Florida Gardening forum: New Flower bed... ideas?

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Name: Terese
Central Florida, zone9b (Zone 9b)
Wisconsin Dells Area, zone4
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Butterflies Cat Lover Bee Lover
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tcs1366
Feb 15, 2015 9:13 AM CST
a few days ago, we added some more curbits to our yard to connect the flower beds around the house. I believe this faces NE. It gets full morning sun.

I was thinking I'd like some Alpinia zerumbet 'Variegata' as I love the color of the foliage.

Does anyone have this plant and does it get too big? I read the variegated ones do not get as big as the regular ginger.

I'd also like to add some colorful, compact blooming plants to fill it in.

any ideas would be great.... I'm a recent "transplant" still learning the new zone for planting.
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Terese --Leesburg, FL & Lake Delton, Wi

Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator Region: Florida Cat Lover Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
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Dutchlady1
Feb 15, 2015 9:49 AM CST
That's a nice area and the variegated ginger might do well there. Maybe intersperse it with a shrub or two. I think Gardenia doesn't mind that exposure.
I always recommend news transplants from other zones that they drive or walk around their area and see what others have planted.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Feb 15, 2015 10:12 AM CST
Terese, some of my very old Alpinia plants are pretty large, the longest stems being nearly 5ft. But it's in nearly full shade having been overcome by a huge bougainvillea over the years, so it's probably 'reaching'. Others in more light form nice neat clumps about 3ft. tall. It's a really beautiful plant but it does like to stay moist, especially where it's growing in the sun.

If it were my house, I'd want more drought tolerant plants there, as keeping the walls of the house wet for the sake of a flower border isn't that great an idea in Florida. Usually recommend you not plant anything within 2ft. of the house walls, just so you can keep them dry. It prevents water incursion if the house is concrete block, and insect invasion if it is frame.

I guess what I'm saying is, by all means plant stuff along the outer edge of that border, but keep the area right next to the wall, under the overhang dry if you can. If there's no gutter on that part of the roof the plants will get good water in summer when it rains, but try to keep irrigation from wetting the part in by the wall if you can.

A gorgeous butterfly and hummingbird plant, red firespike, Firespike (Thyrsacanthus tubaeformis) would do very well there. It can get large, but a snip here and there will keep it in line. It would screen the view of your AC really nicely. Btw, don't plant anything too close to the AC either, it blows off hot air all summer, and most plants don't like that, plus you need space around it for it to work properly.

Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator Region: Florida Cat Lover Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
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Dutchlady1
Feb 15, 2015 10:50 AM CST
Good point, Elaine.
Name: Terese
Central Florida, zone9b (Zone 9b)
Wisconsin Dells Area, zone4
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Butterflies Cat Lover Bee Lover
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tcs1366
Feb 15, 2015 1:48 PM CST
Elaine - thanks so much for all that info. Yes, the house is block and for the most part, no gutters. I was not aware not to plant within 2' of the foundation -- the previous owner certainly did. DH said those new beds are 4' wide.

I also have to look into amending the sandy soil... what would be best, a peat, manure or black dirt before I get mulch?

I do believe the AC has enough clearance, the 1 shrub that is there can be trimmed if it gets too close.

on DH I was given this link for plants... which i will spend a bit of time reviewing.
http://www.garden.bsewall.com/Lists/List_intro.htm
Terese --Leesburg, FL & Lake Delton, Wi

Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Feb 15, 2015 2:18 PM CST
Compost, compost, compost, Terese. Most counties in Florida have a composting program, so contact your County landfill. Ours gives it away free, but you have to load and haul it yourself. It's the best possible amendment for our sandy soil.

Anything you buy from a nursery as 'topsoil' will be that compost with sand added, so not as good a value. Be careful if you get any kind of manure that it has been composted a bit, too. It can burn your plants if it's too 'hot' or fresh.

Again, don't amend the soil in by the house. You want that soil to drain and dry out as fast as possible when the heavy summer rains are upon us, c/w high humidity.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Terese
Central Florida, zone9b (Zone 9b)
Wisconsin Dells Area, zone4
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Butterflies Cat Lover Bee Lover
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tcs1366
Feb 15, 2015 3:09 PM CST
OK then... I should just leave the new beds, that wrap the house as sandy soil. I would think that a peat or humus would add nutrients.

