Monday, February 12, 2018

Sadness South Florida Style

Hey Everyone, (said with a sigh and my head hanging low)...
I have some sad news to share with you, so sad that it has taken me a while to be able to have the energy to write it, so here goes.

Last weekend, (aka January 28th, yeah it took me awhile) I was planning a birthday party for my Dad.  He was turning 82 and I really wanted to do something fun and exciting for him.  Especially since he had been in a spiritual and emotional funk for a while.   Ever since my Mom died 10 years ago, aka the love of his life, we knew he was sad but started dating right away.   We didn't understand why he didn't take some time to grieve but eventually he met a wonderful lady who was widowed and they lived together until she passed away a year ago.  Then that's when his sadness for my Mom really became overwhelmingly apparent.  My sister and I believe he was truly depressed for a long time and didn't give himself a chance to grieve through it.   Whenever we would talk to him about it he just brushed it off like 'I'm not depressed'.   So fast forward to the beginning of my paragraph (cause you know I can get sidetracked) and I really wanted him to have fun for his birthday.  You don't turn 82 everyday ya'know!

I called my Dad's best friends, aka our 'second family' (which aren't related to us but they truly are my second Mom, Dad, sister and them so much!)  And as the sky gods may have it, everyones schedule was free and they could all attend and the weather was beautiful!  Whew, that is an accomplishment within itself.  So "Don's 82nd Tropical Extravaganza" was set in stone for Sunday January 28th on his actual birthday!   I had a surf and turf spread of all his favorites planned out...appetizers of smoked fish dip, brie and crackers, veggies, honey roasted cashews...then for the main event we were going to have grilled steak, king crab (and not krab with a k crab hee hee), roasted sweet & regular potatoes, grilled corn, salad, garlic bread....and for the finale homemade coconut cake, homemade guava cheesecake and fresh fruit.  My 'second sister' Linda was bringing salsa music so we could dance (he loved to dance and hadn't for a long time) and it was going to be epic!

Or so I thought, until I received a phone call from my Dad's neighbor Sunday morning. 
She said, "Hi honey, I'm so sorry to tell you this but your father has passed away."
The above space is my brain trying to process what she had just told me.  I said, "What????Wait what???Your kidding right?What???What????Seriously?Whaaaaatttt???"

And then the hysterical sobbing and body shaking happened.

It was a truly surreal experience made especially more so because I was at the Publix grocery store and had just walked away from the seafood department where I was beaming with pride and happiness talking to the young gentleman about the day's events and why I needed so much crab.  

I went back to the seafood department and sobbingly said "Excuse me but I have to give this back. I'm so sorry."  The young man looked at me like oh gosh what just happened to her.  I told him "they just called me and told me my Dad just died."  And without a second thought the young man dashed from around the counter and hugged me tight and said "I'm so sorry to hear this!  I'm so sorry."  

That meant the world to me...a huge thank you to you fine sir, thank you!

So it's been sad around here and even though I am super sad and feel lost sometimes, I know he died quickly, peacefully just how he always wanted to go.  And it makes me feel better knowing that he's not sad anymore.  He's with his beloved wife of 40 years.  He always said "you know, I would have loved to have been with your Mom for forever."  Now you are Dad, now you are.

We have literally thousands of pictures of our family but here are a few pictures I'd like to share with you of my Dad.  He loved experiencing what life offered, good and bad.  He loved his family and friends, meeting new people, road trips, boating, fishing, mowing his yard, swimming in the pool, family get togethers, holidays, our many pets, going to the beach, dancing, inventing new ideas, gardening and was an avid reader.   He never said anything mean about anyone and was so caring about people it was almost to a fault.  His enjoyment of life and selfless giving to others will always be remembered.  We will have his celebration of life service February 17th here in Lighthouse Point, FL.

