Monday, September 04, 2006

Leu Gardens in September

Leu Gardens, about forty miles south of me, is a family favorite destination during the cooler months. Today, Labor Day, we decided to make a quick run through the garden, the heat be damned.

I was struck by how different the gardens look at the end of summer from how it looks in, say, January: The camellias, azaleas, perennials,
and globulus citrus have all faded into a background, a canvas of green; in their place, front and center, a tropical vision of fringes and cups painted from a combustive palette of oranges, reds and yellows. The trip today reminded me—a timely reminder, amidst the doldrums of subtropical "fall"—that Central Florida is a special place for gardening: At 30° latitude, with a bit of stubborness and know-how, we can grow practically anything: Camelias, Azalaes, Orchids, citrus, Hibiscus, Rosa, bananas, figs, Delphiniums, Papaver, Daisies, Dahlias, Crotons... Where else are hard-pressed to decide when a garden looks best, December or August?

(Clockwise, from far left: Hibiscus schizopetalus, Ricinus communis 'Red Spire', Chrysothemis pulchella 'Black Flamingo', Caesalpinia pulcherrima, Rosa 'Pink Pet' (China, 1928), Rosa 'Fragrant Apricot' (Floribunda, 1998), Jatropha podagrica, Alpinia latilabris, Center: I have no clue.)

1 comment:

Robert Brinkmann said...

I was just thinking that my gardenia was looking a bit anemic. I really should give it a shot of fertilizer and some water...we didn't get the prolific rains that were promised the last couple of days so I have been holding off my hand watering this week...

I've never had luck with gardenias...any tips? A friend had one in a container that bloomed all year...I can barely get mine to bloom in the ground in the spring...