The other day we had a massive storm, with a tornado touchdown just west of where we live. It brought 4.5 inches of water, which filled the drainage ditches and low-lying areas. In Florida, rainwater seeps away into the ground fairly quick and we can handle that amount of rain.
As I was picking up overturned plants and inspecting my gardens, I discovered that my old orchid plant had a stem full of buds! I have two orchid plants that sit outside in the shade of a bigger shrub. Orchids appreciate the humidity, but don’t like direct sunlight. That is the extent of my orchid knowledge, and I moved them outdoors where they can get what they need.
This orchid was a gift from my daughter many years ago when she was a little girl. I’ve kept it, and traveled all over New Hampshire with it in all my moves. Now I (and it) are back in Florida, and the plant seems to be happier. I can’t remember when it bloomed last.
Just behind where the orchid sits in the garden is my hydrangea! It has really grown, but there are no flowers. See my first hydrangea photos here. It remained quite small for a while, but now it is taking off. Maybe the roots have taken hold, and the fertilizer has kicked in.
Did you notice my little croton starter plants in the photo above? I have four across the front of the garden (three in the photo). I rooted them from cuttings.
The wind blew the banana tree over a bit so now the bunch of bananas growing is reachable.
May is here and it’s muggy in Florida. The AC is on day and night now. Even when it’s “cool” the humidity makes being outside less than fun. The worst is yet to come, but it has begun.
First, a Nice Surprise in The Garden
As I was checking on my front garden, there it was…the caladium that had disappeared and was presumed dead. In fact both the pink and white leaved varieties were popping up through the dirt. They had both disappeared on me and I was mad that they died off so quickly. (See my post when they were first planted.) The impatiens which I planted at the same time are gone.
I’ve never grown caladiums but they look so nice against the green of the yard. Their big arrow-shaped leaves. Even though I watered them and they seemed to be growing well, they began to die. Or maybe they go into hibernation for the colder season. I need to look that up… hold on.
Okay…. They do go dormant so my caladiums were just doing what caladiums do. I never knew that! Although I have lived in Florida for many years, I just learned something new about my landscape.
Travel the Yard With Me
The garden beneath the oak was already there when we moved into our house a few years ago. It had become overrun with weeds, but now it contains my rubber tree which I propagated a while ago. I’ve discovered that rubber tree cuttings grow very well outdoors. Look at that sucker… isn’t it beautiful? I’m noticing that many big rubber trees are doing quite well in the landscape in my area. I’ve propagated a few more which I will plant sometime soon and write about them.
The orange flowering hibiscus was trimmed back at the end of April and now it is filling out nicely. Buds are forming, and it will be covered in blooms soon. I want to keep it trimmed away from the house so maybe it won’t get those nasty fuzzy whiteflies it had last year.
Hydrangea For the Yard
When I bought this little hydrangea plant it had some buds. They popped open with beautiful big flowers of blue and purple. Now the flowers have faded to that lovely shade of green I love to see on hydrangeas. (See more photos of the blooming timeline here.)
The potted plant was recently removed from it’s pot and put into my front garden. I’ve had to water it every day and still it tends to droop. It never gets direct sun, but I am unsure of how well it will do during the very hot Florida summer. Look at those green flowers! Never deadhead hydrangeas. Wait and watch how the flowers fade to new colors and eventually they should dry up on the stem. They are interesting when the blooms have faded too.
In the woods next too my house the white-flowering Elderberry bush / tree is looking wonderful. These flowers will become berries soon. I’ve read that this is a poisonous plant but mostly it grows in swampy areas and not in the yard. The land slopes down around my yard and this Elderberry grows in that uncleared lot. I don’t pick the berries, but some people do and make jam, wine, and pies. Taking chances eating wild stuff is not my style. I would definitely need more information.
This magnolia tree is growing in the front yard of a house I pass on my morning walks. I have always loved magnolias. As I pass this house I can smell the aroma of the blooms. It’s got me thinking …. maybe a magnolia tree needs to live in my yard.
The little palm tree pictured below is a new addition to my yard. It was growing next to the house near the walkway to the door. That location was ridiculous. It never got full sun, and if it had grown tall, it would have blocked the walkway to the front door.
So we dug it up and put it out in the yard where the croton planter used to be. When my crotons froze, and my son chopped up the stump it sat on, it became clear that something needed to be done.
I believe this is a Pygmy Date Palm and many houses in the neighborhood have them growing in their landscape. I’m hoping this one will grow nicely now that it’s out in the sun where palm trees should be (although I’ve read that this one can take shade). Once it grows taller it will be nice. A baby tree is growing out of the base.
My son and I began a new garden bed along the front of the house. When I lived in New Hampshire I always put down newspapers to block the weeds and grass before adding dirt. I’m doing that here, but I’m not sure how well it will work with these Florida weeds and tough grass. I plan to write all about it on another post. Plants won’t go in until next Fall.
I hope you are having a good May wherever you live. In the northeast, May was a time for dealing with black flies but it also meant that vegetable planting time was just around the corner.
Every now and then I look back at my life in New Hampshire through the many photos I took while living there.
Since Spring is upon us (in Florida it’s hard to tell) I decided to share some April photography and memories.
In April the forsythia begins to bloom and the bright yellow flowers are a wonderful sight after a dull and colorless winter. I had planted a forsythia bush up near the road in my front yard in New Hampshire. I thought it was far enough back from the road to survive the snow-plowing in winter, but I was wrong. This big branch was broken off so I cut it and brought it inside to enjoy the flowers.
Skittle, the cat enjoys drinking water from all sorts of places. And once she discovered the vase of water holding the branch, she just had to partake!
The Lenton Rose will be full of flowers by April. It blooms before the snow is gone. I really enjoyed this little flowering bush.
The coreopsis is popping through the ground and so are the thick red stems of the peony. I love peonies. They remind me of my grandmother, so I had a lot of them planted in my yard in the north. I had white, red, and pink. One of the reds was more like an open flower, but I can’t recall the name of it.
And of course the hydrangeas were coming to life. It’s always thrilling to check out the gardens in Spring. Each day more green is showing and it was always fun to watch the progress as the perennials came back to their beautiful showy state.
The first photo is my house taken about three months before I moved. I couldn’t afford to live in New England, but it’s where my heart is.
I miss it and always will.
It’s hard to believe that it is the end of summer now. I recently took some photos of the flowers remaining in bloom in the yard, and the Pinky Winky is one of the hydrangeas that still looks good.
Although the many deer that frequent my yard come to eat hydrangea buds and leaves, my Pinky Winky shrub still has flowers. They started white then began to show some light pink, and ended up dark pink with some white at the top. Some of the flowers are totally pink.
I think I will try to shape my hydrangeas better before they start blooming next year. This one could end up being a tall tree with the flowers standing upright out of the reach of deer maybe. Pruning will be an experiment, and hopefully I won’t mess up the plant so it won’t bloom. This year I let all my hydrangeas grow “wild” in any way they chose. It’s only their second year in my yard, so I didn’t want to mess with them too much. The Limelight plants are really long and droopy, but have loads of very pretty flowers. Those would do better if they were trimmed for next spring.