This is my Dad went we went to the Keys not long after my Mom, his wife, passed away.
This is my Dad and Mom with my grandparents and my great grandparents.
This was the house warming party for when they bought their house in Miami.
My Mom and Dad at Parrot Jungle
My great-grand parents, my grand-parents and my parents
Me and my Dad...yes it used to get cold in Miami hee hee
My Dad and sister
My Dad and brother
My brother on my Dad and me on my grandfather, Pop Pop.
All of us at Matheson Hammock park
My Mom, Dad, me, my sister and brother at our neighborhood block party.
My Dad and I at YMCA camping trip
Canoeing at Johnathan Dickinson Park
My sister, brother, me, my dad and grand mother (his mother-in-law) on a family vacation in California
My Dad, sister, Mom, grandmother and brother
Our immediate family and 'second' family
My sister, Dad and me
See his face....that's his truly happy face!
Dad with grandson Alex
My Dad and grand daugther Maddie
Me and my Dad
My sister, brother-in-law, my niece & nephew and our 'second' family
Me and Dad
Me and Dad
Me, Dad and my sister.
My boyfriend, his family and Dad
My Dad's 
I love and miss my Dad so much!
Emotions ebb and flow, tears stream from my soul and sadness catches me off guard.  My Dad was one of my best friends and this time around it's going to be a long hard road ahead.  My brother passed away 14 yrs ago, my mom passed away 10 yrs ago, my last grandmother passed away 9 yrs ago, my fiancee passed away about 5 yrs ago and now my dad is gone.  So needless to say it's been rough around here.  When another family member dies, all those things you feel come bubbling back to the surface.   It's hard to swallow sometimes, the air feels a bit different, the body feels dehydrated and life spins a little weirder tilt at ya.  Though when I ground myself, I find that it reminds me to be grateful for all the amazing years I was able to have with them, memories are more precious than gold, er is it bitcoin now a days.  Anyhow he left us with so many stories to tell in order to keep their memories alive.  For which I now have to write down so I don't forget, lol.  When he left me voicemails he would  always say "And happy gardening to you my dear!"
And so with that I bid ya'll adieu and happy gardening to you while I go cry salty tears on my plants.  Just kidding they're falling on my desk. :)

Go give your family a huge hug and smother them with kisses!
Best wishes and many thanks,

Sheri B.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Weekend Awesomenesss!!! v.16

Welcome to this week's Weekend Awesomenesss!!!

A local story...way to go Boca Raton, stop the over development!!!

Booooo, bad Boca our parks land & stop developing...they are not just spots on a map they are where animals & plants live in a ever diminishing native the right thing!!!

Miami did the right to Walmart!!!

Learning how to let go and release expectations!

Some great ideas for goodie bags without candy for kids parties!

A place where you will never find some seriously icy waves!

Except if you're a cat then this cat gift is awesome!

Had more of my share of being here, unfortunately depression sucks!

Advertisement fails, who would of thought lol!

OH these were the days!

If only I could make home made sushi like this!

Who would think you can't grow vegetables in your front yard here!?!

Good people are just awesome....spread the goodness!!!

Thanks for coming and hope you enjoyed this week's weekend awesomenesss!!!  Looking forward to hanging with you next weekend!

Happy Gardening and Best Wishes,

Sheri B.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Look what butterfly I found South Florida style

Hey Ya'll, thanks for being here!  I know you're busy so here's a quick post for you.  Last week we were working at one of our client's homes, I was applying fertilizer to the sod and there I saw with my little eyes this atala butterfly, eumaeus atala!!!  Unfortunately it was dead by natural causes but is still in perfect shape.  So like any good insect collector would do, I brought it home with me to share with you.
Atala butterfly, eumaeus atala

Here's a little bit about the atala so you'll know why I was so excited.  I have been seeing them more and more each year which is great but to actually have one in hand is pretty dang cool!  Below is an excerpt from my butterfly book, the 
National Audubon Society, Field Guide to North American Butterflies.
"Once common in the subtropical wilds of southernmost Florida, this species was abundant in what is now downtown Miami.  Urbanization and probably hurricanes, fires and competition from another species for the host plant, all played a part in its decline.  The Floridian race was considered extinct until a few small colonies were found in the early 1960's.  Atala visits flowers of Spanish needles and scrub palmetto palms with a slow and lazy flight."

Their habitat ranges from brushy edges of wooded areas, to wild roadside brush with wild flowers and natural hammocks.  Luckily us South Floridians have done a great job with landscaping many of the atala's favorite plants.  Their host plants (which means the plant they lay their eggs on and eat) are cycads with an emphasis on the coontie.  They are found in the extreme southern areas of Florida as well as in the Caribbean island of the Bahamas, Cuba and a few other.  I have also seen them flying around Mounts Botanical Garden in West Palm Beach.  The atala butterfly has multi broods virtually year round.  They are a small butterfly, about 1 3/4 inches but bold in color.  You can't miss them with their beautiful deep black color, bright indigo blue, bright red and an iridescence to them that is indescribable.

