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This is what I woke up to this morning…
A huge hibiscus flower in my jungle-like tropical garden.
I was lamenting the other day how my garden has truly overwhelmed me this summer…not necessarily in majesty, but the thought of all the work that needed to be done in this crazy hot and humid summer.
And then the hibiscus…
The lesson I took away from this is you should let it go. If it is too hot and humid to enjoy working in your garden. Just don’t do it. There is always fall, winter and spring here in NC to work on that garden. The other lesson….your garden rewards you and inspires you when you need it most.
How about you? Has the summer reduced your garden passion? How do you handle being overwhelmed by your garden? What inspires you in your garden?
Post Hurricane Irene, I am reminded of my days in tropical places like Jamaica or Belize….ahhhh, I have such fond memories of sipping cool drinks and relaxing beach-side. But you don’t have to fly or cruise south to have a tropical garden to preserve those memories or make your own. Planting a few hibiscus will do the trick.
I have several kinds, and if I labeled properly, I could tell you the latin names….(still working on that one), but they are part of the mallow family. But I have fantastical pics to share and inspire you to grow hibiscus.
Bargain hunter that I am, most of these were bought actually this time of year or later in September when they look almost dead and are literally 50 or 75% off. Most people pass by the discount tables because they fear it is a bad investment…Not me…I embrace the challenge. Plus, I usually buy from local nurseries instead of big box stores…a little tip you should keep in mind.
Hibiscus is a cinch to grown. They are fairly maintenance free.
- Plant in the fall or early spring for best results.
- They like nutrient rich soil and good drainage, although my flourish even in this NC clay.
- Add fertilizer early spring to maximize blooms.
- Remember, they aren’t evergreen, so landscape accordingly, (one of my neighbors has a fantastic front yard in the summer, but in the winter there is nothing b/c no evergreens.) Consider a good mix to create a year-round garden.
- Cut back in mid-winter when all foliage is gone and stems look dead.
- Enjoy with your favorite festive beverage on a hot summer day or over coffee on a cool fall morning.
Go tropical with hibiscus–Dramatic and easy!
The best part about gardening is that it is never over. The passage of time brings new rewards. So as I watched the much needed rain fall yesterday, I couldn’t help but walk out and transport myself to some sort of exotic tropical rainforest…ok, not really, but close to it with my North Carolina tropical garden–full of hibiscus, Bear’s breeches, a banana tree(thanks Kristen) hedge begonias, mexican petunias and more.
Check out this mini video tour of my NC Tropical garden.
For the last couple of weeks, my hibiscus has been busy. At least 4-6 GIGANTIC blooms a day. Hibiscus is part of the mallow family, more rarely know as Rose of Sharon or Flor de Jamaica. They are grown for their big showy flowers and are often associated with tropical settings. Hence why I have have mine in my tropical bed.
Once mine started blooming, it has become the ultimate bee hang out. Don’t worry, they don’t bother. I actually saw my first honey bee of the season yesterday. I was so excited. If that bee tells its friends of a cool, new bee hang out, they will come visit and pollinate my plants, which means more veggies and flowers for me.
Interesting story about this particular hibiscus, I bought it on sale last fall when it looked like a dead stick. Guess how much I paid for it? You guessed it $1. When I brought it home, my husband, Brice, said…hmm…not sure you got a deal their hon…. Of course, I replied..just you wait. And then under my breathe, well if it doesn’t come back to life…it was only $1. I must admit my skeptism prevailed throughout the spring when all the other plants were popping out of the ground. But then…one leaf at a time the ugly dead stick came alive. And today…both of us can’t believe how big and beautiful it has become.
I say grow more Hibiscus. It’s dramatic. I did nothing more than add a little slow release fertilizer, good soil, water and sun light. BAM…sexy, tropical blossoms galore.