CRITTERS WHO GARDEN

Last updated April 3, 2018

close-up of sunflower bloom

 

Will you agree this is a beautiful sunflower?

It was not planted by myself, Bubba or Flip Flops. That leaves various critters fond of the sunflower seeds Bubba provides in the bird feeder. We know birds and squirrels frequent the bird feeder but have no knowledge of critters who sneak up to the feeder under moonlight. Based on the location of this sunflower, right up next to the wall, I’m guessing that landscape design is not on the critter curriculum of life skills.

 

sunflower planted right at the wall

 

I am grateful to have critters who garden as I have enjoyed this bright yellow bloom for days.

 

Close-up of central core of sunflower at end of bloom cycle. Photo taken on March 18, 2018.
Close-up of central core at end of bloom cycle
Photo taken on March 18, 2018.

MY CALADIUMS 2017

Also in Momma’s Wildflower Bed:

The unusual white ones were bulbs from Ace Hardware. They were a real surprise — wasn’t expecting them to look like this.

 

caladiums 2017-0505

You can see an older planting of caladiums I purchased in bulk from a South Florida caladium farm at Home Ownership and Family Compounds.

Update: In the comments, a question was raised about digging up caladiums at the end of the growing season. I have never done this. Too lazy, I guess. I leave them in the ground and a scattering of them will return the next year. Knowing that only a few will return, I treat caladiums like annuals. I buy new, fresh bulbs (not those sold in plastic bags at big box chain stores) and find that the bulbs quickly grow into large plants, as you can see from those white/spotted caladiums above (which were bulbs purchased this year).

MOMMA’S WILDFLOWER BED

Momma’s Wildflower Bed sat unloved for several years because Poppie passed two years after Momma. A double whammy. This is the first year I have done anything with Momma’s Wildflower Bed.

Momma named it the Wildflower Bed but nowadays it has very few wildflowers. This spring I did a lot of work in the front of the Wildflower Bed including copying Meta’s idea of a path bordered by clay pots. I received a lot of help in putting this clay pot border together. Momma had a bunch of them behind the greenhouse and Leigh gave me a bunch of her pots, some of which were orchid pots which tend to be wider at the top, shorter, and have a slit in the side. The extra width helped take up space on the path.

clay pot path installation

I got halfway across the bed, just making the curve at the overhead sprinkler and ran out of pots.  I got on the internet and looked at the big box stores to see who carried clay pots and found none. The only place I could find 6” pots was at the craft store, JoAnn, and they wanted $2.99 each. Absolutely unaffordable on my budget when a rough estimate indicated a need for 25 pots.

I looked on Craigslist. When you don’t want clay pots, someone is always giving them away on Craigslist.

The fretting began. Momma wasn’t going to be happy about a half-finished path. I still had eight very small 3” pots from Leigh that I had originally set aside as unworthy. Now desperate, I put four on each side at the halfway point.

Completely out of pots, the emailing began. I asked everyone in town if they had clay pots they didn’t want.  Of course not, it was like Craigslist. When you don’t want clay pots…

Unbeknownst to me, my friend Ruth helped me scout for pots. She sent an email to her garden club members and this is where an amazing blessing landed at my doorstep. Ruth cleaned out all the 6” clay pots at one Home Depot and brought them to me along with $20 from one of her garden club pals who wanted to help me finish the path. Aren’t people incredible?

There’s a lesson in this, though, that I want to share. Do not assume that a store does not carry an item when you can’t find it on their website. The 6” pots were in stock at both Home Depot and Lowes but not mentioned on their website.

Overall view of Wildflower bed – Gerbera daisies in front row; hydrangea bushes second row, pink begonias and pot of Wishbone third row, Aztec grass fourth row, amaryllis fifth row; Peacock was a gift from my friend Nancy

 

Wildflower Bed – left side with maple tree that is same color as mulch; pot of purple Wishbone was moved to this side

 

Wildflower Bed – middle

 

Wildflower Bed – right side

 

Overall landscape view – my greenhouse is behind the canna lilies; that’s a basket of sweet potato vines hanging from cypress tree

MY NEW DAYLILIES IN BLOOM

Daylilies are perennials considered to be evergreen, semi-evergreen or dormant. The foliage of evergreen daylilies stays green all year. Semi-evergreen has foliage that can be evergreen or dormant depending on the garden location where it is grown. Dormant foliage dies back in the winter and reappears in the spring. From central to south Florida, a dormant daylily may not receive enough hours of cold to thrive. Much of the time, dormant daylilies also do not do well in North Florida.

Daylilies also have bloom seasons – Extra Early, Early, Early Midseason, Late Midseason, Late, Very Late and Rebloomers. If you select daylilies from several of these bloom seasons, you could have daylily blooms from March to mid-May. Rebloomers are very desirable because they tend to bloom more than once a season. They may bloom early in May or June then repeat in the fall. Or have a succession of bloom periods for several months.

Bloom size ranges from just a few inches all the way up to 10 inches. I prefer larger, showier blooms but I haven’t found a really good color in those gigantic 10-inch blooms.

Here are photographs of my newest daylilies from the buying trip to Wynn’s Daylily Nursery.

BIG KISS

This was in the $5 section at Wynn’s. Being a double daylily, I bought it despite its dormant category. The blooms are 5.5 inches.

PERSIAN RUBY

This was also in the $5 section at Wynn’s and another dormant daylily.  The color is actually darker than it appears in this photo.  Depending on the time of day I photograph the daylilies, the true color may or may not be caught by the camera. The blooms are 7.75 inches.

SHADES OF ROMANCE

This was on sale at Wynn’s for $8. Semi-evergreen, it is a better choice for the South. The blooms are 6 inches.

VINTNER’S TREASURE

Also on sale at Wynn’s for $8. The blooms are 5.5 inches.

DAYLILY BUYING TRIP

The North Florida Daylily Society went on a daylily buying trip Saturday, June 10, and I went with them. Initially, I did not plan to go because I don’t do well in the heat but Martha and the cloudy/rainy/cooler weather we have had changed my mind.

Dormant daylilies do not do particularly well in Florida although some of us stubbornly try to grow them. This is where modern technology came in handy. The less stubborn had their cell phones out checking the daylily database of the American Hemerocallis Society which provides much more information on each named daylily than a daylily grower can reasonably furnish.

Our club has about forty members but only sixteen members went on the buying trip. We were disappointed that more members did not join us until we tried to get back on the bus with our newly acquired daylilies. We, uh, discovered we barely had enough room for the daylilies. The bus driver threatened to strap a few of us on the roof for the ride home.

I had a great time with a wonderful group of congenial people. A photo being worth a thousand words, I will let my photos tell the story.

daylily members boarding the bus
Terri, Karrie and Diane boarding the bus.

 

This is where we went.
From Jacksonville to Jasper, Florida.

 

daylily buying area under pine trees
The buying area. Daylilies were in pots.

 

pretty fence/entrance to growing area in back and screened porch
Entrance to growing area in the back and a large screened porch to escape gnats.

 

Gardens and daylily landscaping
Landscaped gardens. That’s Ray in the blue hat.

 

A purple spider daylily with yellow throat.
A purple spider daylily.

 

More landscaping with daylilies.
Another landscaped area.

 

Another photo of daylilies.
Daylilies were everywhere.

 

Blooming today in my gardens.
Hibiscus ‘Spin the Bottle’