"Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity. " ~Lindley Karstens

Monday, March 22, 2010

A New Look for My Garden Corner

One of a few first garden projects I finished after moving to my current house last summer is this southeast corner of my backyard.  It gets 6-10 hours full sun depending on the seasons.   This is how it looked like back in August last year.

We removed one of the hedge bushes at the end, so that the lake view is more visible even looking from inside the house.  

Since this corner is located on a lower point of the garden, the water easily gets accumulated there.  I lost a few plants in this flower bed, such as Agapathus and two pineapples.  I think the combination of south florida's full sun and the heavy rain during the raining season are major factors to blame.   The flower bed created then was using those black rubber borders.   If I want to raise this flower bed to mitigate the flood risk, the rubber border obviously can not do the job.

Since I already used the brick to build the border for the west side flowerbed, I decided to use the same material for this corner to echo the west side.

Two weekends ago, I asked my husband to help me to remove one more hedge bush next to that flower bed.  I then used that space to plant a Jatropha tree, which has been growing in a big container since it was brought home from my friend's back yard. 

After the border was built with two layers of bricks, I dumped more top and compost soils into it to raise the level of the bed.

Some purple queens were moved from other place to the bottom of the Jatropha tree (left side of the flower bed) as the ground cover.  Allamanda and one Mounding Lantana were moved to back of the bed so that I can plant some low growing plants in front of them. 

Oh, the right corner is a hummingbird stake that I put there as the decoration.  Hope someday my garden can attract true humming birds as visitors.


Since this is a full sun area, I am choosing the plants that require the full sun and more drought tolerant. 

Three different types of Agaves are planted in this flower bed.
Agave desmettiana 'Variegata'

This Agave desmettiana 'Variegata' got the frost bites during Januray freeze.  You can see those lower leaves are all clipped half way for that reason.  I am amazed how fast they have been recovering!  There are at least half dozen pups popping up around the mother plant as well!

Agave Angustifolia Variegata (Variegated Caribbean Agave )

This Agave Angustifolia Variegata (Variegated Caribbean Agave ) is not a fast grower as Agave desmettiana 'Variegata', but I see it is picking up the speed with the weather warming up.  There is no pups seen for this agave yet.

Agave lophantha hybrid (with pup shown)

This Agave lophantha hybrid has been in a container for a while.  When I took it out, I found it had one pup developed already.  A sweet surprise for me...

Existing Bulbine plants are divided into more portions to fill in the blanks between the agaves. 

I love how those yellow-orange flower spikes waving among the agave leaves. As matter of fact, I love this bulbine plant so much, and I think it deserves a post by its own. So more about this plant in a later post... 


  1. Great minds think alike. I just finished posting about a corner in MY backyard I reworked this weekend. Yours is beautiful. I think you will be very happy with it. I love the brickwork. Those bulbine are so pretty. I have four plants that haven't bloomed for me yet. I bought them in February, so hopefully, soon I will see those blooms. I look forward to you doing a post about the bulbine.

    Your lakeview is so nice.

  2. I love your new corner bed! You will have a lot of interest with so much variety in there. The paver wall you used to raise the bed adds a nice touch, as does the hummingbird stake. BTW...This reminds me that I need to move some agapanthus I planted years ago in what I didn't realize was a wet spot. Not dead yet, but it has always floundered.

  3. NanaK: Just hopped over to your garden to take a look at your new garden corner. Very beautiful! You won't be disappointed with your bulbines. It multiplies itself very easily as well, so very soon you will have a bulbines field if you allow them!

    Floridagirl: Thanks for the nice words of my new garden corner. Since I moved in, I have not got much luck with agapathus I put in different spots. I think it doesn't like full sun, nor the wet spots. I recently moved some of my agapathus into a spot I think they may like. I will see.

  4. Ami, The newly planted corner looks good. I would say it is a good idea that you have build up the garden bed,because of the wet season. I can't understand that the Agapanthus do not well, they generally like sun.
    They are tough as old boots. Perhaps it was to long to wet and their fleshy roots have rotten. They do not mind the dry for a while, once they have grown big bulbs and lots of roots. I grow some of the Agaves, thank you for the names until now they were nameless in my garden. I hope your plantings do well, it is a lovely view to the lake.

  5. Pretty bed, Ami! I like the brick border a lot! The agave looks gorgeous in this location. Nice job!

  6. Ami, I do have some agapanthus on a sandy slope that doesn't hold water, and it does very well there, full sun and all. I would imagine that shade would limit its blooms. I think it's the water it doesn't like.

