Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Florida Garden....Making Progress

Quan Yin...Goddess of Mercy
Garden bench, once ready for the trash, now restored by a good neighbor

Pink Siam tulips in foreground. 

Crotons, Pygmy date palm and ferns

View from the shade garden to the pool

Under the Pony Tail palm

Cranum Lily and Bromeliads (they store 1 litre of water in their " tank")

We used the antique brick that formed the old patop for the pathway.

False bird of paradise

Quan Yin...perfectly aged statue from second hand store

Chinese Yellow Bamboo in foreground

The gorgeous orangey pink stems of the Bottle Palm.
Behind the hot tub I planted Lily of the Nile (not in bloom) false bird of paradise and crotons

Succulents in large pots.

A spot to sit beside  the bamboo, philodendrons and Cranum Lily.

My 3rd attempt to plant the Florida garden has yielded results I am pleased with. In the beginning I filled my cart at Home Depot with so many varieties of small plants, I had a mediocre strip of plants with mostly the same type of leaf and texture. It looked too varied and lacked cohesion. I discovered that just like decorating a house, you need a couple of really good pieces and then can build from there with less importants. I wanted the garden to have an old, established feel so the new pool area would blend with the old, historical part of the garden. I have split, moved, and moved again, dozens of plants. I removed 3 Tavellers Palms that were to large for the small (30 inch) strip by the pool. I invested in 2 large Bottle Palms and a couple of  massive Cranum Lillies, and filled the back with Chinese yellow Bamboo and the front with Philodendron, Ferns and false Bird of Paradise. 

If I was to move the camera a foot higher, you would see the top 2 feet of the rotten fence and the windows and stucco side of my neighbors house. With a bit of manipulation I can block that out. Eventually, the bamboo with provide a wall of greenery to block the view. I have foraged in neighbors gardens and accepted gifts of Elephant Ears, peace lily and Bromeliads. And anything that sneaks over to my side from the spooky vacant house next door finds a new home over here.

After searching for a statue to replace my elephant statue that was taken from the yard, I found a beautiful old Quan Yin to bless us with her calming presence. She came from Janet's Antiques on Central Avenue, St. Petersburg. By far my favorite haunt for lovely old things.


  1. It does indeed appear to have been there in this manner for many years. Goal accomplished :D Is there anything you cannot conquer you clever girl?

  2. Explains why you've been missing! Looks fabulous. Bet you are exhausted....hard work and heat!

  3. Oh wow - it all looks fantastic.

  4. Oh Chania, what a wonderful job you have done here. And look how everything has grown! Guess you can't beat that Florida sunshine and heat for plant growth!
    I really like that 'False Bird of Paradise'.....smaller version of the 'real' one, yes?
    The old brick path is inspirational....beautiful!

  5. Heaven....I don't know how you leave?

  6. Love your flavor . . . everything fits, very creative, warm and authentic and Quan Yin, Goddess of Mercy, brings the crown . . .

  7. Your garden looks lush and lovely. I bet it is a steep learning curve to plant a tropical garden after gardening in Ontario.

  8. Oh you have done a wonderful job ! It is quite beautiful and so peaceful looking !
    I have a Quan Yin, bought at auction years ago .. she has been all over the US and to Argentina :)

  9. I absolutely love what you have done in this space. It is so gorgeous already with that beautiful pool and all the gorgeous ceramic detailing. I love your point about how you need a few good pieces. I am still finishing off structural aspects of our garden but considering what I will do when it comes time to get serious about planting. I love that idea. It will certainly help guide me. The process can be somewhat overwhelming.

  10. It all looks like it's been there forever - lovely job!


  11. It looks like you've been there for ages! The garden is beautiful! Bromeliads were my go-to ground cover in FL, first because they water themselves practically and second, they multiply like crazy and third they could tolerate the acidity of oak leaves. My old yard was made up mostly of transplants and offshoots from friends and neighbors. Wonder what it looks like now... Ann


I love to read each and every comment and are thrilled that you take the time to send one. Thank you so much. Chania