Garden Photo of the Day

Jan’s winter escape garden in Florida

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jan Meissner

We’ve ooohed and aaaahed over Jan Meissner’s garden in Ohio several times (refresh your memory HERE, HERE, here, here, & here), but today we’re getting a glimpse of her second, very different garden in Florida.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jan Meissner

Jan says, “My Tampa, Florida, garden is 3 years young, and a work in progress. The home came with a basic landscape package: an 8×10 concrete slab patio, a yard full of nasty grass, and three queen palms in the backyard. Every third home in the neighborhood had the identical landscape design.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jan Meissner

“In the front yard, we kept the Washingtonian robusta palms and I added a small seating area and flower bed, including a citrus tree. I opted for a small kumquat tree. The orange kumquats decorate the tree for Halloween like a hundred little pumpkins. In the winter months (when I tend to be there) the front yard stays warm enough in the sun so that even when temperatures are in the 50’s I can relax outside in a t-shirt. There’s also a gardenia in front of the fence. I cut the flowers and put them everywhere, inside and out.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jan Meissner

“I designed the back garden for privacy in suburbia. I wanted to be able to see the water beneath the ligustrum shrubs, but block the houses. Both sides of the patio have a trellis covered in Carolina Jasmine which blooms yellow in February. My favorite trees behind the jasmine are Japanese Blueberry. If I can beat the raccoons to it, I eat the fruit which looks like an olive but tastes like a sweet avocado. Behind the trellis on the opposite side of the patio are three clumping bamboos and a holly tree. I use foliage color for interest and loropetelum is a solid performer. It’s prettier than my northern crimson pygmy barberry but without the thorns and a bonus of dark pink flowers.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jan Meissner

“Shrub roses fill the spaces that I would use for annuals, but being an absentee gardener I have trouble keeping up with fresh annuals. Variegated flax is perfect for a softer green to contrast against all the thick dark green glossy leaves. A date palm stands between the two large ligustrums. The palms with long flowing fronds are the queen palms which were moved from their original spots to fit into the new design.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jan Meissner

“Where I lack foliage for privacy, I try to distract your eye with garden ornaments. With the growth rate of plants here, soon enough you won’t see the neighbors or my ornaments. The garden statue is from Haiti and is about 30 years old. It came with my father-in-law when we moved him to Florida from California. It is flanked by the red leaves of cordyline.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jan Meissner

“If someone notices the little toad in the spa in the overhead shot, don’t worry. He was rescued. And I also keep a little device called a frog-log in the spa now so any bunnies or frogs who fall in can climb out on their own.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jan Meissner

“Also notice no screened lanai. I wanted my plants pollinated and when we are there we don’t have too much trouble with insects. The fan chases most of them away. It’s been a joy to use bird-of-paradise as a perennial instead of an annual. The bird-of-paradise in the blue pot is a giant white one. It’s in the pot to control it’s size but I suspect it will be bursting out the pot soon enough.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jan Meissner

“It was refreshing to use fresh white and blue in this environment. So opposite from my northern garden. I’m looking forward to going back in a week because the weeds grow faster than everything.”

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jan Meissner

Jan, you just can’t fail!! Another gorgeous garden. And it looks so toasty warm…jealous.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jan Meissner

***Hey everyone–we’re heading into winter, when GPOD submission tend to be a bit scarce. If you still want to see a new and exciting garden every single weekday in your inbox, do your part and show us YOUR garden! You can email photos to either [email protected] or [email protected] Be sure to tell me where you live and tell me a bit about yourself and your garden. And the more photos the better! Thanks!!***

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jan Meissner

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Comments

  1. Cottagegardenfee 11/09/2012

    Oh my goodness, after the Nor'Easter that we've just experienced here in metrowest Boston, these images are DIVINE. While I know that my garden is slumbering for the winter deep down under the surface, I still miss the green, the flowers, and yes even the raccoon, that frequent it during the growing months. Thanks for the photos. I'll look at them for a mini-vacation every once in a while!

  2. Deanneart 11/09/2012

    That patio is gorgeous! a beautiful outdoor space!

  3. User avater
    meander_michaele 11/09/2012

    Jan, what a treat! You must be quite an inspiration to your neighbors (ha, or else they curse you for being an over-achiever). Anyway, you have done a magnificent job giving your Florida get-a-way a real gardener's touch. I love your plant material choices and your rationale for why you have placed them where you have. The accent color of the blue of your pots is perfect. You really have a special gift.

