Friday, May 28, 2010

In the Shadows

There is a shadowy corner here at My Garden Path that only receives dappled sunlight.  This area is one of my favorite places to hang out during the summer as it is at least 10 degrees cooler than any other spot in the garden.  These plantings, placed about three years ago, are tropical and lush by the beginning of summer and persist right up until the first freezing temperatures are experienced, usually just after Christmas. 

Fall 2009
This past winter was especially cruel. 

January 2010
Most years the foliage begins to revive by April. This year the tropical look has been about a month behind schedule in appearing but now it is back. Yay!

May 2010
A few new things were added to this area in hopes of having some green persist in winter.  The new Cast Iron plants should be fine through the winter but I'm not so sure about the new Cat palms.  They were planted just after the 11 day freeze and did make it through the subsequent freezes we experienced, so I am hopeful. 

I just noticed while taking these pictures that the Costus Barbatus, Alocasias Polly and Aurora, and the Xanadu  have just begun unfurling their first leaves and are about 8 inches tall.  What a wonderful discovery!  I had given up on them. 

I have always loved the curcuma ginger leaves with that burgundy mid-rib.  This year, getting flowers makes them all the more special.

I have to admit I cried in January.  This coming winter my attitude will be different.  I will use the time to work on hardscape, maybe put down some stone as a foundation for my table and chairs.  I will clean and  prepare pots, pay attention to my compost piles and amend the soil in the planting areas, maybe enlarge some flower beds.  I will not lose hope of Spring's return. 
I am truly learning and growing in my Florida garden.

Through it all, no matter the weather, the frog birdbath stands unfazed.

"While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease."  Genesis 8:22


  1. Kay: Your post lifts my spirit up on this Friday morning! I have been feeling a little down about the garden recently due to some pest problems, and the dying plant... You may tell this from I have not posted anything for about one week. You shady area looks very beautiful, and I am sure when all those leaves grow more lush in the summer, this place will be even more inviting to sit and relax. I don't have such area in my garden.

    In the fifth picture, at the top right corner,is it bleeding heart? Looks growing very well, and loving the location! Love, Love that curcuma ginger! The leaves alone is beautiful, and the flowers just added more brightness to this spot!

    The Frog birdbath is very cute!

  2. Love your shady corner, and that frog birdbath is just too perfect! Your photos certainly show a wondrous transformation. Your cat palms look lovely and make a great focal point. I imagine since they weren't damaged in the February frosts, they will probably make it through anything. I got more damage in February than in January this year.

    I love that shot of the curcuma, arboricola, and ginger. So tropical looking! I have to say, though, that my hidden gingers are so crowded now that they don't showcase the blooms as splendidly as yours do. Maybe its time to divide them.

  3. NanaK,
    Oh how I love your shady corner. It looks like you've created a very peaceful area to rest and relax. It is so true the shady places are 10 degrees cooler. The birdbath is a nice foundation no matter the season. Everything is filling in nicely... even though it did take a little longer this year.

    I follow the shade around as I garden in this weather. I can feel myself slipping away from all resolve I made during this particularly cruel winter. More tropicals are coming home with me each week. It happens every year in May/June after I've been so diligent the past few months to only plant cold hardy, drought resistant. Oh well, it is too fun to play with the pretty tropicals.

    My caladiums are not coming back as fast as usual... or as fast as yours. I think I've been digging around too much where they reside. :-)

    I do have curcumas coming out of the ground but no blooms yet. Yours are so pretty and give me hope. I planted a new type of ginger this year that has that red center on the foliage... love it.

  4. Ami - There are so many ups and downs in keeping a garden. Sometimes we need to make changes that will work better and then sometimes we just need to be patient. I'm not very patient. But, I'm learning. Yes, that is bleeding heart against the fence. It does seem happy there and blooms well.

    FG - Thanks for the kind words. I love those curcumas too. Last year I divided them and they are blooming in both places I have them now. Maybe that's what they needed. I've only had them for going on the 3rd spring so maybe they needed to mature a bit also.

    Meems - Thanks for stopping by. I love my shade now that I know there are plenty of plants that do well in it.

    I hear you about resolve in planting tropicals again. They do so well in summer it is easy to forget the heartbreak of winter. I'm just hoping to have enough cold hardy plants that will stay green and keep things from looking so desolate. But, really it was just 3 months and things were growing back. At least I didn't have to shovel snow.

    I have some caladiums I planted in July that have not returned yet. I'm wondering if because they didn't go dormant until Dec. that's why they are not back? Or maybe they were just not healthy bulbs? My old standbys have returned a little late but not more than about a month late.

  5. Kay,
    I have many caladiums that were planted last July that are returning so I'm not sure that when they go dormant makes a difference. But it could vary, I suppose.

    Slowly mine are returning just not like I wish they would. I always wait to plant my new ones until the old ones are up so I can tell what needs to be filled in.

    I was wondering what is the light green plant behind the bird bath? It seems a little too light green for a firespike but the leaves resemble it.

  6. Meems - That's a red shrimp that hasn't bloomed yet. It was not killed completely this winter but I cut it back to about 6 inches from the ground because it was very scraggly. It's bounced back but I'm waiting on blooms.


Thank you for travelling down My Garden Path with me. I love hearing from you. Please leave a comment and share what is going on in your gardens.