I do have a small composter in my yard.. it's the kind with the base to collect the "tea" - so i guess I could add a scoop or two when I put plants into the ground.

here is the other flower bed... the one under the window faces south, gets a lot more sun, the other -- where you can see the downspout - I plan to put a rain barrel, but I'm still searching.... that bed is more narrow, so maybe I'll look for a flowering ground cover or leave it just mulched.
Thumb of 2015-02-15/tcs1366/2fc7c3

Terese --Leesburg, FL & Lake Delton, Wi

Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator Region: Florida Cat Lover Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
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Dutchlady1
Feb 15, 2015 4:44 PM CST
I think some Ixora would look lovely against that white wall.
Name: Terese
Central Florida, zone9b (Zone 9b)
Wisconsin Dells Area, zone4
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Butterflies Cat Lover Bee Lover
Image
tcs1366
Feb 15, 2015 5:25 PM CST
Oooo, lovely. I'll keep an eye out for that one.
Terese --Leesburg, FL & Lake Delton, Wi

Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator Region: Florida Cat Lover Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
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Dutchlady1
Feb 15, 2015 6:05 PM CST
If you have a choice, a variety called 'Super King' is one of the best bloomers. I have found it at my local Lowes.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Feb 15, 2015 6:08 PM CST
Amendments will certainly add nutrients, but most important thing they do is increase water-retaining quality. The cellulose fibers in organic matter expand to retain water, then gradually shrink as they dry to leave air spaces in the soil. Great for plants, not great for keeping the walls of the house dry. I'd absolutely amend with compost when you plant your plants, but keep it (and the plants) at the outer edges of those beds. Some nice color and softening all those straight lines would look great!

A pretty flowering groundcover if you like blue flowers is Evolvulus, common name Blue Daze. The flowers are only about an inch across but the most lovely shade of blue.
Blue Daze (Evolvulus glomeratus)

It would do great on your NE facing side, as well as the south facing bed, because it looks like there's a little bit of shade on the south and west sides of the house anyway. Even if you mowed it, it will just spring back with more flowers all through the summer and fall.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator Region: Florida Cat Lover Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
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Dutchlady1
Feb 15, 2015 6:13 PM CST
I agree on Blue Daze as a low ground cover.
Name: Terese
Central Florida, zone9b (Zone 9b)
Wisconsin Dells Area, zone4
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Butterflies Cat Lover Bee Lover
Image
tcs1366
Feb 15, 2015 6:25 PM CST
I am obviously planting for butterflies and hummingbirds and bees... will all these plants attract them?
Terese --Leesburg, FL & Lake Delton, Wi

Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator Region: Florida Cat Lover Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
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Dutchlady1
Feb 15, 2015 6:29 PM CST
That had not as yet been 'obvious' to me Hilarious! and no - not all of them. The Red Firespike does.
Maybe you need to make a side trip to the Butterflies and Bees forum and get their opinion:
http://garden.org/forums/view/butterflies/
Name: Jean
Fleming Island, FL (Zone 9a)
Native Plants and Wildflowers Composter
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qwilter
Feb 16, 2015 10:54 AM CST
Since that area is rather narrow (the issue I used to have across the front of my house), I did lava rock out abt 2' from the foundation and ground cover in front of that & planted the flowers in large planters. The water will pour off the roof when we have the heavy rain & make ruts or drown out anything planted right under it.
Blessed are the Quilters for they are the Piecemakers.
Name: Bill Kurek
Lake Placid, FL (Zone 9b)
Bulbs
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caladiums4less
Feb 23, 2015 10:06 AM CST
You know what I'm going to say Terese...
Caladiums, you can never have to many....lol...



biLL
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator Region: Florida Cat Lover Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
Image
Dutchlady1
Feb 23, 2015 10:13 AM CST
I agree they would look great there.
Name: mj
Central Florida
Butterflies Hummingbirder Keeps Horses Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Florida
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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mjsponies
Feb 24, 2015 6:08 PM CST
Dutchlady1 said:I agree they would look great there.


Me too !
God gave us wings. He just called them horses
Name: Terese
Central Florida, zone9b (Zone 9b)
Wisconsin Dells Area, zone4
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Butterflies Cat Lover Bee Lover
Image
tcs1366
Feb 24, 2015 6:39 PM CST
Bill,

I'm excited about getting my order this year.

last season, I did not get to order any, but I did visit your shop about a year ago.
Terese --Leesburg, FL & Lake Delton, Wi

Name: Bill Kurek
Lake Placid, FL (Zone 9b)
Bulbs
Image
caladiums4less
Feb 25, 2015 11:06 AM CST
You need to come down the week-end of the Caladium Festival. July 24th thru the 26th.
I'll give you a tour of the fields!!


biLL

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