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.

18 thoughts on “Bloomin’ Update 58: My Garden Doesn’t Need Me

  1. Your Brooklyn girl, Fran, is a lovely one, isn’t she?? I imagine those blossoms are very fragrant! They look like they should be, anyway! It never ceases to amaze me that, even where we haven’t sowed, plants find a way to root themselves. A few years ago, I found myself with a crop of Impatiens growing under my Florida Room extension! None had been planted there, or even in the little bed next to it, but there they were – growing in the shade! 🙂 Complete surprise. Sometimes ‘neglect’ turns out to be healthier for our plants than too much attention! You pix, as always, are beautiful!!! Thanks!

  2. Always a nice read. It make me wonder though since I often look at old photos and think the improvements I make aren’t always as brilliant as I think they are! Hope you get some more free time in before the summer weather takes over.

    • Thank you, Bittster. I think gardening is one of those tasks that never ends. There’s always a change, a new plant, some new inspiration to keep things evolving. 🙂

    • Yes, Brenda. It doesn’t feel like work on the days off. It’s actually relaxing and therapeutic. It’s a nice way to escape — especially these days. Be well!

  3. I so enjoy getting to experience your exotic tropical plants. It reminds me that when I first visited Florida (in my twenties), I was flabbergasted to discover that plants I thought of as houseplants were growing outside in the ground. 😉

    • Hi Jean. I’m still not used to the houseplant phenomena. I’m also stunned that some plant cuttings simply have to be stuck in the ground — no rooting hormone, no special care. Hope all is well in Maine.

  4. You have been missed, Kevin, and now we know where you’ve been! You definitely have some luscious flowering plants that do well without your centered attention, but you’ve obviously provided just the right ingredients to support your healthy garden environment. Your “other” pursuits undoubtedly are important and have merit, but I do hope you can find the balance of time to return to your garden. You don’t want to test the plants for too long. They might decide to rebel if you don’t visit them often enough!

    • Can you imagine a plant rebellion, Debra?!? I’m actually getting ready to publish a post now — photos that have been in the camera, words that have been in my head. I had a moment today to get it all out. A day off from both jobs. 🙂

  5. Very beautiful! I’d always been terrified to grow orchids since they seemed so fussy to me, but after someone gave me one, I put it on the windowsill next to our sink and it does seem to thrive on neglect (which is the only way houseplants work in my house)! That is so nice to have a couple of days to just relax and work in the garden. I love the scent of frangipani flowers.

    • Believe me, Dorris, I have weeds. Lots of ’em. I try to break the garden into sections so it’s not overwhelming. The issue are the weeds with tree-like roots!

    • Hi MG. Most frangipani here are in full bloom — and I’m now observing colors, prepping myself to approach a friendly gardener for a cutting. 🙂

  6. I love the surprise plants that grow in our gardens. It is still cold here, but I did clear a path for my early spring blooms to blossom.

    • Hi Maria. I used to love doing that — and I do miss that part of spring. There was an excitement to make an opening for those first hints of green. Here, everything seem to be green all the time.

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