  7. It looks like you're going to have a very colorful corner. The agave plants are really neat...they certainly make a statement in the garden. I've never grown bulbine before, but I like it so I guess I'm going to have to buy some :-). Great job on your flowerbed.

  8. I'm lusting afrter your agaves! That is something I definitely want to add. I love bulbine,too.It divides sooo easily.

  9. Titania and Floridagirl: Thanks for the information about Agapanthus loving the full sun. I think you both are right, the wet spots might have been the reason that killed my agapanthus.

    Titania: You are welcome about the agaves' names. I did know know either. Then I ran into a website talking about agaves with their pictures. I matched my plants with some of them. Hope the names are right, or some agave experts will correct me :)

  10. Kimberly: Thanks. Yes, I think the brick border made the flower bed more managable now.

    Susan: Thank you! The agaves are really neat, only handling them are very painful with those leaf tip needles.

    Oh, I think you will love those bulbines more when you buy it. I used them everywhere :)

    Chris: If you are nearby, I will give you some of those pups! They are really easy to grow.

    Yes, I agree bulbines are so easy to divide. I divide one big clump into 8 sections very quickly!

  11. Ami,
    You have been a busy gardener with your limited time. And thank goodness for the help with that pretty stone border. Your corner garden turned out very nicely.

    I like your combination of agaves and bulbine. That bulbine is such a treasure~~I even added some to my veggie garden this year.

    I really wish my Jatropha trees didn't get frozen back each year. I'm considering removing them for that reason. Not sure yet.

    None of my agapanthus are growing in full sun. I think they do best in partial sun ~ I'll be interested to see how yours do this year since you moved them.

    I'm researching cold hardy agaves since I want to incorporate one or two here (for the first time). I think I want one for the new berm. Lots to think about... so goes the garden brain. LOL

    Great post and beautiful new corner you created. Meems

  12. Meems: Thanks! My time is being devided more since I added blogging as one of my "hobbies"! But I think it worths it since I learned a lot from the fellow gardeners!

    Bulbine in veggie garden? Haha, you love this even more than I do! I will write another post to show how I use the bulbine plants in my garden. This is a very sweet little plant!

    My jatropha trees did not get much cold damages since it was potted in the container, and located next to a fense under the coconut tree. Since now I planted it in the ground, I don't know what it will act on next year's cold weather.

    I will keep you posed with agapathus located in the new sunny location.

    Good luck with your agave research. Among the three I have, I think Agave lophantha hybrid is the one most cold-hardy.

  13. Those agaves look so lovely, look so much like a desert rock garden.
    I wonder if you thought of putting some rock features with sand as to give that desert look.

    Hope those pups don't invade your garden into a pricky situation. (lol)

  14. Hello Ami,

    I have all of the same agave you do! They do very well in our area and can only imagine how much they will like your more humid climate.

  15. Your corner garden area looks much better with the bricks arrangement. Now, I think I want to follow too. Agave is doing well in my area too and everybody seems to be planting agave around my neighbourhood, either on the ground or in pots. When they bloom, they really make a statement.

  16. You made an awesome combination with the agaves and bulbine! I have the agave desmettiana too and hope it will survive our winters... i'll protect it if i have too. Can't wait to see how your garden matures!

  17. James: That was a great idea to make it a rocky desert looking garden corner! I actually have some bulbines grow on a rocky bed in front yard, it looks really good. I may wait for a while to see if I want to convert.

    Haha, I will try to control those pups, so that this won't become a pricky corner. I think my friend will love to have some of those pups.

    Noelle: Actually I did read one of your older posts about the agaves in your garden. Yours look awesome with gravel mulch and big space between. Too bad that I don't have much garden space to spread them out.

    Autumn Belle: Yes, I saw one of agaves in my neighbourhood in blooming, very standing out!

    RFG: Thanks! That combination kind of happened in accident, but then I saw they do look beuatifully together :) Agave desmettiana is not very cold hardy, even in my zone 10 garden. At least it should be easy to cover if it is not too tall. They have babies very fast, so very soon you can have an agave desmettiana "forest"! :)

  18. I wonder if you get the same look from your husband that I get from mine when you ask him to dig up yet one more bush.

  19. Deborah: LOL. No, I did not get the look, at least not yet. But things might change since I do want to have more bushes removed, so that I can plant more less-boring plants :)

  20. nice idea you have . putting a small garden beside your fence that's nice .any ways nice comments to . thank you for sharing a tour at your garden . I'm in to some wind spinners and garden accessories now . and am new in this . do you have any ideas to share and how advisable is this things and how it work . i hope that i can hear from you thank you and have a nice day .


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