There you go...a little tid bit on a butterfly truly native to only South Florida!

Thanks for hanging out & looking forward to seeing you again!

Happy Gardening and Best Wishes,
Sheri B.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Our work truck was stolen...

Ok Nancy Drew's and Hardy Boys out there, we really need your help!!!   Summer of last year our 1993 Chevy 1500 truck was stolen right out of our driveway on July 6th, 2017 at 1:44 am in Lighthouse Point. It just so happen to have all of our work tools and equipment in it, which we normally do not keep in the truck, so go figure, timing right!?! I am bringing it up now because since then, soooo many more have been taken from not only our area but other neighboring cities, like Deerfield Beach, Coral Springs and Pompano Beach. Just last night two Ford F350's were stolen a few blocks from us at the corner of NE 27th Ave and Ne 51st Street.

The thieves took about seven minutes to get in our truck and have it on the road. Incidentally the thieves pulled out right in front of a marked LHP police who was making the rounds on our street in the NE quadrant of Lighthouse Point. An unmarked BSO sheriff who was also on duty with the LHP officer was coming the opposite direction. Both police cars followed the thief in our stolen truck right out of the neighborhood. They didn't chase him, didn't turn their lights on and didn't try to pull them over. Once all three of them left the block, the accomplice who had been hiding in the Tahoe just drove off. You can see in the video that the thieves know where the cameras are and come into the neighborhood from the Deerfield streets where they have no cameras. But in reality, security cameras don't do diddly squat because LHP spent millions of tax payers dollars on them and to my knowledge not the cameras nor the police have caught a single car/truck thief.

Believe me I understand the county has a "no chase" policy, though might I interject here and let me not tell you how to do your job BUT why not have the marked police car back off. The thief will think you stopped at your imaginary city line you can't cross. Then have the unmarked Broward Sheriff's officer can follow the bee back to the hive.

When the police came back and knocked on our door at 1:57 am, the first thing he said was "have you heard or seen anyone around, there have been reports of break in's in the neighborhood."  One of the neighbors looked up "break ins" on their crime reports website and none had been reported in a 6 month time period for our area.

My husband said no we didn't hear or see anything and let them search around our property. I went out to let the officer know that no one lives at the house across the street so they need to check it out if someone is hiding there. As I'm standing there I realized our truck was stolen and then that's when the officer said "oh that was your truck that I saw tear out of your driveway" and it was then he told us what really happened. REALLY!?!? I told the police officer and the detective on multiple occasions that two more of our neighbors to the south of us have security cameras as well. They never asked our neighbors for a copy.
The front view of our stolen 1993 Chevy 1500 with wood interior and light grey leather seats.

Here's the back view of our stolen 1993 Chevy 1500 truck...she's a beauty and I want her back!

Here is the link to the video on our Facebook page.
It was too big of a video to load on this post.

So here is a chance for all of you to do a good deed since the LHP police really don't give a hoot.  In a nut shell here is what the security video shows.  The thieves drive south on to NE 29th Street, at some point they turn around and drive back the way they came to park across from our neighbors to the north of us.  The thieves park under a street light in front of their house, both guys get out and a some point the passenger walks down the street to our house.  He then walks back to their get-a-way suv, he opens the back barn door, gets tools then runs back to our house.  During the time the thief was breaking into our truck, you see lights show up in the top left frame of the video.  That is the unmarked BSO sheriff coming into view from the adjacent side street of NE 52 Court who then go across and pulls in a vacant houses' driveway facing south, where he sits idle there.  In about 7 minutes you see a lot happen all about the same time...the unmarked BSO pulls out of the driveway heading south on NE 29th Ave, as you see the thief driving north past the BSO at a high rate of speed in our truck followed by the marked LHP car, then the unmarked BSO makes a u-turn to follow the both of them.  Notice the tail lights are not working on our truck which is a moving violation.  All the while, the accomplice sat under the street light sweating it out until he drives away.  No one checked the suspicious suv sitting there.

Please, if you see our truck and/or the thieves anywhere please call your local sheriff immediately (not the LHP police) and/or us. 
Lighthouse Point Police case #170706005698 

We have had this truck in our family since we got her in 1993 and would love to have her back!  
Thank you everyone for reading this and helping out!
Best Wishes,
Sheri B.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Weekend Awesomenesss!!! v.15

Welcome to this weekend's awesomenesss!!!
So glad you're here so here we go!

