My blog is called "Creative Smiles" because my designs are the result of incorporating mistakes. With fumble fingers that drop whatever they are holding - repeatedly, it takes a lot of giggles, smiles and creative patience during my crafting process. xx

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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Early Spring in Florida

Good Morning!
Sharing a few photos of our early Spring this year. 
Photos were taken in mid-March.

First for Bunny, our early caladiums. In our area, we leave caladiums in the ground or potted all year. They are planted about 6 inches deep to prevent squirrels, mice and voles from digging them up. Our red caladiums pop up first, usually around mid May. But this year, the Miss Muffet's have been up since mid March, and some even tried emerging as early as December! Here are photos taken in mid March EARLY in the morning:

These are sun loving varieties and would not do well in shade. (White Wings on the right, Miss Muffet on the left) They are also dwarf size and will thicken up considerably as ground cover (for my Florida Friends, when we purchase bulbs we buy from Caladium World - shipping anywhere in the US):

Miss Muffet with Angel Wing Begonias (will prune begonias when other plants begin to flower but pollinators need food during warm winter months):

Miss Muffets emerging in 3-tier planter amongst the Pentas. I pruned the pentas down in February and they are coming back thickly. This photo is March, it is now April 24 and they are already blooming heavily:

Because of ants and certain night creatures, I have resorted to container gardening except for landscape plants. My Coleus below are already blooming just 4 weeks after this photo. The pots are 16 inches (40.5cm) across:

My friend Verna, lives on a far-to-the-north farm, so our little garden will seem like a play pen to her. But we planted our "summer harvest" in January and February due to the warm winter. A few times we had to cover the bell peppers and green beans with sheets to protect from a frost - no small feat - but then the next day, the extra-warm temperatures came back, so that's why we did it. A warm winter means early arrival of plant eating bugs:

Just after dawn when the sprinklers kicked on:

We even planted Black-eye Peas in February. They are traditionally a summer crop (growing June - September) because they tolerate bugs, humidity and heat. Cucumbers growing up the trellis way in the back center, Bell Peppers, Banana Peppers (sweet), Squash in the front, and Green Beans.

We have been feasting on green beans, Bell Peppers, Banana Peppers and cucumbers since the beginning of April. SO GOOD and fresh!

The big tree in center back is a blooming magnolia (you can barely see a few white blossoms on the bottom right. SO FRAGRANT I can smell it all the way down the hill to my house (sorry so dark - the sun was just rising):

An experiment this year. Our greatest problems are from squirrels and birds. This year, we are using some of our enclosed pool area for "determinate tomatoes". This means the bushes only get 3-4 feet tall (1-1.2 m) and they produce all at once (1-2 week span). This photo is about 3 weeks old - Jack planted 6 bushes and then 6 more 3 weeks later (still to move some of them in) - we had to move the bushes under the lanai for a few days before Easter because of the violent winds and rain, which caused us to lose power on two separate days. The sun is just coming up (old cow pen in the background):

And that's a little of what's happening here. It's crazy-wonderful how different our world is with plants that only grow in certain areas! How fascinating Life is!

Wishing you the loveliest of days!


Diane said...

OMGosh Donna what a beautiful post with all your lovely plants and gardens!! I am so envious of your weather year round lol...and what a beautiful property you have! We normally plant our gardens after Mother's Day, but even then we have to be careful of a frost (like this morning) but I can hardly wait to get it going! Thanks for sharing I truly enjoyed your post!!

Linda Simpson said...

Thank you for sharing your garden with us. Our garden is doing pretty good too. We have had nice weather here for the past week and today it has all changed to April showers.
Linda xxx

Sue said...

Hi Donna, Such lovely plants and all the vegetables you are growing will be lovely.

My mum would love the Magnolia. She always wanted one, but dad said the soil wasn't right for it.

Hope you are having a nice week. Sue

Monica C. said...

Lovely post Donna! I guess you must be in the northern part of Florida as we don't get any frost down here. I am not a gardener at all, but I do like to admire the talent of those that are.
Hugs Monica

Jackie T said...

Hi Donna it is so lovely to see your beautiful garden and your gorgeous plants. We are still trying to get to grips with our garden. We have neglected it for a bit too long. Take care. Hugs Jackie

KarinsArtScrap said...

wow Donna gorgeous plants we love plants our living room is voll of it.
You have a big garden and it is very beautiful

gr karin

Chris said...

What a wonderful garden you have Donna, fascinating to read about the different species of plants and vegetables that thrive in your part of the world...and what you have to do to ensure they survive the vagaries of the weather! It must be a lot of work to 'garden' a large plot, but from the photos the results are worth it!
Thank you for sharing your photos and your knowledge and enthusiasm!

Sarah said...

Thank you so much for sharing your amazing garden with us. It's wonderful to see what happens in other parts of the world xx

Beebeebabs said...

Wow your garden is absolutely beautiful - thanks for sharing and have a great week my friend!!!

Mac Mable said...

I so enjoyed reading your post and was fascinated what grows etc in your part of the world. I live in Scotland and of course so very different but I love the garden and always eager to learn x Thank you for sharing x.

Donna Phelan said...

