Sometimes you have to look quite hard to find any signs of autumn in Central Florida. Steamy weather gradually gives way to warm and drier days and there is a whisper of coolness in the early mornings. It is a beautiful time of year and if we are lucky there will be no cold snap until January. This gives us a lovely long growing season throughout the remainder of the year. All my tropical foliage has doubled in size this summer with the daily thunderstorms and heat.
This area under some water oak trees is at the front of the house and leads down to the shady path on the left. There is a whole tangle of plant material under here including gingers, gardenias, tree ferns and philodendron. A sure sign of autumn is how huge and dense all this has become, some of it is well over head height!
Often a slight rustle in the bushes announces a visitor. We do sometimes get bears in the garden which can be a little alarming but also quite thrilling. Black bears are quite active at this time of year as they are foraging and fattening up. This visitor was however a young buck which appeared out of the foliage.
He was very handsome and did not seem to mind me admiring him!
In autumn the purple fountain grass in the front garden really comes into its own. When the early morning or evening sunlight catches it, it glows with a lovely movement of mauve, red and bronze. Autumn crowns it with its feathery seed heads.
I love it here with a little hint of blue Plumbago behind. Grasses are such a wonderful addition to any autumn garden but they serve double duty for me because it is one type of plant material that the deer do not eat!
In the back garden, where the deer can’t reach, a long wet season has also given rise to a lot of growth.
This raised border is also well over head height now and is full of various palms, Heliconia, Thryalis, Firebush and a tiny hint of red from the Florida Cracker Rose. Behind all that growth on the right hand side is a waterfall which leads to a pond and which I will show you on another post.
I spent the best part of two weeks in England this month and then had another quick trip to Mississippi, so I have been scurrying to catch up in the garden. One thing that I usually do at this time of year is to refresh all the pots and planters. Sometimes this involves taking everything out entirely and starting over or sometimes it just needs a little refresh with plants that look more autumnal.
The little sitting area by the front door which I have shown you on a previous post needed a complete refresh as many of those plants had been in there since early spring.
I love to find plants for these terra-cotta containers that are bright and colorful and can also transition into Christmas. The little ornamental peppers are wonderful for this as they look like little christmas lights.
For autumn I mix them up with Crotons, Zinnias, Marigolds, Coreopsis and a few fillers of herbs which the deer don’t like. Others have Crossandra and the lime colored Duranta for a tangerine and lime explosion!
I love to plant with herbs and use many different types. They are easy to raise from seed and pop into a container or basket and they smell so good too. In one part of my side garden I have a small and formal vegetable/herb garden. It has only been in about a year so I am still waiting for the box hedging to grow around it and enclose it. Two of the raised planters are usually given over to various herbs, mainly rosemary,oregano, parsley, mint and basil.
As I have been gone quite a lot this summer, I pulled out all the tomatoes when they had finished early this summer and the other three planters just got a top dressing of compost. I’m trying something different with these this autumn and have actually sowed flower seeds in each one. I did this before I left for England in September and hoped that there would be enough rain to help the seeds germinate, which they did, and they were up and quite big by the time I got back. Nothing too fancy in these, just Zinnias, Calendula and Cosmos. My sister in England has such a wonderful cutting garden and has taken many courses there which helped her grow all the table flowers for a family wedding in July. As our weather in autumn is similar to a hot English summer I hoped there would be enough time for me to grow some too. It’s an experiment but I like to try something different!
Oliver the grey tabby decided to roll around in the middle one so it had to be replanted! Hopefully they will be up soon! The little citrus trees you see in pots there are a mixture of Limes and Kumquats. The limes are just beginning to ripen.
If you peep through the pool screen there you can just see a sitting area inside. This is an outside fireplace which we love in the winter time. In the summer I use it for many of my orchids and ferns.
By Autumn I like to decorate it a little even though we won’t be lighting it for a while!
I have lots of plans and projects for the next few months, both inside and out and some more travel too. I also have a lovely garden to show you in England that I visited. See you soon and Happy Gardening wherever you are!