Robin Flies South...

A blog about decorating and tablescaping with an emphasis on creativity and smart shopping over cash!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Build it and they will come!

I'm borrowing a quote from one of my favorite baseball movies to describe our latest landscaping project.  Butterfly gardens are very popular here in Florida and I have recently visited them at Epcot in Disney, the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota and last weekend at the MOSI Museum in Tampa.   Insect life in general is pretty intense here so why not attract the ones you want to have hang around?  We already have quite a few butterflies in our yard, along with a hummingbird once in a while.  This didn't start out as a butterfly garden on purpose but seems to have turned out that way.

When we first moved here, our backyard looked like this.  That glaring white vinyl fence isn't exactly an eyesore but it could use some softening up and some color! And what's with that random tree?

After having a pool installed (you can read about that HERE), we had some palms planted and added  lemon and lime trees.  Things were definitely looking up but that fence was still glaring back at us!  Our first attempt was a total failure.  We bought some oleander's last summer (really too late in the season) since they were half price.  They must have been diseased or something because they didn't grow, didn't bloom and eventually showed signs of impending death.  We still wanted oleanders back there because they grow quickly and bloom all year long.  Tip-not a good plant if you have pets as they are poisonous!

Before I go any further I have to make a confession.  I do some gardening in the front flower beds and all the containers, but this part of the yard is solely my husbands deal.  He did all the work and I just get to enjoy it. He ripped out all the diseased plants and decided to start from scratch. This time he prepped the soil and planted more oleanders in the early spring.  He filled in with a few philodendron.  Fine, but it needed more.  First, he added 2 Chinese Fan Palms.  Still not quite there.  He added more palms and 2 more philodendrons.  My advice is to buy plants a few at a time and whatever you do, don't add up how much you've spent! 

About a million bags of mulch later, it looked pretty good.  Remember, we are here in Florida where things grow like crazy!  There is no need to go to the expense of larger plants because these will grow very quickly (especially if we can avoid a hard frost this winter).  Now we needed color!  We took a quick trip to Lowe's this morning and picked out a variety of perennials.  Even though it's in the 90's today, my husband was up to the task and started planting as soon as we got home. In the bright mid-day sun!  He recovered quickly enough to play a round of golf this afternoon.

We hadn't intended on being so butterfly friendly but it seemed as if every plant we picked out was going to be attractive to our winged friends.  Sounds good to me!  Lowe's had a special section dedicated to Florida friendly plants that can tolerate the full sun we get here. All of them just happened to attract butterflies.

This is just a few of the flowers we have planted in our yard.  Hibiscus, penta (not a true perennial but will keep going if there's no frost), Mexican petunia and I'm not sure what the other purple one is.  We spent under $45 and they should last for years (fingers crossed).

If all goes well, I will do a before and after next spring and you non-Floridians will be shocked to see how much everything has grown.  Thanks to my husband's hard work in less than ideal conditions, we have a more pleasing view and a nice setting to observe the butterflies!

By the way, that random tree just didn't make the cut in our landscaping design (it did, however, get cut!).

I will be joining the following parties...
Overflowing with Creativity at It's Overflowing
Seasonal Sundays at The Tablescaper
Spotlight Saturday at Classy Clutter
Show and Tell Saturday at Be Different, Act Normal
Saturday 7 at Positively Splendid
Masterpiece Monday at Boogieboard Cottage
Sunday Showcase at Under the Table and Dreaming
Met Monday at Between Naps on the Porch
Nifty Thrift Tuesday at Coastal Charm
Your Cozy Home Party at Cozy Home Scenes
You're Gonna Love it Tuesday at Kathe with an E
Transformation Thursday at Shabby Creek Cottage
Before and After Party at Thrifty Decor Chick


Daniela @Frugal Aint Cheap said...

Looks great! I bet next year it's going to look like a jungle!

Lorrie said...

Looks great! I love butterflys!

eleven-o-one said...

Lookin' good! I have a few butterfly plants and love to see my butterflies hangin' out on them. Some of my pentas aren't doing too well. They need lots of water. I'm hoping for lots of rain because the city has restricted us to watering once a week and my new grass is unhappy. Luckily, it has rained in between waterings both weeks since they started that. Hope you are having great rain in your area.

Anonymous said...

looks great! you will enjoy your space!! we have 1 little butterfly is amazing the butterflies we fun and so pretty!
I am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.

Elaine said...

It looks great, Robin! We had a butterfly garden a few years ago, and it was wonderful.

Patty (Patty's Pretty Things) said...

What a big accomplishment and it looks great. It was hot here in Indiana today when I mowed the lawn and I had to stop every ten minutes to rehydrate and rest. We were just in Florida for spring break and I love to read Floridian blogs.

Linda@Coastal Charm said...

Looks did a wonderful job and thanks for sharing with us at NIFTY THRIFTY TUESDAY.


Heaven's Walk said...

Beautifully done!!!! When those pretty plants fill in, it's going to look just fabulous! You'll have to charge neighbors to view all of your butterflies! lol!

xoox laurie

pembrokeshire lass said...

Please can you send your husband over here to Wales!!?!! Joan
PS Garden's looking great and I love the butterflies!

Kathe said...

I am so jealous! Philodendrons are only house plants here. And the thought of planting a gorgeous hibiscus in the ground is just unheard of LOL! I look forward to future photos! Your hubs is a brave man to get out there and plant in that heat. I broke out in a sweat just reading it LOL! Thanks so much for sharing this at the party this week ♥

Designing Domesticity said...

Plants, much like paint, can make all the difference. Looks great. Thanks for sharing, liz

Shannon @ Cozy Home Scenes said...

I love your big backyard, and it's obvious your husband takes a lot of pride in making it look good. It will be wonderful in a few weeks when everything starts growing! I like the splashes of color you've added with the flowers. Thanks for joining me at Your Cozy Home Party!

The Tablescaper said...

Great job! Wonderful to have you be a part of Seasonal Sundays.

- The Tablescaper

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