March 14, 2014

Springtime In Our Florida Garden

March blew in like a Wildcat with the visit of our dear friends from the north, Harley and Harley's Babe.  After having a beautiful, hot, sunny end to February, Beaver and I envisioned a fun time at the beach and by the pool with our friends.  Instead, their visit brought on rainy skies and cool temperatures.  But compared to the winter they were having, 60s felt like heaven to them, and they were grateful to be here.  On Friday the sun came out and things warmed up a bit so that happy hour on our deck felt like Margaritaville ought to feel.  Harley and Beaver drank martinis and shucked oysters, then we sat outside for a nice dinner of grilled Carne Asada Tacos (I'll post the recipe later today).

Saturday behaved like proper Florida beach weather ought to:  warm, sunny, and breezy. We spent the entire day at the beach.  We did a little fishing, collected a few shells... but mostly we just sat.  I think our northern friends really needed some time to thaw their frozen bodies.  I was so glad they were able to have that day on the beach before heading back to the snow.

Lobelia, Geraniums, Kale and Lavender on my front porch.
Tiny blue lobelia flowers.
While my friend Babe was here I bought a few plants from my favorite Sun Harbor Nursery.  I replaced the poinsettias on the front porch with colorful spring geraniums and lobelia, adding lavender and kale for texture.  I also bought a tomato plant, at Beaver's request.

Growing herbs and vegetables in containers.
Cilantro, basil, a tomato and a pepper plant: that's my garden in 2014.  It's just a start though.  As I feel more confident growing things in Florida, I can expand my garden.  In Indiana I had a very small window of time to plant, grow and harvest, but here we have several growing seasons.

Not many leaves or flowers on this poor little tree but the butterflies love it.
I'm dreaming of having a butterfly garden on the east side of the house, near my vegetables.  There's a tree in front of our house that I can see from the office window, and it's always full of black swallowtail butterflies in the summer.  I believe it's called a Geiger Tree.  It's rather sparse looking, though prettily shaped, maybe because a Geiger Tree needs full sun and this one's in a grove of palms.  I think I'd like to put another one of these trees in my back yard as a focal point to my future butterfly garden.

The flower cluster on our Geiger Tree.
Now it's mid-March.  Mild and sunny with the occasional rainy day -- not too shabby.  I've been able to walk up to the beach nearly every day to fill my bag with shells to freshen the look of our rock-mulched beds.  Normally we don't have that many seashells wash up, but the last week or so the tides have brought a nice quantity.

I have one more plant to pot but I need Beaver's help with the dirt, so I'm waiting on him.  I'll post a picture when it's done.  I bought the pot at Sun Harbor as a Christmas gift to myself back in December.  It's a brilliant blue inlaid with mosaic tile, just gorgeous, and I have a large leafed philodendron to stick in there.

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