"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

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Here Comes the Rain!

I think the raining season finally comes to South Florida!  The past week, almost everyday we got some rain, enough kept my garden watered.  Everything looks more lush and green, including grass.

Rain lilies (Zephyranthes) opened after a good rain.  I only had one rain lily last year, and this year I bought one small pot from my favorite nursery, and came home found there were more than two dozen of bulbs packed in!  I planted them on the border of my flower bed.  They were still quite young.  Expecting next year they can really make the show when they multiply more and open flowers all together.


Meems at Hoe and Shovel got me hooked on caladiums with her beautiful caladium pictures in her garden.   I do not have much shade or partial area in my garden, but I still managed to squeeze about 75 bulbs into different flower beds and containers. 
I think this is ‘Florida Cardinal’.  

Meems also sent me some of her favorite ‘Miss Muffet’ caladium.  They blend in the Bromeliad corner so nicely .  Just love the texture and the color! Thanks, Meems! 
I need to buy more of these.  This year it was sold out on the online store when I was ready to put the order.
The same bromeliad corner from another angle.  The white caladium in the distant is ‘White Christmas’.

Don’t know what is the name of this caladium.
This is what happened when you bought those “mixed” packages, and had no idea what would come up when you planted.  Maybe I should sort them out before they disappear to the ground this fall, so that I can have more planned color arrangement next year.

Although I don’t mind this combination in the container…

Firespike (Odontonema strictum) is setting lots of flower scapes.  Hope I can see hummers visiting this one soon.

Self seeded white Zinnias and pink Vincas are becoming a nice combination in this flower bed.

I tucked different types of house plants into this container and now it mixes with all different textures and colors together quite nicely.    Sometimes simply throwing something together might not be a bad thing.


Yay!  Finally I got several shots of a Monarch butterfly on my Zinnias!  Not very clear shots, but I was so happy that I finally found some butterfly other than ‘White Peacock’ visiting my garden, and I was able to capture it in my picture.

More Siam tulip flowers…


Now we have more rain, Ground orchids are picking up the speed to shoot more flower scapes.


It is nice to see this Griffinia liboniana is reblooming! 


My family is going away for a two week vacation starting this weekend.  We are going to visit YellowStone, Grand Canyon and other national parks in the West.  Kids are excited, and me too!

This raining season came just in time, so that I don’t need to worry too much about my garden.

If I don’t post again before I go, Happy 4th of July, and Happy Gardening, my friends!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Blue Lips and Other Flowers

This Sclerochiton harveyanus, also known as ‘Blue Lips’, was one of two plants I got from Member’s Day at Flamingo Gardens this year.  I will post the other plant later when it flowers.

Can you guess why I chose this plant?  Yes, it is blue, my favorite color!  Also, it has such unusual flower shape as well.  Plus, this tropical shrub attracts hummingbird and butterflies.  I planted it in a partial shade location.
Sclerochiton harveyanus

Three Aechmea blanchetiana 'Orangeade' are shooting flower scapes for the first time!  They are also all setting the pups.  Hope they won’t set too many pups for me to handle.


This year Ground orchids did not bloom as prolific as last year, or maybe they are taking time.

Rose bushes are not flowering under the South Florida sun, but the zinnias planted in front of them are not minding the blazing sun at all!


More Zinnias are planted in this flowerbed.  I have redone this bed a couple of months ago when trying to find a location for my Belinda’s Dream Rose. 


The same bed from another direction…

Can you see the Belinda’s Dream next to the Purple Fountain grass?  It has healthy leaves, but no flowers either.   This bed gets truly full sun in my garden, from sunrise to sundown.  Maybe too much even for the rose?


In front of the Belinda’s Dream, I planted a fern like Chartreuse colored plant.  The nursery owner said it is called “Pallaia”, but I could not find any image with this name matching the plant.  Maybe I got the wrong name.

This is the closeup look of this plant.  I love it can take the full sun, and the chartreuse color.  The texture of the leaves is also very airly.  It was said that it will keep this short, and I think it will be a perfect companion plant to the rose bush.  Anybody recognizes this plant?  (Update:  Rick Brown identified this plant as Artillery Fern, or Pilea microphylla.  Thank you, Rick! )


Another plant I recently purchased, but with no name tag.  I thought I saw this one from somewhere, but just could not remember the name.


