February is the time to begin thinking about planting here in Central Florida. Not only vegetables, but replenishing the yard after the winter freeze. I’m still getting used to gardening in this weird climate.
In New Hampshire
I had gardening down pat in the north. I had a yard full of wonderful flowers. It took me a few years to get them going, but once the Monarda (Bee Balm) and Cone Flowers (Echinacea) began to grow, I counted on them bringing birds and beneficial bugs to my yard. And they did.
Besides those perennials, I had wild blackberries and raspberries, lots of dandelions, some Queen Anne’s Lace, and other “weeds” which flowered as well. And then there were the hydrangeas, lilacs, daisies and peonies that kept the yard pretty throughout the season. If you live in a climate that supports these types of plants, put them in your yard!
I knew what I could plant in my yard. I dug in the rich New England dirt, added some bone meal and fertilizer and the plants were happy. In winter they went to sleep and appeared again in Spring. They grew bigger each year.
Florida Growing is Not Easier
Now my growing knowledge is turned upside down. I don’t know what to plant. I live in a place without winter, but we do get freezing temperatures. We also get months of extreme heat which some flowering plants can’t handle. Nothing hibernates here. I think I’ve lost my beautiful croton this winter. Yes, it’s in a big pot – and that makes a difference, but this one I can’t move indoors.
See how pretty this was on this page. Makes me want to give up on planting altogether.
I have to learn what to plant and what will live in 100 degrees and also in 20 degrees. I covered my outside plants this winter, and they died anyway. These tropical plants do best when they can be brought indoors overnight if temps will be dropping.
I don’t want a yard full of pots that I have to lug back and forth… I want a pretty flower garden. I’m not so sure it’s possible, but I will give it a try.
Since the “dirt” here is simply worthless sand, any time I think about growing something, I know I will have to build my own dirt.
For the birds, I already have a birdbath which I view birds using every day. In fact they sometimes fight each other over the water, to drink and bathe in. Next I will add a tray feeder. Because I live next to a lot that has not been cleared, there are plenty of trees and bushes where the birds can land and hide. They especially love the Dahoon Holly tree which is not in my yard, but close.