How to get those plant beds ready for the frost free planting time with Steve Albert!

High Wire Distillery is helping a legendary heirloom corn, the Jimmy Red, that was almost extinct make a deliciously marvelous comeback....thank you High Wire!

A homesteading muse....Northwest Edible Life...Erica if full of inspiration!

Rebecca has created an amazing apothecary, King's Road Apothecary, full of wonderful small batch concoctions to nourish and sooth your soul and body that I love using.  Another muse of mine...rock on Rebecca!

Some interesting psychology experiments and the results!

Don't watch alot of tv but looking forward to this new show!

I love watching lightening but it scares the heck outta me, here's how you can watch it safely, lol!

A cactus Christmas tree, so ingenious!

Getting back to my baking roots with this!

Love good people, we make this world awesome!

WOW, space x rocket...or is it, lol!

Hope you enjoyed this week's weekend awesomenesss!!!

Happy Gardening and Best Wishes,
Sheri B.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Ground Covers South Florida Style v.III

Just when we started to warm up, BAM, another cold spell blew in...which is sooooo nice!  We are very hot most of the year that when we get cold weather, everyone revels in it as long as we can and brag a little that we're "sooooo cold."  Hee hee.  It's the only time I can use the wool blankets my amazing grandmother made long ago.  Thanks Memere!

Around here, the landscapes look less than stellar with the odd rotation of rain/wind/cold then warm/dry/humid weather we've had over the past month or so.  Everyone's grass is a pretty patch work of yellow and green, leaves are constantly falling from trees and shrubs, many plants are in their dormant stage, citrus trees are full of delicious winter season fruit, subtropical plants have already died back or starting to die back and vegetable/herb gardens are growing strong.  Much of the landscapes still look beat up from hurricane Irma, especially the larger trees and palms which took the brunt of the force.  I'm sure they are looking for warmer days to start growing again.  In the meantime we can get another post of ground covers in before it warms up to go play outside!

First up on our extensively long list of South Florida ground covers is the genus of ferns.  Oh boy do ferns love Florida and we love ferns too.  Actually Florida has a collection of about a hundred or so of native ferns, some very rare and endangered to prolific and readily available at plant nurseries.  For this post I'll stick to the more common ferns that you should be able to find quite easily.  Ferns for the most part thrive in part sun/part shade, moist, rich nutrient soil environments.  Though some varieties can grow in full sun with a consistent watering schedule.  Most varieties of ferns are clumping by nature and spread around by their roots.   So they can take over large sections fairly easily.  Though do note, a few varieties can really take over and can be a challenge to keep from wandering into other areas of the garden once established.  Some are tall (2-3 ft high) and some are small (6-12 inches high).  You can see some our our South Florida native ferns in my Fern Forest post (click here).  Though please stay away from planting invasive species like the Boston fern and certain sword ferns.  The first plant I ever had was a rabbit's foot fern growing in a ceramic horse head planter, gotta love the early 80's!  I was in the hospital for minor surgery and a close family friend gave it to me, gosh I think I was about 10 or 11 years old at that time.  Hence my love of ferns.
Here at our bank in Fort Lauderdale, shows a beautiful example of how the green wart fern, microsorum scolopendrium, should be used.  They're a perfect ground cover to take over areas that needs minimal maintenance.  They grow about 12-16 in high.
Here's the cousin to the small green wart fern, it's called a blue wart fern, phlebodium aureum, or 'blue star'.  Unlike the extremely hardy green wart fern, this one can be very picky of where it's planted.  I found that they really like more shade than sun.  How gorgeous, right!?!
The Kimberly queen fern, nephrolepis obliterata, is probably one of my favorite commercially grown ferns.  This fern is just so beautiful whether it's in clusters or by itself in a planter pot.  It grows to be about 24-30 inches high, is a vigorous grower and can grow with a few hours of full sun.
A lovely small fern that I have recently added to my repertoire of ferns, the East Indian holly fern, arachnoides simplicior 'variegata'.   Or as I like to call it 'gator fern', hee hee.  Grows to about 12-14 inches high, part sun/shade, moist rich ground, deep shiny green with a light lime green striation down the center; totally looks like gator skin.
Another new favorite for me is the silver lace fern, pteris ensiformis, with it's sassy white and deep green leaf.  A total show off in the landscape that catches your eye.  Grows in a loose open manner up to about 22-24 inches high.
This is a fern that starts out small and cute but grows to be a large and stately looking the bird's nest fern, 'Osaka' style.  This fern can grow to be about 26-30 inches high by 36-48 inches wide.  It's a beautiful emerald green color with long curved and strapping ruffled edged leaves.
This macho fern, nephrolepis biserrata, picture is from the Dave's Garden website.  You can see just how full and beautiful they are.  A great example of a large fern species so just a handful of them could be used for an area since they are about 48-56 inches wide by 24-42 inches high.  The macho fern can actually take a few hours of full sun. 
Talk about striking a pose!

