We've been so busy lately, both in the garden and in that other place...the real world. Anyway, this weekend, we happily got out in the garden again to finish trimming away winter's wrath. Most of our burned foliage was cut back in February, but we never got around to some of the bigger stuff. This weekend was time to cut back dead leaves from the giant birds of paradise, the bananas, and the starburst clerodendrum.
Oh, how wonderful it feels to get back out on morning and evening walks in the garden! I've been out there very little throughout December, due to the cold. Actually, the only time I've spent out there this week has been for the laying on of blankets and sheets.
It was a hot, hot October here in the valley. We had many a day this past month that peaked over 90 degrees (that's Fahrenheit to the rest of the world). The average high in October was only 85 though, with the average low at just 64, not such bad numbers when compared with summer. In fact, I've heard some locals refer to it as downright cool. There was a catch, though. Here in the valley, we received all of 0.01 inches of rain this whole month! Virtually nothing. There was one day I remember actually getting rain...more like a steady sprinkling for a short bit one morning. It was exciting, though! The whole family went out on the porch to watch it. (One month of drought and you'd think we were desert-dwellers.) Anyway, in hot, droughty weather like this, I am grateful that I have so many tough plants. Indeed, some of them are just gettin' goin' right now.
Susan of Simply Susan! asks us to share our current favorites each month, but I've found the further we travel from winter, the harder this task becomes. I do think there must be hundreds of plant species in my garden. Some day, I will have to catalog the lot of them. It is unbelievable how many plant babies I can cram in this tiny space. Problem is, nearly everything looks great right now, and of course, I love 'em all, so it's hard to narrow the faves down to a reasonable number. Well, I'll give it a go anyway:
August has brought my hot garden much needed downpours of rain and shady cloud cover. It has been a pleasant month. And now it's time again to search for my best and brightest tropicals for the Hot, Loud & Proud meme hosted at the end of every month by the Plant Fanatic in Hawaii. Here's what I found today:
I am joining up with Simply Susan! again to post my favorites...this month! What a great month it's been in the garden! It's truly hard to play favorites when there are so many wonderful things to choose from. I can certainly say that the curcumas, peace lilies, and blue butterflies have been tops with me this month. However, I've posted them so much, that I'm not featuring them here today.
Ugh! All day working at Six Acres and what do I get in return? Poison Ivy! At least I think that's what it is. I've come home with itching and welts all up and down my legs. Guess I should have worn long pants, but it was in the 90's, people! I don't think I've ever had poison ivy in my life. So anyway, I'm feelin' yucky and itchy tonight. Being sore, exhausted, and sun-fried just wasn't enough to satisfy the Fates! So tonight is being spent with lotion, a good movie, and a tall glass of iced tea (mmmm!). Oh, and the point of this post...here's a few random shots from the garden today...cool, green beauties.
Today is Foliage Follow-Up, hosted by Pam at Digging. We truly have a feast of foliage in this garden today. The (too many) deciduous trees I have planted in this garden finally look more like trees than sticks! They have all filled in nicely over the past couple of weeks, making the garden so much greener and lusher and shadier than it's been for months. : )
Yes, I have planted far too many tropical plants in my yard. The brown wasteland in wake of the recent "Arctic Blast" is testament to myZone 9 gardening blunders. But, once again, I have searched my garden today for plants that didn't just survive, but are shining in this wintry garden.
The classic conifer is given a subtropical twist in the Bunya-Bunya Tree (Araucaria bidwillii). A native of Australia, the Bunya-Bunya thrives in my Zone 9 Central Florida garden. It is a tree that grows to massive proportions in its native environ. This tree was honored by aboriginal Australians in annual festivals to celebrate the ripening of the nuts that come from its enormous coconut-shaped cone.
This evergreen Autumn Fern is a bright splash of green in a bed where caladiums and gingers have gone to sleep for the winter.
The knockout roses were unfazed by our "Arctic Blast" and are loaded with buds. This is Rosa 'Radtko.'
Not real sure if this Aechmea bromeliad is cold-tolerant, since it hid under a blanket and a beach towel for the past week and a half. It has a scape rising up, so I had to protect it just in case!
The Neoregelia bromeliads all survived these frigid temperatures. Those under tree cover were not protected.
'Red Ruffles' Azalea is Florida-friendly and offers splashes of color in a winter garden. Just really slow growing, though. This is growing in the shade of an old oak tree.
This was my first year growing Indian Blanketflowers. I wasn't sure if they would go dormant at the first sign of cold or what, but they are still green and lush after our worst winter in years.
Camellias are clearly the stars of my winter garden. I look forward to their bloom every year, with their 4- to 6-inch layered blooms and sweet-tea-like scent. Above is Camellia japonica 'Kramer's Supreme'; below is Camellia x williamsii 'Blue Danube.'
The African Iris buds dropped and flopped all week, but the plants are still all intact and green.
The Florida Cracker Rose ('Louis Philippe') is one of my favorite garden plants. The ones in my garden have been evergreen and everblooming (in flushes) since I planted them years ago. Definitely a winter winner!
Another Australian native, Bottlebrush thrives in our Zone 9 environment, throwing off its giant red blooms year-round. Above is stiff bottlebrush. I also have a weeping bottlebrush tree.