Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What's happening in Paradise - September 6, 2007

Originally posted on September 6, 2007

The gorgeous red hibiscus was the jewel in Paradise today. What is sad is that is the only plant of this type in the garden and the stink weed is choking it out. It used to be covered with flowers all the time and I was lucky to find one in bloom.

Since I just got the new release of Collective Soul's "Afterwords" this is what I've been listening to. It is an awesome recording and highly recommend it . . . if you love Collective Soul, you'll love it!! This song reminds me of me in my Paradise . . . I'm never alone . . . I always feel JR's presence and then there are all those critters that live out there. Hope you enjoy the music!

Look at Buddy . . . so tired from leaping

around the yard like a little deer.

He is a character . . . like a cartoon dog!

Ohhhhhhhh, it is scary similar to a Florida forest with remnants of most of you use as house plants, flowers and tropical plants. Buddy and I ventured through to the middle of the jungle so I could get some good photos . . . didn't see one snake . . . cool and encouraging cause next time won't be so scary!

For the benefit of my new friends, my garden has been virtually untouched for the past five years since my husband passed away and I had no interest in even going out there . . . a denial of acceptance thing I guess.

This is also documenting "before shots" as I have been slowly working on it by myself . . . a monumental task since it is a huge 2-city lot property with my small house built in the middle of it.

What you see as a mass of fern and groundcover should be the paths . . . the stickweed/potato vines are also taking over and choking out my tropicals . . . I really need to take care of the vines first. I'm kicking around some ideas on how to make money with all these plants, how to market it . . . all that fun stuff! Would be nice if my way to survive is back there in my Paradise!

The last time I posted photos, there was one flower bud on this patch of bromeliad that has spread and is growing wild . . . an awesome splash of red in the middle of a weedy spot that is supposed to be a clear and open area . . . the side entrance to the back side of the property that a vehicle can fit through . . . ha not now!

A closer view of the gorgeous red spikey flowers . . . they've been open for a while, so they are a little spent and not as brilliant as when they first open, yet still gorgeous.

These bromeliads have grown and multiplied like crazy . . . they are sitting on a table under the trees in a shady spot growing in containers . . . I'm sure they are growing way out of the pots. I won't be able to get to them anytime soon . . . they are way into the scary part of the jungle!

The pentas are growing wild and spreading like crazy . . . the flowers are red on these plants, but I also have hot pink in other areas.

They are growing all over the property . . . these have taken over the path. The butterflies love this plant and throughout the day, they are covered with them.

The four-o-clocks were just starting to open up . . . it wasn't quite 4:00 at the time I took the photos.

Hope you enjoyed the tour through my Jungle Paradise . . . I can't believe I was brave enough to venture to the middle of all that fern! I couldn't resist getting photos of the splashes of color I was seeing from my back room . . .

Once the resurrection goes into full swing, I'll do the before and after photos in a section on my gardening website. The progress will be a regular feature of my blog since everyone seems to enjoy seeing my garden and what's going on with it.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Blooming bromeliads and the carport jungle

This was originally posted on September 18, 2007

While sitting out in the carport jungle, I was constantly distracted by the gorgeous red blooms of my bromeliads that are now blooming in the carport jungle. They just started a few days ago. I had to get my camera and take some photos to share with you.
Here is a closeup of the gorgeous red spikey bromeliad flowers . . . they have to be one of my favorite blooms in the garden, so showy and dramatic. Everyone has them in the neighborhood . . . I think it is one of those things where the seeds blow around and everyone ends up with them in their garden.

These bromeliads are not actually growing in the ground, but are in containers that are spilling out of the container. They are growing in everyone's yard in my neighborhood and I've seen some that are growing up the trees and are so spectacular. Once I get this area cleaned out, I'll be training them up the tree.

Last week I posted photos of my back yard jungle, today it is the carport jungle. This isn't so bad . . . while it is a large area, it is not overwhelming and I have taken care of a big chunk of it already . . . still, there is a long way to go!! One of my favorite plants is the green and white speckled leafed plant that is called Florida Beauty. Past winters have knocked it back a bit, but I'm gonna try to take cuttings of this one and get a bunch going for a mass planting of this mixed with the showy red/purple leafed good luck plant for my carport flower bed. I'm still not sure what will be planted at the fence area, except for some crotons and red double hibiscus.

