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Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

Posted by tomncath St.Pete-Z10A-Heat 10 (My Page) on
Sat, Mar 12, 11 at 18:54

So this time last year I posted that we were going to set up a butterfly garden, what I didn't know then was that Cathy didn't want the host plants around....So, now it's time for Plan B. We're definitely tired of the tropical look but my newbie interest in flowers is severely deficient. Keeping in mind that we are Zone 10 and rarely get frost what perennial flowering plants would be good for a Cottage garden look? Filtered shade and cooler in the front of the house all day long, sunny and hot in the back where the veggie garden is, which is on the south side of the house....Pictures would be helpful.

The front

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The back

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Tom


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

Cottage gardens have a lot of color and look a little messy and wild. Annuals like sunflowers, zinnia, morning glories (which you have right?), coreposis, etc. Perennials like Brazillian Bachelor's Button, dianthus, and milkweed, scarlet sage, etc... There are lots of plants that may work. Maybe some hydrangeas in your part shade area. Also don't forget to try roses. If I were you I'd start by slowly converting the bed you already have. From the look of your current garden you seem to be a very neat orderly gardener and it may take you a while to see if you like the cottage garden look.


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens -- what plants and why?

Oh..."why" you asked in the post title. Because I have grown these plants and managed to keep them alive :)


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

I have definitely tried for the cottage garden look and have had some success over the last few summers. The problem up in north Deland is that it dies back to the ground in the winter so I have a wasteland after the first hard freeze. I had to go look at some pictures from last summer to remember what I have out there. It is all starting to come back now and hopefully in few months will be nice to look at again. Like Amber said, cottage gardens are messier looking so I think not only do you have to have multiple colors but various textures and heights. Now, I am an accountant by trade and being intentionally messy and mixing stuff up is not in my nature. But I am also a haphazard kind of gardener so I guess it works out. I have posted these pictures before but here is last year at high summer.

In this one there is plumbago, purple night, a crepe myrtle, some african iris, some lemon grass and a rose.
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This is the same bed from the other side adding in some pink pentas and lantana.
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The other bed has a firebush, rudebeckia, another crepe myrtle, a few more roses, blue porterweed, ruellia (I know it is invasive) and some more pentas and salvia. It is probably where I have been most successful with the look.
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And this also has some purple knight and a few other random things thrown in.
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I also like adding in african blue basil and the extra texture that amaryllis gives.

I hope that gives you some ideas!

Melissa


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

Cottage gardens are typically over planted to look full and exuberant. While they have a carefree look they often have a strong structure of hardscaping that defines and contains them in a subtle way. All colors are welcome in profusion in a cottage garden, as are varied leaf and plant shapes. Curves are good, and drifts of plants rather than straight lines or geometric plantings.

I am originally from England where cottage gardens abound but my Florida cottage garden was planted to be Florida friendly and to attract butterflies and hummers. This and the fact that I am in north Pinellas means my plant list may be of little use to you, Tom. I am still learning which plants thrive here. For example I was disappointed to find that Buddleia dies after 2 seasons due to nematodes. I intend to grow them in containers this year. In my cottage garden in England there were Buddleias over 12 feet tall and probably 50 plus years old. As my cottage was 300 years old there was no knowing how old some of the trees and shrubs in the gardens and orchards were!

I hope you go ahead and grow a cottage garden Tom. They are fun to grow and are not as time consuming to maintain as they look. Mine, although small has attracted a surprising amount of attention and compliments!

This is my garden last summer as seen from the entry door. It is on two levels with a low dry stack stone wall and flagstone paths to contain it.

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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

Sis3 - I had not really thought about it but your comment "they often have a strong structure of hardscaping that defines and contains them in a subtle way" is probably why I think parts of my garden are more successful than others. Good point.

And Tom, the why on my plants is the same as amberroses. They work where they are and come back well after a freeze. I dig up and move plants all the time when I don't like where they are. And I forgot to say yesterday that this garden is a western, almost full-sun exposure although I think some of the plants would work well in dappled shade.

