The early evening light was good, just before the sun went down, so I took a final stroll around the yard with the cats (the original wi-fi bench is still there) and I marveled again at the things that grow in this warm and humid climate. This winter has been a quick learning curve; most everything grows. Remember when I said that I was on a tight landscape budget (basically, none) and that a lot of my new yard and garden consisted of generous donations from my neighbors and fellow gardeners? As a result there have been pots everywhere filled with bits and pieces of plant material, most of it entirely different from the familiar perennials of the Michigan growing season.
During the afternoon I was planting everything that had taken root into the garden and moving the remaining pots into resting places where they could best survive months of neglect. When I took a closer look at this pot, I found some interesting things. The giant seed that fell on me in yoga class 2 months ago, causing me to yelp and disrupt Shavasana, after nothing for 6 weeks, has sprouted into a fast growing vine- but I don’t know what it is. Do you? The pot also holds a piece of cactus and some sort of succulent. I don’t know what those are either. And what is this? Teeny tiny white spots on the leaf? Wait, they’re not on the leaf; they are hovering above it casting equally pinpoint shadows. A closer look reveals that they are on thread-like stalks attached to the leaf so I figure this is some sort of very cool fungus. It’s so very small. Wish I had a macro lens…
Some of the pots have been moved into a row where they will get hit by the weekly sweep of the fence mounted irrigation system. My fear is that they will all get swallowed up by the purple Passiflora vine. This started as a 1.99 plant from Lowes and it’s already all over the fence blooming beautifully. This plant hosts the Gulf Coast Frittilary butterfly; the funny spikey caterpillars have been chewing away and the yard often has several dozen of these bright orange butterflies winging about.
Along the same section of fence that houses all of the orchids- it’s shadier there and I have the irrigation set to run an extra 20 minutes there- I’ve hung some hanging basket plants. There are some bromeliad starts, a Nepenthaceaa or pitcher plant, a hoya, a staghorm fern and some sort of curly leafed plant- another unknown. When I looked closely, I noticed that it had a subtle and beautiful small bloom back there in the shadows
What’s growing here in the small pots in the cinder blocks? Hopefully, Coontie! The seeds from this Florida native were sent along by a neighbor and we’ll see if there’s any action months from now. You can also see where I have started sticks of Epiphyllum here and there and they all have enthusiastic new growth. I have 8 varieties growing about the place; these grow easily here with just the available rain and they have large showy blooms. Madagascar palms (Pachypodium), "frangipangi" (with its fragrant waxy flowers of the Hawaiian lei) and Adenium Obesum (dessert rose) are other plants that have caught my attention these past months; you can see some of them in the photographs.
Some of these plants, sadly, will bloom in my absence. Look at the bud laden stalks of this orchid. In about 2 weeks it will be covered with almost a thousand tiny yellow blooms. Above it you’ll note that I did, in fact, end up with the giant staghorn fern of my dreams. That native gardening enthusiast I met back in February gifted me with one that is five foot in diameter and then a neighbor gave me another. I’ve tossed in the requisite banana peels for good growth; I wonder how much they’ll expand in my absence.
Laawry, my good friend and gay gardener, will watch the place closely. He’s all excited about hurricane season- he refers to it as job security. Threatening storms send him around the neighborhood to throw up hurricane shutters and batten down the hatches for his seasonal employers. Unlike a lot of Florida yard service people, Larry is a horticulturist in his own right so he knows when to fertilize, prune and spray dish soap on the plants. I know he’ll keep his eye on all these new growing things.
Last, but certainly not least, this oddity is back. Most of the base of this vine was destroyed after tons of construction materials were shuffled about. But last evening, I was listening to a mockingbird just sing and sing and sing, right above my head in the bougainvillea. Then he jumped up higher to the power line and there they were on parade, for all the world to see. I followed the vine and it’s growing all the way up, about 40 feet, to the top of the oak, so hanging up there in the canopy are all of these very peculiar blooms. Actually, they’re pretty darn, ah, what’s the adjective I’m looking for?