End of Year Yard Happenings, Orchids, Hibiscus and More

It’s the end of 2018 and I have decided to share some recent yard happenings. One of my orchids is blooming. My orchids don’t look too good, so I was surprised to see two blooms on one of my plants.

blooming pink orchid
My orchid is blooming!

The orange hibiscus plant is growing like mad! I have neglected this plant and am frankly amazed it is doing so well. I’m planning a new garden along the front of the house and another hibiscus is in the plans.

Orange hibiscus
The hibiscus is huge now!

One of the plants you must have if you are a true Floridian is a Staghorn fern! And now I have one hanging from the trees out back. I had a Staghorn fern which I gave to my best friend before I left Florida and she still has it hanging in her yard. She offered to give it back, but her yard is much nicer, and if the plant is happy there then I’m happy to leave it with her.  This new one is in a pot but I will re-pot it into that hanging basket eventually.

Staghorn fern
My new little stag horn fern

The rubber plant I propagated  is still growing nicely out front under the oak. If I can keep it from freezing over winter it may grow and live to be tall and beautiful.

rubber plant
New little rubber plant in the yard

Hope you have fond memories of 2018 and the new year brings all good things!

Must Plant More Fast Growing Tropical Hibiscus Plants

The photo below is of my orange hibiscus and rose bush after planting in my yard. This past April, 2017, I dug up a little patch of grass in the back yard to create a space for a colorful flower garden.

The pretty double-flower orange hibiscus is a typical plant to grow in Florida. I prefer the double type flower, and I thought the color was lovely.  You can see that it was a small plant.

hibiscus and rose bush
New Garden, Hibiscus and Rose Bush – April 2017

Roses are such a bother, but this one was pretty and I decided to try it. The rose bush looks awful now, but the hibiscus has grown like crazy.  This just goes to show that if you plant what likes to grow in the local climate it will flourish.

Here it is 7 months later.

orange hibiscus plant and rose bush
Hibiscus and Rose Bush in November 2017

The hibiscus plant was watered regularly after it was planted, as was the rose. There were some mites on the buds, so I picked off the buds and threw them away. I’ve noticed that sometimes there are still mites on the plant, but it is not affecting the growth. I never water it now and it is flourishing in the sunny spot by the house.

Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 9.49.17 AM

Hibiscus are tropical plants and I fully expected it to survive quite well. I didn’t realize it would grow so fast.  It constantly buds and blooms and the leaves are nice and green.

All I do is occasionally pick off the bug infested buds and give it fish fertilizer and sprinkle some bone meal around the base for good root strength.

I have plans to plant more like this in the front yard. The wind blows from the front and it’s also more shady, so I don’t know if that will be a good location.

Something I’ve always enjoyed is watching my plants grow and change.  I once took photos of the Pinky Winky hydrangea in my New Hampshire yard for an entire blooming season to show the changes in the flowers from summer through fall.

What’s Growing in My July Florida Garden

It is so hot down here in Florida in the month of July that I rarely go outside.  This morning I scurried around my yard and took some photos until I just couldn’t stand being out there.  I think I lasted less than 5 minutes. The heat index says it feels like 100 out there. Add in tons of humidity, and you have Yuk.

So lets begin with the flowers. The crotons and hibiscus are loving the heat. They were made to withstand summer heat in this disgusting climate. Thankfully we are getting lots of afternoon thunderstorms that keep me from having to go out and water.

red hibiscus
Red Hibiscus

My rose bush hasn’t had any blooms for a while, but I noticed a small rose and bud today. It probably needs more attention, and more fertilizer.

small carnival rose and bud
Small Rose and Bud

I bought some Impatiens when I first moved into the house, and unbelievably they are still looking pretty good! I also planted my mother-in-laws-tongue, or snake plant, in the ground and it is doing well. I’ve put a few of the big seashells I’ve collected into the garden as decoration. The older, worn shells look good displayed that way. I had to put them out front, away from the raccoons, so they wouldn’t drag them off!

seashells decorating garden bed
Seashells Decorate the Garden Bed

The Persian Lime tree is doing great. It’s still in a pot, and has lost a lot of the fruit it started with, but I still have some good size limes coming. I’ll have to figure out when to pick the fruit.

persian lime fruit on tree
Persian Lime Fruit

I have 2 eggplant plants, but neither one is growing any eggplants. They flower, and lose the flowers and keep growing tall.  They are a good spot for ladybugs to lay their eggs and eat aphid infestations, but that is about it.