M


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

  • Posted by tomncath St.Pete-Z10A-Heat 10 (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 13, 11 at 10:30

Thanks everyone, with frost being so rare here I think once established a Cottage Garden will do well year around for us.

Melissa, I've always paid close attention to your pictures as I've been thinking about this, and appreciate you posting more to give me ideas. I do like the idea that if I don't like the look where a plant is I'll just move it to another area :-)

Sis, thanks for your picture too, I can't wait to see more from your garden ;-) I discovered Buddleia last year and love it but sad to hear that it will eventually become a neem-fest in the ground, guess I'm going the have to grow it clay planters if it will do okay in containers.

Amber, do you have any pictures?

About the pentas, how often do you have to replace them due to nematodes? And, can you just start new cuttings from infected plants or do they have to come out altogether?

As your gardens develop this spring please post updated pictures so I can get more ideas of will work and what looks good together.

Tom


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

Roses, roses, roses, the old fashioned bushy kind as well as climbing roses. In my mind you cannot have a cottage garden without roses. And plumbago.

There are several people here who are experts in growing roses in Florida
You also need to make friends with sherryocala who only drops in here occasionally, she is a fixture on the GW Heirloom Roses forum.

My own roses are having their best spring since...ever. Not impressive enough to photograph yet, only Belinda's Dream is large enough to be noticed by anyone. They were unfazed by the winter freeze and remained green and leafy when much else was brown. In colder zones they will lose their leaves but not here.

By co-incidence this morning I installed a trellis for a climber that has gotten large enough to need it. Need to get some more rebar to stabilize it for hurricane season. (My husband was impressed I did it myself).

Denise

Here is a link that might be useful: sherryocala's rose garden


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Butterfly plant for cottage garden

BTW there is a butterfly host plant that looks great in a cottage garden, Senna Bicapsularis. Blooms yellow several times a year. I also have a senna tree that I cannot remember the name of. Also blooms quite frequently. Yellow butterflies of the Sulfur family visit constantly.

I've seen these plants/trees at the big box stores.


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

I found most of my plants, including the lovely Cassia (Senna Bicapsularis) at the USF Plant Sale, Tampa. I see the next one is April 9 and 10. I will be there!

BTW Tom, I have not had to replace any Pentas and they are one of the few plants that have bloomed, albeit in a sheltered sunny spot, throughout the winter.


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

Tom,

What speaks tropical to you that you want to avoid and what 'host' plants does Cathy dislike?

I strive for the informal cottage garden look, but like Melissa I have to force myself to throw out the 'must balance' rules. One way I've been able to do that is to take a lightweight rope, hold one end, and toss it - let that be my border. Think sexy curves! No straight lines!

The photo you show of the front of your house - to the right - the expanse of open wall - I would be inclined to put some sort of specimen small tree/large bush on that and work your way out from there. You could hang visual interest on the wall, and create some sort of interesting border and path. Do something winding and curvy along that straight wall on your front entry. Maybe a dwarf powderpuff, cattley guava, yesterday-today-tomorrow and some of the cleredenums. Oh, and bottle brush, orange jasmine. I grew all of these in Broward County. I love the look of cattley guava.

When we moved to the San Gabriel Mountain foothills in California - I was in heaven! OMG - it is just so easy to get a perennial flower bed going out there. One trick I learned there is to take a hand full of bulbs and toss gently. Plant where landed. Of course, not many bulbs do all that great here in Florida. Rain lily and Caladiums are the easiest.

We have so much shade here, I aim to work color and interest in with non-flowers. Then treat flowers as special jewels that pop in the shade. I've had very good luck with penta's and they are easy to propagate, just lay a long stem, weight it down, and cover with soil. Dang thangs tend to freeze in my yard though. Grrr. Flax and ginger both do well and add some color interest. Beautyberry is fabulous in fall and adds height interest in summer. Coontie is good for shade.

