Monday, March 17, 2014

Monday, February 24, 2014

Fort Lauderdale Gardening Club's Secret Garden Tour

Ok so I have to put it on the line here...first of all I want to note that this originally started out as a very long snarky sarcastic yet critically negative post of my Saturday and the bijiggity people I met along the way.  Though half way through, realized I was only mirroring the negative people I met on the garden tour today.  I mean really...aren't gardening people supposed to be nice and welcoming?  Aren't we supposed to be a happy bunch?  Deciding being the nice person I am is the way to post, I needed to just let it go plus no one needs any additional negativity in their lives.   So I revised the previous post to this condensed version of my experience, though somewhat still snarky, a tiny bit critical and nonetheless disappointed I have to be honest with how I feel.  Ok here goes, in my opinion the "Fort Lauderdale Gardening Club's annual Secret Garden Tour" Saturday was a total a waste of time...my tiny third of an acre property has more to offer than the multi-million dollar landscapes I saw Saturday.   There I said it and boy I feel better.

This was my first time attending this event and I was really looking forward to it for a year now.   I have been on garden tours in Atlanta (those are some real gardens!) and Miami Beach so I was super excited to see what Ft. Lauderdale has to offer.  Were my expectations high?  Sure, wouldn't yours be too?  All I got was a glossy pamphlet, disappointed and old lady attitudes.  This "garden tour"...pshhhaw...tsk, all for nothing I say, what a bust!  I wish I could show you pictures of these landscapes (I wouldn't even begin to call them gardens) just so you could see what I saw but alas they did not allow photographs (by the way no where on their website or info does it say no photographs).  Well at least I got to practice my drawing skills on the envelope my ticket came in, lol.  I had a better time just driving through the neighborhoods taking pictures of other peoples extremely nice landscapes and well design gardens...so I will call this The Un-Garden Tour Extravaganza of 2014.   LMAO!
I will now proceed to show you some landscapes not on this tour.
Thank you to those who un-participated, lol.
 
   
My sketch of a few design ideas
My sketch of a few design ideas

Here's the thing...I don't mind that parking at every house was a pain in the arse (it is a garden tour plus I can only imagine what the neighbors thought in these exclusively private communities) or
that people came to a complete stop along a pathway to stare at something or chatter away (we all like to admire things) or
that most of the houses were grandiose compared to their greenscape (some things are just more important to others) or
that no pictures were allowed inside the homes (it is a garden tour right?) or
that I was the youngest person there (no problem, I respect my elders until today...I really dislike the pretentiously disgruntled) BUT....

What I did mind was that you couldn't take pictures of the landscapes at all, as I heard a volunteer say "to respect their privacy" (their house is on a garden tour right?) and
that three of the five properties were all patio, driveway and zero lot lines (where's the garden?) and
only one house actually had a real plant collection (thank you Botanical Concepts) and
the volunteers were selective about who they spoke to or whether they chose to greet you at all (whatever) and
that drivers as well as pedestrians had no idea the rules of the road (need to go back to driving school ) but
what really set my awful day off, was at the very end of my frustrating "you can't take pictures" day, a miserable barnacle of an old lady volunteer was extremely rude to me for no reason of which I will not get into because it was old lady stupid nonsense.

Am I disappointed?  You better believe it!  Can I get over it?  Yeah.  Would I ever go again?  Not on your life!  Is it time to start a new movement in garden clubs and gardening tours?  You bet your sweet ass!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Oh February, how I heart you!

February is the time of year I think I love the most...it's when Spring has sprung, birds are singing their most romantic songs, plants are beginning to bloom their best flowers for our viewing pleasure, love is in the air with St. Valentine, the weather is sunny and cool and well of course the best part is my birthday (the 18th)!  Yippee for me!  :)

Nothing grandiose to write home about lately, just trying to get back into the swing of things after being sick with the flu for so long. Since the weather here in South Florida has been perfect to start planting, many of our landscape jobs came in during my down time, so we have been playing catch up with our schedule.  I think being cooped up inside forced my plant fever to flourish.  While I am at the nursery's picking up plants for our clients, I am also a few for me too, hee hee.  I am currently redesigning our front island and will be posting on the progress soon so stay tuned.

