Garden Update: 5/31/14

This has been the oddest growing season in the 4.5 years I’ve gardened in Florida—for every flower that arrived late, a few popped up early, and others looked nothing like you’d expect; 6″ sunflowers, anyone?  ;)   Here’s a glimpse into what’s new and flowering in the Ranchero and back gardens, starting with the incredibly late arrival of the Ruby Spider Daylily, which we usually see in March.  This one opened for the first time, today! 20140531_081114 I’ve grown Passiflora incense for three seasons now, and it seems impervious to temperature extremes.  The vine on this free standing trellis is actually growing from a crack in the patio, yet seems VERY well anchored.  High winds have knocked it over many times, but the woody stem refuses to budge.  Once this workhorse is established, it pops up all over the yard. :) 20140531_082909 Also growing through pavers, a group of Gaillardia reseeded from Fall, ’13.  Strange that NONE of these “re-seeds” germinated in beds or containers containing the original flowers, but I guess the patio provided stasis and protection. Whatever the reason, they look pretty good! 20140531_082733 In front of the Gaillardia sit two pots worth mentioning. In the foreground, a container grown Smilax rotundifolia (aka invasive Greenbriar) surprised me by returning from full winter dieback; I didn’t realize this was such a hardy vine.  To the rear, a year old Hoya publicalyx has greened up and filled out very nicely after looking pretty grim last fall. 20140531_083903-1 Perhaps you recall last summer’s ugly  new bed along the rear fence?  What a difference a year makes!  It isn’t beautiful yet, but the Frangipani (left) and Costus barbatus (right) have softened its raggedy appearance with some dramatic new growth. The Dwarf Gladioli bulbs I planted last month are helping too, but beds take a few seasons to look more like beds than works in progress. 20140531_112213-1 Two brand new plants have joined the Ranchero. The first is Aeonium hierrense (aka Giant House Leek) but right now it looks like Little Outdoor Succulent: 20140531_111632-1 The second newbie is Lessertia montana, (also known by the horrid common name Mountain Cancer Bush!)  Both plants were ordered from Annie’s Annuals, along with 6 others that I’ll discuss in a later post.  As an aside, this was my first order from them and I was completely unimpressed with the packaging. The box arrived soggy and half smashed, and the plants themselves weren’t too healthy looking.  After two weeks of heat and full Ranchero sun, L. montana seems to be doing better. 20140522_083421-1 However, I think it may take forever to look like this. :) Lessertia montana Before I close, I need to show you some Gulf Fritillary butterflies I saw in compromising position (For Real!) while I was weeding the Ranchero!

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So now I have a question…I thought survival trumped the reproductive instinct in all living things. Is this not the case for butterflies? I easily could have picked them up, (or stepped on them, God forbid.) I lightly touched one of their wings and they didn’t even notice! Fascinating! Until next time…. :) :) :)

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29 thoughts on “Garden Update: 5/31/14

    • Thank you Bull Dog! That Ruby lily was starting to worry me…I mean, really, it was 2 mos behind schedule. Sometimes when plants’ timing gets off you don’t see them til the complete next season, so I was glad that wasn’t the case!

  1. Odd season here, too. Asparagus took forever to peak out of the ground, then bolted and was beyond using in three days! Rhubarb just unfurled leaves last week, now is flowering already. I get rid of the blooms to keep production, but after only two pickings, the stalks are already going soft as if it’s done for the season. Lovely post, Karen!

    • Have you had these strange results before? What do you think is the cause in your case? too much water from snow-melt or just too cold for too long compared to other winters?

      • Every year is a bit different, but this seems extreme….also have about one million maple tree start-ups all over my yard and garden. Seems like my old maples thought the winter was going to kill them, and wanted to make sure to keep the line going. I have never seen that here before. I’m guessing maybe the hard winter, late spring has caused much of it.

  2. Wow, you have a beautiful garden! Do you grow edibles there too? I grow edibles on my balcony: herbs, cucumbers, tomatoes, dill, strawberries. It’s still early in the season, so I’m not sure what I’ll be able to harvest.

  3. I loved the tour of your garden. It is beautiful and interesting because your plants are so different than mine because of planting zones. Envy you the butterflies. :-) Last year we saw one, this year we haven’t seen any yet but I’m still hoping. :-)

    • The first few years I was here I got an enormous kick out planting tropicals, and watching some of what I’d grown for years in Massachusetts bloom an entire season ahead of what i assumed was their schedule. (particularly lilies) There is one thing I’ll forever miss though down here: lilacs! They’re so tied in to every thought and memory I have of Spring, I have a hard time not seeing them when temps are in the 70s!

  4. Things are so much earlier for you than here in north-west Ireland. Our Daylilies don’t show any sign of blooms yet. Love the colour of yours.

  5. I’ve never seen a daylily quite like that one! And I can’t wait to see how the new beds look once they’re established. I recently took a look online at our old houses back in Illinois, and I was really happy to see how the trees have matured and the flower beds are still in place. It makes me think later occupants are happy with the work my husband and I did. :)

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