Let me just say right up front, I am greedy for flowers and plants. I must have them if I am to be happy. I need the color, the shapes, the scents, and a variety of types to keep my interest. I go outside every morning and make the rounds, looking at them, loving them, and sending them special "You Are Beautiful" vibes so they will grow lush and happy.
There are SO many trees, shrubs, and flowers I want as we begin landscaping our pathetic little piece of paradise in this Florida subdivision. Up North I could buy and plant just about anything that I wanted. We had a lot of land, and it was fairly private. I sincerely loved that land, but the sheer expanse made it hard for us to rein ourselves in. We had an obscene number of perennial beds and way too many different kinds of flowers. Need herbs? We made an herb garden. Like pastel colored flowers? We had a bed with only pastel blooming flowers in it. T and I fought over what to put in a perennial bed? Easy solution - we would just build our own, separate beds. We had lots of wild land, too. I gleefully developed a type of gardening I called "drop gardening" where I would just drop divided pieces of beebalm and foxglove, daylilies and purple cone flowers into the wild areas knowing they would root and naturalize. The results of my drop gardening were spectacular. Now I know it was also excessive. Of course, I would never have realized this great truth if I had not given up country living for the more constrained life of a subdivision retiree. Now I know. Or at least that is what I am telling myself.
In our old place it took T and me years to fully landscape the property. We initially had a 5 year plan. We were in our early 40's when we bought that house. We were still working 5 days a week and the gardening season is fairly short up north, so a five year plan did not seem unreasonable. Those were our glory days and we figured we had more than half our lives left to get the work done and wait for the flowers and trees to mature, and we did. No big deal. No pressure. Gardening was what we did on the weekends for the few months of the year when it was possible to venture outside and work the soil. It filled our lives. Now we do not have anything else to do except babysit for our grandkids, and we can work outside all year round. But who knows how much time we have left? People in our lives are dropping like flies. I do not mean to sound morbid, but I feel a little pressure to get this landscaping thing done quickly so we have time to enjoy it. We will absolutely not be planting any large shade trees that might take 20 years to mature. We are only looking for short-term gratification now. If I was younger I would definitely plant a Live Oak to grow massively majestic (and spooky) as it accumulated Spanish Moss and eventually shaded the driveway. But since I am old, I will live with the blazing summer sun burning up my car instead. Last summer the sun destroyed our GPS. We did not realize you couldn't leave it in the car down here in August. The Florida sun burned that sucker right up. It would still turn on, but it behaved like a GPS with mental problems. Sometimes we would be half way to our destination before it would start talking to us and giving us directions. Poor thing. We had to get rid of it.
Why not put our cars in the 2 car garage? Well, most people do not use their garage for cars down here for the simple reason these houses do not have basements. There is no worry about digging your car out of a huge snow pile if you leave it in the driveway. Consequently, it is hard not to use the garage like a basement instead. Unless you can afford to store all your useless crap in a storage unit month after month, year after year, world without end, amen... you fill up your garage with the overage. I love it when I am driving past someone's house and they have their garage door open so I can gauge whether they horde more junk than I do. Some of the storage packing techniques are quite impressive, too. Our garage provides space for many boxes of treasures we do not need AND a small candle factory. And our washer and dryer. Oh, and our bikes, too. Oh yeah, and that weight bench and reclining stationary bike we do not use. Hmmm, I am not sure why we brought those all the way down here.
Getting back to gardening, a 5 year plan could mean the difference between one of us being able to lift a 40 pound bag of composted cow manure or not. I think not. I think maybe we are going to have to make do with a two year plan this time. Right now we are working HARD on a couple of beds on either side of the screened birdcage-like pool area, and planting larger shrubs and small trees to hide the fence. Yes, in Florida we keep our pools inside birdcages. It keeps the bugs out. It also defines the area surrounding the space you Damn Yankees might call a patio. Houses down here sometimes have "Florida Rooms" which are rooms inside the house, usually towards the back, with lots of windows kind of like a sun room. Outside the house, the birdcages are usually attached to an outdoor room called a lanai, which has a roof and screened in sides but is still open to the pool on the front. The lanai is especially great because you can sit outside to eat your meals without burning up from the sun. I might start keeping our new GPS out there. It would get lost in the garage. It is a whole new world. We are just trying to figure it out.
This past weekend we went to a fabulous garden sale. We bought loads of greenery we can now check off our garden bucket list. I got a pink camellia tree!!!! And a fire bush, butterfly bush, and shrimp plant. And an air plant. We are both thrilled. The coming week is going to be so much fun digging and planting. I just wish I did not always regret the placement choice after the plants have already gone in the ground. Why didn't I buy that beautiful gardenia at the plant sale? Where in the hell am I going to put a butteryfly bush?