The 12 month growing season in Florida can be both a blessing and a curse at the same time. Especially for transplants from other parts of the country, the fast growth of most plants is shocking! A landscape with new plants can quickly become overgrown and out of control if plants are placed too close together. There comes a time in every yard and garden when some hard pruning must take place to get things under control.
Now I know that I should have taken a ‘before’ photo of this overgrown corner of our yard, but when the mood hit me to clear it out there was absolutely no stopping the momentum. Within fifteen minutes the plants that were swallowing our red chairs had been cut back and removed, leaving in their absence an open area just begging for some attention. I will recognize that in most yards this space probably wouldn’t be quite as noticeable, but the fullness of our yard makes any big openings like this very obvious.
To the left of the “hole” is a large clump of rhapis palms and to the right is the start of our Slender Weaver’s bamboo, Bambusa textilis gracilis. This area is shady most of the day with dappled sunlight. I am sure this area will evolve over time, and the selloum plant that was cut down to a stump is sure to regrow again, but in the meantime a new bed for caladiums was calling to me!
Because of the roots of the other plants nearby, digging in the area was pretty difficult. I did my best to get the caladium bulbs planted about 1″ deep and then covered with a heavy layer of pine bark mulch. While September is fairly late to be planting caladiums, it also means that our heavy afternoon rains and warm soil temperatures are going to push things to grow really fast.
The photo of the caladium above was taken eight days after planting. It was ready to roll! I am a big fan of the ‘Miss Muffet’ caladims and decided to do a mass planting of this bright chartreuse variety. I planted 12 jumbo bulbs in this area, not really evenly spread out, but just in the places where I could find enough room to get them in the soil.
For a simple garden fix, caladiums just can’t be beat! They are fast growing and a relatively inexpensive way to dress up an area, especially a shady area, very easily. Yes they will only last part of the year, but the impact they bring during their season is fantastic. My empty gap is empty no more and has really become a focal point of our yard. ‘Miss Muffet’ is a caladium variety that really glows in the shade and has actually made this corner look larger because of the added depth– your eyes no longer just disappear to the dark corner behind the chairs.
I think the before and after here speaks for itself: