As I walk around the garden these days I do so with a view to assess what has worked well during this cold winter season. I want to be sure to place more of these plants to help keep some structure going at all times of the year.
Sweet Alyssum, Lobularia maritima, is still blooming and reseeding on the sunnier side of the garden. It and the Pansies, Viola x wittrockiana, make a great winter annual combination. There are lots of little seedlings of something sprouting up in that area. I sure hope they aren't really weeds. Since there were blanket flowers and some other butterfly attracting flowers there this past spring, I'm waiting to see what they turn into before pulling them.
Two baby Cardboard Palms, Zamia furfuracea, live along the path and amazingly they both have come through the cold unscathed. The oak canopy must offer them just the right amount of protection. This is just another example of micro-climates within the same gardening zone. Often, I see plants that seem cold-hardy or heat-tolerant in another garden only to find they don't react the same way in my garden. In this case the opposite happened. I saw freeze-dried Cardboard Palms in another garden and thought for sure mine would never make it as my garden tends to be in a cold pocket. The tree coverage seems to be the key to helping these little cycads survive. The Neoregelia 'Burgundy' are doing quite well placed in front of the Sweet Almond bush. The poor Sweet Almond, Aloysia virgata, while not seemingly affected by the cold, has had it's leaves pierced and beaten by an overabundance of falling acorns.
The Birdsnest Fern, Asplenium nidus 'Osaka', and Holly Fern, Cyrtomium falcatum, have earned their spots with their ability to not show even a smidgen of winter stress. Definitely, I am on the look-out for more of these.
The Abutilon is still blooming and producing new leaves. There seem to be many cultivars of this plant, different colors, and different flower sizes. I do like the light peach color with dark red veining of this one, but I'm going to be on the look-out for some other colors too. After the last December freeze some of the larger leaves turned yellow and dropped off. You would never know it now as it is full of new green growth and weathered the January freeze just fine. Sometime in February, when the promise of spring is more sure, I plan to take cuttings and spread this cold survivor around in other places along the path. As an added bonus, the hummingbird visited this plant quite often this past fall.
Lots of Florida gardeners are singing the praises of Camellias this year. This, Camellia sasanqua 'Shishi Gashira', is blooming in the backyard garden. Two more Sasanquas have been purchased to add to this area, another 'Shishi Gashira' and a 'Mine-No-Yuki.' The second one has a ruffly white flower which I'm hoping will be showing up in future posts soon as it is presently covered in buds.
I am thoroughly enjoying the glorious Florida weather we have been experiencing this week. It sure gets the gardening juices flowing.