In the meantime here are a few things in our neck of the woods today...
Just perfect for Valentines Day...coleus, bloodleaf & alocasia 'lutea'
 
One of our new additions: colocasia 'blue Hawaii"...super saturated colors in the light!

Ornamental bananas, aloe blooms, dracena 'lemon-lime'
and green wart ferns growing as ground cover.

Yes, you are seeing correctly, this "lost-tag" orchid is growing upside down in
our simpson stopper tree but it's still producing beautiful flowers (top right).
Lower right is one of our air plants blooming.
Where ever you may be in the world, I wish you lots of love on this St. Valentine's Day!
Happy Gardening and enjoy your weekend!
Sheri
xoxo

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Butterfly Gardening in South Florida

I have to preface the below post was written last week and yes I eventually ended up with the flu so I didn't get to finish it until now...see where bragging gets you, sick, lol.


After a long weekend with our friends up in Melbourne Beach we have resorted to being quarantined here at the house due to the flu...boooo.  Thank goodness for social media to find out who in the group is next in line to get this highly contagious cold...blach!  Luckily for moi, I seem to have been spared (so far) though I do not want to be the one to blame as the carrier of the cold, so I am here with you blogging, yea for me hee hee.  
Melbourne Beach, Fl.
Here in South Florida (So'Flo) we are finally enjoying the cold weather for a decent period of time.  Soon to be adding a third week of 40-70 degree weather to our locale, yippee!  Though I know our lovely winter weather will soon turn into Spring where temperatures stay relatively in the 70's for a few months.  They will then jump up to the 80's and before you know it we are in the Summer months of 90+ degrees.  Now that it's chilly and you're sitting inside with a tasty hot beverage in hand why not start planning a beautiful butterfly garden!  

Butterfly gardens are so easy to do, cost efficient, can be adapted to an existing landscape and/or can be a container garden.  I will always remember the day I came home from work a few years back to find our new neighbor standing along our adjoining side yards looking up.  We said our hello's, then with a huge smile on her face says, "I was just standing here watching all the butterflies flying around in your yard.  I am so amazed at how many different butterflies there are!  I am inspired, how did you do that?"  I laughed as I replied, "all I did was plant the plants they like and they showed up."  Yes, that is how easy a butterfly garden can be, all you need are plants and a plan.

There are some very tried-&-true plants which will always bring butterflies to their flowers, like the firebush (hamelia patens), jatropha integerrima (peregrina), wild coffee (psychotria nervosa)/Bahama coffee (psychotria ligustrifolia), native milkweed (asclepias incarnata) and desert cassia (senna polyphylla).  Though the most important factor to remember for a successful butterfly garden is to have nectar plants for their food as well as host plants for them to lay their eggs on and to eat once they hatch into caterpillars.  
From top left to right: desert cassia tree, swamp milkweed with
monarch butterflies, spicy jatropha tree & firebush with zebra
longwing butterflies.
So like any well designed plan the first thing you need is a location for your new butterfly garden.  You could either have a designated butterfly garden where all the plants are in the same area.  Or you could add a few plants here and there throughout your landscape. Or if you are an apartment/condo dweller then a container garden is the way to go.  Or all of the above.  My first butterfly garden I did what most people do, have a designated area in the landscape filled with a handful of small butterfly plants.  What I found out was I ended up with alot of caterpillars all at one time, who ate all the plants all at one time, cocooned all at once then hatched into hungry butterflies looking for food.  Basically the plants didn't have enough time to grow back their flowers for the arrival of new butterflies.  So I would scramble to buy more plants and the insanity started all over again.   I lamented to my Mom who already had quite a few years of butterfly gardening under her belt and she suggested an alternative....have small vignettes of plants throughout the yard with a larger variety of plants, the butterflies know there are other food sources and will seek them out.  This way all their eggs aren't laid on one food source.  So when the time came to redesign our landscape I did my research on larger butterfly plants, trees and shrubs to add in with the smaller plants.  Viola, a perfect balance of food sources for a variety of butterflies!
The top left giant swallowtail caterpillar is on our wild lime and the butterfly to the right 
of it is on a purple porterweed we used to have. The black swallowtail caterpillar 
in the lower left is on our dill & the black swallowtail butterfly picture is 
from Stephanie Sanchez's website.
So what I did here is give you a list of So'Flo butterfly plants that I believe do very well here.  Yes, most of them are native but how else will you attract native wildlife, right?  I categorized the butterfly plants into groups which will help you decide on the right plant for the right location.  You should also make sure the plants you choose will grow in your area by finding your location on the hardiness zone chart.
For the monarch butterflies, milkweeds are their "must-have" plant, you can find what kind of milkweeds do best in your area here...http://monarchjointventure.org/images/uploads/documents/Milkweed-info-sheet.pdf

