Florida Backyard header image

All images © Daniel & Stacy Tabb and Boondock Studios

«   •   Home   •   »

Tropic Thunder*

Whoa! Two posts in one day! It’s almost like I’m a blogger again…


I have to do these periodic wide-angle shot posts so the family/friends who live out of town can see how things are progressing here in crazy-plant-buying-lady town. Speaking of, whilst at Home Despot (yes, I spelled that correctly) yesterday, waiting in the sweltering heat for the Slowest Cashier Evar to check out the nine billion people in front of us, I spied this beauty:

That’s it sitting on my driveway awaiting planting, of course, not how it looked in Home Despot (yes, I spelled that correctly). It is an Alpinia zerumbet ‘Variegata’, otherwise known as Shell Ginger, and I have been scouring the ‘net looking for a reasonably priced one for the past two weeks. Grown right here in Florida, up the road in Delray Beach, and guess how much it was? In a five gallon container, yes…go on, guess.


Why yes, I did the happy dance, why do you ask?

Everything I had previously found online was heinously expensive, heinously expensive to SHIP, or just plain tiny. Sometimes the Big Box stores please instead of disappoint. Not often, mind you.

And now, on to the update!

Out back, on the enclosure-covered pool deck, is basically half my veg/herb garden, and one giant propagation station.

That’s a variety of flowers and way too many melons.

Here are the herbs:

More propagation going on (plain old pest-deterring marigolds this time):

From left to right, San Marzano tomatoes, a fig tree, and my gazania collection:

Outside the enclosure, is the melon station:

That’s the birdhouse gourd climbing up the bouganvillea. Here are its fruit, have you seen anything cuter in the plant world?

The planter boxes, which still desperately need to be weeded-between and remulched:

There’s only so many hours in the day, you know.

The poor cornworm-bedeviled corn (sevin to the rescue!), and the crazy-go-nuts sugar baby watermelons:

Yeah, I just slapped the landscape fabric down over the grass and let the watermelon vines crawl all over it. What’s it gonna do…complain?

A wider shot of the main growing area here. Yeah, that border needs weeding and remulching too. THERE’S ONLY SO MANY HOURS IN THE DAY, DAMMIT.

Anyway, that’s the milkweed there in the center, and the trident maple cuttings in the odd pots to the side. We rescued that green cart on the left from my mother’s house before they moved and I swear, for having the smallish space that we have, we have used that thing every single weekend. Thanks mom!

Over in the rose garden, things are back to their intended splendor:

Except for that ugly blue hose, of course. Which tries to kill me on a daily basis.

The peace rose we put in last year died after the summer pruning (which means it was weak and sickly anyway, not that we’re Bad Rose Growers), so we replaced it with a miniature red climber that is going nicely up this trellis:

(It’s the supah-wide angle lens making that trellis crooked, I wasn’t standing crooked, I swear!) Roses are quite a bit of work but we do love them. They will flat reward you for a little bit of soil supplementation and some occasional deadheading.

Behind the pool enclosure, the Scentimental rose is glad to be pruned and weeded, and flanking it are the two Bleeding Heart Vines, which will climb up those diagonal support cables.

In front of those are already growing small Four O’Clocks, and I will be adding the orange Butterfly Weed as soon as it arrives. *impatient footstomp*

Under the little oak is where the new composter will go…

…conveniently next to that pile of impromptu compost in front of the honeysuckle. Yeah, I think you should cut the grass with your best zero turn mowers, but it’s more the “dog’s space” if you know what I mean, than actual healthy grass area. Re: the composter, Husband is building this thing from scratch for me, and we’re going to paint it Barn Red (with white trim) just to be a obnoxiously cute as possible. That whole process will be photo-documented, of course.

Out front, I’ve added two daylilies to the ring around the huge crepe myrtle:

That’s Ming Toy on the left and Siloam Double Pink on the right. I have a Purple De Oro that is in transit that will be added on the other side of the trunk to balance it all out.

The birds of paradise are giving me headaches. Again. The one on the right will curl its leaves up, uncurling them slightly when watered.

What? What do you want? An invitation to grow? Well, Sparky, I have a hundred other plants to deal with and you’re nothing special. I bought you, I can compost you just as easily.

The front beds continue to grow and spread.

You might be able to see if you click-to-enlarge the image, but the under-performing Delphinium (which used to be behind the over-performing cannas) has been evicted in favor of some lurvely Coneflowers (echinacea purpurea), which will rapidly fill in the space between the cannas and knockout roses behind them. Or else. Oh, and dig that pretty spiral stake there against the little wall next to the ficus. Up that will go a pair of mystery Sweet Peas.

The Delphiniums weren’t composted, just relocated, to the base of the smaller crepe myrtle:

They seem to like it better there. They look happy, don’t they?

Sometimes I look at everything that’s going on in this bed (with Red Hot Pokers still to be added there in front of the crepe) and I think it’s nothing better than a hot mess. But then I find my happy place (which coincidentally, is right THERE), and think what it is going to look like in a month’s time. Yes, Virginia, you can cottage garden in Florida!

*No, not THAT one.