Tuesday, July 29, 2008

In the Garden This Evening

I am madly in love with the gingers right now. I want a bazillion more. In all the colors I can get my hands on. They are blooming early, and almost all of the plants have several small shoots. I'm wondering if I cut back some of the spent shoots I can coax another set of blooms.

The corner garden is thriving in all the rain.

This vinca isn't thriving. I've noticed in some of my patches of vinca one plant will suddenly wither and die. Does anyone know why this is happening?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Meet Mr. Nestor White

Normally, eBay purchases are a pretty anonymous affair. You know a person's email, and typically their address. You might be able to deduce that a person represents a store or nursery or if they are private individuals selling their stuff. That's about it. But then I ordered from Mr. Nestor White.
I was very pleased with the purchase itself. Not only did I receive the crinum bulbs I was promised, but he threw in a bonus bulb. In the package was also a CD, and here I was introduced Mr. White. The CD had scans of new paper articles he and his garden was featured in. He's a home gardener in Orange Park, FL near Jacksonville. His garden features about 40,000 plants, with his passion (and here is where my heart flutters a bit . . .) being his 4,000 crinum bulbs. The CD not only included pictures of almost all of his 250 varieties of crinum and other plants, but pictures of his family and amazing jam packed home garden. With his permission, I just had to post about it. Now if he would only start a blog . . . I'd be in heaven!

The above picture is a nice example of using crinum in a front border.
The pathway to the backyard has crinum and cannas, along with a bunch of other stuff.

How gorgeous is that giant crinum?

What I love about his garden is that it is not a pristine magazine garden. There are things out of place, scattered about and most definitely lived in. But there is no doubt that every square inch of the place jammed with the most interesting things. I know I could spend hours there.

Here's what I've bought from Mr. White. These are his pictures, not mine. My plants are still babies and will take a few years to bloom:

Two Crinum Americanum bulbs

The Hannibal's Dwarf was a bonus plant. I'd like to get more of these.

I bought several of these small Digweedii 'Nassau' bulbs.

JC Harvey was the bonus.
All of my purchases are still going very strong and I am quite happy. Mr. White has a very good rating as well, so I'm not the only one who feels this way. If you are shopping eBay for crinums, look for the seller Bulbsnmore. You'll be very pleased.

Monday, July 21, 2008

I was going to do a simple answer to this post left by Andrea at Popular Growth, but it got a bit lengthy and I though others might be able to contribute. So if you are a Florida Gardener, feel free to put in your two cents.

So I have a very stupid stupid question, if you leave the potatoe vine, is it sort of a perennial in your garden? How do you guys maintain everything? Cut it all down sometime in the year, just to refresh them? (considering you don't get snow). I am SO ignorant to gardening in the hotter areas and Im REALLY interested in knowing all about them.

Ok, here is some Florida Gardening 101. We actually do get snow down here, albeit once every 20 years and only a few flurries at most. But I've seen it here. Typically, we get one or two killing frosts. Most non-coastal cities north of Orlando will get frost. These frosts will take out most annuals, especially coleus and impatiens. Saved are the shell gingers, palms, camellias, pansies and snapdragons, which are hardly effected by the cold. Most other perennials simply die to the ground, but come back in the spring. This includes the sweet potato vine, which grows back from the tuber (the sweet potato) underground. The ground rarely freezes, so these plants do tend last a while. Another interesting aspect of gardening down here that Northerners find strange is that we tend to have two mini seasons instead of one year long one. We are currently headed into a dormant period (Mid-July thru August). This mainly effects veggies and annual flowers. They just kind of stop growing. Many veggie gardeners clear every out everything and start again in September. With my perennials, I cut them back somewhat dramatically before or after this dormant period. This year I did it in the beginning of June so my plants would be back in shape by the 4th. I might do it again in September. With the sweet potato vine, I don't cut it back severely, just take clippings to keep it check and looking full. Anyway - hope this answers your question!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Update of the Corner Garden

This is the corner garden as of today. Starting on the far left are: shampoo ginger, crinum, coleus, (above) shell ginger, white crinum and canna. In the circle are white vinca, a burgundy crinum, sweet potato vine, butterfly ginger, and two baby queen palms.

