Saturday, November 14, 2015

By the Breezeway

The new and improved breezeway bed

I spent Veterans Day gardening, revamping the bed in front of the breezeway. The bed isn’t very big, but it’s in a pretty prominent spot, right near the main entrance to our house—so I’d like it to make a good impression.

The first thing I did was add some fun features—a bird-nest-shaped birdbath and a big blue-glazed planter full of red cyclamens and Bright Lights Swiss chard. Both these items used to sit unnoticed in the backyard, so I moved them up into the spotlight.

Then I started doing some serious cleaning. Before I tackled it, the breezeway bed was a shaggy, messy place, with purple coneflowers, goldenrods, and wild petunias crowding around the big satsuma tree that serves as the bed’s centerpiece. Since I wanted a little tidier look, I dug all the wildflowers out and moved them to my meadow. Then I mulched the bed with leaves and planted eight coonties in the wildflowers’ place.

Coonties are neat little cycads—Florida natives. They form dense evergreen mounds about three feet tall. I chose them because they’re drought tolerant and easy to grow, because they’re a dapper shiny green, and because you never have to prune them.

I know it probably sounds like all I do these days is dig up my wildflowers, but I do appreciate them and I’ll be encouraging them just about everywhere in my yard except for a couple key places—the vegetable garden and this breezeway bed, areas I’d like to keep just a tad less wild and crazy.

I promise I'll never give up on wildflowers, not just because they're pretty but because they make such great habitat. My little meadow is the busiest place, full of native insects and lizards. I see box turtles and black racers there too. Hummingbirds visit in spring and summer, searching for nectar, and songbirds come in winter, searching for seeds.

Cyclamens

Satsumas

More satsumas. They taste so good this year—extra sweet.

Shi Shi Gashira sasanquas

Mom gave me this birdbath many years ago. Before I moved it to the breezeway bed, it sat under our Chinese chestnut tree.

The breezeway at dusk

6 comments:

  1. Sounds like a lovely way to spend a day. We love natives here too. So much easier than trying to manage plants that don't want the conditions they are in...What a great place for the birds to wash up before breakfast! ;0D

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  2. I'm not sure what it looked like before, but your entrance looks very inviting now. I just love accents like the birdbath, so charming. Beautiful Satsumas, too!

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  3. I love the new look and your choices of accent pieces. The coonties are a great choice. They are a host plant for (I think) the Atala butterfly. I'm reading an interesting book that's encouraging homeowners to plant more host plants to make up for habitat lost to development. I really enjoy seeing your home and yard changes.

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  4. Great to read about and see photos of what you are doing at your place. The coonties will be great since you won't have to prune them. :-)

    Your entry is lovely. Love the brickwork. Your birdbath is sweet.

    Happy November ~ FlowerLady

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  5. Thanks so much, everybody, for your encouraging words. I appreciate your comments so much.

    Susan, have you read Bringing Nature Home by Doug Tallamy? It's a great book about gardening with natives and the connection between native plants and native wildlife.

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  6. Hi Leslie! I think your Breezeway bed is looking great! And how absolutely lovely to have cyclamens! I haven't had those for years - they are beautiful. Love your little birdbath too! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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