|My brugmansia came from pots in New Jersey finally has adapted to the nematode soils and is thriving with 10" fragrant trumpets that bathe the garden in a jasmine scent at night.|
I can typically chew gum and blog, but in reality that has not been the case for a while. I have been deeply involved in a search process for a minister for the Unitarian Universalist Church here in Tarpon Springs. I may be using it as an excuse but it has allowed me sometime to think about a lot of things. If truth be told I don't chew gum either, as I come from a school of thought that says always try to look your best and chewing on a piece of gum for hours on end is not my idea of looking good - unless you are a cow chewing its cud.
All that aside, this time away from blogging has allowed the garden to fill in just a tad. Gardens in Florida have a tendency to grow and grow and grow. Mine is not an exception. Even though the winter season here limits growth by lack of rain it is still a wonderful time to garden. There are surprises along the way (aren't there always?) with a sudden drop in temperature that reminds you as nice as it is here were are not 100% tropical. Last night for the first time this winter we reached 38 degrees which meant it was time to bring out the sheets and cover the really tender plants. The Brazilian Cloak I feared could wither. This morning after confirming my Tropica I rediscovered it can withstand temperatures of as low as 20 degrees. A bit of a shock as it were as it is native to Venezuela where I doubt temperatures ever get that cold. As is I did more damage to it by somewhat crushing the red plumes with the sheet than the cold would have done. Oh well, another lesson.
|Brazilian Cloak Plumes|
The gardens you can see are filling in nicely. In this Garden Room the lawn has returned and Limo runs circles around the edge of some central plantings into another garden room that is still being transformed. I have introduced, thanks to some neighbors six clumps of a wonderful clumping bamboo that will tower 25 feet over the garden and provide total privacy from the street. I suspect I may at some point regret planting so many clumps but it may be also provide the impetus for some industry that I could take up at a future point such as constructing bamboo scaffolding for Tarpon Springs.
|You can see a wheel barrow with the remains of the 4 trucks of mulch: a small pile I am saving to spread around problem spots|
The terrace plantings provide a staging area for plants that I find a rock bottom prices from nurseries and rehabilitate before putting in the destined location. I just picked up two huge terrestrial (Bletilla) orchid plants of considerable size for $5.00 each at Lowes. They were a little past their forced blooming and people who have no patience will pay $30.00 a piece for the luxury. A month or two in the ground will have them twice the size and with hundreds of blooms each.
The backyard I have turned into more of a semi arid garden. Contrasting a variety of aloes, agaves, and succulents that can live in total absence of water with lemons, tangerines, pineapples, mangos, loquats, avocados and calamondin oranges. I irrigate the fruit and everything has about a foot of mulch helping to develop some soil quality. The mango tree, due a lack of winter is covered in flowers. It could prove to be quite a bumper crop of mangos this year. I am anticipating going to our farmer's market and see what I can get for what will be thousands of 18 ounce organic fruits.
The papaya planted that I put in the ground at 6 inches last fall is now about 10 feet in the air with quite a bounty of fresh fruit for breakfast.
|Every now and then you find someone cooling off in the shade of its leaves.|
|The Elephant ear has grown so large that it flowered.|
|The flower is rather exotic to say the least. It is about 2 feet in length|