Host Plants for South Florida Butterfly Gardens 
Herbs, Vegetables & Fruits
Avocado
Basil
Cabbage
Citrus
Dill
Fennel
Mango
Mints
Mustards
Parsley
Rue

Flowering Plants, Ground Cover & Shrubs
Asters
Canna lily
Cudweed- Gamochaeta pensilvanica
False Nettle – Boehmeria cylindrica
Indigoberry- Randia aculeata  Sphinx moth
Frog Fruit – Lippia nodiflora
Grasses
Hibiscus – Hibiscus denudatus
Hollyhocks
Legume family
Mallows
Orange sesbania – Sesbania punicea
Partridge Pea – Chamaecrista fasciculata
Pearly-everlastings – Gnaphalium
Shrimp plant (green)– Blechum brownei
Spanish needles- Bidens alba
Snapdragon – Antirrhinum major
Sunshine mimosa- Mimosa strigillosa
Swamp milkweed- asclepias incarnata
Western peppergrass- Lepidium montanum
White clover- Trifolium repens
Wild Coffee- Psychotria nervosa
Wild lime- Zanthoxylum fagara

Trees
Bahama Cassia- cassia chapmanii
Biscayne prickly ash- Zanthoxylum coriaceum
Black Cherry- Prunus serotina
Black Ironwood- Krugiodendron ferreum
Coontie- Zamia integrifolia
Desert Cassia- Senna polyphylla
Hackberries – Celtis
Locust berry- Byrsonima lucida
Oaks – Quercus
Pawpaw – Asimina triloba
Red bay – Persea borbonia
Sassafras – Sassafras albidum
Sweet Bay – Laurus nobilis

Vines
Corkystem passion flower vine- Passiflora suberosa
Passion-vines – Passiflora
Pipevines – Aristolochia
From left to top right: an orange-barred sulphur butterfly emerging from it's
chrysalis, a polydamas catterpillar on our Dutchman's pipe vine, a gulf
fritillary butterfly just out of its chrysalis & a spanworm on 'snow-on-the-mountain'
bush which will turn into a small white-tipped black moth.
Nectar Plants for South Florida Butterfly Gardens
Flowering Plants, Ground Cover & Shrubs
Alliums (onion family)
Aster
Beach verbena- Glandularia maritima
Beautyberry - Callicarpa americana
Bee balm / Bergamot - Monarda didyma
Black eyed Susan- Rudbeckia hirta
Blanket Flower- Gaillardia pulchella
Blazing Star or Slender Gayfeather- Liatris gracilis
Blue Porterweed – Stachycarpheta jamaicensis & S. utricifolia
Bloodberry- Cordia globosa
Butterfly Bush – Buddleia davidii
Butterfly Sage – Cordia globosa
Butterfly weed – Ascelpias tuberosa
Buttonbush- Cephalanthus occidentalis
Common Snowberry- Chiococca alba
Cone flower- Echinacea purpurea
Coral honeysuckle – lonicera sempervirens
Cosmos – Cosmos bipinnatus/ Cosmos sulphureus
Elderberry- Sambucus canadensis
False heather – Cuphea hyssopifolia
False indigo- Amorpha fruticosa
Firebush – Hamelia patens
Firespike – Odontonema stricta
Golden dewdrop – duranta repens
Heliotrope - Heliotropium arborsecens
Hibiscus – Hibiscus denudatus
Jamaican caper- Capparis cynophallophora
Jatropha - Jatropha integerrima
Joe Pye weed- Eupatorium fistulosum
Lantana (native) – Lantana involucrata
Lion’s Ear - Leonotus leonurus
Mallow – Malva spp.
Mexican sunflower – Tithonia rotundifolia
Panama rose- Rondeletia leucophylla
Pentas – Pentas lanceolata
Phlox
Purple coneflower – Echinacea purpurea
Plumbago - Plumbago auriculata
Oregano – Origanum vulgare
Rue
Salvia's
Sedums
Spanish needles- Bidens alba
Swamp milkweed- asclepias incarnata
Tickseed - Coreopsis grandiflora
Verbena
Wild Coffee- Psychotria nervosa
Wild Lantana- Lantana involucrata
Wild lime- Zanthoxylum fagara
Yarrow - Achillea millefolium
Zinnia

