovely surroundings.

    1. Hi Daisy,
      I'm thinking it would be a great adjustment from here to NC. Yet, it is a beautiful place and you must love being there. A dream come true.

  3. How wonderful to see this post from you and to see photos of your lovely gardens! I have been inspired to keep working in my gardens.

    I live further south than you here in FL and winter, what winter? It is already starting to feel somewhat like summer down here.

    Happy Gardening and thanks for posting about your gardens once again. I have missed you ~ FlowerLady

    1. Hello Lorraine,
      It must be even more like spring down there. I personally like it a bit cooler during these months. We definitely have more than our share of warm weather all the other months. Happy gardening and thanks for your sweet comments. Meems

  4. I'm far north of you in central Ohio, but we're having the same issue, to some extent. We had a some snow and cold, but not very much. It's warming up far too early. My bulbs are popping up all over. Tomorrow I'll see daffodils in bloom. I've started my winter cleanup, but I know better than to get overly enthusiastic about gardening just yet. We've a long way to go yet.

    1. I've been hearing this from my northern gardening friends Robin. I suppose for you the warm weather is very welcomed. It is an indicator for us that we could start our summer too early... it already lasts too long. Enjoy your daffs.


Have a blessed day,

September 2010

Back Garden: October 2010

Louise Philippe: Antique Rose

Tropical Pathway