Once again there never really was winter in Central Florida this year, which is a blessing in many ways because I don’t have to rush out with frost sheets to cover tender plants but it also means that before we know it the hot and steamy season is upon us. We have had lovely spring weather recently and I am hoping it continues for as long as possible! I think the azaleas flowered even earlier this year than last. The garden suddenly bursts into a riot of pink and white when they flower.
The garden around the gazebo is filling in nicely and I have planted many azaleas and camellias in here as well, so I expect this will be a wall of pink in years to come too!
The fence that you see here encircles the whole of the back garden now and should be disguised in a year or two as everything grows up. You can see how dense the woods are behind. The fence keeps the deer out and at least makes a bear think twice before heaving itself over. We did however have a panel completely bent and twisted the other day so something large was evidently trying to get in!
The roses were pruned and fed this month. I give them a cup of alfalfa also and they really seem to respond well to that. Most are in bud and ready to pop open, but Le Vesuve is the main one flowering now. I usually leave this rose to its own devices as the thorns are a bit intimidating. It is a China rose and maybe has some Tea rose heritage and actually grows better with little pruning. It is turning into a bit of an octopus but as it has plenty of room in this bed and is barely without flowers we coexist quite happily!
Another pink rose which has done quite well this winter is a climbing rose called Climbing Pinkie. It does get some black spot but grows quickly so it seems to shed leaves and grows them back again. I don’t spray any of my roses with fungicide as I like to grow everything organically so some blackspot is something I have to live with.
I’m picking a small posy of sweet peas every week now and they are really taking off with the warm weather we have been having.
I made the mistake last year of choosing a heat tolerant variety as opposed to a winter series variety that would flower earlier before the very warm weather sets in. I have been quite pleased with how this winter series is performing, but as they are only just starting to flower heavily now I might try to get them going even earlier next year. I believe these went into the ground as small plants in November. The trouble is in Florida you never know how the temperatures in autumn are going to be and October might just be too warm.
I have only dedicated a small frame to them so if I these continue to do well and flower strongly I will give more room to them this winter.
I spend a lot of time in my little cutting garden in the early morning when the sun is just beginning to peep over the trees. I’m getting impatient for everything to flower now as I was so late getting everything sown this season. Everything is very lush and green and there are one or two flowers beginning to open.
Statice is almost in flower and the Strawflower is getting huge
A few tall Snapdragon are opening (more pink!)
Anemones are on their way
Nasturtium “Moonlight” is a lovely soft yellow
This is an heirloom variety and has been another lovely winter plant
Out in the front garden I have to plant with deer resistant plants. This bed has been looking very pretty as nothing got cut back with frost so it has continued flowering right through since autumn.
Lots and lots of yellow milkweed and salvias
It is a haven for pollinators
I’ll be over in England for a visit in March so I will be anxious to see what is flowering when I get back and I will be sharing all that with you in my next post.