Blooming Plumeria

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Every gardener has a success story, and if the gardener is blessed with talent, he/she will have several living achievements proudly displayed in their gardens. My lone garden achievement of the season is a Plumeria. This beauty is a gift my mother received from a co-worker. This member of the Apocynaceae plant family was a tiny little thing when we received it in 2009, coming in a 1-gallon container and was just shy of 14 inches in height. Since then, the Plumeria has gone through several moves in two different forms (first, transplanted a couple times into bigger pots and then in three different gardens as we moved from one part of the Orlando area to another), even when I finally settled in the current place, the Plumeria still had to endure several months (and by several months I mean a couple of years) in the mud pit that was my garden. The Plumeria has lived through some tough times but I have never seen it bloom since its first flowers emerged in 2011.

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It’s appropriate that the Plumeria waited until Gardenyard was beautified to bloom for the first time in forever. Now the Plumeria stands taller than me (I’m a tiny 5’8”) and is currently in a 7-gallon plastic container.

With these impressive stats, I believe my lovely Plumeria has earned an upgrade to a ceramic pot. Don’t you think?

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Poinsettias in July

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There are only green leaves now but these poinsettias will get their signature colorful bracts in time for the holiday season.

It’s July. What better time to pause and reflect the quick passage of time between Christmas past and Christmas future than during Christmas in July. In the southern hemisphere, Christmas in July is an excuse to spread holiday cheer during their winter months, since December for them is in the height of summer. I can sympathize with my fellow neighbors below the equator. In Florida our winters seems just as warm as our summers, albeit with less humidity and thunderstorms. The tourists love our winters but I really don’t because I love the cold air.

Christmas in July takes on a whole new meaning in my garden. Though they are still off-season, my poinsettias from last Christmas are making a nice recovery by showing off their dark green leaves.

Here are the poinsettias I have out back. Yes I still have them on display only because I have no space for a fancy greenhouse or a garden work bench. Sadface.

Knowing how fast 2014 is flying by, I’m sure the poinsettias’ colorful bracts will emerge in no time. For one thing, it’ll be easier to identify the varieties once that happens in the Fall.

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Gardenyard Plant ID: What’s In The Reclaimed Barrel Planter?

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After all the heavy lifting and tamping to get Gardenyard’s ground set into place, I mustered up some more effort and visited my local big box retail garden center to select the first crop of plants for my container garden. The stone floors needed some softening and plants were the best way to do it.

 

The yellow from these Marigolds act as the pop of the color.

The yellow from these Marigolds act as the pop of color.

Liriope 'Variegated Aztec' is joined by a Dusty Miller on the right.

Liriope ‘Variegated Aztec’ is joined by a Dusty Miller on the right.

Trachelospermum asiaticum 'Summer Sunset' will be filling and spilling once it grows in.

Trachelospermum asiaticum ‘Summer Sunset’ will be filling and spilling once it grows in.

The Arizona Cypress (Cupressus arizonica) brings some much needed height in this container garden.

 

In addition to the reclaimed barrel and plants, I relied on some other container gardening basics. The first and most important is soil. I chose a garden potting soil mix for this task. The other basic is aesthetic in nature and consist of three steps: thrill, fill and spill.

That’s it for now. I’ll offer more tips and advice as I get more comfortable getting dirty in the garden.

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Beautifying Gardenyard

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We’ve reached the point of the year when a person reflects on his/her decisions made within the last 11 months. In spite of all the setbacks, 2013 was a slight improvement from 2012. There are two highlights that made this year worthy of fond memories. One being the creation and gradual emergence of this blog and the other is the process of beautifying my cherished courtyard. Both moments equally share the top billing of 2013 highlights but I will focus my attention on the courtyard beautification for the sake of this post.

Earlier this year I shared garden inspirations for the small yet cozy enclosed space my family and I acquired when we moved in to our current townhouse.  For those of you who need a mental refresher, here are the five ideas highlighted in The Gardenyard Project: use of vertical space, paver stones, containers, furnishings, and plants.

After going through a half dozen weekends spread across a seven-month period, the foundation of my beloved courtyard is laid. For this initial phase of the beautification, I focused more on paver stones, containers, and plants. Here are several photos, starting with some taken before beautification, to assist me in telling the story…

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The Gardenyard Project

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Human nature dictates that the last thing we want to do at home is something that reminds us of our work life.  My challenge is that I maintain the gardens of a well-known central Florida resort for a living.  Therefore, with the photo placed above, the aforementioned theory is proven to be true in my life.  I do an awesome job at work (yayyyyyy!), but my home garden begs for my love and undivided attention (boooooo! you rookie!).

It only took me 19 months from the moment I moved in to my spring awakening today, but I guess good things happen to gardens who wait, right?  In order to inspire me, I’ve compiled a list of five things I want to incorporate in this plot of sand and weeds that will soon carry the name Gardenyard.

 

Use of Vertical Height

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I have a small space flanked by walls on two sides, but the lack of horizontal space won’t curb my creativity. Vertical is the way to go. The real question is: What materials will I use to build a vertical garden? Reclaimed wood, reusing an old pallet, concrete blocks, metal cans, a wall of felt? The possibilities are bountiful!

 

 Stones

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I’d like to keep things simple in this department. As much as I appreciate the natural look of jagged edges on flagstone, the rectangular shape of Gardenyard would be best complimented by angular lines illustrated by the photo above.

 

 Containers

Gardening Container Gardens

If I’m going with the streamlined look of grey angular stones in Gardenyard’s floor, the endless styles of containers will satisfy my appetite for the wild and crazy. Variations like colors, textures, container types, and infinity!

 

Furnishings

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Gardenyard does not offer me the size to make it an outdoor living space, but as long as I can lounge outside, bask under the sun with a mojito readily stationed on a table next to me, I’ll be a happy (and responsibly boozed) gardener.

 

Plants

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Look, folks, asking me to pick a favorite plant will be a mistake in your part because I can bore you with a 30-minute ramble on why I’m upset Acer palmatum (Japanese Maple) is not suited well for Zone 9B (my home zone). The next best thing are succulents. They are just so… What’s are the words? Ah, YES! Thrilling and filling.

 

The Big Finish!

So there you have it. These are my garden inspirations fueling the pursuit for a more perfect and beautiful Gardenyard. What are some projects you would love to start this spring (or summer) out in your own garden?

 

Further Reading
[Urban Gardens | Growing Up: A Guide to Great Gardens in Small Spaces]
[The Gazette (Cedar Rapids) | Container Gardening 101]
[About.com | Choosing Plants for a Small Garden]
[Garden Dancing | The Amazing World of Succulents]
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