Trees
Desert Cassia- Senna polyphylla
Golden shower tree- Senna pendula
Red cassia tree - Cassia roxburghii
Sweet acacia- Acacia farnesiana

Vines
Blue pea vine- Clitoria ternatea
Mexican flame vine - Senecio confuses
From left to top right: a question mark butterfly, a monarch butterfly
& the topside of the question mark butterfly.
Now that you have a list of host plants the caterpillars like to eat and the plant list of the nectar plants the butterflies like to get their meals from...how will your butterfly garden look?
If you already have a butterfly garden, we would love to know what you did and how it looks.  If you are just starting, here are a few ideas...do you like the rambling wild flower prairie look or a cottage style?  This is how most flowering plants grow in the wild thereby creating a natural element in your garden.
Wild flower prairie style or cottage garden...free form with an organized chaos look.
Most flowering plants will self seed allowing more plants to grow.
Pictures from the book Butterfly Gardening for the South by Geyata Ajilvsgi.

Or do you prefer a more formal and elegant feel?

Or why not add a few tropical elements of flair into it for a South Florida style?
These pictures are from my last visit to Jesse Durko's Nursery.
Or come up with your own unique plant layout like I decided to do.  If you really want to be inspired, take a visit to Butterfly World in Coconut Creek, FL"butterfly capital of the world".  It is a bit pricey but they usually have coupons online which help.  Though which ever direction you decide to take, I am sure glad you are planting a beautiful butterfly garden!  Please feel free to contact me with any questions you might think of or if you need any help.  Good luck my friends and have fun!

