"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

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My Garden: Two Years Later

I cannot believe today is already the last day of August!  With the new beginning of a school year, excessive heat, humidity and abundant mosquitos, the time I spent in the garden has been cut to the minimum recently.  Luckily, the frequent rain has been keeping my garden alive, or should I say, converting my garden into a jungle.

I am also very overdue to write my garden anniversary report.  After all, recording garden progress was the main reason that I started this blog from the first place.  By the The end of June, my garden turned to two years old!

Let me give you a tour to my garden.  Don’t worry, that won’t take long since I only have a tiny garden.  If you are interested to see how I started my garden, you can find the beginning here and one year report here.

My garden space basically is limited to the strip around my house.  Let’s start from the front yard.

Front yard was the only space that had established landscape before we moved in. After we added decorative concrete border to the flower beds and side yard, we did a front garden make over.  You can find the detail of this makeover here.

This is how it looked when it was just finished in March.


Since then, I have been adding more plants, such as bromeliads, society garlics, and some of original plants had to be moved since the Sun changed the direction in the summer, and those plants were being scorched.  Here is how it looks now.


Now move to the right (west) side of the house.  Looking toward the back yard from the front… The caladiums have started fading away.  (Note to myself:  Need to move the caladiums to a more shaded area.)


The same bed looking toward the front of the house.  From this picture, you also can see the small flowerbed in the front that circles an oak tree.  Four of my Vanda orchids are hanging on this tree.


Continue walking inside the fence of this side yard toward the back yard…

I opened this side flower bed last year.  Wow, how everything has been out growing!  I already did lots of trimming, but it still looks like a jungle.


Ground orchids are almost hidden under the Angel's Trumpet tree.


Angel’s Trumpet has been blooming on and off for the whole year.  I am not very satisfied with its shape though.  Maybe I can start another one since striking a cutting of it is super easy, and they really grow VERY FAST!  At least in my climate.


Now we are almost in the back yard.  From here, you can see how the side yard and the back yard are connected.  The path is a paved gravel path with step stones.  I still need to put more big stones on the path to level the step stones, a project that has been postponed for almost one year. 

The following are the sections of the west flowerbed of the backyard, also my biggest flowerbed.  I will show you the broad view of this flower bed later.


White Angel's trumpet is also flowering...


Can you tell why I said the weather has been turning my garden into a jungle?  Zinnias have been growing to almost 5 feet tall, blocking the flowers in the back of the bed.  I think they almost passed their peak time, and I need to remove them soon.

Here is the broad view of this flower bed.   If you compare it to the one year report post, you can find out that I have widened this flower bed to remove the remaining grass strip.


The other flower bed in the above picture that is perpendicular to the west bed has also been widened since last year.  This flower bed is parallel to the “lake” of my back yard.  The papaya trees outside of the fence were planted one and half years ago starting from little seedlings given by my friend.  Now all trees are bearing the fruits.


Different sections of this flower bed…


The bromeliads around the Christmas palm tree have been setting the pups.  I want them eventually climbing up the tree.


Again, the zinnias are too tall to fall over the flower bed.


Now here is the east (left) side of my backyard.  Still looking at the “lake”…


I already opened one corner of this side in the first year.  This is close-up view of the corner:


Then I started to remove the rest of the strip of this side in April.  The idea was using this bed partially as the vegetable garden.  My frequent readers might remember I did mention that I had a Veggie garden project in progress.  You might have been wondering why I never gave any update about that project.  Well, that was because the plan of having a partial vegetable garden failed miserably.  The Chinese Yard long beans I planted were attacked by the aphids, and died before they could produce the beans.  The string-less beans I started from seeds were also developed some decease that made the leaves looking rusty.  The eggplants seedlings could not grow bigger at all for some reason.  The only things I had some sort of harvest were tomatoes (already removed, you can see the cages in the pictures), hyacinth beans, herbs and some Chinese leave veggies. 


