Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas in Florida

My family spent Christmas day with my Mother-in-Law in Dunnellon, Florida. They live in a house on a swampy river full of gators and cypress trees. My husband grew up there. Thought I'd share some of the pics:

A canna growing on the bank. In the spring the banks are covered with them.

Check out the tree philodendron. I have seen them form trees before, but never climb up one!

Sunset on the river.

Toyz, Toyz, Toyz!!!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday, I certainly did. I got lots of toys! Er . . . I mean, my daughter got lots of toys!! The debate on how to raise future gardeners has been raging in the blogosphere. Check out this toy that activates the minds of little would-be gardeners. This could also be a mock up of my future home if money and physics were no object.

It is the Garden Girlz Meadow Mansion that my daughter got for Christmas yesterday. I officially like it as much, if not more, than my daughter. Who wouldn't like to live in a flower?
The coolest part is that there is growing medium that looks like white batting that you soak and put into crevices on the toy. The set includes seeds for grass and bean sprouts that you plant in the medium. So the toy is actually a planter! So cute! It even comes with a tiny little watering can. Can you image how many hours of fun you could have had if this when you were young? I am forever trying to recreate this fantasy garden I have had in my head since I was a child. I can't wait to see what gardens my daughter comes up with after playing with this. Meanwhile, I'll be riding on a berry gondola . . . . . . and wheeling around some pollen in my rosebud house. They have an incredible boring and uninformative website here. They really should have done something cute with it. I wouldn't recommend this toy to young children because there are quite a few very small pieces.
Santa gave me toyz too! Here is a belt thingy with pouches for tools. Very cool.
I also got some primo pruners. And a Lowes Card! Wah-hoo! Way to go Santa!
Oh! And a amaryllis from my Grandma. More on that in future posts.

Monday, December 17, 2007


It's a cold one! (Well, its really cold for here!)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Pool Garden Update

For all you with snow on the ground, I am sending warm, hibiscus laden thoughts.

Making good on my commitment to show updates of the garden at least once a month, I'll show the gardens today. December and January just kill me when it comes to the garden. Everything starts to go dormant and dull. Oh well - Spring is right around the corner. I'm lucky enough to live where spring will start in late January, first of February. The above hibiscus bloomed in the pool garden today, but the plant may not live through the night. Even though yesterday was in the 80's, we are expecting a frost tonight that could take out many of my plants. Long ago I accepted the fact that the hibiscus never makes it out of the winter alive at my house, even though my work and my mother-in-law have had beautiful lush bushes for years. They are only 20 minutes south of me!
The algae is growing beautifully!

Corner Garden Update

The grass knows it is December, even if nothing else does!!

Considering this picture was taken around noon, I am surprised how dark it is. I consider this one of the sunnier parts of the garden, but it look like it much shadier than I thought. That's not such a bad thing. Here in Florida many of my plants could use a little midday shade.

Shed Garden Update

The shed garden has lost some of it's mid-summer luster.

Butterfly Garden Update

So it still looks a bit dreary, but the butterfly garden has more flowers in it right now than it has had in months. There some pansies in the front, white impatiens in the back and some purple lantana that has come back and is showing some life.

But it is this little vine that has made me happiest by far. Several little tendrils of my passion flower vine have sprouted and started making their way up the trellis bench. I thought the caterpillars finally got to it this year. Wa-hoo!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Next Year's Plans

Well, since you all liked this year's plans, I figured I'd show you what I'm planning on for next year, although this is far from the final draft. So forgive the spelling mistakes. I know how to spell elephant, I really do! I just too tired to go and fix it. Anyway, this same garden as in the previous posts. The right, next to the shed, turned out nicely and I'll keep it basically the same next year. The big change will be a circular bed in the middle of the garden. I am hoping to move the bananas from the pool out here, but I don't know how they will transplant. I also want to put some pretty crinum bulbs that have out here, if I don't kill them in the pot first. Finally, I'd like to add some gingers, pine cone and shell. My drawing (if you can even call it that) sucks. The scale is way off (my bamboo poles look like railroad ties) and the circular bed is supposed to be more in the middle instead of pushed back against the fence. But the drawing does give me an idea of what it might look like and allows me to experiment on paper with color and placing. Already I see that I might be giving up the trellis altogether and putting in some tall pine cone gingers, leaving the shell gingers for the circle. Anyway, give me your thoughts on it - ideas are always appreciated.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Why Don't More Older Gardeners Blog?

Well if you haven't read this post from Cold Climate Gardening, you might be the only one left. Plenty of people have weighed in and it is the Silver Surfers vs. the Youngin's. Everyone is left wondering why don't more older gardeners blog and why don't more younger bloggers garden? I don't have any answers, but I did see a lot of bloggers I haven't seen before. Here are some new ones:

And to my utter delight, I saw that my blog was mentioned! Thanks Annie!

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Evolution of the Corner Garden

Since it is the end of the year, it seems like a time to reflect how far the garden has come. Since I took the corner garden from nothing this year, I thought I'd feature it. In May, I drew up some plans:

This was the before, back in May.
Here is the corner in September. I didn't get the bamboo in, elephant ears and gingers replaced it. In the corner, in the plans showed a raised bed that would be a mini bog area. Didn't quite happen. In fact, none of the borders were put in. That is on the to-do list for January. Instead, my beatiful crinums reside in the corner. Not sure if they will stay there this year.

The most notable element missing in this picture are the trellises. I was short on cash this summer, and expensive plans like the trellis and the borders just had to wait. Hopefully we will be able to put them in this year.

The before. The crinums were temporarily planted there before moving to the corner.

This part of the garden really turned out better than I planned.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A Case of the Uglies

Sorry it has been so long since I've posted. I've been busy with all the things that keep us busy at this time of year: Shopping, cleaning and decorating the house, visiting family. Time just really got away from me. And it appears, so did my garden. It has contracted a terrible case of the Uglies. Typically, December comes around and I just try to forget the garden even exists. In Florida, I don't get the nice fresh blanket of white snow, wiping the slate clean. Instead, plants linger around a bit, little bits of life in amongst the decay.
This blog has made me stick with the garden this year, or least venture out into it once a week. That has been one of the benefits. Usually I avoid the uglies and try to focus on the beautiful things. But this week the uglies were just overwelming and the beautiful things were far and few between. So I decided to photograph the uglies just like they were the beautiful things.

And the became beautiful, in their own way.

What I found surprising was how hard it was to photograph and equally hard to write about the uglies. They smack of failure and dread. My crepe myrtle in the butterfly garden has something that looks a lot like the black spot that is so lethal on roses. The canna is obviously being chewed up by some kind of bug, but who knows what it is. The butterfly ginger and knockout rose need to be deadheaded. The bananas are already gone as far as I'm concerned. It is a visual To-Do list, and when there are so many other things to do for the holidays, it all starts to seem like too much. I get a headache and want to crawl back onto the couch, watch Shrek the Third again, siphot chocolate, and wish for spring.

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