Getting Ready to Fill The Yard with Flowering Plants

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!

nasturtiums in glass pot
Nasturtiums in pot – my photo

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.

dead croton in a barrel
This was a beautiful croton and hibiscus

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.

At the present time my plan is to fill up some of my grow bags with a mixture of good garden dirt (from my raised bed) and bone meal or blood meal and plant something that flowers.

bird bath with cardinal
Female Cardinal in Bird Bath

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.

Now It’s Time to Rest

empty lawn chairs
Time to Rest

This past year has been one of the worst ever for me. That is mostly due to lack of finances and unexpected big bills. After a busy season, now it’s time to rest. My fingers are crossed for a restful and productive (business-wise) winter.

All summer I worked in the yard, planting and digging and enjoying the crops. My tomatoes were a huge disappointment, but everything else did quite well. I kept very busy working online all morning, and working in the yard for a few hours in the afternoon. We had a wonderful summer, and beautiful fall here in the northeast so the weather was usually cooperative.

We were graced with a spectacularly warm and sunny day just this week – in mid November! It was in the 60’s and I was raking leaves in a t-shirt! I didn’t work online that day, but spent all of it outdoors. I didn’t want to miss a moment of it. Even though my back was telling me I had done enough, I still had gutters to clean out and mulching to do, so I pushed myself more than I should have.

I dug up some parsley and mint to bring inside for the winter because they both still looked so darn good. I used the blower and rake and wheelbarrow to remove the masses of leaves that were everywhere, even though I had raked numerous times already. I paid for it with lots of aches the next day, but I was satisfied with my efforts.
Bring on the snow!

I took pictures on that bizarre summer-like day and will be using them as soon as I get the chance to load them to the photo library. My single blue hydrangea flower is beginning to dry out.  It never turned purple like last year.   All the limelight blooms are gone by, but they would make a nice dried bouquet for indoors, if I didn’t have a cat that would “play” with them.  I will trim up those plants soon so the snow won’t break the stems.

I’m ready for that rest.

Viewing Winter’s Damage and Marks of The Deer

tree bark
Those Pesky Deer

I have ADD when it comes to Spring clean up.   Yesterday I started raking the yard, then I as I was cleaning the garage, I found the and there was wood to move.  and before I knew it I had seven projects going at once.  There is just so much to do when you first get those sunny, warm days after months of nothing but white out the window.

I only moved into this house less than two years ago, so I’ve only had one full summer here to work on the planting.  As I stroll from each garden area to the next I am reminded of how much I have already accomplished in this short amount of time, but I’m also aware of how much there is still to do. I don’t believe Continue reading “Viewing Winter’s Damage and Marks of The Deer”