Happy Gardening and Best Wishes,
Sheri
xoxo

Monday, January 13, 2014

Solutions for Soggy Soil in South Florida

Hi there fellow garden friends, it's been so rainy here lately...
Pompano Beach
that I thought we could explore a situation most people have encountered in their gardens and/or landscapes....soggy soil, wet patches that never dry, mucky ground, boggy bottoms and/or air conditioning unit drip lines.  Many of us live in areas that stay wet most of the year.  Here in Florida, our state is unique in the fact that we have incredibly diverse ecosystems. Even though we are barely above sea level, we have a vast variety of ecological wonders all over the state like the everglades, swamp lands, pine lands, scrub lands, oak forests, coastal dunes, variety of hammocks, coral reefs, islands, sink holes, fresh water springs, rivers, tributaries, tropical forests, underground springs/streamscaverns, sandy beaches, mangroves, salt marshes, freshwater marshes, maritime forests, pine flatlands, dry prairies, rocklands, sloughs, shell mounds, intracoastal waterwayswet flatwoods, sand hills....whew dat's alotta stuff!  Florida is surrounded by water on all sides except for the north end of the state, which theoretically is the only thing attaching us to the mainland or else we would be part of the Caribbean islands, lol.
If your ground is wet then build a deck above ground
with bog plants like papyrus, ferns & colocasia's.
A rain chain & natural stone help disperse water rather
than have a river run through it
Use native bog type plants in areas that remain moist and shady.
Plant a "rain garden"...I saw this picture on Houzz and though I think this is a very creative
idea. Though I would have attached a long perforated pipe to the downspout &
buried the pipe in the ground as a French drain to move the water further from the
house.  This looks like it would create a mess by pushing that beautifully done job
right outta there.  Never underestimate the force of water, lol.
Eco-pavers for your driveway or pathway
This little area was a continual problem for one of our client's.  Their a/c drain line constantly made this area a mucky algae mosquito pit.  We dug about 14" down, regraded the area to slope towards the ferns, layered it with course sand, crushed rock and topped it off with decorative landscape rock.  We also added a few water loving ferns in a mulch bed which will fill in nicely.  There is so much under the ground here like pipes, concrete footers & partial slabs that simple is sometimes the best solution.
Add a dry creek bed sloping water away from the
house...how beautiful is this just on it's own!?!
Great job Lisa Wilcox Deyo!
Water features, rain chains and rain barrels are all excellent
solutions to water issues as well.
Some great aquatic plants for wet lands are canna lily, pickerel weed, alocasia's, weeping willow, lots of different types of ferns, cord grass, hyssop, colocasia's, anthurium's, scarlet hibiscus, horsetail, beebalm, spiderwort, wax myrtle, ginger's, rushes, coffee, sedges, lotus, lilies, buttonwoods, cypress trees, cabbage palms, holly's, asters, maple's, oak's, bay trees, water hickory and coreopsis just to name a few.

All you need it a little creativity, some labor on your part and viola...soggy soil solved!  Where ever you may be in this arctic blast, sending you warm tropical wishes from this So'Flo gardening girl!
Happy Gardening Y'all!
Sheri
xoxo

Saturday, January 11, 2014

What's Blooming in Our Garden

Hi everyone, how is the weather in your neck of the woods?  Snowing, icy, hot, rainy, humid...here in So'Flo (South Florida) the skies have cleared and the rains have stopped.  Unfortunately just north of us the folks in Jupiter, Hobe Sound and West Palm Beach, are inundated with flood waters from the past two days of rain.  Be safe everyone up there and wishing you well.  

This morning's surf session at Pompano Beach :)
Nothing doing, just a great beach day!

Just wanted to share with you what is blooming in our garden since it's an absolutely beautiful today!
Amaryllis bulb blooming, cardinal flower (odontonema strictum)
and the beehive ginger in bloom.

Some our orchids in bloom

Rhynchostylis gigantea alba & a staghorn fern that showed up
one day on our palm...should I remove it? 

Rhynchostylis gigantea 'spots' x rhyn. gigantea 'spots' & an
'lost tag' dendrobium

From the top left: our vegetable garden, a fav spot of mine in our
backyard & costa ginger blooms that hummingbirds visit for nectar.

Alocasia 'portora', a collection of bright color in a blue glazed pot & one of my fav's, an anthurium 'chocolate beauty'
Wishing you all a very wonderful weekend!  Sending you warm tropical wishes from this
gardening gal's So'Flo yard!
Happy Gardening and Best Wishes,
Sheri
xoxo

Friday, January 10, 2014

Farmer's Almanac for January 2014

Hello there gardening friends, here is the Farmer's Almanac report for January 2014:

JANUARY
9th-11th: Fine For Planting Beans, Peppers, Cucumbers, Melons and other above ground crop where climate is suitable.

12th-13th: Poor days for planting. seeds will tend to rot in ground.

14th-16th: Favorable Planting Days: First Day Is Best For Planting Above ground Crops and Especially Good For Peas, Beans, Cucumber, and Squash Where The Climate Permits. Last Two Days Is a Most Fruitful Time To Plant Beets, Carrots, Onions and Other Hardy Root Crops In The Deep South And For Transplanting. All Days good For Starting Seedbeds and Your Flower Gardens.

17th-21st: A Barren Time. Clear Woodlots and Fence rows.

