It is the rainy season in Central Florida. That means "summer" in the Land of Mouse. It is hot, humid, and rains nearly every day, though usually only lasting about a half an hour to an hour in late afternoon. With all the rain our yard is often waterlogged. There are large areas with standing water for many hours after a heavy rain, and some days it is impossible to mow the grass because the ground is mushy and wet. It has not rained for over 24 hours right now and I just walked out back where my heels sunk into the wet ground as I walked.
For most of the last 25 years I felt I was an accomplished perennial gardener. I thought I knew a thing or two about gardening. I knew how to work the earth, and I knew how to manage the seasons. It has been so interesting moving to this strange place and finding much of what I thought I knew about gardening no longer computes. Some days this depresses me, I am not going to lie. However, just as often I am energized by the challenge. I got this! Eventually I am gonna kick some Central Florida gardening butt. I am almost sure of it.
Collateral damage? In the past 3 weeks I have lost my butterfly bush, a shasta daisy, two coneflowers, a shrimp plant, and a variety of annuals, all of which I planted this past spring. A purple penta plant is pretty pathetic, too. Why? I am not sure. They survived the blistering heat of spring and early summer. Maybe they cannot survive the deluge? Perhaps the rainy season killed them dead? I wish I knew the answer.
But that is not all. I have a plumbago that simply will not grow underneath my screamin' pink Crepe Myrtle in the front of the house. I have another plumbago I planted at the exact same time under a lavender Crepe Myrtle out back. That plumbago is absolutely huge and glorious, flowering with wild abandon. I do not know why the other one refuses to thrive. I already lost one of my 3 Stella D'Ora daylilies to the heat before the rainy season began. The other two are about the same size as they were when I put them in the ground last May. WTF?
I am now in a bit of a quandary. What the hell can I plant that will survive drought for 9 months of the year and then standing water for the remaining 3 months? As you can imagine, there are not a lot of choices. I now understand why I do not see a lot of flower gardens down here in people's yards. Most flowers cannot take these extremes.
Interestingly, Shrimp Plant is supposed to be a good choice for a wet area. I wonder if there is something else that killed mine besides the excessive moisture? I really liked that Shrimp Plant, the flowers actually are shaped like shrimp. They are wonderfully crazy shaped with great color. Maybe it will come back?
That crazy Shrimp Plant
African, Louisiana, and Blue Flag irises are also on the list for wet areas. I planted a variety in a wet area last spring and they are growing slowly but surely. I will feel victorious if they spread and flower by next year. I NEED a victory, too! Dammit.
The giant red Canna Lilies are doing well, as are their smaller yellow cousins in the back yard. I like Canna Lilies, but I am ashamed to say I wish I liked them more. What kind of ingrate does not like a flower that looks like this?
Some gorgeous cannas, not really caring if I like them or not.
We are growing some beautiful flowers in large planters in the area around the pool. Bird of Paradise, Desert Rose, Gardenia. I have high hopes for that Gardenia. If it lives until next summer I will buy more.
The spectacular Gardenia
Hey, I successfully underwent an open MRI today. It was still a little freaky, but the open sides made all the difference. And (Maria) I took your tip and kept my eyes closed. It worked. Next time I do something like that I want to choose my own music, though. Bad late 1970's pop music. Ick. In the late 1970's I was listening to the Clash, Blondie, Richard Hell and the Voidoids and Talking Heads. They had me listening to simpering wimp music as if I was an old lady or something. I think being pissed off helped take my mind off what was happening.