Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Garden Tour Part 2

Here's part 2 of the garden tour. As with the first tour, most of the plants you'll see here are either grown from seed, or cuttings, with the exception of the larger fruit trees, due to the nature of seed grown fruit trees, its important to buy named varieties from respectable nurseries, unless you want to wait 5-10 years for them to fruit and bear fruit of questionable quality. However, all named varieties we have today are the result of people taking the chance to grow them from seed.

For this part of the tour, we'll be starting from the left hand side of the house, working clockwise until we meet in the center island, where we ended the first part of the tour.

This is my "ugly" part of the garden, tucked to the left of the house in a pie shaped piece of land that for the most part gets "winter" shade. Here I'm growing persimmon trees - because they're deciduous, the winter shade doesn't matter. Behind the persimmon tree, is my vegetable garden. I have three semi-raised beds with wood edging and one "lasagna" border. At the moment, I'm growing cow peas, I recently pruned the eggplants to the ground as they were infested with spider mites. They'll grow back to 5 feet tall shrubs, to me they're beautiful with their purple flowers. Some bear long white fruit, others bear lavender marbled with white fruit.
Starting October, I'll plant pole and bush beans, broccoli here. I tried carrots, turnips, onions before and in our warm winters none of them amounted to anything.

Here's wider view of the same area, in the foreground is a horseradish tree (from seed) that will cast its shade over the air conditioners to help with cooling costs in summer. Behind the horseradish tree, there is a plastic sheet around my newly bought "brown turkey" fig tree which will be planted more or less where it is now. It is deciduous and will cast its shade over the air conditioning units in summer and loose its leaves in winter. Behind that is a natal plum (carissa grandiflora) (from seed), just starting to flower en-mass for the first time. Just behind and to the left of the carissa is a Capulin cherry (Prunus salicifolia - from seed) tree which is on its last "warning". If it doesn't fruit or look better next year, it will be replaced with another fruit tree, possibly a sapodilla. To the left is another mixed shrub border with orange cracker plant, Cocoplum, Seagrape, Elder berry, Mexican petunias, fakahatchee and lemon grass, duranta cuban gold and golden dew drop, Cuban buttercup, white crinum lilly, persian shield, shooting star, strelitzia, euryops, blanket flower, vinca, tibouchina ....

Behind the veggie garden is the start of a future "hidden" pathway, I envision a field stone or some other stone pathway here. To the left if a mixed shrub border with dwarf cavendish (fruiting) bananas, cocoplum, cuban oregano (variegated and plain), lemon grass, butterfly weed, ginger, variegated shell ginger. To the right is the mixed shrub border I described above, in the right front is the turmeric I planted recently.

Moving along the hidden path, to the left is more bananas, pineapples and the whole area being overtaken by railroad vine or bindweed, or some kind of ipoemea. To the right is the dropping branches of the duranta golden dewdrop.In the background there's some more volunteer papayas, volunteer sweet potato vines (I recently harvested a grocery bag full).

Coming out of the hidden pathway brings you to this "room" in the center is the rock garden, to the left you can see the sweet potato vines taking over, the litche tree, behind the lithci tree (not visible) is a loquat tree, to the right is the fig tree (loosing its leaves due to rust), the next tree is a horseradish tree (from seed), this area is covered in seminole pumpkin vines for ground cover, along the fence there is a passion fruit trellis with two yellow passion fruits (from seed) that should fruit next year.

Here's the horse radish tree on the left (a volunteer purple crepe myrtle growing in a container) with the travellers palm in the center, the Valencia Pride mango tree and behind it the Sugar Apple tree.

The Sugar apple is just visible on the left, in the fore ground center is a pitomba tree, to the right of it a jaboticaba. The arbor is visible just to the right of the jaboticaba.

Looking back toward the house, on the left is the arbor with muscadine vines, in the center an Indian Jujube tree, behind it a grumichama. To the right the mixed shrub border with the hidden path.

A look from the other side of the arbor, to the left is a meyer lemon bush, it will not grow much bigger, on both sides of the arbor I have plumbago.

Back to the center island, bordered with duranta cuban gold, in the front center is a choquette avocado tree. Behind it a volunteer Starburst shrub(tree). Also growing in this border: variegated flax lilly, lemon grass, purple cone flowers, shrimp plant, four different coloured pentas, mexican petunias, variegated shell ginger, firebush, fakahatchee grass.


  1. All this and room for a trampoline! You have many unusual tropicals. Funny, I didn't see an "ugly" part of the garden.

  2. I just found your blog and I am very interested how you started. I like your island effects. Could you put up a followers wedget?

  3. Hi Grace, funny how you see the ugly and no-one else does :)

    Yes, the size of this urban yard is what sold me on this place.

  4. Anna,

    There's a book, "The Subtropical Garden" that heavily influenced my design. They advise to have a heavily shaded garden in the subtropics. This helps to create a cool island effect. The sun is just so intense - even with our high rainfall, many plants that can be grown elsewhere, never amounts to anything here. I decided to define the outline of my garden first, by planting the "bones" i.e. large trees. I left the inside and closer to home open so that you have a view of everything, never start from the inside out, otherwise you will have plants blocking your view.