  4. pattyspencer 11/09/2012

    Quite different from your Ohio garden but equally as beautiful! Love the shot with the butterfly!!!

  5. plant_lady_55 11/09/2012

    Awesome, Jan. I love what you have done. Not sure what I like the best, but the bird of paradise is towards the top of my list. Is it safe to assume that there is some type of automatic irrigation in your yard so that items are watered when you are not in Florida? Pots, too? I'm very curious, as we have plans to live in Florida in the winter (reside in Michigan) in a few years.

  6. Annek 11/09/2012

    You are a master of color........And of garden design.....oh, and of plant selection! Truly, if you are not a professional, you should be. I very much enjoyed visiting your Ohio garden in the previous blogs. Thanks for sharing!

  7. greenthumblonde 11/09/2012

    Thank you all. Plant lady 55, yes it has irrigation. Learning the environment and special challenges of The Tampa climate has been interesting. On the one hand there was a drought this spring and summer which led to water rationing. Followed by record flooding and rainfall in late summer. If the poor plants aren't dying of thirst they 're drowning. I do a lot of reading but I tend to learn the most by failure. When you move, feel free to contact me if you want to chat. I'm starting to understand the bug seasons better too. Jmeissner.com

  8. greenthumblonde 11/09/2012

    Thank you all. Plant lady 55, yes it has irrigation. Learning the environment and special challenges of The Tampa climate has been interesting. On the one hand there was a drought this spring and summer which led to water rationing. Followed by record flooding and rainfall in late summer. If the poor plants aren't dying of thirst they 're drowning. I do a lot of reading but I tend to learn the most by failure. When you move, feel free to contact me if you want to chat. I'm starting to understand the bug seasons better too. Jmeissner.com

  9. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 11/09/2012

    You are definitely a star, Jan! Beautiful. It was fun to go back through the other posts, too. Here's the thing: When is someone going to do some genetic engineering to make a cold-hardy bird-of-paradise plant?!

  10. RobertaSmith 11/09/2012

    Thanks for sharing your Florida garden, I love it! Would love so see more Florida gardens....especially SW Florida.

  11. Vespasia 11/09/2012

    Beautiful, a lovely tropical retreat, lucky you! Love the little pool or is it a hot tub. Your choice of colours in the whole garden is perfect.

  12. wittyone 11/09/2012

    Wow! You must have tons of energy to go from a "fall cleanup" in Ohio straight into a "pseudo spring clean up" in Florida. I'm always exceedingly glad for a respite (dream time) during the winter.

  13. Sheila_Schultz 11/09/2012

    Color and texture with more than a hint of playfulness thrown into the mix equals a dreamy space. Your Florida home is more than welcoming... enjoy your winter!

  14. tractor1 11/09/2012

    Jan, that's a great sculpture of mother with child. And I like all that bright white, shows off all your plantings and makes the space appear larger. Thank you for sharing. And Vojt, there are many cold hardy birds of paradise, put out a bird feeder! LOL I know quite a few of my neighbors are snow birds but personally I couldn't, I enjoy all the seasons too much and wouldn't want to miss even one day, and I especially love winter, everything blanketed in pristine white makes this a winter paradise. The thing is that several of my snowbird neighbors have become elderly and living in two places has become too much for them so one by one they have given up their southern abode and come home.

  15. solana1234 11/09/2012

    It looks very serene and lovely. I love the blue vases and planters...just georgous!

  16. GreenGrowler 11/09/2012

    Jan, your tropical retreat is serene and calming, yet exciting at the same time. You are very fortunate to have two homes!

  17. greenthumblonde 11/09/2012

    Thank you all. Vespasia, that is an extra large 8 foot spa. It gets us out in the cool evenings. The wine stays chilled on the edge while we stay toasty warm. Two houses would never been something I would have considered but my father-in-law needed a home to live in. We were fortunate to be able to help him out in this way. Then our son decided he'd like to attend the University of South Florida, and he too now lives in the home. We fly back and forth every two weeks or so. So home for two, shovel snow, back to warm up. Having a second garden has been a joy. My lack of zone 9 knowledge has humbled me.

  18. cwheat000 11/10/2012

    It took me a while to realize these gardens and your name were connected. I reviewed the past photos. Awesome, killer, wow!

  19. terieLR 11/10/2012

    Beautiful Jan. The plantings are restful, simple and very elegant. Blues are a perfect choice. I'm sure your father-in-law feels blessed to be surrounded by your gift of gardening and your son is fortunate to have family near by!

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