Friday, September 7, 2012

The Old Man is Coming (or Floridagirl Worries)

"Summer afternoon ~ summer afternoon; to me those have always
been the two most beautiful words in the English language."
~ Henry James


September is in full force.  Husband and I spent this afternoon walking around the garden talking of that dread Old Man Winter, whose annual visit is growing nearer and nearer.  We made plans of trash cans and blankets and frost-cloths...and even outdoor heaters...and talked of why we should search out cold-hardy evergreen trees, which seem to be so few and far between in our Zone 9 world.  I felt the worry creeping into my soul.  Worry of the beige days of winter.  I will miss the green lushness of my garden.  I will miss the bulbs that fall into their dormancy.  Before long, my beloved curcumas will be growing sleepy.  Already, I am seeing the caladiums blinking their eyes with the lull of a winter's nap.  Hopefully, the 100 new bulbs we planted after the Caladium Festival will fool Mother Nature for a few months.  But I should not be rambling on about the Old Man, here today, on September 7th.   It will yet be many months before he arrives.  For here in Florida, summer yet lingers.  Heat, humidity, sunny days, green grass, and loads of color. 

Gloriosa lilies are one of my favorite blooms of summer.   They will bloom on and off until the days get short and the nights grow cool.

The Siam Tulips are still doing their thing, which is just being incredible and fantastic.  Yes, I am a bit partial to these Curcumas.  This specimen clearly should've been divided this past spring.  I think I could get three plants out of this clump.  I'll probably divide them up next month.

The tropicals are the plants I worry about when Old Man Winter visits.  This Medinilla was purchased not too long ago, and it was placed in a container so it can be brought into the lanai on frosty nights.

The Australian Tree Fern continually puts off its fiddleheads.  But it has turned brown in some winters past.  Please be kind this year, Old Man Winter.  There is nothing lush-looking about a brown tree fern.

And oh my, the bromeliads we have in this garden!  We have collected them to the point of insanity.  I truly don't think I could number them if I tried, and I'm having difficulty keeping up with their names, even being the nomenclature freak that I am.  I don't have a lot of winter anxiety for all of them, just those special (and very expensive) acquisitions we've made...and those ones we had the gall to place in fully exposed locations.  They will certainly be getting frost-cloth this year.  The above photo is Neoregelia 'Cotton Candy.'  I bought this in 2011.  Had to have it because of that very-unusual-for-bromeliads pink hue and, of course, for the awesome name.  She gave me several pups this summer.  Anyway, she was not really pricy, but I still wouldn't want the frost to take her away.   Yes, truthfully, I worry about each and everyone of my plants. 

And oh, the ti plant anxiety!  I know some of you think I'm crazy for planting Zone 10 plants in a clearly Zone 9 garden, but I just love these guys.  They are at least root hardy here; well, actually, they even have partially live branches after a frost.  It's just that they look so burnt and raggedy.  Above is one of my favorite ti plants, Cordyline 'Willi's Gold.'   It's been in the same spot for many, many years, so of course, I shouldn't worry, but it does take many months for it to return to glory after a frost. 

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  1. I believe you have lost your mind planting all of those Zone 10 plants in a Zone 9 garden. May the frostcloth keep Jack from nipping at your neos.

  2. Wow, worrying about winter already. I guess I would be too if I lived in zone 9 and had all of that beauty and lushness that you have surrounding you. We live in zone 10 and I am so ready for cooler weather. We do get the occasional frost and that does make things look bad. Hope you have a mild winter. It sounds like you are getting prepared and that ought to help in the anxiety dept., knowing you have this and that to help protect your gardens.

    Have a great weekend there in that bit of paradise you call home.


    1. Yeah, crazy, huh? The Arctic Blast of Jan/Feb 2010 left me scarred forever. And we have added even more tender plants since then. What were we thinking?!!

  3. Those Siam Tulips are looking so splendid. Love the Medinilla too. Hoping you have a reasonable winter.

  4. I envy your siam tulips! I have them too, but seems growing too tall and skinny, the flowers are falling down. I like the compact looking of yours.

    My Medinilla was initially put in the container afraid of the cold weather. But now I have planted it into the ground, near the house wall. Hope it will survive this winter.

    Your garden looks so beautiful and colorful. I have not updated my blog for a long time. I should make one soon :) I am a little lazy and also very busy :)

    1. Ami, I have some that look a bit spindly as well. They are a different kind. I don't like them nearly as much as the ones I'm always photographing. But they are still in the garden, because it takes me many years to totally give up on a plant, lol. The blooms are a solid pink, and the foliage is a bit narrower. I just don't think they are as vigorous.

      When I bought the Medinilla, the nursery owner kept trying to convince me that they survive found outdoors, under tree cover. But I was too chicken in the end. I paid $25 for that specimen! Not money you want to risk.

  5. I'm from southern Canada zone 5 and winter is creeping up on us too. I think though it will be quite different from yours. I enjoy southern sites to see what type of flowers are in your gardens, everything is so wonderfully different.

    1. Ha, yes, it will be a very different winter. Actually, winter to me means a frost. We have more like what you consider autumn for our winter. I hate frost! My idea of a good winter is when we get no frost or at least just a few patchy frosts. I actually gardened in Zone 7 for a few years and really, really, really miss being able to grow Japanese maples, peonies, hostas, and most daylilies.

  6. Have you tried the kiwi ti plant? Mine gets less damage than the ubiquitous red sister!

  7. Hey FloridaGirl...Check out my blog. I nominated you for the Beautiful Blogger Award. :)


Thanks for stopping by my blog. Hope you enjoyed visiting my peaceful garden. I enjoy hearing from other obsessed gardeners. Comments and questions are welcome from all.


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