Neoregelia "Tequila" finishing its bloom cycle.
As any gardener in Florida can tell you, its not only been hot and humid, but uncharacteristically devoid of rainfall lately. My "Balinese Courtyard Garden" in my parent's front yard gets a lot of sun this time of year, so my shade loving chamaedorea palms, lady palms and bromeliads have been showing a goldish tinge. No burning, mind you, but I did need to come up with a solution to the brutal sun.
My bottlebrush and pineapple guava were planted to eventually shade the courtyard, and though they are growing fast it will take a while for them to get tall enough to help out my radicalis palms and bamboo palms. Even the large live oak in the background of this photo has been growing quickly this year!
Some of the struggling bromeliads were relocated to a newly planted bottlebrush in the backyard where they'll get more shade, but I really do like having them in this area, as they are the most eye stopping features the visitor sees upon entering the house.
The above photo says it all. You can see how intense the sun is for my radicalis palms, but since the spot is so close to the house its hard to simply plant a tree or shrub to shade them. The taller palm in the group is actually an aerial trunked sport that will continue to grow taller until there's no shade to be found! The palms you see actually consist of two clumps, so I may just divide the areal trunked one and plant it under a taller canopy out back.
In the foreground you can see the vigorous bottlebrush trying to shade the area and the encroaching branches of the live oak right above it. I have since cut the oak's lowest branches for obvious reasons, but it should be able to shade this area in a couple of years.
Here's another view of the house so you can see it in context. I'm going to train the bottlebrush with an asymmetrical trunk, leaning out over the courtyard and away from the future shade of the oak. The grassy area will eventually be planted with a couple of schillings hollies to complement those on the other side of the sidewalk, and the paved area will be extended to allow more room for my mom's wheelchair.
Here you can see my replacement for the fried birds nest fern, (it got way too much sun and heat) a papaya! Since this is the warmest part of the garden it has the best chance of overwintering, and it will at least help to shade the lady palm and bromeliads otherwise. In winter I may get a large tupperware container or cardboard box, cut a slot, slide it into place and then cover with leaves and mulch. That way the base of the trunk will remain unharmed by frost so it can branch back out.
Here are some other photos of the front yard as of late:
Here's another view of the papaya, so you can see the surroundings.
I also found some Galangal, or Thai Ginger to complement the supermarket ginger and lemongrass. I can't wait til I can harvest some for cooking!
Lemongrass is looking pretty good next to the bromeliad! In the background I have Nandina "Firepower" and the ginger I started from the produce aisle.
Here's a Neoregelia "Red Bands" blooming! I hate it when people call neo's flowers "inconspicuous".
Bonus shot! Neoregelia Pauciflora climbs up the base of the oak tree with its long stolons. You can also see my Quesnelia Arvensis and Macho Fern. Check out all the lichen on the oak trunk!