Now this next one is an unusual ground cover called white shrimp, justica betonica, that can grow in full sun to part shade.  Some say it's a native to Florida but I'm not so sure.  Unlike it's red shrimp cousin, this plant is a more compact grower which grows on itself and kinda rambles outward in an organized chaos manner.  Love how well behaved this wild plant is.  I use it in areas where is can be itself without having to trim it back as it does not like being told what to do.  It will eventually loose its will to be amazing with constant beratement of hedging.   It can grow in a variety of soil types and can be fairly hardy in short dry periods.  It has a beautiful plume of white leaves and light violet flowers that pop up from the main green plant.
This client requested a beach wildflower garden so I used the shrimp as the focal point in the middle under the palm where it will get nice and full.
Here's a close up the white shrimp once it had a few months to grow along with
beach verbena, salvia, tropical sage, bulbine and simpson stoppers.
Here I used it under the michelia champaca 'gold' tree in a formal/informal woodland look in Fort Lauderdale.  This was actually about a week after hurricane Irma when we came to clean up the property.  You can see the huge piles we have built up in the back ground of the picture.  The landscape stood up like'a champ!

Another unusual plant is the wire vine, muehlenbeckia axillaris 'nana', which is actually a ground cover not a vine.  Believe or not, it looks amazing in a formal design because of its low form and compactness.  It truly is a creeping ground cover BUT and a big butt here, it can become invasive due to it's hardiness and fast growing nature.  So it's best to use it in areas you aren't going to have to chase it or in a plant bed with landscape edging.   It has little deep green leaves that grow on a dark wire-thin branch or "vine".  The wire vine has tiny white nondescript flowers that almost look like part of the plant facade rather than a prominent flower.  It grows in full sun and part shade.  Once established it can do fine without irrigation.  In too much shade it seems to be less vigorous and less full but will grow nonetheless.  The wire vine is not to picky about the soil it grows in plus it's salt tolerant.  A great ground cover for nonsensitive coastal areas of Florida and rock gardens.
Wire vine close up
The wire vine is super full and compact yet it's growing outside its pot looking to spread out and make your landscape look amazing.

The last one for today is a genus called salvia or it's common name, sage, depending on where you live in the country.  It's found all over the United States in a variety of ecosystems.  There are over 2,000 species of salvia's found all over the world though roughly only a few hundred are grown commercially.  Here in South Florida we have two climate zones, a tropical and a subtropical climate, so the list gets even smaller for us.  There are about eight salvia's that I know of that do consistently well here from season to season.  While the rest seem to grow more like an annual so I usually stay away from those even though they are absolutely beautiful.  For the most part they all grow in full sun, are fairly drought tolerant, love our summer heat, salt tolerant, bloom all year round and seem to be iguana proof.   The pink ones I have were even hurricane resistant last year!  They will reseed the area where they are planted so the following season you might see new salvia plants growing like the tropical sage does here.
At the Deerfield mall, they used the evolution salvia behind the pink begonia.  Granted they are planting them as annuals here but the evolution salvia's can surprisingly live for many years here in South Florida with very little effort.
Look at all these lovely purple/violet/blue salvia's at this Loxahatchee nursery.  The pink or salmon color flower is actually a salmon porter weed which I guess could be used as a ground cover even though it grows about 3 1/2 ft high.
This is the hot pink one I was telling you about.  It's not the best picture but you can see how gorgeous the color is of the flowers with the deep green leaves.  Best part is it never dies back though does better if it gets a good trim after blooming.
Tropical sage with its hot red flowers to brighten your day.

Well that's it for today ya'll!  Thank you for coming by and sticking around.  Much love goes out to you and make it a fantastic weekend!