There are rhizome plants that will do well in shade, turmeric, ginger. Probably some 'grasses' and certainly herbs. I have to admit I use impatiens a lot because they self seed themselves. They can really get to be a weed, but easy to pull.

How do camelia's, mallows and hibiscus do in your area?

You might cruise around Meems place at Hoe and Shovel - I always get ideas from her pictures!

~dianne


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

Hi Tom,I'm in south Ga.I have what I call a tropical cottage garden.I don't know how to put a link here but if you go to my page and look under my trade list I have a link,its Debbie's album.You can find my 2010 garden pictures.You might get some ideas.Some of the plants die back but do return here.


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

Hi Tom,

I'll give my two cent's worth, but don't really know what you are thinking. Melissa's garden is such a stellar example of a cottage garden. I love what she's done in her garden. I think she has more sun than what you have in the front, though.

If it were me, I would make the whole grassy area in the front a very wide, curvy bed with a pathway going between the trees and the bed by the house, or even a bed on either side of the path. I would use the cardboard method, of course! I know you love flowers, but it's going to be difficult to find things that will bloom well in that much shade I think. Exceptions are red or lavender firespike, brunsfelsia, justicia golden flame, yellow shrimp plant and starburst pentas. I would leave the beautiful liriope since you will need foliage badly in the winter when a lot of things will lose their leaves, and I would add additional interesting foliage. Maybe landscape begonias, variegated arboricolas, cardboard palms, coontie, birds nest anthuriums, crotons, etc. I absolutely love dioon spinulosum and I can picture one of those as a focal point in front of the tall wall area where the outline can be appreciated. It turns into a huge cycad that will look great no matter what season or what cold we have. Then build the rest of the bed around that.

In the back you have so much sun you could really do anything you want. I would establish focal point plants/small trees and then build beds around those.

For sure, show us what you do, ok? Have fun.

Anna


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

Tom, you are such an important part of this forum, I really hesitate to direct you elsewhere. But in case you were not aware (but you probably are), there is a Cottage Gardens forum on this site. However, I imagine they are from all zones and your being in Zone 10A, you will probably get better help here. But you might like to look at the photos over there, anyway.

Now don't leave us for long!

Carol

Here is a link that might be useful: Cottage Gardens Forum


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

Dianne,
I have to agree with you. When I lived in San Bernadino at the San Gabriel Mountain foothills in California.
Gardening was so easy there. I also used to prospect for gold up in those mountains.
I would come back after a week or two and the garden still looked good in my absence.

Lou


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

Lou, isn't that the truth? Over here, you take a day off and come back to find fat happy bugs and no plants!

Disclaimer! I'm still learning about gardening in shade and I have no money to speak of - if I had some more money - well - all sorts of things would happen, but first and foremost I would have continued to use those boulders you see in the background as garden edging.

This is a photo of our place today ... including all the WIP and less than photogenic things.

Like Sis wrote, 'a strong structure of hardscaping' - think of the hardscaping like a frame to a work of art. I also like paths that guide you to something. If you walk out our front door; the paved sidewalk meanders then leads you across the drive into the grass pathway. One of these days I will be able to carry the boulder edging across to these new gardens.

This is what our place looked like shortly after we bought it and I had just painted the shutters and front entry green (previously they where brown). We were actually quite lucky in some ways, having our drain field replaced resulted in virtually the entire front trashed. What the drain field work didn't take out, the crew that came in after with topsoil finished for us. And I had a somewhat clean; but $$ poor slate to play with.

With more of a budget, another thing I would have done was invested in 2 or 3 specimen sized colorful perennial small trees/large bushes. These specimen sized visually appealing plantings would have helped to server as the 'bones' anchoring the gardens. At least one unique large croton. I have also used cordyline, variegated ginger and ornamental grass to provide year around color and anchors for the other plants that have seasonal color. Like so - but preferably without the winter damage and unfinished pathway :)

In this photo -

the plants are:
Azeala
Camellia
Gardenia
Rose
Beautyberry
Croton
Buddleia
Cardboard palm
Pokeberry
Eggplant
Kale
Chard
Cabbage
Radish
Turnip
Kolhrabi
Lettuce
Onion
Society Garlic
Bulbine
Petunia
Johnny Jump ups
Zinnias
Marigolds

I am actually trying to get more "flower" color in this garden - it is too much shades of green for what I would like. Patience I have to remind myself! dang it - I don't want no patience - I want instant pretty flowers!

