"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

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Busy Month and The Weather My Garden Loves

April started as a busy month for me. 

First, we were preparing for parents going back to China after a six month stay with us.  It was a long and exhausting trip coming here all the way from China for their ages, so once they were here, we wanted them to stay longer.  Some of my western friends think that is very unusual for parents to stay with their grow-up children for this long time, but it is not that uncommon for Chinese families in the past.  Although now more and more Chinese families are taking the same life style as here in States, i.e., keeping the family small.   I am a mother myself now, and I know how much we are willing to sacrifice for our kids  and how hard we have worked for our kids when they are little, and my parents did the exact same for me and my sister when we were little.  Now they are in the ages that need cares from their children, and I wish I can give them more than what I can give now.  Confucius said: "While your parents are alive, do not journey afar  (父母在,不远游)".   While this becomes more and more difficult in these modern days, I understand its meaning more than ever now with parents getting older and weaker.  Not only I have journeied afar, it is across-pacific-ocean far from them!  I am happy at least I got this half year to stay with them and took care of them like they did when I was a kid...

Second, my husband is also on a trip back to China to visit his parents.  I am here alone with two boys, and this week is the FCAT  (Florida's Comprehensive Assessment Test) week!  For those Floridian parents who have kids taking the test, you know how schools make a big deal out of this.  I will be glad when this is over :)

To add on all of this, the Internet service that our community uses had some issues, so we are having on and off connections this week.  Kids need Internet to do their homework, so I had to drive them to the places that have Wi-Fi connections.  I wish we could have our choice for the Internet service provider, not stuck with the one that community has chosen for us.

With all of these going on, blogging and gardening have to take the back seats, although I have been squeezing some time to do some necessary gardening chores here and there.

The April weather in South Florida is gorgeous, the temperature has kept in middle to upper 80s for the high.  To be honest, it is a little bit too hot for me to work in the garden in the middle of the day already, but this is the weather my garden loves!

Here are some pictures I shoot recently.  Everyday there are new things occurring in the garden, and I really can not keep up with them. 

Pentas love the hot weather...

So are these Indian blanket flowers...

One early morning, I took out the long lens that I hardly use, and caught this view from my patio.  It is a merged view of the bromeliad corner and my container area at the patio.  There actually is a little gravel path between the corner and patio.  Do you see my effort of "Vertical" gardening with that bromliad wreath attached on the fence on the back?  The pink Angel's trumpet (Brugmansia) on the back was the result of my stucking a branch trimmed off my other Angel's trumpet into the ground last year.  Now it has become a small tree!

Here is the view of the west backyard flower bed looking towards the bromeliad corner, you can see both white and pink Angel's trumpets blooming in this picture.  Loving the colors shown in this picture, so Spring!

Oh, want to show you a picture of this same area that I took one month ago.  Do you see that big rosemary in front of the Orange Marmalade Crossandra?  That was a small plant in six inch container that I started from seed about one year ago.  As you know me, I can not stand any bare spot in the garden, and love to squeeze plants here and there, so I decided to stuck that young plant in that location.  Now one year later, it becomes huge, and blocked the view of the three Orange Marmalade Crossandras that are major focal point of this flower bed.  I moved the rosemary somewhere else in the garden, now it looked better :)

Mealycup sage started blooming again once the weather warmed up.  It has my favorite color of blue/purle,   I expect it will become even more prolific in the next several months.

Salvia farinacea 'Victoria Blue'
Common name: Mealycup Sage
I got this purple shooting stars from Lowes' clearance rack.  The label says full sun for it, but I found it wilted easily in the sunny location.  After I planted it in a partial shade area ( a couple of hour of sun), it has been growing quite well.  Not only I love its ability to bloom constantly,  I also love its deep green shinny leaves.
Pseuderanthemum laxiflorum
common name: Shooting Stars
I forgot to trim this Crape Jasmine bush until I saw all the fresh buds shooting out early March.  Since I prefer a more compact version of bush, I trimmed it anyway.  The result is that I had to wait for another one and half month for new buds developed, and now it finally openning the first set of flowers.  The bush is located in the center of the front garden.