OMGoodness! What a beautiful post! I love all of your flowers and fauna. Your yard is so lovely! WE can't plant til Memorial Day....but I am itching to get out there! Th dyas are just getting warmer here, 55 is sooooo nice! Love you sharing this Donna! Have a HAPPY Day!

crafty-stamper said...

Beautiful garden and plants
carol x

Donna said...

Such a beautiful garden Donna, so glad you shared these lovely pictures.I especially like the Angei Wing Begonias, I have never seen those before- so beautiful!

Donna said...

Such a beautiful garden Donna, so glad you shared these lovely pictures.I especially like the Angei Wing Begonias, I have never seen those before- so beautiful!

Lisa said...

Oh wow, your plants are so gorgeous!! I love the beautiful colors!! Are Angel Wing Begonias the same as Dragon Wing Begonias? I buy Dragon Wings every year and by the end of the summer, they are so huge and beautiful!! And your gardens!! So jealous!! We have to wait until after Mother's Day to plant veggies or else it might frost. Oh, to have a homegrown tomato or green pepper right now!! Thanks for sharing these wonderful pictures, my friend!! Have a great evening!! Big hugs :)

A Mermaid's Crafts

Verna Angerhofer said...

What beautiful plants and I love your garden. It looks so lush and green. We are way behind of course here in our neck of the woods. In fact, they say we may get 2-3 inches of snow on Saturday. At any rate, no flowers out or any garden planted. And, the farmers are way behind too as the ground is still too wet to put any crops in. So thanks so much for sharing all the beauty of your yard and garden. I love it!

Conniecrafter said...

Wow those plants sure do have some awesome coloring on them, they look fantastic in the pots, such a lovely welcome to your home! Your garden sure is looking fantastic, I still haven't started mine, I better do it soon or it will be too late. So neat to see all that you have growing already and enjoying too, that is fantastic!

Wendy L said...

Your plants are beautiful Donna. Sadly I don't garden anymore as we don't have one!!!!

Bunny said...

Oh, these are all lovely pictures. The caladiums are fantastic. What a bountiful garden y'all will be bringing in. There's nothing like feeling you have to be on squirrel and bird alert. What a great idea to grow the tomatoes in the screened in space. Growing vegetables is not always easy as we talked about the squash and the worms. But oh, the rewards. My mouth is already watering. [Bunny]`

Shona Erlenborn said...

Beautiful photos for sure, Donna. Thanks for sharing your blooming gardens with us. Those caladiums are amazing. What a great idea to keep your tomatoes in the lanai - bet the squirrels and birds are salivating outside!!

cotnob said...

Super photographs Donna, how nice to have fresh vegetables so early, we will have to wait until June/July for ours.
Pauline - Crafting with Cotnob

NanaConnie said...

Having moved to my daughter's home, I didn't get a garden in this year but my SIL has quite a few veggies sprouting in the huge back yard so I'm going to be enjoying summer salads soon. I am envious of your gorgeous yard and that magnificent garden. :-D

Stampsnob. said...

You is a right treat. Everything is gorgeous and your entrance is always such a welcome …………..Lis

Leslie Miller said...

Oh, what a treat today! My eyes are so ready to see things growing and producing blooms and edibles. Our winters aren't as harsh as some, but it's still winter and not very pretty. Most of your plants could only be grown as houseplants here, and I've never had much luck with Caladium and Coleus. How beautiful they are! Thank you so much for sharing these pics and stories of your rural property, Donna. It looks so inviting!

Valerija said...

What a gorgeous post. Love your amazing plants.
Valerija xx

pam said...

Gorgeous post De, how I envy you your stunning garden, beautiful plants you have shared with us.
Thank you.
Hugs Pam x

KT Fit Kitty said...

Wow, Donna, you are an amazing gardener! Your property looks fabulous! What a joy to see these beautiful flowers and plants each day! Absolutely stunning! Thanks for sharing! I especially love the coleus display at your front door! You really have a knack for gardening displays, Donna!

Sue said...

WOW, what beautiful pictures and plants. We are expecting cold temps and rain and ice mix tomorrow, so the poor plants that are starting to peek through the ground will be delayed. Our Forsythia Bush is in full bloom, but they are hardy, so think it will be okay. I don't know how you take care of all those wonderful plants and gardens, it's a lot of work, but so beautiful.


Zaa said...

Such a beautiful post... The coleus looks fabulous on your doorstep. You are so far ahead of us with the planting season... just three days ago we had another freak snow storm... so I’m in awe of all the floral photos... We still have lots of snow although I have seen a free green sprouts popping up ...The poor little plants aren’t sure what to do this year... but I am looking forward to warmer weather soon... in the meantime I can enjoy your beautiful postings... Thanks for sharing... Hugs

KraftyKoolKat said...

You are surrounded by such beauty. You have such beautiful plants & garden sweetie. You are very talented gardener. Sorry I haven't been about, just got back from the Lake District.

Monica said...

Hi Donna,
Been thinking of you. Your plants are just too pretty and charming just like you.



*Vicki* said...

Wow Donna! I don't blame you at all for taking photos of your garden and plants! They're all just gorgeous!! Hope you've recieved my last message to you! Sending hugs