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A Little Bit of Jungle

Penelope Rose is a beautiful shrub rose which begins its bloom in May and will repeat bloom through the summer and into fall:There are many flowers blooming in the garden now, but already I sense the sweet promise of spring is gone. I only hope we can survive the onslaught of high heat, bad bugs, viruses, mildew and molds that come with summer. Will I have the energy to face the thugs that hover over me and breathe down my neck? I break into a sweat just thinking about it. Overnight, weird weeds will spring up, and if I turn my back they are likely to tap me on the shoulder, then laugh when I discover my prized plants smothered by their tendrils. 

My garden is a refuge from the wild areas that encroach all around. It was carved out of tangled overgrowth, and a little bit of jungle remains. Warm temperatures and rain promote rapid growth, and the thicket would return quickly, if I let it.

I recently discovered black spot and white flies in my vegetable garden, along with invasive bamboo shoots sprouting up through its soil, so my gloomy mood is justified. But briefly, for I am always an optimist. Mornings are still cool, and the humidity is just beginning to rise in the afternoons. The weather of the past few days has been pleasant, and the garden is looking good. Here's a quick review of my little bit of jungle:

In the gardens that surround the lawn in front of the house:

Below are some of the late spring/early summer bloomers:

Row 1: Flowers by the parking court; Anthony Waterer Spirea. Row 2: Rosa Mutabilis; Penstemon Huskers Red. Row 3: Purple verbenas; McKana Hybrid Columbine. Row 4: Calla Lily; Rosa Palustris.

Top: Amaryllis and Gazania. Bottom: Gazania; Hibiscus

Of course I love all these flowers, but my heart remains with beautiful foliage:Row 1: Red Banana plant; Chinese Fan Palm. Row 2: Hosta Francis Williams; Caladium. Row 3: Whitewater Redbud; Tropicana Canna Lily.

No plant has prettier foliage than the red banana plant, and I am happy to report that mine has returned, despite its marginal hardiness in my area. It remains my favorite plant purchase from last year:

In the top photo below you can see what is just a few steps beyond the woodland garden. Below that image are photos demonstrating what happens when a determined gardener intervenes!

Have a great week, and don't let the weeds get you down!   Deborah

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Reader Comments (27)

To me it seems overwhelming that you can do all that on your own. It's beautiful and you should try to hang on to it for as long as you can! I would come and help, but I live too far away :)

May 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGraziella

Your pictures never show a hint of the lurking weeds or terrible demons that stalk your efforts! But as gardeners we all know they are there, and its our job to control what little bit we can. How beautiful your spring-turning-to-hot-summer garden looks right now.

We have had the heat on for two days, it's been so cold. The weeds are kept in check a little by that, but once nice weather comes, I know I'll share your (brief) gloom.

May 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaurrie

You are right, Deb - gardening is NOT for sissies!! But oh the rewards! the rewards! Nothing nicer than sitting in the garden with your favourite refreshing drink, gazing at the results of all your hard work.

May 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAstrid

Deb,you and I are such kindred spirits! We even have 'matching' blog posts this week-take a look!

Love that Penelope rose and it is one of the first I grew.

I always enjoy walking around your garden and feel as though I have come to know both that garden and you so well through your beautiful images. Thank you for the smiles. We WILL prevail against our respective jungles!

May 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaren Chapman

You must welcome all your lovely shade when your heat arrives! We found a Penelope rose when we moved here and she has been moved a few time, I have promised her that I won't move her again, she seems very happy now! Your garden is looking truly beautiful.

May 27, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterpauline

Deb! I feel your pain. Our farm, formerly a dairy back in the '40's I know and probably earlier, had 'gone to seed' when my husband first showed it to me when we dated. He had bought part of it from his grandfather's estate. Reclaiming and taming it has taken over 20 years of planting, weeding, watering and mulching. And nature still wishes to reclaim it. I am often overwhelmed that as I work on one area, just over there, the weeds and poison ivy are winding their way towards me and engulfing azaleas and daylilies in their way. sigh. But I persevere and hope I can keep it tamed.

May 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJody Raines

All gardeners are fighting the wilderness around them. I imagine in your almost tropical climate it is worse. Here in mid summer even most weeds fail to grow, but spring is the battle time. Your garden looks as magical as always, I love seeing it. Christina

May 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

And I was just beginning to feel I had things under control! Of course, I am surrounded by other suburban yards, not jungle. I love that white caladium with a splash of red! Your garden does look lovely, despite the lurking dangers!

