"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

Sunday, February 13, 2011

February Garden and Happy Valentine's Day

February is a busy month for me, and I am happy that my garden is thriving without this gardener's much help.  Thanks for warm and sunny days of this month in Florida!

This is one of my garden beds that I am very happy with right now.  This reminds me more of a spring garden than a winter garden.  It also makes me thinking that I really should take more pictures of broad views of the garden each month for the records. 

With a relative mild winter, this year the agaves did not get any frost bites.  I expect they will grow much larger this year.  Bulbine plants and Indian blanket flowers are mingled with them quite nicely.

This corner used to be a boring spot with a rain barrel nearby and a gutter downspout next to the fence.  Now the downspout extension is covered with the purple hearts (Tradescantia pallida) trailing over from the other side of garden bed, and blooming begonia flowers.  Now I found I often stop to smell the fragrance of the begonia every time I walk by.

Another begonia is in blooming...   Love two tone shades of the flower.  Pink and red, perfect for the Valentine's Day!

This geranium was bought last winter. When summer came, it barely had any leaves left under Florida heat.  I did not pull it out since I still saw the life out of it.  Now it rewards me again with the beautiful flowers.   I will plant something around it when it is ready to retreat back to the ground, so that I won't have any bare spot left in the summer garden. 

This new verbena was discovered from a local nursery.  Just love the unique shade of the flowers.  Another Valentine's color-perfect flower, don't you think?

Oh, I just can not help to bring one more ground orchid home.  I am slowly starting a small collection of ground orchids in my garden. 

I grow impatiens in the ground, as well as in the containers.  This picture contains impatiens from two adjacent containers.  Thought it is a nice combination for Valentine's Day too!

The soft pink tone on Kiwi Ti looks even more beautiful under the early morning sunshine.

I am saving the best to the last!  My first ever Amazon Lily is in blooming.  Love the pure white on this flower.  For me, sometimes the white is even more romantic than the red and pink.

Amazon Lily
Eucharis grandiflora

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Happy Chinese New Year

Today, February 3rd,  is the Chinese New Year Day according to the lunar calendar.  It is the Year of the Rabbit.  If you were born in 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987 and 1999, you could be a "Rabbit". 

The new year day of the last year, the Year of the Tiger was coincident with the Valentine's Day, I did a post about the auspicious plants used in China for new year celebration here

This year, my parents are here with me and my family.  Last time we spent the Chinese New Year together was eight years ago when they were also visiting us in the States.  I treasure the time we have with them, and I know it is very precious since kids still have the school around Chinese New Year, and we usually can not go back to China to visit them this time of the year.

I thought it would be nice to share the joy with my friends using the flowers from my garden. What else could be more appropriate for a gardener to express her happiness?

This Vanda is the Christmas Gift I received from my family.  It was the last to bloom, and it is so worth the waiting!  Although it is not as sky-blue as described by the seller, I love it!

Vanda Sawita 'blue'
My Bromeliad corner I started last June has been filled in quite nicely.  In my eyes, they are as beautiful as flowers.

I transplanted this begonia from the container to the ground after they were done flowering, and now they are taking off again, with more prolific blooming!  The nice scent it sends out in the morning is another bonus.

Begonia Odorata Var. Alba
Burbine's small flowers may not be that significant, but I just love their carefree characters, and the frost/cold front did nothing to them. 

While I am still searching up and down for those great rose performers in Florida, such as 'Louis Philippe' and 'Belinda's Dream', I am enjoying the flowers from my hybrid tea roses.  They love this weather much better than our hot and humid summer.

Perfume Delight

Perfume Delight

Double Delight
My Pink Angel's trumpet (Brugmansia) has been putting on her best show ever since I stuck a cutting into the ground last summer.  Their nice scent fills the night air so delightfully.

This blue Butterfly (Clerodendrum ugandense) plant in the container has been opening more flowers recently.  I really need to find a spot in the ground for her.  They do look like butterflies!

Oh, I think every Florida Garden should plant this Indian Blanket Flower (Gaillardia pulchella).  I started them from seeds, and once they were established, they just could not stop flowering.  Drought/heat/cold tolerant, beautiful flowers, what else you can ask for a plant?

This cape honeysuckle was a newly acquired plant.  I just can not resist its brilliant red/orange flowers when I first spotted it in a local nursery.  Now I have done some research, it seems this could grow quite big if left unprunned.  Or I am hoping its cultivar is 'Apricot', a smaller and more compact one than the one with yellow flowers ('Aurea' ).  Anybody has experience to grow this honeysuckle?

Tecomaria capensis
Common Name: cape honeysuckle
Family: Bignoniaceae

Happy Chinese New Year to anybody who celebrates it!  For the rest of you, hope you enjoyed the flowers from my winter Florida Garden!
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