I think the wet and hot weather might be the one to blame, and even I already amended the soil with compost and horse manure, I think the soil might still not be ideal for the vegetables. Of course, the major reason of my failure will be the lack of experience of this gardener.   Now I even don’t know if I have the courage to try again.  Maybe fall is the good season to try?  At least I know I can always use it as the regular flower bed.

The other end of this flower bed close to the back yard has already been used to grow flowers: Gardenias, Jasmines, Rain lilies, wishbones….


Now we have finished touring the backyard.  Let's walk back to the front yard via the east (left) side of the house. 

The east side only had the bushes that builder put there.  Here is a picture of it right after the concrete border was installed in March.


Since then I have been removing the bushes one by one to open it as a new flower bed.  Here is a sneak preview of the unfinished bed:


Now I don’t know how I removed all those bushes in this hot summer.  Not counting the sweat and the mosquito bites!   I just know I am determined to remove two or three at a time before the garbage collecting days, so that the bushes could be disposed.  There still are the last five bushes to be removed at the far end, and the plants are not matured yet.  Will give another update about this bed after I finish it.

Okay, now we have come back to the front garden to conclude my garden tour.  Did I tell you that it won’t take long?  You can see I have almost opened all space I can find for my garden.  Wonder what I can show you in next year’s anniversary report…Things will be changed for sure.  That is part of the gardening fun after all!!!

I am looking forward to the cool season...  and wish I can have more time for my garden.

Happy Gardening, friends!


  1. Dear Ami ~ I love your gardens. They are colorful and lush and filled with such a lovely variety. I'd say you've done a fantastic job in just two years.

    I lost my angel trumpet this year.

    My purple ground orchids have not bloomed since I bought them. They are in the main garden and get more sun than shade.

    It is always nice to see your gardens and what you have added to them. You are an inspiration to me to keep on working in my own gardens.


  2. Oh Ami-you have done a wonderful job!Your gardens look fabulous!You should be very proud!

  3. Ami...Your garden has filled in so nicely and looks wonderfully tropical. Love the view of the lake from your pool area, and your front garden bed that leads to the front door looks very artistically designed. Everything looks beautiful!

  4. Ami, how pretty your garden is. I love the delicate pinks of the orchids and the angel trumpet. And all of your plant combinations work really well with lots of flowers and color. You did a good job of choosing plants that can deal with the heat and humidity. Kudos to you for tackling those bushes and starting over. It will be a beautiful bed next year. Thanks for the update.

  5. Ami,
    Your garden is beautiful - you have achieved so much in two years, and there are flowers everywhere! You might try to grow vegetables in the winter - that is when we grow vegetables here. Try snow peas - they are so rewarding,and don't mind a little cold weather.

  6. Jeg kom lige forbi din blog.
    Gode billeder.
    Hvor er din have smuk.
    Så mange skønne blomster.
    Tak for rundvisningen.

  7. The view around your pool has really filled in and is looking very good. I love the papayas and the fact that you're getting fruit. Pulling out those bushes was really a big job but you handled it in smaller increments which is something I need to learn to do. It is going to look great around that side with more of your lovely plant combinations. The front area is just perfect. So artistic. Thanks for keeping us updated on all the progress.

  8. It looks beautiful Ami. I love the variety of color and texture in your garden. You've made a huge improvement in two years - you should be proud.

  9. Ami -- your garden is beautiful, and each time I visit your blog, I am inspired. It keeps me revved up about my eventual relocation to South Florida. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Hi, Ami! You've worked so hard and it has really paid off. Your gardens are BEAUTIFUL! You should be so proud!!! I remember you planting some of these spaces...they have matured very nicely. Nicely done!

  11. Lovely garden.
    After seeing all your plants - it sort of gives me the zeal to tend my garden again.
    I guess it takes years to handle a little a time to make a grand look.
    I admire your trumpets and ground orchids.


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