Summer arrived early this year in central rural Florida, so I'm sharing a few photos to answer questions.
Bunny wanted me to show her before and after photos of the Chinese Fringe Bush. First is the photo taken on March 24. Notice that the blooms are high above the top of the pool cage:
In mid-April, I drastically pruned the bush 6-8 feet so the sun could get to the interior of the bush and clean out any infestations or heal branches. I said the foliage would grow back in a burgundy color. So, Bunny, here is what it looked like on May 10 after it had begun growing back. All the new growth looks pink-burgundy. They grow quickly and make a great privacy hedge (for perspective, one of the last 2 photos also shows the plant proportionately with the screen enclosure):
Lisa asked about the blooms on my angel wing begonias. These are not the same as the dragon wing begonias, which have smaller blooms. Right now, the new growth is popping up, and the "left over blossoms" are looking a bit straggly. This is what I mean about the Smile - The angel wing begonias have a giant smile. This is a small smile with a bloom that is several months old:
In a few months, it will be laden with 10-15 smiles per plant. Usually each smile consists of 18-36 individual blooms. I took the photo below yesterday. These are blooms left over from winter, so they are bedraggled, but it gives you an idea of how prolifically they bloom:
Here is one that has been severely pruned in Mid April and is just beginning to "smile" again. I have had some plants grown to 4 feet tall:
Hindu Rope Hoya Plant - we trimmed some damaged ends off this plant. The roots had grown into the clay of its pot. After trimming around the edge with a knife, I replanted it into a ten inch "azalea" pot. These are the "squattier, fatter" pots in comparison to traditional clay pots. The plant immediately began blooming, so I knew it had gone into shock. Standing on a 3 foot ladder, looking downward, I captured these 4 blooms trailing down one vine:
The leaves have lost their shiny, waxy luster, but we're hopeful it will recover without requiring a severe pruning. Looking upward at the same strand to show you how the "closed" waxy flowers look before they burst forth with their velvety elegance and fragrant scent (the 10" azalea pot is inside the wire basket):
Hoja's velvety stars:
The tiniest of baby blooms emerging (center below). You can also see the discolored leaves. Gone is the lustrous, deep green from the shock of being transplanted:
Have you seen a Swiss Cheese Philodendron? This plant belongs to the Monstera family because the leaves will become gigantic the taller it grows. This is from a little cutting made 3 years ago:
this is why they named it Swiss Cheese:
Finally, our tomato experiment - the plants are damaged from being tossed around in the outskirts of the tornado, but we have propped them up and are hoping they will produce. Each day, more green tomatoes drop off from broken branches like these, but some cling and are beginning to turn red:
Remaining bushes and herbals on top (Chinese Fringe in background):
and yes - in the background that is next winter's fire wood, freshly chopped and split, from a downed tree last November:
We're going to continue experimenting with tomatoes like this throughout the summer. Our squash has finished making - the worms are here with a vengeance because of the warm winter. Our cucumbers and green beans have also finished. We have done 4 harvests of black-eye peas (these are normally grown in the summer because of their heat tolerance).
Thanks for asking about our little life here!