Around the Yard at The End of July

I just bought a new iPhone XR and wanted to try out the camera so I took a quick walk around the yard this evening. The no-see-ums were brutal so it was a quick photo shoot. Not all photos were taken with the new camera.

My caladiums are doing well. The white-leafed variety is not looking so good, but the red looks nice. Did you know they come back each year after winter?

red leafed caladiums
Caladium with red leaves

My bromeliad is shooting off some new little babies. I already started two new plants from this one and it looks like I will have more.

Bromeliads
Bromeliad with “babies”

The hot house hydrangea, which I planted in the garden, is doing very well! It is in the shade most of the day and I think that helps a lot. I just cut off the dead blooms to find new flowers hidden among the greenery.

hydrangea shrub
The hydrangea shrub is doing well!

The swallowtail butterfly has been busy laying her eggs on my fennel plant and I counted 40 worms, in all stages, crawling on the stems and chowing down on the flowers. The cardinals have grabbed some, but many remain. I hope some of them survive to become butterflies.

swallowtail worm
This worm will become a Swallowtail butterfly if it survives the cardinal attacks

Along the back hedge I spotted this pretty white flower which looks quite exotic. I believe it is an invasive species (it’s Florida, what else is new?) called the Japanese Honeysuckle. On the other side of the house I have the invasive Brazilian Pepper plant growing like mad.

Florida invasive species Japanese Honeysuckle
Japanese Honeysuckle?

The frogs were napping in their usual spot on top of my front door light. They make an awful mess, pooping all over the place. At night they travel over the window, front door and walls catching bugs.

If you look closely you can see the head of the third frog in the lower left of the photo. They are literally piled on top of each other. I believe this is an invasive species of frog which has killed off the beautiful green tree-frogs that used to be plentiful in Florida. I don’t know if these are Cuban tree frogs, but our outdoor security camera captured a possum climb the wall and snatch a frog off the light in the back yard! I also find dead frogs in the yard, so something is after them. The University of Florida has a page about frogs comparing the unwanted invaders with the cute green tree frogs which I never see these days.

frogs sleeping the day away
Frogs on my front light

Of course my two cats followed me all around the yard. They love having my company outdoors and since it’s usually too hot, I don’t do much outside with them. Below is Skittle who is always interested when I am pulling weeds.

Skittle the cat
Skittle

Beautiful Fontana is my older cat but she loves to be outside as well. Both cats spend most of their day sleeping outdoors even though it is extremely hot this time of year. I am home, and always let them in to cool off and fill their bellies, but they usually go right back out.

Fontana
Fontana

So that is my yard at the end of July. When we get through the next two months I will feel better. Nights will become cooler and I look forward to having a fan in the window at night. Aside from cutting the grass, not much is getting done in the yard. My vegetable garden is producing nothing much and my citrus trees are doing very poorly. I keep the bird bath filled and enjoy watching the birds that come to eat bugs and take baths.

So How is The Landscaping Coming Along?

The yard at my new house (been there a year now) has only a few flowering plants. The house we bought was some sort of a rental where people stayed for short amounts of time. Because of this, the landscaping is made up of self-sufficient shrubbery. One azalea bloomed last Spring, but the plant itself doesn’t look all that good.
Screen Shot 2017-11-20 at 9.46.38 AM
So I planted a hibiscus and a small rose bush. Then I started some crotons from the big croton out front. And recently I planted that next to a poinsettia in the same hibiscus garden. I use the term “garden” but it’s just a few plants stuck in the ground next to the house. Not very impressive.

New croton plants in pots
New crotons begun as cuttings

I still have 2 more crotons to put in the ground somewhere, but I honestly don’t have the ambition to do it. And there is no place for them. I will have to either expand this garden or begin a new one to make space. That will be a lot of work and I’m a tired old lady. Tired of starting over and working so hard only to have to pack up and leave my garden work behind for someone else to enjoy.  I shouldn’t have to do that again, but this time if I have to move, I won’t be leaving a beautiful yard.  Guess I’m burnt out.

Gardening in Florida doesn’t appeal to me. I really don’t care how my yard looks. I hate to say it, but this is not where I want to be. My focus is on the vegetable garden, and as soon as I can I will be buying more dirt for that.  But that is small too.  Nothing too interesting there either.

I know my poor health plays a part, since I often don’t feel all that well. This blog may have to go by the wayside like my New England blog did.  It’s tough to write a gardening blog when I do so little gardening.

Then again… depression passes.  After a day or two I know I will feel better and be back at trying to rekindle my interest in gardening.

 

The Post-Winter Hydrangea Inspection

spring hydrangea
Bent and Broken Hydrangea Under the Snow

Today it was close to 60 degrees and I got outside to view my gardens – at least the areas that are snow free. Until I can get to the perennials I will have to blog about other gardening things – like starting some vegetable seeds, and buying loam and grass seed!

This blog is forgotten for most of the winter months because I live in New England and there is certainly no gardening going on in my yard at that time of year. I spend my time organizing my online stores and creating new wedding designs for Spring. When my business picks up in Spring and Summer, so does this blog readership, but I get motivated to make time to take photos and write because it’s what I love to do – garden!

I just took this picture today and it shows how my hydrangeas are still weighed down in places by packed snow. I’m happy to see that they are not totally destroyed and I think I may look into a cover for them for next winter. I’d like the A-frame wooden type. I also need nets to put over my Rhododendrons that will not be blooming at all thanks to the many hungry deer that snacked on them.

Hydrangeas are quite hardy and the branches tend to bend under the weight instead of breaking. I may do some trimming once they are uncovered. Any hydrangeas that bloom on old and new wood can be trimmed if needed.

Taking a Lesson From An Old Garden

backyard garden
A Ready Made Garden

I was lucky to have bought a house that had at one time housed a gardener. The previous owners had already started gardens in the sunniest spot. They had planted an asparagus garden, many beautiful bulbs of tulips and daffodils, peonies, coneflowers and more. They had set up arbors and built a gazebo off the large deck to enjoy the outdoors, bug free. It really was great.

Along the edge of the yard near the road was a row of big forsythias that bloomed bright yellow in spring. The side yard was bordered by big purple rhododendron shrubs. That yard was fun to garden in. I expanded and added my own flowering shrubs to the already lovely landscape. When I moved in I really just needed to do some maintenance – like lots of weeding – to make the yard sparkle.

Unfortunately, instead of growing old in my home, disaster struck and I only had two years to enjoy that place. But it taught me a lot about what will grow in this area and I’ve longed for my own yard again to duplicate what I used to have.

I just moved into my own place over this past summer, and although I did plant a few things – daylilies, tulip bulbs, peonies, small hydrangeas and a rhododendron, I know the yard will be sparse come summer.

It’s sad for me to look at the photos from my the yard at my old house, and when I think of all the work I put into the place, I can only hope that the people living there are enjoying it as much.

My hope now is to transform this barren yard (where I now live) into something beautiful. The land is not as good. The yard is fairly small and surrounded by trees, which means less sun, so it will be a challenge. We’ll see what happens.

How did I take this photo? The house had a big skylight and I stuck my camera out to get this shot of the yard. 😉