Bloomin’ Update 51: Gettin’ Schooled In A Nursery

I'm not sure of the name of this plant, but I was charmed by the play of sunlight igniting the leaf's underside.

I’m not sure of the name of this plant, but I was charmed by the play of sunlight igniting the leaf’s underside.

Much of my garden time in South Florida is not actually spending time in the garden at all. So far, it’s been about meeting other gardeners, visiting nurseries, reading books, taking notes, and asking questions. I’m a stranger in a strange land here, a zone six-ish gardener in a zone 10 world.

When I learned the local garden club had organized a Saturday field trip to a local nursery, I jumped at the chance to do all of the above — although, I do have to figure out a way to take notes while balancing a camera.

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Bloomin’ Update 44: The Good Ol’ Summertime

Candy Tuft.

Candy Tuft.

The recent heat wave may have been a bit extreme, but at this moment I’m sitting inside with a blanket pulled up to my chin.  It’s not that I’m feeling under the weather.  Instead, I’m feeling the weather.  I think when the heat wave broke, it also broke summer.  Clouds, rain, and cool temperatures have been the order of the day.  The last few days, actually.

What’s a cold gardener to do?

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Bloomin’ Update 43: Zinnias With Zing!


The Great Heat of 2013 has come and gone, and there is joy and gladness throughout the land — and when I say land, I mean my garden.  In fact, I think I can actually hear a collective sigh of relief coming from the plants (and maybe some of you) as more reasonable, seasonable summer temps return.

And when I look around the garden, it’s clear that some plants are still sporting nasty sunburns. Some of the hydrangea heads, for example, are tipped with brown.


But it’s the zinnias that garner all of my praise.  I planted various kinds of zinnias this year — more than usual — because I knew that I would be unable to start my usual annuals from seed in the potting shed.  I needed an easy seed — one that could be directly sown — and zinnias were the obvious choice.

And I’m so glad I did.  As the temperatures rose, they stood tall and proud, empty of fear and full of color.  I like to think they were the cheerleaders of the garden, encouraging the other plants to hold on.  I’ll let their photos do the talking.












Which plants in your garden would you cheer for?

Red, White & Bloom — and Gnomes?

Gnome“Hi everyone.  It’s me, the Gnitty Gritty Dirt Gnome, giving Kevin a hand with this week’s post.  Before we get into some patriotic petals, I want to remind all of you that there’s still time to get yourself in the running to win two books.  Yup, two books — and both of them are all about gnomes.

“The first is Kevin’s copy of Gnomes, a classic if ever there was one. Lots of imaginative illustrations and stories about the lives and adventures of my peeps.  The other book is Garden Gnomes: A History, by Dr. Twigs Way, and it explains the lore of  we wee folk.

“To read Kevin’s interview with Dr. Way and to leave a comment to be entered into the drawing, please click here and/or here.

“And now, for the red, the white, and the blooms.  You know, if you squint, you can practically see the fireworks.”

“Happy Independence Day!”

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Field Trip: Color Crazy In Florida

Purple Queen

Purple Queen

When most people go on vacation, they take photos of family and friends on rollercoasters or at the beach or standing in front of some historical monument.  Not me, though.  I’d rather go for a walk and take photos of plants.  For starters, they really don’t fidget or get caught in mid-blink.  They also inspire and teach me, captivate and fascinate me.

Here are a few stolen moments with some beauties on a recent stroll around Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

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Bloomin’ Update 25: A Weekend To Remember

Welcome to the holiday weekend.  For many, it’s a time for sales and sand, barbecues and beaches.  For me, it’s a time of marathon gardening.  I still have so many plants that have to get into the ground — and I’m never quite sure how I end up in this position each year.  I try to pace myself, but inevitably, I fall behind.  

So, here is my whirlwind.

First, there is the issue of the May curse — better known as Oak pollen.  It assaults me as soon as I step outside.  When the wind blows, it looks like it’s raining worms — and when enough of it gathers on the ground, it looks like tumbleweeds.  Actually, I’m okay with pollen when it’s on the ground.  It’s when it’s in the air, in my throat, and in my eyes that I have an issue that requires a tissue.  Ahhhhchooooo!

Then the Liriope needs a haircut.  Last year’s growth is a little worn from the winter, but emerging in the nest are fresh green spears.  With my grandmother’s scissors, which are small enough to maneuver so I don’t cut the new growth, I snip a little here and snip a little there.


Time to plant the Dahlias.  If you have Dahlias that will grow tall enough to require staking, here’s a quick tip.  Plant the stake at the same time that you plant the Dahlia.  This will prevent any accidental spearing of the Dahlia tuber if you place the stake later on in the season.

Joe calls me to the front yard.  We have a robin’s nest in the tree, and there is a clear view of the three hatchlings.  So I pulled out a ladder, climbed up, and snapped a few photos — all the while staying alert for any adult robins that might attack me.  I’m a little jumpy when it comes to birds since my head has been targeted three times.  But the baby robins are cute, and we are both hoping that they survive.

At last, it’s time to take a look at the reds . . .


Gerbera Daisy.

the whites . . .



and the blues . . .


Dive in.

and to remember that this holiday isn’t about sales and sand, barbecues and beaches, nor plantings and pollen.

Happy Memorial Day. 

Bloomin’ Update

Plant seeds.  Add sun and warmth.  Mix with water.  And wait.  Well, the waiting is over, and it seems like everything is exploding in the garden.  Here are some pictures of what’s blooming right now.  Enjoy!

The Niko Blue Hydrangeas are full of blooms. I actually rooted several of these from the original one that Joe's grandmother had planted about 40 years ago.

The Hardy Geraniums are out of control.I planted a ring of white Hydrangeas under a pine tree in the front yard. They're still on the small side, I think because the giant pine sucks all of the water from them.

Remember the Gloxinia that I wrote about in a previous post about bringing plants home from the office? Well, this is the result.

This is the "red something" Hydrangea that I purchased from Home Depot a few years ago. Clearly, the blooms are not red, but they do appear to glow in the dark at night. This picture probably does not do the shrub any justice -- you'll just have to take my word for it.

Purple Petunias.

I have a love affair with Hydrangeas. I rooted 5 plants from the original one, and planted them along a stone walkway leading to my backyard.Bees are going crazy with the newly opened Liatris.

Lavender is planted along the walkway to the front door. My plan was to have people brush passed it, releasing its scent. Of course, I find myself intentionally making sure I touch it so that I can smell its fragrance.

Please indulge me one more Hydrangea. The blooms on this one are various shades of purple.

Thanks for visiting, and stay tuned for more blooms.