Monday, May 28, 2007

My Little Succulent Garden

I keep getting surprise blooms in my succulent garden. I guess they must be happy. They get plenty of morning sun, and little water. I think they are enjoying the drought.

I threw in some shells and sea glass among the rocks to give it all a more beachy look. I call this work of art (I regard everything in my garden as a work of art), "If Albuquerque Had a Beach".

Friday, May 25, 2007

First Moonflower

I love growing moonflowers and blue morning glories. I have my first moonflower bloom, but I'm still waiting for a morning glory.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

View Down the Garden Path

I don't do straight lines. So even my paths in the garden have to have curvy lines. It always intrigues me to see a square flower bed in the middle of a square lawn. I wonder if they gave it much thought--especially when it is smack-dab in the middle, and then everything is lined up in perfect symmetry. Symmetry is, well, boring. I'm not saying visual balance is bad, I'm saying if you line things up like soldiers, there's no visual interest.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Rain At Last!

We go some much-needed rain today. Not much, but at this point we are happy with whatever we get.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

More Color

It's always a good thing to find a ladybug in my garden. I wish more would turn up. I've heard you can purchase them, but I'm not sure how to keep them from flying away.

Above is my favorite canna. I find the traditional cannas--the big floppy red or yellow ones--a bit boring. This one has a more tropical look and almost reminds me of bird-of-paradise. I think I found it at Home Depot years ago, and it has survived a few hurricanes.

I love the color combination below, of the verbena and the cape plumbago. We did our bedroom in those colors. I can't commit to a favorite color, but I love color combinations, and the way colors play off eachother. I usually keep that in mind when I am planting. For example, red and yellow don't work for me as a combination, so I rarely plant them together. This is probably as close as I come to planning my garden. Mostly, I just stagger around with new plants until I think I've found the right spot. I do a lot of transplanting.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Down the Garden Path

There's nothing like a well-defined path to dress up a garden. If your flower beds are well-framed, it doesn't seem to matter as much what you plant--it all seems to pull together nicely in the end. I think, however, you are meant to design the garden and lay out the foundation first. I usually rush in and start planting furiously, and then star deciding about paths and borders.
We purchased flagstones and pebbles to create our paths in our front garden. Rocks of any size are a real treat around here, as there are no rocks anywhere around here. Beneath the thin veneer of topsoil is nothing but white sand in this area. It was a lot of work. Some of the stones weighed almost 100 pounds, but in the end well worth the effort.

Friday, May 11, 2007

What's In My Garden Today

Multi-Colored Canna

Pink Hibiscus

Brown Chameleon on a Pink Board

Spider With Smiley Face on Its Bottom

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Roses That Won't Quit

I've often maintained that I don't do roses. Roses are too fussy for me and demand too much attention, and just don't seem to do well this far south. Some years back, however, I took three little cuttings from a seemingly wild roses that was growing over a fence on an abandoned property. I rooted them and wound up with a climbing rose that competed well with the other vines on my huge arbor. The arbor was destroyed by hurricanes, and the vines have scattered across the back garden. This crazy rose has been completely neglected, and is thriving and popping up everywhere. It only blooms once a year, and I believe it is a Seven Sisters rose. Every rose plant I've purchased has only lasted a few years and then disappeared, but this one just keeps going.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Two Little Reasons I've Neglected My Garden and My Blog This Week

Meet Tikka (above) and Bajji (below). They are named after Indian dishes.

The heron was kind enough to stop and pose for me so I could take a few good shots of him. He even waited for me to run inside to fetch my camera and attach the telephoto lens. The mockingbird struck a few poses for me too.

I'm so pleased to have figlets. I'd wanted to plant a fig tree for years, and finally got around to getting one. I'd read that you never see flowers on a fig tree, just the figs starting to sprout.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Gardens That Inspired Me

Two places I visited last year while we were bulding our home and planning our garden were the Sunken Gardens in St. Petersburg, FL (above, left), and Queen Elizabeth Botanic Gardens in the Cayman Islands (above, right). The gardens in Cayman had received extensive damage from Hurrican Ivan in 2004, but much of it has recovered quite nicely.

It's a bit of a challenge growing a tropical garden when you are outside the tropics, but you learn what works, what fails, and what needs to covered when they predict a frost.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

What a Difference a Year Makes...

Our Home Last Year

Our Home Now

Thursday, April 26, 2007

After the Rain

We finally got some much-wanted rain today. We have a deep well, and irrigate daily, but there is nothing like a good rain to perk up a garden. Eventually, as the garden grows back, I hope not to have to water as often. Right now, shade is still a rare commodity.

Monday, April 23, 2007

New Close-Up Lenses

I just got a new set of stacking close-up lenses I had to try out in he garden. I took about forty pictures, and then realized I'd forgotten to put the disk into the camera.

Am I the only person who likes rolly-pollies? They don't seem to be doing damage in my garden. They're not even insects--apparently, they are crustaceans. I find that they are fun to watch, but then I am easily entertained.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

More Garden Residents

This heron was fishing in our creek.

A chameleon showing off.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Garden Residents

When we were living in our FEMA camper, we'd built a porch that the carpenter bees started nesting in. We didn't want to disturb the bees when we dismantled the porch, so we set part of it in among the bamboo. It looks like they are still using it.

I think this snake must've been trying to make friends with the garden hose. We were never sure if this was a pregnant snake, or if she'd just swallowed a mouse.

A canna is a perfectly cool spot for a frog to rest.

Okay, this one was taken last fall, but I still wanted to include it here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Front Garden

The front garden is starting to shape up. The recent cold weather has slowed things down a bit, but there's still plenty of color.

Back Garden

I haven't done much with the back garden since Ivan in 2004. It's been taken over by weeds, Mexican petunias and jasmine.

The Creek

We have a creek that runs through our property. Those are weeds in the foreground.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Succulent Garden

I thought it might be fun to plant a succulent garden. I was worried that the ground would be too wet and too rich for succulents in this spot, but so far they all look happy. It's planted over our old septic tank and there is a sprinkler nearby. I think the gravel keeps them all happy.

Bat Face Cuphea

This little shrub is a cousin to Mexican Heather. It is full of blooms right now and red color is brilliant. If you look at it closely, it really does look like a little bat. I have to get more of these this year.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Spring is Springing

Things come to life quickly here. Many of my plants are not fond of frosts and freezes, but they bounce back quickly once the weather warms. The more delicate things are protected as well as we can manage. The hibiscus is happily blooming, the wisteria has come and gone, and the bananas are busy putting out new shoots. The oleander and cannas are budding out and ready to flower soon.

I'm trying to get everything planted before the hot weather sets in. I like to crowd things a bit to keep the ground under them shaded. This year, with the sprinkler system up and running, we should have quite a show.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Spring Has Sprung.

I'm finally getting back to gardening again. Last November, we had to dig a lot of things up to install the sprinkler system. I never gave the garden much attention after that, and we had a few harsh frosts. We covered as much as we could, but some things still took a beating. We had to replace one of the palm trees, although I don't think the weather had much to do with that. Sometimes transplanted palms just don't make it. They replaced it for free.

The bamboo is almost back to its pre-Ivan height. I guess they are right--you just can't kill bamboo. The new sprouts are already five and six feet tall.