Bloomin’ Update 58: My Garden Doesn’t Need Me

My garden doesn’t need me.

Oh, it uses me — for watering and weeding and such — but it really doesn’t need me.

I came to this conclusion after having two days off in a row. I haven’t had that in some time. This is the busy season in South Florida garden centers, and when I’m not there, I’m writing blog posts for about 30 companies via an Internet marketing agency.

As a result, things have been neglected.

This blog. My garden. And when one’s blog is a gardening blog, it’s an issue.

So when two free consecutive days happened, I focused all of my attention on gardening tasks. I mowed and edged. I weeded and divided. I rooted and planted.

As I crawled through the beds and examined the pots, I marveled at what I found. While the plants can always benefit from a human hand, there’s something satisfying in knowing they are perfectly capable of doing what they do and letting me experience the wonder of it all.


Last summer, friends gave us an orchid as a house-warming gift. When I asked her what do I do with it, she advised that I should just ignore it.

After the blooms faded, I brought the plant outside to a shaded area near my potting bench, where I did as I was told. I did, though, mist it with water when I thought of it. Now, two flower spike are clearly visible.


There is a small terra-cotta dish of succulents on a table on the patio. I never know which succulents will flower, so I’m always surprised when they do.

Hawaiian Ti

I love Hawaiian ti for its bright colors. I hate Hawaiian ti because as it grows, it gets a long woody stem and the bright leaves are clustered at the top.

A gardener told me all I had to do was cut them and new growth would appear — and the cut pieces could be stuck in the ground to make more plants.

A few weeks ago, I went on a cutting rampage — and on my recent walk, I spotted new growth emerging.


Tillandsia, which sounds like an exotic island, is a whole new world of plants for me — air plants, to be specific.  A member of the bromeliad family, nutrients and water are gathered through its leaves while the roots keep it anchored to a host plant. Somehow, this one arrived in a podocarpus shrub in the front of the house. I’m not sure if it will flower, but I’m keeping my eyes on it.


About a year ago, I planted a clerodendrum, a colorful shrub with green and purple leaves, and blooms that look more like fireworks than flowers. It never occurred to me that the shrub would self-sow — until I spotted this and two others growing in the area around what is now the mother plant.

In time, these will be the flowers.


A funny thing happened to my frangipani tree, the one I posted about after winning it during a raffle at the local garden club meeting. The crown of the tree split into three — and as I followed the taller piece upward, it was capped with what I will describe as a candelabra of blossoms.

Just before putting this post together, I walked past the tree again to check on its first flowers.

At the end of my two garden-filled days, I was exhausted in a good way — much different than the exhaustion from working in the garden center and writing for others.

Yes, I miss being in the garden. I miss being in my garden — and while my garden may not need me, one thing is certain: I need my garden.

Dollarweed Makes No Sense


When it comes to my lawn, I’m pretty much a live and let live kind of guy. If it’s green, it stays — and for decades my policy has worked.

I haven’t had to use poisons. Insects and wildlife seem to appreciate the blend of greens and flowering weeds. Most importantly, it’s the one aspect of gardening and home ownership that has remained stress-free.

I refuse to be a suburban slave to my lawn — at least that’s what I said until dollarweed entered my life.

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Scenes From A Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice

The odd thing about Christmas in South Florida is that it never actually feels like Christmas in the northern sense of the word. Yes, there are decorations and holiday parties, but it’s kind of hard to dream about a white Christmas in a land where it will always be just that — a dream.

The winter solstice, though, is universal.

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The Best Laid Plans


This post was planned months ago. The local garden club had scheduled its plant and craft sale for November, and as secretary, there’s a bit of pressure to contribute plants.

My initial thought was to document my clipping and dividing, rooting and potting — all very Martha-like, with photos and plant details.

At least that was my plan in September.

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Field Trip: Florida Southern College

Florida Southern College

On a recent visit to Tampa/St. Pete, as Joe and I ventured away from the metropolitan area, I was reminded of Robert Frost’s famous poem, “The Road Not Taken” — specifically the closing lines:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

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