PHOTOS AND REMARKS FROM A PHOTOGRAPHER LIVING IN NORTH FLORIDA...........JUST CLICK ON A PICTURE TO ENLARGE IT...........TO LEAVE A COMMENT JUST CLICK ON "comments" BELOW EACH PICTURE. All pictures Copyright 2001-2015 by James T. Weekes
I brought some hollyhock seeds back from Provence last year. The plants in front of our rental were going to seed while we were there, so I grabbed a few of them. I know they don't do well in the South, but I had to try. I planted the seeds in October and got 5 plants into bigger pots by November. They shrugged off our mild winter and are now pretty big. All that's left is for them to flower. This leaf is one of the first ones and fell into a neighboring thyme plant.
These Knockout roses are a real godsend down here. They resist black spot very well and put up almost endless blooms all summer. The flowers start a hot pink and fade to a very pale pink by the time they're done. A very English look here in the tropical South.
This loquat tree was a sapling when I put it in 16 years ago. Now you can't reach most of the fruit when it bears in April. A very nice mild flavored fruit with two huge seed in each one. Now I have numerous volunteers about the yard thanks to the squirrels.
This is a tree that my wife's best friend, Lee, gave to us years ago when she lived in Winston-Salem. I always ask her it's name and I reliably forget it. It was 12 inches tall when I planted it and is now abour 30 feet tall. Every Spring it loses, or exfoliates it's bark. I exfoliated years ago so I can sympathize. The new bark is a fresh green and slowly fades to a greyish magenta. There are two close-ups below.
About 10 years ago I bought a plant called, on the tag, a bottlebrush bush. I put it in the backyard next to a Japanese maple and a gingko tree. Well the bush is now taller than either of the other two and covers itself with these flowers every Spring. As you may have guessed by now, I am not one to research which plant I'll buy. My method is 1. Go to the nursery and walk around. 2. Buy new plants without regard to remaining room in the garden. 3. Find a place for them. Seems to work.
One of the ongoing pleasures of gardening is the discovery, year after year, that you are not in control. I have many thyme plants around the lot, that I planted. This one found it's own way into a citrus planter on the dock. I have never seen seeds on my other thyme, but they flower all the time and the bees love them, so there must be seeds. It's a tough little plant, like most thyme and is in it's 6th year sharing a tub with a tangerine and a spearmint.
These three are datil peppers. They are a very local pepper here in NE Florida. When the Spanish were in St. Augustine they had a lot of people from Minorca, an island in the Mediterranean just off Spain, working for them. These people brought datil seeds with them and planted them there. They flourished. The peppers are very hot, about habanero level but have a distinct smoky flavor that you won't confuse with any other pepper. This year I have 12 datils growing and 12 assorted hot peppers from Cross Creek Nurseries in NJ.
One of the great pleasures of living in the South is this vine. It is vigorous, pest-free, loves the shade and, every April covers itself with the sweetest smelling blooms for 3 weeks. The post below shows it on my favorite arch.
I bought a small cherry tomato plant about a month ago, I forget where, and put it in the biggest pot on the dock. It has gone crazy. It fills the pot and overflows the edge and is covered with tomatoes and flowers. These are the first to change. April 17th, 2011. Sorry, Harvey and Carol.....and Jenn.
Some wise nurserywoman sold me this plant whose name escapes me. It is the first up every Spring and makes a lovely display. It is already fading. These flowers are as close as I have found to the lupines I loved in the Northeast. I believe that Texas bluebells are closer, so I'll try those next year.
This is the time of year when a garden is all possibilities. All of the Spring flowers are out, the summer flowers are just babies, the flowering bushes (gardenia) and vines (Confederate jasmine) are covered with buds and all of the vegetables look perfect. This is one corner of my garden.