Anyway, I hope this gives you some things to think upon.

It will be fun watching your progress!

~dianne


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

My front garden is a cottage garden with some tropical leanings. I will put just about anything and everything in the garden just to try it out and see what thrives and what can't take the the competition with the rest of the plants. So far some of the best plants that will probably also work for you have been the coreopsis, salvias, liatris, pink porterweed, lions tail, candleabra cassis, white butterfly ginger (this does fantastic in full sun by the pond), butterfly weed, red firespike, blackberry lily, st.benard lily, firecraker, rain lilies as edging, and crinums (the red leafed variety add nice color even when they're not in bloom). I also include a number of herbs in the garden such as tansy, fennel, mexican tarragon, african blue basil, and purple basil. You might try china roses. My mom has had great luck with them but they do get big. Her Mutabalis rose is currently going into full bloom and the flowers shift colors from yellow-orange to pink as they age. Some other plants I grow but I'm not sure if they will work for you are dianthus, stokes aster, and daylilies. Most of my pictures are from early last year before the garden completely filled out. Where I live most of my plants freeze back every winter.
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Some thisngs I use as anchors in my garden are glass totems, and iron headboard, large limestone rocks, and birdbaths.
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Kara


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

  • Posted by saldut 9-10 st pete, fl (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 14, 11 at 14:54

Hi Tom - For myself, I would dress-up that empty front-porch, put some rockers and a swing etc. and a few pots of color, maybe Impatience, it likes shade.... maybe a window-box on the railing with color drooping down.... I have a big variegated Ginger you can take pieces off, it likes dappled shade and would really pop under those trees... also I have a white Beauty-berry in a pot you can have, it was mentioned here, I got it at the Raffle at the Rose-Meeting and find it gets pretty big for what space I have.... and the Snapdragons like dappled shade, like the Patience plants, but do need lots of rich-soil, so some trips to HD for cow manure-compost and Milorganite... the HD cow manure-compost is cheap abt. $1.40 per bag and is great for building a base that you add other stuff to, my new rose-bed is getting abt. 20 bags to start with..... also Azaleas, under those trees..... you have lots of stuff to choose from ... sally


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

I'm not sure you'd have enough light for the flowers to bloom like they should. Your front yard screams crotons and bromeliads to me. I'm the mod for the croton society's forum so if you need suggestions, I can help you find sources.


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

  • Posted by tomncath St.Pete-Z10A-Heat 10 (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 14, 11 at 19:18

Wow everyone! I'm overwhelmed by you generosity of suggestions and some truly great pictures posted. Cathy doesn't want denuded plants and frass so nectar plants only please (for the most part ;-). You've given me some GREAT ideas, now I have to do my homework ;-)

Please keep the pictures and suggestions coming, I was really surprised at the lack of hits I got for Florida Cottage Gardens on this forum before posting this request.

Tom


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

Hi Tom, Pentas and Lantanas are hard to beat for attracting adult only butterflies. Pentas come in white, pink, and red. The non-dwarf varieties grow to about 3ft and have a nice round bushy shape. I find Pentas do best in part shade. Lantanas come mostly in yellow, orange, red, and purple. Sizes vary, they prefer full sun.

