June Garden During Heat Wave

Central Florida is usually hot and sunny. Even during December and January when we can go down to freezing once in a blue moon, we usually have warm, sunny afternoons. The heat wave that crossed the country finally came down to Florida. Yup, I recognized it as more like August weather for us. When I first moved to Miami back in the 1970’s, it took a while to get used to the summer heat. For the last few years here in semi-tropical central Florida , August has become such a hot and humid place. It seems worse than previous years. I have been staying in a lot and when I go in the garden, it’s early morning. Last Saturday I walked briefly in the yard at 9:30 am, and it was bright and hot. The temperature was 86 degrees F. The afternoon will go into the 90’s with a heat index of more like 104 F. My house faces east and the garden is Florida full sun on 95% of my yard. Mornings are worse in the front yard. Afternoons are worse in the back yard. My photos are mostly from the side yard and back yard today. I hope you enjoy the flowers.

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January Hibiscus

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, known colloquially as Chinese hibiscus, China rose, Hawaiian hibiscus, rose mallow and shoeblackplant, is a species of tropical hibiscus, a flowering plant in the Hibisceae group of the family Malvaceae.  The biggest difference between tropical and hardy hibiscus is that tropical hibiscus is not hardy in zones lower than zone 9. Tropical hibiscus does not tolerate freezing temperatures and cannot survive more than brief periods of cold.


The other morning I went outside shortly after sunrise.  My two yellow tropical hibiscus had multiple flowers.  Hibiscus are made to flower, and mine always try when they have sun and water.  We have a mild winter with only occasional freezes. It’s been over 5 years since I lost tropical plants to frost.


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A Neighbor’s Bougainvilea

Bougainvilea is a tropical vining shrub that comes in a wide array of bright and fanciful colors. The “flowers” are actually modified leaves, called bracts, that are long-lasting and bright. The colorful bracts outshine the plant’s true (but tiny) flower, much like a poinsettia. They appear periodically throughout most of the year, but are especially plentiful in the winter, when the splashes of color are a welcome sight. Bougainvillea blooms in fuschia, red, white, yellow, and orange. As a tropical plant, it grows beautifully in the garden in tropical growing zone 10. In my zone, 9B, it grows with protection during cold spells.  Further north, bougainvillea must stay in a pot and be brought in during the winter. Bougainvilleas require full sun.

University of Florida



I lived for many years in south Florida. First I lived in Dade county (greater Miami), and later I moved to the next county, Broward (greater Ft. Lauderdale).  When I lived in my home in Broward county, I had a beautiful bougainvilea in my yard.  When it came time to prune it during the hot, rainy summer, I often came away with scratches from the thorns.  When I bought my current home, I decided to not plant a bougainvillea due to the problem with the thorns. Several of my neighbors have beautiful bougainvilleas, and I enjoy their color everytime I drive in the neighborhood. Today’s photos were take several years ago on such a drive in October.  The color against the blue Florida sky grabbed my attention.

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New Yellow Tropical Hibiscus

Tropical Hibiscus, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis: Tropical hibiscus grows permanently in the landscape in warmer U.S. Dept of Agriculture  zones 9 through 11, unless they are taken indoors in winter. Outdoors, one freeze – below 25 degrees Fahrenheit – will kill them   A hibiscus flower usually has five petals (a single hibiscus).


Recently I purchased four new tropical hibiscus plants.  Two plants have bright, sunny yellow single hibiscus flowers which is a first for me.


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Last Amaryllis & A Bunny

Last week I shared what I thought was my last amaryllis.  It was my last solid deep red amaryllis. Then I got a surprise from a little amaryllis I got as a forced bulb 3 years ago at Christmas and then planted in the yard. Last year no flower. I thought it was dying. It was a little green plant with a couple of small leaves. Then I noticed 2 small buds forming in almost the middle of May.  I’ve explained before that most folks in my neighborhood have flowering amaryllis in February, March, and maybe April. My solid deep red amaryllis bloom late in April.  Now this little red amaryllis with a solid white center has 2 flowers.  I moved my little bunny over to pose him smelling a flower. (No there isn’t a great fragrance.)



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Gardenia Flower

Gardenias are subtropical plants that thrive in warm, humid weather. Most gardenias are hardy in zones 8-11, though a few varieties hardy to zone 7 have been developed and a few are only hardy in zones 10 and 11.  Gardenias can be grown in pots and brought inside in cold climates. See How To Care For Gardenias  for more information.


I planted a small gardenia bush 3 years ago. Last year I had a few blooms in the spring.  Later I moved my little bush to a more appropriate location in the yard with partial shade.  It has done well since the move but hasn’t grown much as it adjusts.  This spring I have found several little flowers.  I cut the first flower, brought it inside, placed it in a little glass of water,  and took photos from all angles.


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