May 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJason

Plenty of things to smile about Debs. Just look at your photos again to see how wonderful your garden is :) being the determined gardener that you are, you will have power over the vigorous weeds that turn up in the summer.

May 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark and Gaz

Hi Deb....You are fighting a good fight because you garden looks just wonderful!! These pictures are perfection. I love that little bridge over the creek. I really enjoyed visiting today!

May 27, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterchristy

Deborah, your flower colors are seriously beautiful, and I agree that foliage can be at least as beautiful; yours shows that. All best.

May 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLee May

Deborah I am sorry to hear about the garden pests...but your garden is a slice of heaven for me and I look forward to gazing upon it!!

I always think that gardening is about balance; keeping the more aggressive plants in check and allowing the more delicate things to thrive. Weeds are aggressive because they have to be.
Your Penelope Rose is beautiful and I always admire your use of interesting foliage.

May 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

I like the way you describe it as a little bit of jungle. It's a very pleasant jungle, indeed! Good for you in keeping up so well with the weeds! You inspire me!

May 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPlantPostings

Penelope has such a delicate colour, with that faint hint of peach on the petals. The purple and pink flowers from the parking court bed look wonderful together with those colours. Those leaf patterns in he next collage are beautiful. Leaves with patterns along the veins are my favourite, like your banana, Caladium and Canna.

Between the nice tidy edges to your borders, which give a clean look, and the lush planting, it is hard to see any disorder.

May 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNorthern Shade

divine photos, divine garden, Deb. Gardening can be a rollercoaster of emotions. Good luck with the black spot and white flies, and especially the bamboo, so invasive that the only remedy possible I think is using chemical weedicide.

May 28, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercatmint

Isn't that just what we gardeners are all about...conquering the slugs and thugs that want to take over the beauty we've created? Bright and early each morning I roam through the gardens with pail in hand, hunting for snails that would claim my tender plants as their next meal. I do this throughout the growing season and am always amazed that each morning I find 2-3 dozen. It never seems to end. I do enjoy the cool of the morning walks.

May 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCarolyn

It is that time of year when you can't turn your back for a second.

You've created a beautiful oasis in the jungle!! I know what you mean about the anarchy just waiting its turn -- sometimes it seems mercilessly fast and other times mercifully held back by the garden itself. In any case overall keeping the jungle at bay is a lot of hard work!

May 28, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersweetbay

I was in the garden this afternoon cursing how fast the horrid grass returns determined to stop it! so I know the feeling, the other side to my comment on your last post about how quickly your jasmin had grown, you have lots of beautiful plants in your clearing in the jungle Deb, glad for you your red banana plant is still growing, I love the flowers and their colours in the late spring/early summer grouping, Frances

May 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIsland Threads

Hi... I just saw your blog posted on facebook so I thought I'd investigate... am I ever impressed! You are a gardener after my own heart! I looked through a fair amount of your archives and will defintely explore them more... your gardens are wonderful and I'm glad i discovered them today! Larry

May 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLarry

Hi Deb! I just love your jungle indeed! I'd be a little worry about that bamboo thing in the veggie garden, keep an eye on that! And I see you have verbena rigida, which is pretty but very invasive I think. Indeed I'm planning to rip it off this year and finish the job I just started last year, that verbena has some terrible running roots!

May 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlberto

It is so nice though to have a garden space carved out of the wild area!

May 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJeannine

Thanks to all of you who visit and take time to comment! Each comment is important, and I always appreciate your thoughts. Alberto! Your comment demonstrates that what is one gardener's weed is another's treasured planting. I use my verbena in a ground cover situation, and I am happy to let it roam, though in the many years I have had it, it has never wandered too far. The bamboo, on the other hand, is a serious problem and one we have battled since moving here. I am horrified to find it in my veggie patch! Thanks again to all of you for your support, and Larry, I especially am happy that you have discovered my blog. Your own garden is beyond sensational! Deborah

May 29, 2013 | Registered CommenterDeborah Elliott

I haven't let the weeds get me down yet this year but we've had such balmy weather. In Florida, no less! When the heat hits, I may give up and let the weeds take over.

May 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Jones

Well, it definitely looks like you're winning the fight against the jungle, as your garden is truly gorgeous! Your Hostas look so unnibbled. Mine are full of holes now thanks to the slugs and snails.

Ah, I feel like I've enjoyed a walk through your beautiful garden today! I particularly enjoy your woodland garden, because it's so unlike anything that I have here in my sunny, sunny garden.

June 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRobinL
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