Trash to treasure in the garden . . . recycling

I'm still amazed at the number of people who recycle stuff in the garden. Here are some photos of a revolving paperback book rack that JR pulled out of the trash at a convenient store that had a second life in our store and after that went into the garden. It is still standing after all this time, although it has been moved around to various locations and had different type of plants in it. It is my single most favorite trash to treasure in my garden . . .

I took this photo in May . . . one of two gorgeous staghorn ferns that balance the top of the rack . . . it was one of the many surprises that JR came home with to put a smile on my face. They were little tiny babies when he bought them for the purpose of growing into the rack. It has become much larger with all the rain this summer. I'll get some new photos soon.

I lined the rack with chicken wire and packed the sides with spaghnum moss and filled with soil. When I want to plant something in it, I just poke a hole in the sides or plant inside the pocket. Very cool . . . when I get things cleaned up, I'd like to get a few more of these.

This was it's first planting . . . with colorful and beautiful impatiens . . . this plant didn't work because the soil dries out too fast and imipatiens like it moist . . . so it ended up with plants that can tolerate drought conditions and it has worked out perfectly. But it sure was pretty with the colorful impatiens.

Hope you enjoyed the pics of my Paradise!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What's Blooming in Paradise - November 4, 2007

Alive Again ~ Cher

Their beauty makes them look fake, like brightly crinkled paper perfectly formed. My cranberry hibiscus plants are loaded with buds and I just noticed the first blooms yesterday. They are a different species than the tropicals, these are more like a native plant, requiring less care, drought tolerant and propagating all by themselves. The flowers are a beautiful shade of purple/maroon with oddly shaped leaves and stems to match in a darker shade. I'm going to make a point of gathering seeds to get them started all over the yard for no-fuss beauty . . . the shrubs are pretty without the flowers with those beautiful green and purple leaves.

Every year these vines peak over the fence spilling over to my side . . . they are my neighbor's plants, but they frame the top of the fence in my carport jungle. Awesome little clustered flowers in wonderful splashes of red and white.

WOW the night blooming jasmine shrubs are totally loaded . . . they are in my back yard on the dark side, so the benefit I get is the awesome scent that perfumes the night air . . . there is nothing like sitting outside at night when they are in bloom . . . the large shrubs are beautiful when the little white flowers are open. I've never seen so many blooms . . . they must love neglect.

Seems like there isn't a time my pentas are not in bloom all over the yard. This is an area around my back storage shed where they are growing wild among the weeds. They act like native plants in my jungle, they love neglect and are propagating all by themselves. OMG most of that shot is the path, totally covered with weeds, fern and ground cover. I can't get to my storage shed at the moment.

This plumbago bush is way at the back of the jungle . . . I couldn't get a shot without the banana leaves in the way . . . the huge shrub is covered with sweet little powdery blue flowers that have no scent.

I've gotten back to working on clearing the paths so I can get around the different areas of the yard. Seems like I just stopped for a few weeks and the paths are covered again . . . the summer rain made everything grow like weeds. The philodendron and ferns are outrageous and aggressively growing.

Although spring is my favorite time of the year, I love the crispness in the air that the humidity leaves behind. The temperatures are very pleasant, probably low 80's, night time temps probably in the 60's . . . perfect temps for me. If only I had a spot to put the tent up and sleep outdoors . . . but being in the middle of the big city alone and the critters of a jungle . . . I don't think so . . . what a shame, everything is so out of control, even me at times. Sleeping in the back yard was one of our greatest joys . . . JR and I often slept under the stars around this time of year with the jasmine in bloom scenting the nighttime air like perfume and the outdoor fireplace going.

♥♥♥ Peace, love and happiness ♥♥♥

An introduction to my paradise

A view of my Paradise before years of neglect . . . wildly landscaped . . . we wanted it to have the feel of a tropical park in the middle of wilderness. Most of these photos were taken right before JR died and I have not really touched it since . . . it is a jungle now!!

These photos are actually a fraction of my property . . . yes, it is a massive undertaking . . . getting it back under control is looming large on my mind because I really want it back!

La Mia Storia Tra Le Dita
by Gianluca Grignani