This bed has chocolate mint coleus, green sweet potato vine, purple queen, shell ginger, cannas, butterfly ginger and a queen palm.

Update on the Shed Garden

This garden is what it is. For some reason, it is not capturing my imagination, maybe because it is pretty decent as is. There are bananas, palms, elephant ears, Persian shield, butterfly ginger, and hidden ginger. Below is a picture of the butterfly ginger bud, one of my favorite plants.

Update on the Butterfly Garden

Update on the butterfly garden. A rampant lantana has made this area quite weedy looking. That and the weeds.

Update of the Pool Garden

Update of the pool garden. The corners have giant white birds of paradise, in the far right corner has a pink crepe myrtle. In between are cannas, grassy clumps of something or other, and some moss rose (below.) In the near right corner, not pictured, is the last banana tree that I am trying to remove. It is a thick dense root and if you leave the tiniest bit, a new shoot will come up. I have been hacking away at it, bit by bit.

Update of the Front Garden

Here is the front garden. The tree is a pink oleander. There is a tree philodendron, pink vinca, lime green coleus, and irises against the house. Snap dragons and new Guinea impatiens have largely faded away. It always amazes me the things I notice in pictures that don't really stand out in real life. For instance, I pass by this spot several times a day, but I only just now noticed how crooked that first line of vinca is. I'll have to work on filling that in.

Wicked Plant Mover

At this time of year it, it feels as though my main purpose as a gardener is to move plants from one spot to the another, and sometimes back again. There isn't much else to do besides weed some. There seems to be multiple reasons to move plants. Below, this little canna is growing out of bounds and needs to be put back.
At the store I was eyeing some one gallon pots of crepe myrtle that were on sale for about $5. Yesterday, after pulling out the 18th trillion crepe myrtle seedlings, I finally got smart. So I transplanted a bunch of seedlings from my trees to the fences on the sides of my yard. It is an experiment and they are still in a bit of shock. Hopefully it will work and I'll have a bunch of crepe myrtle bushes.

I've also taken a bunch of cuttings this weekend. These plants are headed for parts currently unknown.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Tropical Depression has Me Depressed

It has rained for three straight days. But the plants are loving it! I was blessed with my first butterfly ginger of the year!! Yeah! I didn't even know this plant had a bud on it yet.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Recent Blooms

Shampoo Ginger blooming. The cone should be covered with these small yellow flowers in a week, then it will turn dark red. If you squeeze it, it is supposed to smell like shampoo. I believe it is also called pine cone ginger, for obvious reasons.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Update of Mom's Garden

Spent the evening at my Mom's house - thanks for the lasagna, guys! It's been a couple of weeks since I've been over there so I spent some time weeding her garden. It has come a long way since I last posted it in April. Go here to see what they used to look like. Above: The circle is filled with a giant bird of paradise, lime green coleus, varigated ginger, mexican petunia, New Guinea impatiens, vinca, and added today, sweet potato vine. In between the two bushes in the back is a brugmansia that is seriously under preforming. It only has one sad little leaf on it. Not sure what the problem is, but it is really bumming me out.

Above: Along the house, under the bushes, are the plants I orignally found in the bed, irises and mystery plants. The mystery plants are bulbs that my mother saved from the dumpster on a volunteer project from a few years ago. They haven't bloomed so there is no telling what they are. One plant I know is a crinum, but I'm not sure about the others. They remind me of my peruvian daffodils, which would be great, but that may be wishful thinking. I really have no idea what they are, but there are a lot of them!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The 4th

Well, now that I have sobered up enough to post pictures, here's the yard before the party. Below are videos of the fire works. Yes, I'm doing most of the yelling in the background.

Backyard Fireworks

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I have not abandoned you, dear ol' blog. I just have so much more to write about than time to write it. Trying to get the house and garden ready for the family coming over on the 4th. I will be sure to post pictures so you can join in on the beer, BBQ, and bird scaring!

Happy 4th of July!

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