Monday, July 19, 2010

Playing Hooky!

It seems like it's been forever since I've been gardening.  There had been the big push to get the front garden mulched and the 'Sun Garden' finished during the 4th of July weekend.  It felt like a million bucks when it was done!

Now, two weeks later, I feel sheepish because I've been playing hooky!  And it's been GREAT!  I'm trying to talk myself into calling it a garden "field trip", but in truth, my time last week was spent playing!  I traveled to the "Sunshine State" of Florida on the Gulf coast....

While entranced by the cadence of the waves crashing on the shore day and night, that was not the only FL feature I savored.  I have a new appreciation for my garden blog friends from this grow zone!!  Your flora is hypnotic - Hibiscus stops me in my tracks and I weep openly when I see Bougainvillea!  It's all just breathtaking...  If you have a chance. visit Deb at, Kimberly at and Meems at  Their blogs capture the journey of gardening in the sunny state of FL and link to other great references and blog sites in tropical gardening.

In my travels last week, while I did not visit key locations like Busch Gardens, I did get to see some FL landscaping in its most fundamental sense -- in commercial real estate.  Some was rudimentary, and then other was really eye-catching.  Here are a few snapshots I took with my little cell phone camera (which I continue to appreciate more and more!)

On a small shopping excursion (and if you know me - I'm not a big shopper), the landscaping across the street caught my eye.  So while my gal pals were browsing through the chotchkes in the local gift shop, I dodged two-way traffic to take these pictures...

The first thing that caught my eye was the seashell mulch.  It was striking!  Then there was the Fountain grass - it appeared that the landscape designer embraced the 'less is more' design concept.  Each plant became it's own 'superstar', drawing you eye around the garden - as much with blank space as with plant material.

Some of my other favorites included...

It was a fantastic vacation, extremely relaxing!  Believe it or not, I did have a piece of me happy to return home from this tropical paradise. I'm refreshed and ready to jump back in the saddle - in my garden.  I was delighted to see the Rose Mallow has bloom buds the size of walnuts, just ripe to burst -- now that it's protected from those persistent furry little beasts (my nemesis - the bunnies).  if I can just get the sand out of my shoes....


  1. I like the seashell mulch; it's a great contrast. I was considering some king of loose shale for paths around my beds. I don't think I'd get shells over here, though!

  2. Shyrlene,
    You picked a really hot time to come to Florida and you have me wondering just where you were for your July get-away. I'm thinking the panhandle but maybe you were right here in the Tampa Bay area. Wouldn't it have been fun for you to drop by!

    I like that shell gravel for walkways at beaches but I don't think I'd use it (even in a commercial setting) for mulch. Although it is very beachie looking. Lots of commercial landscapers are finally catching on to using natives more and more down here which is a good improvement. I hope you got to see some nice residential designs while here. Thank you for the link to my blog... always a pleasure to visit with you.

  3. Shyrlene, I'm bummed that I couldn't join you ladies for an afternoon!! Looks and sounds like you had a really great time, though! It's usually not THIS HOT...there's always a coastal breeze and it usually feels a bit more like paradise. You captured some pretty photos...I use the shell mulch in my garden, and plain old shells that we collect from the beach. I don't use it everywhere as the calcium may be a bit much.
    You're sooo kind to link to my blog! Thank you so much!!!!
    But you have to promise to contact me the next time you come down. :)

  4. Oh Shyrlene, all of these photos are gorgeous! Florida has such incredible landscape ideas. The Rose Mallow is truly stunning.
    Looks like you had fun playing hooky, and I'm very glad you took your camera along!
    Hoping you got all the sand out of your shoes! ; )

  5. IG - the shells looked cool, but I just had this vision of it slicing the begeezus out a gardener's legs when trying to pull weeds?! (but then I'm a wuss)

    Kim, Meems - the girls & I were playing down just south of Clearwater Beach, is that close? I did think of you both when I was there - and how cool it would be to get together! Maybe next year?! :o)

    Karen - thanks so much for the photo accolades! We had SUCH a great time, and fully exploited the Floridian fruit for daily 'smoothie' cocktails (w/ a little coconut rum or tequila). I'm still shaking out the sand! ;D


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