22nd-23rd: Favorable Days For Planting Root Crops and Fine For Sowing Grains, Hay and Forage Crops. Plant Flowers.

24th-25th: Plant Carrots, Turnips, Onions, Beets, Irish Potatoes and Other Root Crops In The South. Lettuce, Cabbage, Collards and Other Leafy Vegetables Will Do Well. Start Seedbeds. Good Days For Transplanting.

26th-27th: Seeds Planted Will Grow Poorly and Yield Little.

28th-29th: Good Planting Days For Root Crops Where Climate Permits.
30th-31st: These Are Good Days To Do Any Plowing. Poor Days For Planting.
Happy 2014 Gardening and Best Wishes,
Sheri
xoxo

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Hedge Plants in South Florida v.II

Hello fellow Gardenerettes and Gardeners...hope all is going well for you in 2014!  It's been pretty terrific here so far. Today is our third day of true "cooler" weather, 71 degrees, yes we consider the 70's cold, lol.  Though it did drop to the 40's the past few nights, yeaaa!  Yesterday and today are heavy with grey skies, lots of rain and uber windy, uck.  Great day to be inside with a hot cup of coffee and blog...so let's get to it!
Fort Lauderdale beach cam
One of the most talked about elements in any landscape is a hedge.  Hedges can have all kinds of requirements, heights, functions and looks though most people want a hedge for privacy.  One thing I cannot stress enough to property owners, new gardeners, even experienced ones...is it's all about "the right plant in the right place!"  Granted there are certain exotic plants in my personal opinion that I believe should never be sold in Florida (i.e. ficus tree, schefflera tree, rubber tree, Brazilian pepper, carrotwood, bischofia, purple Mexican petunia, etc.) as they are always invasive and very troublesome.  Your neighbors landscape mistakes can end up being your misfortune.  This should be a fortune cookie message, hee hee.

Ok let's talk hedges, in this second hedge post (v.II) I want to spread a little inspiration and lift your spirits to let you know that yes, there are cool affordable and beautiful plants you can use for your hedge.  Whether you are looking for fast growing plants or need some slow growing ones we are going to cover some of them right here.  You can also see additional plants at my first hedge post v.I and my fast growing shrubs v.I and v.II post.  So grab a cup'o'joe or a spot of tea, some snacks, get comfortable and let's get started.

Before we get to the good stuff, let's get the "ficus conversation" outta the way as I believe you should be aware of how troublesome this plant is in South Florida.  As of late the ficus was typically know for it's use as a hedge...though riddle me this for just a moment.  The ficus tree (ficus benjamina and ficus aurea) is a sub-tropical tree which has the genetic disposition to grow 100 feet high in it's natural conditions, right?   Sooooo why pray tell does most of South Florida use it for a hedge?  And yes there are landscapers who are dumb enough to use it, though hopefully they are not your landscapers, lol.  On average, a hedge typically has the dimensions of 2-3 ft thick by 6-12 ft high and you say you are going to try to tame a ficus tree to those coordinates...good luck I say.  That's a battle I would't pick any day, as they require a lot of maintenance for not alot of reward.  I haven't even begun to tell you how invasive their root systems are.  I mean think about it, in order to hold up a 40 ft wide by 80 ft high canopy it's gotta have some serious structural underground roots right?  Hmmmm, I wonder what it does to the foundation of your pool or your house.  "Well," you say, "so what, I'm still going to put that ficus in my yard.  It can't be that hard to stay on top of it."  Well start saving some money now cause you'll need it when the root system starts to break your sewer/water pipes and be prepared to spend a few thousand dollars a year on spiral white-fly pest control (those little buggers are killing trees all over Florida) oh yes don't forget you will need to pay someone to come out twice a year to cut it back since it eventually grew out of your control to 20 ft high.  Oh wow, gosh, you must be thinking by now, Sheri is such a ficus hater. Lol, not a hater my friends but an advocate of the "right plant for the right place."  I say all this only because I want you to be a better informed gardener and to let you know of so many other wonderful plants are out there just waiting to be your hedge.
Beautiful ficus hedge, huh? This is what white-fly's doing
to many plants all over South Florida.
Call PIP pest control, they are here to help!
So enough with the oppressive ficus talk, many of you have written to me about some great suggestions for hedge plants and viburnum is one of them.  There are a few varieties of this Asian native that do well here in South Florida, they are odoratissimum (Awabuki sweet viburnum), suspensum (sandankawa suspensum) and Walter's viburnum.  Which ever evergreen variety you end up choosing they are all excellent performers.  They can grow in a variety of light sources from full sun to under story shade, they are tolerant to different soil types, can withstand periods of drought or lots of rain and are relatively pest free.  Though if you are sensitive to scents, viburnums do have an aroma of what I think of as stinky feet during certain parts of the year.  It seems to be more intense when it's wet outside.  These multi-branched plants grow between 6-20 ft depending on the variety, are moderate to fast growing and can be used as small trees if preferred.  Wildlife are attracted to their small white flowers and small berries for food sources. Either leave them growing in their natural state or trim them for a formal look, both ways are relatively low maintenance.  If like a good deal, viburnums are excellent 'bang for your buck' plants.
From left to right: odoratissimum awabuki, suspensum & Walter's viburnum.

