FIRST OF MARCH AND I’M INSPIRED TO SHARE WITH YOU WHAT’S HAPPENING AROUND OUR HOME! Does anyone else get overly excited about spotting signs of buds on your plants? After four freezes, a rarity for Florida’s winter season, I’m relieved to see the new growth on plants I thought we had lost. I decided to do an entire post on several shots taken today with my Rebel DSLR T6. I will do my best to name the plants and share thoughts behind my landscaping design. But first, please enjoy a quick video of these wonders of nature from my neighbors’ yards.
Basket Plant (Callisia Fragrans)
Here you see a blooming stem of Callisia Fragrans, commonly known as the basket plant. It doesn’t bloom often but when it does it shows off the prettiest little white flowers. In the background is one of my favs, Flaming Katy (Kalanchoe). It is actually a succulent and it’s vibrant red flowers bloomed radiantly all winter. These two plants, along with a few others serve to add some natural and colorful decor for our large L-shaped front porch. They are potted and I love that they do not require daily watering.
Princess Flower (Tibouchina Urvilleana)
Here we have the Princess Flower bush (Tibouchina Urvilleana). I cannot describe just how magnificent this plant is. I had it in my former home and brought a cutting with me when we built our current home. I planted it next to our AC outdoor unit for two reasons. It loves water and the drip of the AC keeps it happy. Aesthetically it helps hide the bulky metal unit from sight. I love the contrast of the deep green leaves with the striking purple of the flowers. This is a plant that blooms beautifully all year round.
Loquat Tree (Eriobotrya Japonica)
I couldn’t be more thrilled to see our very first fruit on the Loquat tree we planted in December. Growing up in Costa Rica citrus trees were everywhere. I remember the fruit of the Nispero tree (name we used in Spanish) so well. It is a delicious blend of sweet and tangy. I cannot wait to bite into our first Loquat fruit and use the leaves to make tea. This tree grows very big so we planted it in our backyard where there is plenty of room. I envision a food-forest concept for our backyard. For starters we have the loquat, an orange, papaya and morenga tree.
Major Wheeler Honeysuckle (Lonicera)
Not too long ago I planted this Major Wheeler Honeysuckle (Lonicera) outside our master bathroom window. The goal is for it to grow as a vine and eventually drape around the window.
I dream of sitting at my make up vanity gazing out at hummingbirds and butterflies buzzing around the lovely red flowers. This plant is said to be the longest blooming variety of honeysuckle with showy clusters of orange-red to coral flowers.
4 Month Update
The Honeysuckle has been doing amazing. It is filling in, climbing nicely and the blooms have not stopped! Take a look…
1 Year Update
Take a look at the radiance of this plant. It is simply spectacular.
Queen's wreath (Petrea Volubilis)
Before building our house I had thought up how my landscaping would be and what plants would fill it. Queen’s Wreath (Petrea volubilis) was a must have. I had once seen this stunning plant in a magazine and it took my breath away.
It grows as a vine with drooping dense clusters of lavender flowers. Something I learned about this plant is that it is similar to the gorgeous Wisteria, but unlike Wisteria, Queen’s Wreath is non-invasive.
Last year my husband built an arbor for the Queen’s Wreath plant. You can check out the tutorial HERE. It has steadily been climbing the arbor and the plan is to grow a beautiful vine that will adorn the west side of our house, providing a picturesque view from our porch.
Queen's Wreath Update
It is now June and just look at how radiantly this plant is doing. It truly is a piece of landscape art.
Red Penta (Penta lanceolata)
Lizzy here stole the show posing next to my Red Penta bushes. Pentas are one of my favorite plants for adding color and using as borders and fill ins for landscape around the house. They bloom year round and have striking large clusters of star shaped flowers. It seems that nothing can kill pentas which is another plus!
Here is a front porch view of the bushy plants when they were potted. Once they got too big we transferred them out to the yard.
Have you noticed a trend of purple blooms? Purple is my favorite color so I’m often drawn to plants with showy purple buds. In fact, I have to be careful that my landscaping does not consist entirely of purple flowering plants!
Multiple Spiderwort plants pop up every spring in the lot next door. They have long grassy leaves and gorgeous deep purple blooms. They grow wild, creating a beautiful sea of purple that I can’t help but photograph each year.
MEXICAN HAT Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe Daigremontiana)
A friend had given me a cutting of this Kalanchoe Mexican Hat plant years ago. It has grown fabulously. This mesmerizing large succulent is so low maintenance. I have it in a large clay pot on our breezeway and it really is a statement piece. I love succulents in general. They don’t require much watering, each is so unique and intricate, and many have striking blooms.
When this plant grows a long stem you know you’ll be in for a treat. The clusters of orange-gray blooms are unique, striking and long-lasting.
Purple Leaf Plum (Prunus cerasifera 'St Lukes')
Last fall we snatched up the remaining two St. Lukes’ Plum trees we could find around town. I wanted two whimsical-like trees for the front of our Sugarberry Cottage Farmhouse. Our neighbor has one and it looks SO beautiful year round with its rich purple branches and leaves.
This morning I looked out my kitchen window and was overjoyed to see baby blooms of the sweetest white and pink flowers growing on the Plum trees. I cannot wait to see these gorgeous trees in full bloom and share more pictures with you!
4 Months Later...
Once the blooms died, deep burgundy leaves began to sprout on the branches of our St. Lukes’ Plum. I was overjoyed to watch these rare beauties fill in.
Cassia bicapsularis: Butterfly Bush
There is a tree version of the Cassia. We have the bush which still grows to a large size reaching 8 to 10 feet. As other plants begin preparing for winter, this magnificent shrub is waking up. We start seeing buds around November. By Thanksgiving the plant is bursting with bright yellow flowers. It is one of my favorite plants in our yard.
The Cassia is great plant to have if you are looking to spread out color in your garden throughout the year. As a Fall bloomer you will enjoy a showy display of butterfly-like blooms. The Cassia is a host for Sulphur butterflies and a nectar source for a variety of pollinators. Sometimes the caterpillars leave the plant bare, but the Cassia bush always comes back and later we are blessed with beautiful butterflies in our garden.
I love taking clippings from yard plants right before the blooms begin to fall off and bring them into the home for continued enjoyment. Cassia blooms were the stars in my DIY Aged Stone Wall Post draped over the kitchen sink.
Thank you for taking a stroll through my garden. I leave you with a cherished gift my daughter gave me yesterday. She was so proud to bring home, after a walk with her dad, fallen petals from two Tabebuia trees. These incredible trees are in bloom all around town and their yellow or pink flowers are something to witness if you ever get the chance. Stay well my friends.