As for other stuff, for semi shady areas I like Impatiens and Firespike flowers and also variegated ginger and croton. For sunny areas: Allamanda, Plumbago, Vinca, Ruellia, China roses like Louis Philippe and Old Blush. China roses aren't bothered by nematodes, they don't need to be grafted or sprayed. If you like fragrance, several Jasmines do well here: Confederate, Maid of Orleans, Night Blooming Jasmine all smell delicious. Note-Ruellia and Allamanda will reproduce themselves, so you'll have to weed the new ones out about once a year or they will take over, it's worth it. These are all tough, easy, plants for ST. Pete. GL


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

Tom

Thanks for starting this thread! I need to get some ideas too, however my front garden is mostly in shade. I started my own post for suggestions. I love looking at pic's like this.


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

Tom - I'm glad you started this too! I have a bunch of ideas for MORE plants to add to my garden. Yay!

And great picture everyone! What a fantastic set of examples of Florida cottage gardens. Kara, I am amazed how far your garden has come since I saw it last. Hmmm, maybe I need a pond....

Melissa


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

Melissa, my front garden is almost complete but I've spent so much effort on it I've horribly neglected the garden in back! The good news is that since the front doesn't need much in the way of maintenance it's now safe to work on the back again.
I love my pond and it really wasn't that hard to put in. My main problem is that it's always green and I'm not sure how to fix that. I think putting the pond in full sun may have been a mistake. The plants and the fish are all healthy though so apparently the green water isn't hurting them!


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

  • Posted by tomncath St.Pete-Z10A-Heat 10 (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 16, 11 at 6:20

I can't wait to get started, but it's going to be baby steps at first...I'll work with that area in the front and expand it slowly. I have some flowers in the veggie garden now, was just showing old pictures so everyone could see the full layout in the back. This is going to be fun :-) I hope to see many more pictures as everyone's gardens grow.

Tom


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

Hi Tom,

I recently found this seed provider, seems to have some interesting things that have me drooling. http://www.dianeseeds.com/flowers/shade.html

Are you going for just ornamentals or also herbs/veggies?

~dianne

Here is a link that might be useful: Shade seeds


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

This thread is wonderful! I know I m late in the game and I hope I do not offend by bringing it back to the top of the list but I love cottage gardens and thought they were nearly impossible in this Florida heat! Thank you for the inspiration. As soon as I finish my veggie garden I will begin a cottage garden.


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

My childhood experiences of kitchen gardens/cottage gardens was in S. GA and N. FL. A garden of flowers, herbs and veggies. You don't need to finish your veggie garden, it can be your foundation for adding flowers and herbs.

Here are a few views of mine today. I just finished a mini rain garden to gather rain runoff before it hits the street.

And we finished the tomato trellis yesterday.

~dianne


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

  • Posted by annafl z9b/10a Sarasota (My Page) on
    Tue, May 24, 11 at 11:48

Some great photos in this thread. So Tom, what did you end up doing in your cottagy garden? Please update us!

Anna


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

Hi- Sorry I missed this thread before....I just posted some pics of my garden on another thread! I love the cottage look, and it is really hard to photograph. I live south of you in the Sarasota area right on the coast, so we seldom freeze here. I do not have irrigation, so my #1 requirement of any plant is that it is Florida friendly, meaning low maintenance. The other thing is, you can take any plants, plant them really close and try not to be too matchy-matchy, and voila! A cottagey garden. ;)

Some flowering plants that do really well for me are:

Cuban buttercup (Turnera ulmifolia) LOVE LOVE LOVE this plant. Dark evergreen leaves, yellow happy flowers and the honey bees and butterflies LOVE it too! They grow quickly into a nice round shape and flower constantly. Best yet- they require ZERO supplemental water. Zero.

Ornamental grasses
Vinca
Caladiums
Macho ferns for the shady areas
Bromeliads
Firebush
Lantana
Beach sunflower
Gaillardia
Amaryllis
Coral honeysuckle (another of my favorites)
Duranta goldmound (good for foliage)
Duranta erecta (a FAVORITE for the bumbles!)
Butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii)

I find I am moving things around constantly with my garden. I can't ever get it quite the way I want it, but I guess that's part of the fun...right????