My first Siam Tulip (curcumas) flower this year!  As a relative new gardener, it is still fairly new thing to see the plants that died to the ground last year emerges in the Spring, and opens the beautiful flowers once again!

Medinilla cumingii is opening more and more flowers.  Most of them are not fully opened yet.

I put it in a big container in a partial shade area in the front garden.  It has grown a lot since I got it last year.  Here is how it looks with other containers in my front door entry way.  All those colors are coming together quite nicely.  It is fun to play with containers combination.

This is the first blog post I wrote using Windows Live Writer.  Although I think I still need to get used to it, but I started loving it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Blogger Challenge and Hooray for the Rain

I have been having issues with commenting certain blogger sites for a couple of weeks now.  I could not leave any comments on those blogs that use "Embedded below post" as Comments setting.  I read over the Internet that lots of people are having the same issue, and seems it is an issue of Blogger.  I still can leave comment if you have the comments setting as "Full page" or "Pop-up window".

Today, I finally had time to try using Google Chrome to visit those sites with "embedded below post" setting, and was able to leave comments!  Unfortunately, not every computer I use outside of the home has Google Chrome installed.  I really have missed leaving comments on my favorite blogs.  

South Florida has been in drought condition for quite a while now.  I had to hand water my garden almost everyday to keep it happy.  With a busy schedule and hot hot summer temperature, dragging the hose all over the garden really becomes chore for me.  I almost do not have much time left to actually enjoy the garden.

For the last a couple of days, finally we got some rain, not enough, but better than nothing.  Hooray for the rain!!!

Before I end this quick post, I thought I can share some of flowers in my summer garden that I have not got time to share. I did not take much pictures recently, and hope with more rain coming, my garden could look more beautiful, and I will have the desire to take lots of pictures again.

portulaca double with Red star, Caladium in containers

caladiums and ornamental sweet potato vines

Lemon Lime Warneckii

Datura metel
(Devil's trumpet)

Arabian Jasmine

Miss Muffet caladium

Sun flower


Mealycup sage and purple fountain grass
I wish more rain will come my way!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Singing the Zinnia Song

Zinnia was one of those very first plants I have grown even before I claimed myself as a gardener. When we were selling our previous house, I bought one 18-pack of zinnias from a big box store to give the yard some instant color. Notice I said “yard” instead of “garden” because there were almost no plants in my previous house except some bushes. The only thing I did was just planting them in several containers and watering them. They just bloomed non-stopping.

Even after we moved into the new house, they kept blooming for me for another couple of months. Any plants can perform that well with little attention is a big plus for a non-gardener like me at that time. Next year, I found some free seedlings from that same zinnia in the garden. Since then I have bought a couple of more Zinnias with different colors from big box store. I loved them all even they might look very simple compared to so many other plants in my garden.

Early this year, I bought a pack of Burpee's Zinnia Elegans "Candy cane red on white" seeds, and planted.

When seedlings came up, I am surprised that the leaves are much broader than all the ones I had bought from the big box stores. The seedlings grew quite fast, and when it was the time to transplant, the big size of seedlings made it very easier to handle. Now the plants started developing the buds, and they are giving me more surprises with every opening flower.

Some came in red/white stripes as expected, with some variations on the colors:

Some came in different solid colors:

Most of them are 4 inch double flowers, but some came in small size with single layered flowers:

The flowers hold higher on the stems, and last for more than a couple of weeks, which made them great cutting flowers.  They thrive in the South Florida full sun, which is another character I love about this plant!

Recently I received some more American Elegans Zinnia seeds from my blog friend (thanks, Meems!). The seedlings are almost ready to be transplanted. These seeds are supposed to be multi-colored. I am sure that I will have a lot more to expect, and my garden will be so colorful with all these giant flowers dotted everywhere.

So, expect me singing the Zinnia song all Summer long, and well into the Fall!
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