Indian hawthorn, raphiolepis indica & raphiolepis umbellata minor, is originally native to China but has long since been considered a Florida native.  This underrated low border native is born with all kinds of tolerants to salt, wind, light, drought, pests and cold. Indian hawthorn is by nature a low maintenance small shrub, naturally maintaining heights between 3-6 ft high.  It's small flower clusters range from light pink to white then turn to pretty blue berries.  You used to see this moderate growing plant everywhere but seems to have lost some popularity in recent years.  Not sure why since it is a very well priced plant and easy peasy to grow.
Indian hawthorn hedgeinformal shrubs & pink flowers.

My sweet, sweet myrsine, rapanea punctata, is always overlooked at the nursery but not today.  This dense upright growing native will have it's 15 minutes of fame in this post, by golly!  It's growth habit reminds me of a bay rum where its leaves cluster towards the ends of the branches.  Myrsine is adaptable to lots of soil types, can even withstand wet soil and salt.  It is one of few tall shrubs that does well in shaded areas like the wild coffee.  Wildlife appreciates its small white flowers and berries that grow right on the older branch trunks.  This is a very underrated modest plant that will sure to perform till the day is long.  Though are priced a few dollars higher because it can be a challenge to find these simple but stately beauties.
Myrsine hedge, a solitary myrsine shrub &
a close up of the inconspicuous flowers.

Maidenbush, savia bahamensis, is another wonderfully dense upright growing medium size shrub.  This coastal native loves the salt spray as any beach-goer does.  Though the maidenbush really only gets to be around 6 ft high though will fill out nicely; great for a wind screen.  It can grow in full sun or part shade, it's drought hardy, an evergreen and likes sandy soils but not a fan of acidic soils.  Maidenbush is a plant that should be used much more than it is especially since it's natural habitats are rapidly being removed by building developers.  If you are lucky enough to find this bush at a nursery, I suggest you purchase at least one plant for a beautiful specimen in your garden.  They can be a few dollars more than average but well worth the purchase!  The maidenbush is a must-have for 2014.
Maidenbush at Plant Creations, an incredibly awesome nursery
 in Homestead, FL.

Wax myrtle, myrica cerifera, is another outstanding Florida native bush you can use for a hedge.  This multi-trunked evergreen shrub averages at 6-12 ft high but can grow as high as 20 ft.  It kind of reminds me of an olive tree with elongated leaves but tolerates the sun, salt, wind and drought.  It has large clusters of tiny whiteish-bluish-grey berries all over the branches which birds love.  Though bet you didn't know that candles were made from the waxy berries during Colonial times.  Wax myrtles are tough, durable, fairly fast growing and very easy on the pocket.  Truly a great hedge plant of all times!
Wax myrtle hedge, berries and stand along shrub.