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Pic

In this pic, the cuban buttercup is in the front right---it's huge and gets NO supplemental water.
SDC12048

SDC12044

This is a cassia alata that I started from seed- a host plant for sulphur butterflies. At the base are vinca. These are planted in 100% unamended sand and do not get any supplemetal water (I'm really not kidding when I say this either!)
SDC12064


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

Chloe-
I like your style, literally and figuratively! (remarks about water)
And I am interested in the cuban buttercup - I am in Sarasota, north of you and we do get freezes. Is this plant hardy?
I hand water and need some plants that will survive if I miss a day!
Thanks,
Hester


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

Hester- I planted them last spring and they were fine this past winter (and we did get a couple night's worth of freezing temps). So, yes, they have been hardy for me. I cut them way back in March and they have really filled out.

Try them! Just be careful where you plant them--- mine are about 36" tall and round (and I just trimmed them!). I had read that they reseed like crazy (and I'm hoping they do so I can transplant more) but I haven't seen any seedlings yet.


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

Chloe and Hester:

The yellow alder/Cuban buttercup do seed freely. I have them popping up in the cracks of my driveway, in planters, in bedding areas, etc. They are easy to pull up unless you wait too long or unless they are in the cracks. They are no more of a problem than the blue porterweed (which I also love). In fact they seed less than the porterweed, but you should get lots of babies.

Julie in WPB


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

what a lovely garden you have....


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

  • Posted by tomncath St.Pete-Z10A-Heat 10 (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 22, 12 at 19:39

what a lovely garden you have....

Who? I posted this LAST year this time ;-)

Tom


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

Tom,

So did the cottage garden develop or did you decide to go in a different direction?

Is it bad form to resuscitate year-old threads?

Gina


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

Sooooooo? Did you plant a cottage garden afterall? Where are the pictures ? ;-)


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

  • Posted by tomncath St.Pete-Z10A-Heat 10 (My Page) on
    Tue, May 22, 12 at 20:07

I just stared in the back two weeks ago, lots of sun there and I'm still worried about the limited sun in the front. Bear in mind that the spaces I have to work with are VERY small and I don't want to make the same mistakes I did in the veggie garden letting the Mexican cosmos/petunias take over, after all, I need those spaces twice a year for tomatoes :-) :-(

Tom

P1040311

P1040310

P1040312


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

Looks very nice! What tree did you take down? Did yoy notice how the stump looks like a heart in the las piicture :0) Sure looks like you opened up the whole area. Great little deck, I love the natural weathered look! I had a wooded area for a few years but had to change it to stone. Is the screned area on the right in the first picture yours? If so what do you have growing in there? It reminds my of my orchid room.


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

Tom,

I have been searching for flowering shade plants for my zone 10b garden, which is "modified cottage"...needs to be contained to a certain space like yours and can't go all crazy.

I came up with:

Walking Iris- ordered a gorgeous blue (Neomarica gracilis) from Hirts.Also can get more common yellow and white.

Mona lavender-Plectranthus

Dwarf plumbago-Ceratostigma Plumbaginoides (to zone 9 but what the heck)

For height you can put the tall invasive purple ruellia in a pot, very dense cuttings for a thick look. Cottage gardens look great with old pots mixed in.

Nandina is beautiful for some light lacy foliage that does great in shade and can prune to very tall or however you like.

For a tropical touch I am experimenting with a parlor palm in the shadiest area.

Gina


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

  • Posted by tomncath St.Pete-Z10A-Heat 10 (My Page) on
    Wed, May 23, 12 at 19:51

Hi R, we had to take out a live oak. I hated to do it but the previous owners of the house planted it too close to the structure and we've been holding our breath each hurricane season....Didn't notice that about the heart shape, cool! I love wood, but as I age more and more it sure is a lot of upkeep :-( The cage in the first picture is my spa and pool, it's where I'm growing the cukes :-) As far as the plants in there I keep ripping them out due to shedding leaves, so far the keepers are cardboard palms, Xanadu philodendrons and umbrella sedge since they DON'T shed, but our only real color is Cathy's orchids :-(

Gina, thanks for the suggestions. I'm planning on digging up the ruellia and potting it just as you suggested, I want to do that with the Mexican cosmos as well since the bees and butterflies love it but it's a PIA once the new shoots in the ground in the veggie garden are left to grow....I didn't know there was a dwarf plumbago, I bought the regular plants and have been wondering how I'm going to keep them tame in containers, I'll check this out as well as the other plants you have suggested. My primary goal is to provide nectar for bees and butterflies, not just to have flowering plants for all seasons.

