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! 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. 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! 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. 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. 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: 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. However, I think it may take forever to look like this. 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!
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….
- Now Blooming in My Corner of North Georgia: Sweet William (unexpectedincommonhours.wordpress.com)
- Writing a garden diary (51stories.wordpress.com)
- Garden Gab: What’s in YOUR Garden? (dawnathome.typepad.com)