Crape Jasmine
April is also the month that Desert Rose blooms its head off!

Even this hibiscus is still in a container, it blooms quite often for me.  I think it deserves a spot in my garden ground.
Hibiscus 'Jane Cowell'
This is my new Rose called "Josephine Land".  It was recommended by the nursery for its fragrance, and it is one of the varieties sold as Nelson's Florida Roses.  So I am hoping it will do well in South Florida weather as well.  So far, it looks very healthy, and has developed lots of buds recently.  Florida's hot hummid summer will be a real test for it. 

Needle flower has been growing quite big, and full of flower buds as well.  Very soon, I will be able to enjoy its 2 inch long delicate white flowers.  Hmmm, looks like I was not the only one who was enjoying its flower buds.
Augusta rivalis
Common name: Needle Flower
It gets hot outside, but this is the weather that my garden loves, so I am not complaining...

I am submitting this post to the GBBD at http://maydreamsgardens.blogspot.com/ and Fertilizer Friday at http://tootsietime.blogspot.com/.


  1. So glad you have had time to spend with your parents. It is nice that you have been able to spend a good long time with them. It is good too for your children to be able to have the benefit of hearing the life experiences of the older folks. Sometimes history comes more alive that way. Seeing the love and interaction of all the generations is also a wonderful thing.

    You have certainly kept up well in the garden during this busy time. All your plantings are growing together beautifully. Those angel trumpets are quite eye-catching. Your new rose looks so delicate and to have a great scent too is a plus.

    Enjoy this time in your life and garden.

  2. These flowers love your climate more than mine, most especially ours thrive on neglect. That red pentas my mother still don't have, i bet if she sees it in whoever's garden nearby, she will definitely ask for even a top and it will behave well too. The last dragonfly is cute also.

  3. I am happy that you and your family had this wonderful 6 months together. It seems like they just got here.

    Ami you really have a way of putting your plants together, and such a lovely selection. I'm always amazed to see what you have growing there. Your new rose is beautiful!!!

    Happy Gardening dear one ~ FlowerLady

  4. Time...the most beautiful gifts. Love all of your flowers! Beautiful.

  5. Beautiful gardens. You are so luck to have had your parents visit for such a nice time. Sometimes our kids miss so much by not having the multiple generations around.

  6. That is wonderful that you were able to take care of your parents and spend this much time with them on their journey here. I know you are sad to see them go. You certainly have a gorgeous garden. Love your blooms and the foliage. Have a nice weekend.

  7. Oh what a beautiful garden..love all your bloomers!! Stunning! So glad you got to spend time with your parents..that's the best of all!! Happy Gardening!

    Miss Bloomers

  8. Beautiful place, and gorgeous blooms. Your garden is in full swing. Have a great weekend

  9. I will have to teach that Confucius saying to my children, for I know my turn is coming. ; ) Glad that you have had such a long visit with your parents.

    You have so much interest in your garden, from the froggy planter to the brom wreath to all the pretty containers. And, oh, that desert rose is so beautiful! And those angel's trumpets are too. My garden is sadly missing one of those.

    Tell your kids good luck with the FCAT!

  10. Time is the most important gift you can give. LOVE your pictures and your blog.

  11. Hi Ami...You are very lucky to be able to spend half of the year with your parents, and I'm sure they enjoy the time very much, too. All your flowers are looking so pretty. Love those orange broms...quite stunning. Your new rose is very delicate looking....lovely. Nelson roses are the best for Florida...I think this one will do well for you. Have a great weekend now that the F-cats are over.

  12. Loved your confucious statement. The flowers in your garden are so gorgeous!
    My Fertilizer fridayHope you can visit mine too.

  13. Hi Ami,
    Oh your April garden is busting out all over the place with color and blooms. It is looking so mature and pretty. No matter how busy we are it is nice to spend our free time in the garden to re-focus and pause. So nice for your parents and for you to spend that extended time with them.

    Hope all goes well for the boys with the FCAT. And for you being a single mom for a while.


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