Eugenia, eugenia myrtifolia, may be dainty at first glance but do not underestimate the hedge power it possesses.  This bright green with red blushing shrub can be manicured as a nice tight formal hedge (or topiary) or just let it grow naturally with it's beautifully full fluffy foliage.  Even though it's leaves are small, the eugenia grows very dense and quite fast.  It's an easy plant to maintain since it max's out at about 15-20 ft high.  There's not alot of information out there on the myrtifolia, I guess because it's so easy to grow and it adapts really well to a variety of light, water and soil requirements.  Though do not get this eugenia confused with it's cousins the Surinam cherry, eugenia uniflora, or the Stopper family of eugenia's, though they too make great hedge plants with similar growth habits.  Eugenia myrtifolia is a very affordable, easy to grow, full sun loving shrub.
Natural eugenia hedge, trimmed curvy hedge & solitary plants.

Marlberry is another wonderful shrub that can be grown in a variety of light and water requirements, from full sun to deep shade; from dry ground to moist soil.  Does well in our salty air and tolerates periods of high windy days.  Though it does grow new shoots from the base of the plant (called suckering) which helps the marlberry grow in width and density for the ultimate privacy hedge.  These shrubs withstand trimming very well but look just as nice with their natural columnar growth habit, maxing out at about 20 ft high.  The pinkish-white flower clusters smell uber sweet to attract pollinators and the berries are loved by the birds.  For a Florida native, the marlberry is priced very reasonably since it is an excellent performer in South Florida.
Marlberry flowers, tall shrub & berries.
Well that is it folks for the second version of hedges in South Florida.  Hope you found some interesting information to help you along your landscape pathway. 
With many thanks y'all...Happy Gardening and Best Wishes,
Sheri 
xoxo

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Wishing everyone a very prosperous, healthy and happy new year!


Cheers my friends and wishing you many good times in 2014!

Happy Gardening and Best Wishes,
Sheri
xoxo

Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013 Christmas in South Florida

Hello my friends, hope you are all enjoying the last week of this 2013 holiday season!  We are having a great time with my sister, brother-in-law and their kids in town.  My Dad is just thrilled to be able to host Christmas at his house every year and my niece and nephew love being at Pop Pop's.  So today they get a chance to hang out at our house...yippee for Auntie Sheri!  
Here are a few pictures of this year's decor...
My sister & I both made these incredibly super easy awesome
outdoor decorations called sparkle balls.  The hardest was
finding 9oz clear plastic tumbler cups especially for a decent price.

A collage of a few Christmas vignettes throughout our house
Wishing you all an incredible 2014 new year bringing good fortune, great health and good times!

Happy Gardening and Best Wishes,
Sheri
xoxo

Friday, December 27, 2013

Me in Maintenance Mode

Hope you all enjoyed your Christmas week as much as I did.  
Though I feel a little under the weather we are back to work here in South Florida.  
Working at one of our residential client's home.
Working at one of our commercial properties 
fertilizing a few lack luster performers.
Looking forward to sharing some really cool posts with you.  So cheers to an incredible 2014 new year and wishing you all the same!

Happy Gardening and Best Wishes My Friends,
Sheri
xoxo

Monday, November 18, 2013

Another day in South Florida

South Florida has been nothing but predictable lately...
humid, overcast, drizzling but dry, windy and just plain yucky.
Here's what is going on in our neck of the woods.
Some new additions to the veggie garden- lemon grass,
red oak lettuce, jalapeno pepper, serrano pepper, ancho pepper,
parsley, dill and sweet mint.
The Oregon snap peas are finally starting to take off &
they already have little pea pods on them.
Bc. Maikai 'mayumi' HCC-AOS (2002) in my guava tree
Epc. Plicaboa (c. bowringiana x c. plicatum)
Epc. Plicaboa (c. bowringiana x c. plicatum) in my Biscayne Prickly Ash tree
A little flower arrangement I made of some of our plants:
Panama rose, orchid bloom & lady palm fronds.
What is your neck of the woods like right now?  Cold, icy, Autumny, hot...let's chat about it!
Happy Gardening and Best Wishes,
Sheri
xoxo