Today we are visiting Nancy Martin’s garden.
I will be 72 years old in September. I live in Apollo Beach, Florida. However, I am a native of Virginia and lived there most of my life. In the summer of 2016 we moved into our current home. This house was a new build on a small lot, a blank canvas. I was unfamiliar with gardening in Florida. I had lived in a home on a large wooded lot on a lake in Virginia for over 30 years. All the plants in my Virginia home were large and well established. I soon found a grass lawn fired in the summer heat in Florida, and my yard was so small there wasn’t much room for a yard and garden too. I dug up all the grass in my backyard and planted my Secret Garden. All of my trees were started from seed and many of my plants from cuttings. I found that even full-sun plants could grow in some shade; I think they even enjoy it. These photos are a journal of my 2022 garden.
It is clear that Nancy has learned how to make plants happy in her new climate!
Apollo Beach is warm enough that a wide range of plants can be grown, including the Phalaenopsis orchid at the top, which is familiar to most of us as a houseplant but can live outside as long as temperatures stay mostly warm and above freezing.
Some of these flowers are familiar to Northern gardeners, like the daylily (Hemerocallis hybrid, Zones 4–11) and sunflower (Helianthus annuus, annual). Others, like the Bulbine frutescens (Zones 9–11) in the bottom center of this collage, are specialties of warmer climates.
I bet all these icy white flowers look cool and marvelous in the Florida heat.
Many of the plants pictured here, like the Caladium (Zones 9–11) in the top left, are familiar to Northern gardeners as annuals for growing in the summer, but they are perennial and long-lived in Florida.
Some things are the same with gardening in every climate: Plant enough flowers and you’ll get visits from beautiful pollinators like this butterfly!
Beautiful foliage is always welcome in the garden, from a dramatic variegated agave (perhaps Agave americana, Zones 9–11) to the universal favorite coleus (Plectranthus scutellarioides, Zones 10–11 or as an annual).
Have a garden you’d like to share?
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