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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Best of 2015

June marks the first official day of summer (meteorologically at least!) so I thought it would be appropriate to share what I think was the best of my backyard last year. I think it will be very difficult for the yard this year to outdo last year, but we will see!

I've been growing eastern prickly pears since 2009 and for many years they refused to bloom. Last year the clumps were covered in blooms and it looks like it will be putting on an even bigger show this year!

It's hard not to walk into the front door with a smile on your face with such bright yellow flowers. 

Up close the blooms smell a bit like Daffodils to me

Last year was the first year I really actively tried growing food in the yard. I can't say it was very successful, but it was a real treat to have white zucchini and caserta. 

My philodendron looked awesome next to the doorway

Here's the pool plants early in the season. Nancy's Revenge is the name of those elephant ears with the white markings on them. 

Later on in the season the colors by the pool area fizziled out a bit but was replaced by a wall of tropical greenery. The fence is 6 feet tall for scale.

My front yard would not be nearly as colorful without my crape myrtles. The rain weighs down the already heavy branches in a really beautiful way.

Night shot early on in the season showing those crape myrtle colors on a rainy and windy night.

Last summer was my best summer for potted palms. They looked so healthy, it was really nice!

My largest plumeria did not have it's best year last year, but it did look really nice!

I think one of the highlights for me last summer came from this corner of my yard. A gray tree frog, which was reintroduced into the forests in Staten Island just a few years ago after their local extinction lived in my yard all summer. The sounds from this frog were as tropical as can be which was appropriate considering that it lived INSIDE my bromeliad and rested on my monstera leaves.

This area looked great anchored by my adondila palm, cavendish banana, and livistona palms.

For years this section of my yard was one of my least favorite because it was so difficult to figure out how do it right, but this year it all came together. 

For comparison here is this section of the yard way back in my early days of this unusual hobby.



 I think I really got it right in 2015. We will see if I can keep it up for 2016!

This area became a new challenge for me. We needed a new piece of equipment for our house and it went smack dab in the middle of this piece of my yard. I was pretty worried about the gardening challenges of planting around this big eyesore, but I think I did my yard justice! 

In comparison this is how this section of the yard looked in 2014. You can see why I was so upset I had to get rid of this set up! 

I did keep the desert rose in the same arrangement in 2015 though!

 Hawaiian Flowers with basil as a backdrop, it doesn't get much better!

Sunflowers were a big hit among the pollinators!

My plumerias had an amazing year as well.

The only bad thing about having so many plumeria blooms is that it means less for this year!

Just in this one picture there are 6 plumeria branches in bloom. I think I had 9 or 10 around the yard total which might just be a record for me! 

Who knew that lantana and ginger made such a nice combination?

Spanish moss goes such a long way. And how cool are those cucuzza fruits hanging down from the tree?

This is my first year growing portulacas. They grow in tiny pots with little to no water and love the sun. My only question is where have they been my whole life! 

I really liked the placement of the ti plants and decided to keep them in this arrangement this year instead of by the back doorl. They add a lot of color where it is very needed!

My Mekong giant was a very successful banana purchase

 This is also by far the best my yard has ever looked from indoors. 

Even Autumn in my yard had a tropical look to it last year 

So as you can see my yard has a lot to live up to this year. I hope it doesn't disappoint. Thanks for looking!

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