Thursday, February 17, 2011

Clear Away Winter, Welcome Spring

It seems like you could garden in Central Florida year-round.  Florida is never buried in snow, averaging only three freezes a winter, which usually lasts only a few hours.  The tropical foliage really suffers when the temperatures dip below 60F, so although the weather seems great (read: not frozen), our tender plants cannot tolerate the grooming it so desperately looks like it needs.  Once we are safe from cold snaps, Floridians have a small window of time to get those flower beds back in shape before the mosquitoes arrive and intense heat and humidity strikes.  Now is the time and here is a sample of what I plan to work on this week:
Our blue flowering plumbago have died back to foot-long dead sticks, but a patch of green leaves are sprouting at the base of each nearly dead plant.  These are the best plants for my sandy soil; full sun, drought and heat tolerant, and they survive winter and come back in happy, bushy, flower covered mounds.

I was given two hydrangea plants just before winter and decided to wait until spring to plant them.  They look a little scroungy right now, but once they're in a shady place and given lots of water (hydrangea means "water lover"), they should thrive.  I think the plants I received are blue booming.

Beautiful red amaryllis and fragrant Easter lily bulbs are growing and green shoots have already begun to grow.  Once in bloom, they will peek up over the plumbago.  I don't do anything with these bulbs, just leave them alone year-round in the ground and we usually get dozens of brilliant blooms around Easter each year.

A woody evergreen bush called the yesterday, today and tomorrow plant grows at the end of our front porch and is ready to bloom bloom bloom!  It has intensely fragrant flowers that bloom deep purple, fade to a pale lilac a day or two later, and finally turns white for a few days before falling off.  The scent is so strong, it's overbearing if you stand too close to the flowers.  I'm glad we planted this at the far end of the porch!  I keep watching for shoots to transplant, but just never seem to find any.  Momma gave me a baby in a pot (again, just before winter) and it is ready to be planted.  I'm wondering where I should put it?  NOT near the front door, but close enough, so we can enjoy the pretty flowers and fragrance from a safe distance.

Each year I put annuals under a small viburnum tree.  I think I'll plant colorful mounding impatiens this year.  I wonder if I can keep them moist enough?

1 comment:

Linda Stubbs said...

Hi Marty, I am on brake at work and saw that you came over. Come back and sign up!!!!!! My email address is I so want you to be a part of this.

Hugs from my farm, Linda