The Courtyard Garden



On a previous post I showed you a shady path on the right of the property leading to an iron gate in the wall.  On the other side of the house is another gate which leads into a graveled courtyard.  I’ve been posting a few photos of this courtyard on Instagram recently, so I thought I would follow up with a short description.



This little area was created when we added on a bedroom addition to the house over what was just a rather plain area of grass at the end of a driveway.  It has become a perfect secluded spot.  The whole area is covered in pea gravel with stone edged flower beds around the perimeter.  Depending on where the sun hits, I can actually grow a whole spectrum of plants here depending on whether there is sun or shade.



The entrance here is festooned in a huge arch of Confederate Jasmine which is unbelievably fragrant in the spring.  I have planted a climbing rose to wind its way up through it – Souvenir de la Malmaison, a Bourbon rose dating from 1893.  She was slow to take off but is now starting to grow.  I’m hoping that the pink and white combination will be pretty next spring.


The beds which face south and get the sun for most of the day are a tumble of perennials, mainly Angelonia and Evolvulus Blue Daze.  There are some Daylillies in here somewhere and some yellow Coreopsis, but I think they have become engulfed!  There is also a splash of pink here from La Marne Rose which is just beginning another flush.





I have a lot of pots and containers here right by the steps to the door.  Everything has grown so much with the heat and afternoon rain that it is hard to see where the containers end and the beds begin, but somehow it seems to work and it has that typical English garden exuberance to it!










Dwarf Allamanda

I can’t say I really have a color scheme out here but there is definitely a multitude of yellow, blue and purple plants with a touch of orange too.  It looks good over the summer and helps transition into autumn.  I have used Dwarf Allamanda, Firebush, Dwarf Sunflowers, trailing Lantana and Scaevola in these pots.


Against the entry wall there is a lot more shade and the plants are quite different.  I have some Limelight Hydrangeas under the olive tree and this summer I have added some Hostas too.  Thanks to the lovely Janice and her garden blog, Gardening Outside the Lines I learned that I could actually grow them in Florida.  I used to have a whole collection when we lived in North Carolina and I have missed growing them.


Limelight Hydrangea

The olive tree grows over this wall and somebody likes to hide in its branches

If you ever wonder why this blog is named as it is, it is because this is really Oliver’s garden and I am just its caretaker!


Oliver the Grey Tabby

The other plants which spill over this wall into the sunshine are my lovely but boisterous Noisette rose, Crepuscule and an equally enthusiastic Pyracantha or Firethorn.  I have posted photos of Crepuscule before and currently he is sulking from a drastic haircut in readiness for fall so I hope you will forgive me for showing another one, and one where he is in all his glory!


As for Firethorn, I know this is a really popular plant to grow against a wall in England and I tried one here, thinking that it wouldn’t survive too well.  It has actually exceeded all expectations and I can’t seem to contain it.  It is currently loaded with berries which will turn red in the winter and cause a massive influx of Robins and Catbirds which strip it in a matter of days!  The show is nice while it lasts!


I have it espaliered to the wall where it is growing around the stained glass window.


Firethorn Berries

Against the other part of the shadier wall I have a mixture of Gardenia, Agapanthus, Camellias, Yellow Shrimp Plant and Birds Nest Ferns, with a few other fillers and creepers.


There is just enough morning and evening sun here for things to flower, but not enough to burn delicate plants.  Most of the Camellias I grow are Sasanqua Camellias which flower from about November.  This one I have had about a year and I am hoping to grow this on the wall too.  It is loaded with buds!


I just noticed the fuzzy outline of a little lizard on one of its branches which is probably why this happened a few moments later…..


No comment…

I love these old garden urns.  Well I say old, they aren’t really but they have aged with lichen so nicely I like to think they are antique!



Shrimp Plant


Birds Nest Fern

The little sitting area is lovely in the morning when the sun hasn’t quite reached it and again in the evening when it has dipped below the oak trees.


That’s a little lemon tree in the corner there


View from the guest bedroom



The tree in the background there is a Loquat tree which, if you live in the South, you know already.  I love mine growing in the corner here and it has the most beautiful orange fruit.  This fruit is supposed to be delicious but, just when it is ripe, it disappears overnight….every last drop!  Same with anything else edible around here.  I haven’t identified the culprit yet but I suspect it is grey with a bushy tail or grey with a mask around his eyes.  Luckily whoever it is doesn’t like lemons!

