I have been busy planting a variety of new bulbs and plants, including a deep purple clematis to snake up a magnolia among the ferns, pink and yellow frangipani cuttings (to add to my other plumeria), lobster claw and bihai helconias, shampoo gingers, butterfly gingers, and several gingers that I ordered from Hawaii.
I have planted at least 14 torch gingers of different colors.
I have planted a lot of red, peach, and purple salvia around the garden because hummingbirds love it. I have never seen so many hummingbirds as I have so far this summer. They are the silliest little things and I absolutely love it when they come flutter around me as I work. The crazy plant in the foreground is croton, which is all over the Caribbean. I have six of them there, and I cannot wait until they are larger.
I can’t fit it all in a picture, but I have planted probably 40 elephant ears around the garden this year. They are not quite as tall as they are going to get, but they are adding to the tropical feel. I have seven of the (very) large white birds of paradise around too, which are also nice.
I have Hawaiian ti plants throughout the garden too. This is a sacred plant in many Pacific Islander cultures. The roots can also be fermented and are used in making a liquor called Okolehao. Fun stuff. These guys are just babies, but they get to be quite tall.
This year I have about 100 bromeliads in the garden of all different shapes, sizes, and colors. I love the red ones below especially – they have a texture that is a lot like papier-mâché. I am going to have to put down some new sod around there… Our daughter set up a ninja course through the trees and you can see where she likes to spin on this contraption I call the “whirl-a-kid.” It reminds me of those bird feeders you get with the helicopter propeller that can launch squirrels across your yard (“whirl-a-squirrel”).
She thought having the ninja course run along my flowers added a special thrill to staying on the ninja lines. If you fall, you have to do battle with the Mommy Monster.
These are the “Tropicana” variety of cannas, but they are not blooming yet. As you can imagine, I bought them just for the foliage. I wish I had space for more because they are real stunners. We had some violent storms lately that made all of my cannas (I have about 100 of them too) drop their flowers. One of my favorite recent additions to my collection are Picasso cannas, which do indeed look like some form of abstract art.
My giant island of caladiums that I just planted in May.
The banana trees that I planted last year are very happy in their spot. I also have a mango tree, fig tree, and Valencia orange tree. I planted a Royal Poinciana tree and a Skyflower tree, which will have amazing blooms (in contrasting orange and deep purple). We have several ancient magnolias and live oak trees – all nice and creepy Southern trees, especially when they collect Spanish moss.
More salvia and penta flowers for my pollinator friends to enjoy. Red pentas are guaranteed to be covered with butterflies in the summertime.
Lilies, lilies, and more lilies. (I planted over a hundred during quarantine.)
I planted quite a few calla lily bulbs that are starting to come up now. I have to say, I am going to plant a lot more of these in the future. They are gorgeous!
Reed orchids and impatiens. I have a ton of impatiens, which can last for years in Florida if you trim them when they start to get leggy. The deer keep getting mine, however. I planted some ground orchids somewhere, but I have forgotten where. I guess I’ll be surprised when they finally come up.
A very blurry shot of hydrangeas against Persian shield. I didn’t think hydrangeas would work this far south, but I recently saw a house along the ICW that had a mass of them in the backyard that clearly have been around for a while. So I went and bought a couple large hydrangeas. We shall see.
I still have a lot of flowers that are yet to come up. Many, many dahlias, tuberoses, eremurus, summer dafodills, nerine, a couple varieties of gladioli (now that the ones I planted earlier in the year are spent).
I added a few different types of philodendron around the song of India and the shooting star plant from Belize, just to add to the vertical scale and tropical foliage. I don’t expect them to be adding much size for a year or two, however.