Gardendipity's Florida Friendly Garden in West Central Florida
Welcome to my West Central Florida Garden!
These are my adventures as I try to create a Florida Friendly garden. It's a lot of trial and error, but I'm having fun with the process. Our garden is designed to attract butterflies, hummingbirds, bees and of course our regular Florida birds and wildlife. Thanks for dropping by, I hope you get some ideas for your own garden here!
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Christmas freeze, that is!
We used everything we could find in the garage to cover as many plants as we could...upside-down Rubbermaid tubs and flower pots, black plastic garbage bags (everyone says don't use them, but I've not had any problems so far), sheets, bungee-cords for securing sheets around our large potted plants (we even threw in a lit-up Christmas deer or two under these sheets to provide a little extra warmth), and you-name-it, you are likely to find it either covering a plant, or being used to anchor the covers in these high winds.
While we were running all around the yard covering all these plants I couldn't help thinking that if the plants could talk, they would say, "We who are about to die salute you -- for all the love and care you've given us this past year."
Merry Freeze Eve, and good luck to all your gardens!
Unfortunately I'm a better gardener than I am a blogger. I haven't posted in nine months!
I wanted to show you the progress that has been made, before the freezes come and destroy all my hard work.
We had a very harsh summer, extremely hot and little rain, so my garden didn't progress as much as I'd hoped. But it is looking a little better. I've added some more plants and we are installing drip-irrigation. If you look down this page to the first photos of our front yard, you will see how much better it looks, although there is a long way to go.
We planted rye grass to help green up the lawn. My husband even trenched down the center of the grass pathway and installed a drip irrigation line to water the grass. We are still looking for an affordable lawn replacement that can take regular foot-traffic as this grass path is now used all the time to travel between the front door and the sidewalk. I have been focusing a lot on getting some border plants established. I'm using three kinds of border plants and I like the result a lot: purple queen, oyster plants, and spider plants. I found that the use of different border plants keeps my eye moving around and throughout the yard. It has added a lot of color and interest. The oyster plants were borrowed from a large bed in the backyard. All the Purple Queen (what a great name!) had to be purchased. Both of these border plants should eventually spread to make a soft, unbroken border all throughout the garden paths.
These little spider plants are our choice for this third border. The reasons we used these spider plants are two-fold: first, we already had them and we have to keep an eye on the garden budget; and second, our front yard faces north and it gets shade all throughout the day in winter, and these spider plants have a lot of white in them and that brightens the bed a bit. The purple queen and oyster plants just didn't show up very well when we tried them here. One ongoing problem for us is that our front yard gets both shade and sun, and the shade pattern shifts throughout the year. In summer the bed at the front of our house gets full sun, in winter it's in the shade. Lucky me.
Santa is waving to you! I liked the Purple Queen so much, I circled the bird bath with it, and also used it in the big pots by the front door.
Here's the view from the front door. The hedge behind the birdbath is our blue plumbago. We have a glass front door, and you can see this view from inside the house. We really enjoy it, even though it still needs a lot of work.
Here's a close-up of the two pots. This is red salvia annuals, ringed with the Purple Queen. I used Farmer Rick's pot-in-pot method to plant the salvias. After filling the pots with soil, I buried an empty plastic pot in the middle, then planted the purple queen all around the center (empty) pot. Next, I potted the salvia in a plastic pot, then inserted the salvia pot into the empty pot. This method is brilliant because it allows me to change out the red salvia's for something else (I'm thinking maybe poinsettia) without disturbing the Purple Queen. Thank you Farmer Rick!
In upcoming posts, I'll focus on some individual plants that are in these beds, and also I'll show updated photos of our backyard (we just installed a fountain in the backyard YAY!). Another project for the backyard is to put up a hammock, I can hardly wait.
We've had hummingbirds in our yard off and on all year, and the very best time to attract a hummer to your yard is to put up a feeder right after a freeze. Freezes destroy the food sources in a hummingbird's territory, and it is forced to go looking elsewhere for food. There may be a hummingbird sizing up YOUR garden right this very minute....is your feeder up yet? Make your own sugarwater by simply dissolving 1/4 cup of sugar in one cup of water. Let is cool, then fill your feeder.
By the way, I had my first sighting of the Painted Bunting yesterday...a male and female on our bird feeder. There is a photo of a Painted Bunting posted in the blog entries below (I didn't have my camera with me yesterday).
Welcome to my blog!
My husband and I built our home in West Central Florida in 1999. It was my very first house and my very first yard, and thus began my adventures in gardening.
We found the perfect place for gardening, with deep conservation behind the house and a pond next door. We wanted to plant lots of colorful flowers for year-round blooms. In particular we wanted hummingbird and butterfly plants, and sought to create an environment that would be attractive to all forms of wildlife. We started with long hedges of blue plumbago and lots of bright yellow lantanas and red salvia annuals. We hung bird feeders and added bird baths. That’s how we got started.
Through the years we’ve added additional garden beds. Today our garden is home to many kinds of butterflies and birds. Hummingbirds, raccoons, neighborhood cats, possums, snakes and turtles all visit us often.
My husband and I are Benedictine Oblates at St. Leo Abbey in Florida. We enjoy living a simple, quiet life. I am a Florida native, and my mother’s side of the family has been Florida natives for many generations.