Some people will say that Florida is one big season that just gets hotter at times. But Florida does have a Spring. It’s when the leaves fall off the trees and pollen collects as a yellow film on everything day after day. Yes, Spring is like Fall / Autumn here, in a way. It’s a duller, more annoying, version of Fall.
There are no colorful leaves, or crisp air to breathe, like in a real Autumn. The trees turn a brighter green with the new growth and the oaks drop those long brown things all over the cars (that don’t fit inside garages because that is where everything is stored because there are no basements). Oak leaves are small here and not like the oak leaves where I come from.
That’s about it. Other than that, new growth will appear when bushes are trimmed, but that can happen at any time of year. No use looking for tulips, forsythia, daffodils, or anything that signals Spring in many places, because those flowers don’t grow here in the jungle.
Spring Trimming of The Shrubs
A seasoned Floridian knows when to trim the shrubs. Don’t trim in winter as it will promote new growth that will freeze if the temperatures drop, which they sometimes do. Don’t trim azaleas until after they bloom in March or April. Plant new perennials well before the summer heat arrives. (Not this year. The nurseries are all closed.)
I have decided this year to try and fix up the shrubs along the front by the garage. These are hardy little things that are slow growing, so they are perfect for this area. I’m not sure of what they are, maybe some sort of ficus. I imagine they were planted when the house was built. Unfortunately, the sprinkler system didn’t reach them, and they’ve been ignored since I moved in over three years ago. I’m so sorry, but you did well enough without my help.
Now it’s time I paid attention and helped them out. I just recently cut them back a lot. The leaves were looking bad, as you can see I’m my photo. The stems had become spindly and leafless. I’m hoping that this trim will help them to fill out.
Already there is lots of new growth on the stems. I’ve added topsoil, fertilizer and mulch to this section of garden. My son bought, and installed, a little sprinkler head that sprays this garden specifically. It shouldn’t be long before this hedge is looking thick and lush.
With the cooler weather comes the time to do things outdoors. My winter is like a northern summer. I’ve been waiting for months for the heat to go away so the days will feel more normal. It’s just like suffering through a long, frozen winter and waiting for the warmth of Spring. Except in reverse.
January has brought cool breezes, lots fewer bugs, and breathable air. It rains less, but the plants are not burning under the sun, so watering is occasional. I still check on my plants and vegetable garden. The Lime tree seemed to be in need of help, and the pot it was in needed an upgrade. I bought a couple pots at Home Depot, but then decided to use one of my larger fabric bags. The Lemon tree is doing great in a fabric pot.
The Italian Oregano plant was in need of attention and got a new home in a deeper pot. I also added some bone meal for root growth.
The Meyer Lemon has some pink flower buds, and the Persian Lime has little white buds and greenery popping out along the branches. Although freezing temperatures could hit, both my citrus trees can be brought indoors for the cold weather.
One other plant that was in need of attention was my corn plant. This one came with me down from New Hampshire. I had purchased some houseplants to decorate when my house was up for sale. The corn plant (this is what I call it, but I’m not sure what the real name is) is meant to be an indoor plant in the north, but here in Florida it does fine outside as long as it’s in the shade. The front of my house doesn’t get direct sunlight, so the corn plant is generally happy by the front door. But the pot was ugly and too small, so now it is in a bigger one. I think it is happy.
Now that the hydrangeas have sprung back from the weight of the snow, I realize I have some trimming and pruning to do. I leave the dead flowers on the stalks over winter, but now they need to be removed. Some branches are broken, but I know that they will fill in quickly with new growth.
Some hydrangeas bloom on new growth so you don’t want to trim those in Spring, or you may be cutting off the blooms. Some bloom on old wood – the stems that were there last year. And some will bloom on both.
This is my “Endless Summer”, a small shrub that I planted last Spring and it bloomed profusely even though it never grew very large. This year I expect it will grow larger and lots of blue flowers. The dead flowers are still showing at the end of the stalks and I will be cutting them off.