By Kim and Mary Hawkins
One of the main perks of living in Town and Country RV Resort is the year-round grounds maintenance. Palms, Oaks, Bamboo, Crepe Myrtle and Cacti line the park streets, making the park feel like a tropical oasis. Plants are pruned, new plants are added each year and the landscape keeps getting greener. A few years ago we planted two varieties of bamboo and one of them has proven to be great survivor in this area with some of the clusters now over 35 feet tall.
We take a lot of pride in keeping all areas of the park green and luscious and so do our residents. There are some amazing gardens and decorative landscapes throughout the park. Some were established years ago, some created this past year and others are works in progress, growing larger or becoming more colorful every year. Because we enjoy looking at the flora in the park, we wanted to write a short article on some of the plants that grow well around the Central Florida area, ones that we have in our gardens and ones that we have seen growing well in yours.
A few things are different here than up north. With a growing and harvesting season that starts earlier in Florida, many residents are able to enjoy locally grown strawberries and kumquats in January and February. Some residents even stay long enough to pick a bucket of blueberries in late April. Another upside of spending time in Florida is that you can grow flowers and plants all winter. Hibiscus, however, is a plant that is sensitive to frost, so ask your neighbor or local nursery…or watch to see which other plants get covered with a bed sheet during the handful of potentially frosty nights. Some plants have a harder time surviving in Florida compared to up north (one resident wishes lilac shrubs and flowering tulips would grow well in Florida), but there is a huge variety of flowers and plants that do grow well here.
Many native palms do well: cabbage or petticoat palm and many non-native palms too. Even desert Cacti plants including aloe, Spanish Dagger and yucca thrive in Florida. Some residents have planted trees: Magnolias, Citrus mixture trees (with oranges, grapefruit and lemons off each main branch), and Crepe Myrtle which provides summer beauty and fall color before they drop their leaves. Ornamental grasses are also popular with residents. Liriope, also known as Border Grass or Lilyturf, is very hardy and beautiful, producing green leaves or variegations of green and white.
Flowers are a favorite and there are many types that grow well. A few to mention are Cannas, Amaryllis, Lantana, Spiderwort and Knock-out roses. My favorite flowers are the beautiful and fragrant gardenias and jasmine. A few residents have gardenias but jasmine is so common, it seems like just about every 10th resident has jasmine climbing on a trellis off one side of their patio.
It’s been fun writing about a few of the landscapes in our area! For all you green thumbs or aspiring green thumbs, enjoy your gardening! Thanks for keeping the Town and Country RV Resort looking like a beautiful tropical oasis!