16 thoughts on “The Courtyard Garden

  1. Hi Kate. What a lovely collection of plants you have in your courtyard! Sasanqua camellias are one reason I do welcome fall, I’m anticipating their beautiful blooms. I have a few shade loving Japonicas, but I prefer the less constrained growth of the Sasanquas.
    It was a delight to see another area of your gardens, everything looks so lush. Glad you got some hostas started. Hope you have a great weekend…happy gardening.


    1. Thank you so much Janice! Hopefully those hostas will be happy and flourish. Happy gardening to you too, hopefully not too much longer before we can say it is finally fall! 😊


  2. Hi Kate, Oliver’s garden is completely charming. I love the mix of plants you have, and the aged pots, the gravel courtyard, the fountain and all the stone work give an old world feel. The confederate jasmine arch is fabulous, and I know how wondrous the fragrance is. I have an arch covered with it, and it is fabulous when it blooms. I had not thought to plant a rose with it, but I love the idea. I have read good things about Souvenir de la Malmaison, and perhaps I should give it a try.


    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comments! I will have to let you know how the rose and jasmine work out together…I’m hoping that it doesn’t get too smothered by the jasmine, so I think I will have to keep an eye on it and make sure that I keep pulling it to the front. Hopefully come spring I will have some good photos to post!


  3. Hmm it appears like your blog ate my first comment (it was
    extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up
    what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
    I too am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to the whole thing.
    Do you have any recommendations for rookie blog writers?
    I’d really appreciate it.


    1. Hi Brigette! Thanks for visiting and I’m so sorry the silly spam filter ate your comment! It’s actually driving me crazy and as I am new to WordPress I’m not sure what to do about it! I’m new to blogging myself but I do enjoy it. My only advice would be to be authentically you and to write about what inspires you. Instagram is also a great way of connecting with likeminded people.


  4. I’ve so enjoyed your posts, and it’s fascinating to see the heat-tolerant plants from a considerably moister garden. (I had better not extrapolate too much!) Such a lovely classic garden…! The jasmine and rose sound like a wonderful combination; I’ve not grown climbers very much and need some inspiration… 😉


    1. Hi Amy! I’m so glad I found you in the spam folder! I know we were talking on Instagram today about the interface between blogger and wp being annoying. Thank you so much for visiting and I appreciate your lovely comments. I have really enjoyed that big jasmine arch and I hope that the rose winding its way up there will be a success! Many things I try don’t always work out but I like a challenge! Can you grow climbing roses well where you are? Im sure that you wouldn’t have the same disease problems that we do. I tried to leave another comment on your blog post but no success as yet… I’ll keep trying!



  5. How lovely to be able to pop in and visit your lovely garden through your blog! It’s fascinating to see and read about a garden in another part of the world. I look forward to coming back soon.


    1. Thank you so much Jane! I too love looking at lovely gardens from all over the world and find it really fascinating. Hope you are having a lovely holiday. It will be very autumnal when you get back to England no doubt!


  6. Kate, oh, Kate – I am drooling (behind my serviette of course, haha)! Oliver has the most lovely garden and your home is just like a magazine shoot! You have truly captured an English feel with yet a tropical vibe in the courtyard – I love it! I keep trying for a bit of English garden, but I think I’ve ended up with a Bohemian thing going. Anyway, I enjoy reading your blog and looking at your beautiful photos! I love the one with Oliver being a bit naughty! Happy Autumn! (‘ll see if I can find you on IG)


  7. Good morning ~ I came here from ‘Gardening Outside the Lines’ blog by Janice. It is a real treat to read another FL gardening blog.

    Your gardens, blooms and home are lovely. Thank you for sharing and I look forward to seeing more.

    Happy Fall ~ FlowerLady


    1. Thank you so much for your visit! I’m glad you enjoyed it and it was lovely to share with another Florida gardener. I visited your blog too which was very lovely. You are wonderful creative with your beautiful beadwork- really delightful. I loved your little kitten that appeared too. I hope it continues to build trust and become a lovely companion for you.


  8. What a lovely garden you are keeping for Oliver. I do hope he appreciates your efforts on his behalf. I think the Blue Daze are going to get a lot bigger than the space you have provided them. Your lemon tree is much bigger than mine but I need to be able to drag it into the greenhouse on really cold nights because I’m further north. Loved those stacked stones that hold up your gate — so attractive — the whole house is wonderful.


    1. Hi Linda! Thanks so much for visiting. I really appreciate your kind comments! Yes, Oliver should definitely appreciate me for looking after things for him! Although, he does seem very content! Aren’t the Blue Daze just wonderful plants?! If we get a freeze they get knocked back pretty severely which I think keeps them under control but I wouldn’t be without them. Have a lovely gardening week!



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