Do you hear it?
Yep! It is the native Bird of Paradise plant outside my bedroom window, literally growing taller and taller as each spike of white blossoms emerge at abstract angles from the cocoon like pods.
Our SW Florida plants grow fast.
As do the usual weeds and such if one does not keep them in check by using mulch or a pesticide.
We prefer to use mulch with a barrier covering between the soil and the mulch.
Today, the Captain is putting red mulch in and around all our plants in the Secret Garden.
In SW Florida, we have to put new mulch down annually, (sometimes semi-annually) if one is using mulch.
Remember our growing season is literally 24-7, 365 days of the year.
Our plants grow at night, while we are sleeping…
You can almost hear the plants, bushes and trees spurt through the soil.
Which reminds me, I told you the jury was out on the new lilac bushes we trans-planted in large planters?
The Summer Baby Lilac’s actually DO smell like the old fashioned lilac of my child hood years.
I had only a very small cluster to check for fragrance, but when I literally got my nose down into the flower-lets. … I was smiling.
My Gardenias are blooming continuously right now, as are my Bougainvillea, Night Jasmine, Cannas, Plumaria, Crepe Myrtle, Ixoria and Bird of Paradise.
And I have to mention the Mandevilla Vines that are intwined in and around the pergola.
You see, here in SW Florida we can not grow lilacs, tulips, peony, and many types of bulbs that require a dormancy in colder weather.
Unless we put them in pots and then they are usually short-lived, unlike our beautiful tropical plants, which are abundant.
There are also the giant Elephant Ears and the beautiful Hibiscus in reds, yellows, and peach colored blossoms.
Sprinkled here and there are Vinca, Pentas, Petunias and Begonias and a lime tree.
Yep! those are real limes and are they yummy in a lime coke.
While the Captain is busy working his magic, I will be giving many of the plants a good trimming, because of their fast growth.
If one is not careful, the plants can become way to lush or way too stringy…depending on the type of plant.
After our morning labors in the Secret Garden….my plan is to make a fairly quick soup that we might enjoy under the pergola .
I know it is Spring and when one thinks of soups, it is usually Fall or Winter.
However, I love soups all the time and it doesn’t matter the season.
One of my favorite soups is Broccoli Cheese Soup!
I have changed up this recipe so many times, as I usually try to use what I have on hand, as long as there is cheese and broccoli, the rest is up to the soup maker.
Perhaps you have a favorite broccoli cheese soup recipe that is something like this one.
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 4 cups fresh broccoli florets (about 8 ounces)
- 1 large finely chopped carrot, (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme (fresh or dried)
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups half-and-half cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 cup water or additional chicken stock
- 2-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- In a heavy pot, heat butter over medium heat; add the onion and garlic, cooking until tender.
- Stir in broccoli, carrot, chicken stock, cream and seasonings and simmer for about 10 minutes.
- In a small bowl, add the cornstarch to the water stirring until smooth.
- Add the cornstarch slurry to the simmering soup, stirring until the right thickness.
- Add the cheese, stirring until all the cheese is melted and blended into the soup.
- If desired, serve with crumbled crisp bacon or more cheese
It doesn’t matter if you have lush acres of beautiful flowers, plants and trees or if you have a little space cleared off on a deck or balcony.
Enjoy the beauty of nature around you.
My Mother’s favorite flower was the Zinnia, which I love to this day because of her… but in her later years, she lived in a very small duplex that was in an assisted living community.
She would take a small 6 inch pot and plant a few zinnia seeds and that was her own private garden.
It was beautiful.
Congrats, you are being featured at Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop.
Thank you Beverly….I appreciate your kindness….
Julie Briones says
Your garden looks gorgeous! Oh those gardenias! Love the fragrance! So blessed to have you at Homestyle Gathering each week, Kari! Hugs!
Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared.
you are welcome Marilyn
Tammy in Albuquerque says
Hi Kari! Your flowers are STUNNING! We bought a new home last fall and I’m itching to start planting in my small gardens in the backyard. Flowers bring such joy! Thank you for sharing~. Hugs
Hi Tammy….flowers really perk me up and the wild life it attracts is beyond wonderful. The butterflies are enjoying my parsley as they prepare to lay eggs. Beautiful. Blessings always, my friend.
Chloe Crabtree says
We mulch twice a year…no, we have our lawn guys much twice a year with the pine needle mulch. My gardenias are blooming like crazy but I have yet to get anything planted in the backyard since I am still waiting for progress to be made on our backyard construction project. Finding a general contractor had been quite the challenge. Your plats look great!
Mulching is a way of life for us here in Florida isn’t it Chloe? I am so anxious to see your backyard project plans.
Debbie E says
I spy Gardenia’s. When mine grow I pluck one and place it in my hair for the day 😀
Yes, they are gardenias….Hurricane Irma tried to get the tree but luckily it survived. The fragrance is amazing and I also like to put one floating in a small bowl of water.
the Painted Apron says
Soooo pretty Kari, I have pot envy!! The soup sounds really good too!
It was delish Jenna, I could eat soup every day. You paint your flowers and that way you have them all year long. Lucky you. LOL
the Painted Apron says
Ha, right, that’s about the only way I can “grow” them!
Kari, your flowers are gorgeous!! I love all the color combinations. We miss out on so many flower options in our part of Texas. I miss gardenia bushes and azaleas the most…they just won’t grow here, but will grow in North Dallas…go figure!! It is hard to find something that will grow in our horrid soil…so I don’t have a lot of options. I’m struggling with my hydrangeas but am willing them to grow…cuz that always works, right??!! Love and hugs sweet friend!
Isn’t a lot of that soil caliche? You know, that combination of gravel, sand, clay, and silt? When we lived in Texas, (Waxahatchie, Palmer, and Duncanville to be exact)…that was the type of soil we had. We also had Caliche in New Mexico and it can be so hard to dig and cultivate, so if that is the case I feel your pain. Hugs Always!
This is what was recommended: Caliche can cause plant growth problems by:
a. Restricting root development
b. Restricting water drainage
c. Causing iron to be unavailable to
2. When making a planting hole, penetrate
caliche if practical. Remove solid
chunks of caliche from the soil.
3. Before planting, make sure water drains
from the hole make sure drainage will
be adequate for the plant or else mound
soil to provide enough soil for plant
4. Mix sulfur with soil to enhance iron
availability and soil drainage if non desert species are being planted.
Beth Wilson says
Your flowers are gorgeous! Love that bird house, I would love to have one like that someday!
thanks Beth, I think it is time to re-paint the post the birdhouse sits on…in the pic it looks a little chippy. LOL
Your gardens are stunning! And I know you planted those Zinnias just for me! 😊
We too have fast growing plants and have color and blooms of a different kind!
Nancy, we both appreciate the beauty of the outdoors…I have found that no matter where I live, the beauty is there if we just open our eyes.Hugs sweet friend.