Garden Diary - November 20, 2016

Monarch on Tropical Milkweed

I don't think I'm going to get any Monarch babies this year. This butterfly has been hanging around, but I don't see any eggs or larvae yet. I can't bring the plant inside this year, so if they make chrysalises, they'll just
have to live or die by the weather.

We're getting our first freezing weather in N. Florida early tomorrow morning. It will get down to freezing and then to 31F for a couple of hours. Not enough to do much damage. I'm not really worried, since I'm in a densely populated area with a lot of buildings around me to generate heat. Last year, we were about 2-3 degrees warmer than predictions.

The only thing I'm worried about is the banana fruits. Hopefully, being in the courtyard right up against the house will protect them. I piled some leaves around the base today, but I don't really think that's necessary. If I lose the fruits, no big deal. I'm going to give away the bananas next year anyway, because they shade the courtyard too much. If we have a normal winter, they will die down to the ground and come back up.

Garden Experiment, Phase II

Brugs in Full Bloom at Night

I'm not doing much to protect plants that are in the ground. I'll pile up leaves over them like I did last year, but honestly, I'd just as soon they died, because I'm going to redo almost the entire outside gardens anyway. I want to get rid of anything that gets tall enough to shade the courtyard. I'll create a shady spot over in the corner wth the gravel for my potted tropicals (since I can't plant anything there anyway), but the rest of the courtyard needs to be as sunny as possible for vegetables. I still won't have full sun, but I will get some yield, so I want to take advantage of that.

The Brugmansia (angel trumpet) bed is going to now be a butterfly garden, full of milkweed and other pollinator attractors. I'm going to try to root some coral honeysuckle this spring and plant it on the fence for my hummingbird. The hibiscus bed will be much different. I'm cutting back the bushes big time to keep them from shading the courtyard. They were pretty to see in the mornings, and I may leave one or two limbs so I can see the flowers, but mostly they will be drastically cut back and only allowed to ever again get as tall as the wall. They do provide shade for some things, so I'll prune them so that shade will be preserved.

The South side outside garden is going to be completely different. The pigeon pea will either be kept shrubby or it will be taken out. I'll move the Mexican Dwarf Poinciana, since it gets up to 10 feet tall and would shade the courtyard. The lemon grass will be moved to along the fence. That bed will basically be a bulb and perennial bed, with a few annuals thrown in for color. I'll still grow my Everglades tomatoes out there, because they do so well, and next year, the soil will be much better with all the earthworm activity that went on this year, and a layer of rotted leaves from last year and more from this year.

As for the courtyard, it will be completely different, more in line with my original plan. This winter, I'll pile up leaves there so I can dig them into the ground in the spring before I plant things.

So lots of changes to come. This garden remains an experiment, so we'll see what happens. Thanks for reading. You can subscribe to receive updates by mail on the sidebar. 

Happy Gardening!

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