Tom


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

Bought the dwarf plumbago...actually a different species but very similar...on Home Depot website as an "on line only" item.
But...it sends out runners, too. You might as well just plant big ole whiskey barrels and tubs in the ground so you can dig them back up.
Sounds like those poor unfortunate Northern gardeners :-O


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

"Our only real color is Cathy's orchids" LOL I told you it reminds me of my orchid room.


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

  • Posted by tomncath St.Pete-Z10A-Heat 10 (My Page) on
    Fri, May 25, 12 at 19:15

Funny R, what scares me is that if I don't attend to Cathy's orchids they suffer some, and I'm not the orchid lover, but that might be changing :-) :-(

Tom


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And, a little humor ;-)

  • Posted by tomncath St.Pete-Z10A-Heat 10 (My Page) on
    Fri, May 25, 12 at 19:29

Gina, funny story here. I was curious about plumbago seeds and wanted to try to germinate some so I did a web search and realized they look just like adenium seeds with the wings removed, but were described as "sticky". So, yesterday after identifying what they look like I went out and collected MANY seeds from both the blue and white plants, I put them on paper plates in a place that I felt was safe from any of our AC vents but last night Cathy says to me what's all that stuff hanging off of Ricky's fur (our cat). I didn't put the seeds in a cat-safe place and I've been picking seeds off of him all day, and paying the price in drawn blood :-(

Tom


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

Tom, that is SUCH a funny story, I laughed out loud! Poor Ricky! Poor you, losing your seeds!

You have my curiosity up. I'm headed off to find out what plumbago seeds look like!

Carol


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

Ouch! My sympathies to you & Ricky.


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

  • Posted by tomncath St.Pete-Z10A-Heat 10 (My Page) on
    Sat, May 26, 12 at 8:37

Ricky is fine, I'm still putting antibiotic ointment on my hands ;-)

Well, I've collected more seeds and this time they are in a drawer until I get them potted up :-) I'll be curious to see if the white seeds bloom white, I have no idea if the white is a hybrid, anybody know?

Tom


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

  • Posted by annafl z9b/10a Sarasota (My Page) on
    Sat, May 26, 12 at 13:53

Tom, your new bed looks great! I'd love to see how that fills in by the end of the summer. Remember not to water the pentas too much once they're established. Let the rain do it unless you see wilting. They will do better in the long run.

Are those coreopsis? I think that's going to look real pretty together.

Anna


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

  • Posted by tomncath St.Pete-Z10A-Heat 10 (My Page) on
    Mon, May 28, 12 at 17:28

Hi Anna,

I'll update pictures as the summer progresses.

I've capped off one of the sprinkler heads and will cap off the other one this week.

You're probably looking at the dwarf zinnias just getting ready to bloom now. I do have some coreopsis in the veggie garden that I will divide to put some in this area a little later ;-)

Tom


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RE: Florida Cottage Gardens - what plants and why?

I have just been emailed by a GW member who has a question about some flowers in a photo in my post on this old thread. This member did not leave any way for me to contact them so I'll post the reply here and hope they see it.

They wanted to know what the light purple flowers are in my garden. I am afraid the answer will be a disappointment. The flowers are just Mexican Petunias, Purple Showers from Home Depot. Most of the flowers in my garden are butterfly attractors or hosts but the MPs only attract bees! I planted them in for instant effect when I first built my garden but I confess they are still there!


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