Maybe there aren’t enough bugs to pollinate the flowers. I need more flowering plants in and around my garden.
But I tried. I bought a bunch of marigolds because I always grew marigolds in New Hampshire. They usually became beautiful rounded bushes with tons of flowers. But that is not happening to these marigolds.

eggplant
Eggplant

The marigolds have been growing for months, and I only have about 3 flowers total. The stalks have grown very long and tall, without flowering. It’s very bizarre. Marigolds are good to grow near tomatoes and other vegetables because they will help keep certain unwanted bugs away.

orange marigold
Orange Marigold

On to the tomatoes. I have 2 tomato plants still growing, but neither one looks exceptionally good. Both have some small green tomatoes, and I don’t know if I will get red ones to eat before the raccoons decide to help themselves.

Green tomatoes
Tomatoes

I tried covering the vegetable garden with netting, and I think that helped. But a papa cardinal somehow got inside the netting and was trapped in the garden! I went out and freed him, but I had to cut the netting off in the process. He was really freaking out, so I left the garden uncovered.
I’m not trying too hard to garden these days. It’s too hot, and I don’t think the vegetables like it either.
……. Happy 4th!

Sunday Morning Garden Photography

Taking garden photos to share on a peaceful Sunday morning.

Is there anything better than a quiet, peaceful (and fairly cool) Florida morning? Sure, lots of things, but today I enjoyed the cloud cover as I checked on my gardens this morning and took some photos with my iPhone.

hibiscus
Hibiscus Colors

The hibiscus is blooming profusely and I noticed today that some of the flowers are a lighter color than others. They look pink here, for some reason, but they are really light orange. I was too lazy to use my graphics program to fix the color – look at the photo below to see a more true version. …….Still, the beauty is apparent.

sunflower stalk
The Sunflower is Growing Tall

In New Hampshire I always had sunflowers growing in my garden during the summer. They sprang up on their own, known as “volunteers”. I just let them grow where they were and planted my vegetables around them.  In the Fall, little goldfinches and chickadees would land on the big heads and eat the seeds.

Because I don’t feed the birds in Florida, no sunflower seeds will voluntarily grow after being buried under the winter snow, so this one I had to plant. In fact I planted a lot of seeds, but this one the only one growing. Animals (squirrels) probably ate the other seeds.

sunflower
Big “volunteer” sunflower in my northern garden
red rose open petals macro
Open Rose

My rose bush is doing fine so far. I am seeing roses bloom continuously. Their color is stunning, but the flowers don’t last long.

watermelon vine
Watermelon Vine

I’ve never been able to grow my own watermelon, but I am trying again. This one seems to be doing well enough.

desert rose pink flowers
Desert Rose is Flowering

The Desert Rose, which at first was thought to be a Plumeria, is planted in the ground and doing well. Lots of bright pink flowers have bloomed and I am seldom watering it, as required.

Persian lime flowering
Little limes growing on the Persian Lime tree

The Persian Lime tree is blooming like mad and little limes have formed. Many of them will end up falling off, I assume, but I’m hopeful that some will grow to be edible size.

Other happenings in my small yard:  I saw two black snakes (black racers) yesterday within the span of about 3 minutes.  They are “good” snakes and not poisonous, but still creep me out as I watch them slither through the grass.  Now I’m back to watching where I walk.

Later today I will pick the one zucchini growing on my single zucchini plant.  The potatoes have been dug, and the carrots pulled.  Time to plant some new things that may, or may not, be able to take the Florida summer heat.  At this point, it’s all an experiment.

Have a wonderful day!