Monthly Archives: November 2015

Red Leaf Hibiscus

At our farmers’ market last Saturday, I saw this red-leaf hibiscus (Hibiscus acetosella). At first glance, I thought it was  a Japanese Maple, but then I saw it had flowers. Did I buy it? You bet I did!

New Hibiscus Flower mlm c@

This gorgeous plant can grow up to 15 feet tall, so if you love Japanese Maple, (Acer palmate) but don’t have the shade it requires, this one is for you. The the shorter days and longer nights of autumn trigger the purplish leaves to darken, and the deep red or maroon 2 – 4 inch trumpet-shaped flowers to appear. The flowers are smaller than the hibiscus most of us are familiar with, but the colors of these flowers are stunning

Now, where am I going to put it? Probably close to the house for protection in case of a freeze like the one we had in February, 2015. See you in the garden.

Planting a Night Garden

Night gardens are are bright and pretty in daylight, and ethereal and romantic at night. If you ever plant one, you will never want to be without one again. These Florida Sunrise caladiums are the beginnings of my new night garden; and they will brighten up a dark corner of our back yard. This is part of the overall design of our back yard. As you can see, the turf grass in this spot is not doing very well because the area stays very damp because it wasn’t graded properly, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.  So I am filling this spot with plants that don’t mind  having wet feet. Caladiums are in the same family as elephant ears, and they need lots of water. What better place to put them?

Rear Caladium Sweep - mlm c@

By next summer (2016) the sweep of caladiums above will look like the ones below.

Sweep - mlm c@

This photo was taken in the late-afternoon, so the sunset has cast a yellow-ish light on the mostly white leaves.

A night garden is a flower garden that shows up well at night. On a moonlight night, it can appear to be almost iridescent. There are some very simple steps to having a night garden. They are usually made up of white, bright yellow, and/or very light-colored flowers:  pale  yellows, pinks, and lavenders. Some people prefer to use only night-blooming flowers.

Moonflower

Moonflower - mlm c@

I prefer flowers that bloom both day and night. I have not had a night garden since we relocated, but I plan to have one by next summer. I love my hot pink flowers, and other bright, cheerful colors. So when I decided to plant a night garden again, I knew I would simply tuck the white flowers in among my foliage and brightly colored flowers.

Peppermint Vinca

Pepperming - mlm c@

This vinca is not a true white. It is more of an off-white with a slight pink tinge, and then there is that gorgeous rosy-pink center that gives Peppermint Vinca its name.

Vinca , impatiens, and petunias will bloom all summer. In fact, here in central Florida, they bloom year-round; and you can never go wrong with a white mandevilla.

Mandevilla

Behind Starbucks 2 - mlm c@

It is absolutely NOT necessary to limit your garden to only white or pale flowers. They will show up at night when the darker colors will simply recede into the background. So you see, there really are some very simple steps to having a night garden.

Here are a few more of my favorite white flowers:

Hollyhocks

White Hollyhock - mlm c@

Hollyhocks are great for the back of a border, as they grow quite tall — sometimes as high as 15 feet. For that reason, they also make a great “living fence” to separate spaces, or to block an unsightly view. They have large leaves — plants with large leaves require more water than the average plant/flower.

Shamrocks

Shamrock Flowers - mlm c@

Shamrocks bloom profusely in spring, but will bloom sporadically throughout summer and warm autumns.

Vinca

Vinca - White mlm c@