Happy Gardening and Best Wishes,
Sheri B.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Ground Covers South Florida Style v.II

Aloha Everyone!  Dang it's cold here, I know if we are this cold down here in South Florida then ya'll must be super duper freezing!!!  Maybe if we think we're in Hawaii it'll warm our bones.  Moloka'i, Kauai, Maui, Ni'ihau, O'hau, Lanai, Kaho'olawe, Waikiki....nope still cold as a witches nose.  I guess a hot cup of something will give us some warmth.  What's the weather like where you are?  Are you in a winter wonderland of wintry mess?  Good day to be indoors with me, right?!?

Today let's do our part deux of ground covers since we have some time.  Maybe if we get some brain power going it'll warm us up.  The first one on the list is a cutie called baby sunrose, aptenia cordifolia, which is a short living plant but packs a powerful punch with it's gorgeous kelly green colored leaves and bright pink flowers.  The leaves are really soft and like a portulaca you can cut pieces off to stick them in the ground to grow more.  There is also an orange color flower but that's a rare find.  Baby sunrose stays very low to the ground but gets nice and full.  It can spread about 2-3 ft wide.  It needs full sun, not alot of water, no maintenance, very affordable, is edible like the purslanes and grows in a variety of soils.
Look at all these gorgeous baby sunrose's looking for a home!

Remember in the first ground cover post I mentioned jasmine minima, Asiatic jasmine?  Ok, let's just get it over with, ugh, this plant....what can I stay, so many landscapers like to use this.  I'm probably gonna get some slack for this but hey it truly is not my preference of plant unless I'm using it for a vine....wait nope wouldn't use it for that either.  Yeah, just not my type.   Most landscapers use it as...wait for it...a ground cover when it really is a vine.  If it is being used as a ground cover you need alot of them to fill even a small area and in the meantime you have to consistently hand pull the weeds out until it grows in, which luckily it's a super fast grower but still takes a considerable amount of weed pulling time until that happens.   And who wants to do that, right?!?   Since it is a super fast grower you're going to have to constantly keep it from growing into your sod.  If it's a vine then it needs to be kept in check or your neighbors may be tifted.  A couple of houses we do the maintenance has this plant growing all over their wood fence.  We have to cut this beast all the time.  What's wrong with that you say?  The second you cut it, sticky sticky sticky sap pours out and drips all over you, your clothes, your equipment, etc.  Then everything sticks to the sap like super duper glue.  It's really hard to clean off once it dries, if at all.  I guess most landscape designers think this is the greatest thing since sliced bread but I can guarantee you they never had to maintain it.  It really should be considered invasive like ivy.  In my opinion the creeping wire vine is a better plant for a similar look.  Or golden creeper or coral creeper or ganges primrose or green island ficus...ok I can't believe I said that last one, but anything is better than this Asiatic plant.  Well that's all I'm going to say about that, now you know how much I like jasmine minima, lol.
Jasmine minima in Orlando, FL.

Believe of not, juniper's grow very well this far south (zone 10b if you're curious).  There are a handful of junipers, juniper chinensis, we use as ground covers: juniper 'parsoni' or parson's juniper, juniper 'blue pacific' and juniper procumbens 'nana'.  These varieties either stay compact or grow horizontally depending on the hybrid.  They can be fairly drought tolerant, can grow in a variety of soil types, are pretty good at being salt tolerant, grows in full sun to part shade, very low to no maintenance and are long living plants.  They have a beautiful blue-grey-green color to them which is a nice contrast to other greens in the landscape.
I used juniper 'parsoni' in the fore ground of this landscape with white iris in the middle, violet cat whiskers on the sides, balaria obtusa in the back with the client's existing crotons 'petra'.  The junipers going to spread out to completely fill the area like a carpet.

One of my favorite ground covers is the bulbine, bulbine frutescens, which is originally from South Africa but has been seen as a naturalized native here in South Florida.  It has two different colored flowers, a solid lemon yellow and an orange with a bit of yellow in it.   Both are just as pretty but it's hard to find a flowering orange anything so I tend to use the orange one a little bit more often.  The yellow flowering bulbine has a kelly green color to its slender tall succulent foliage while the orange has a bit darker reddish green color.  They look like a grass but have more of a succulent feel to them.  They are a perfect plant for south Florida since they grow in full sun, grow in a clumping compact habit, are very drought tolerant, little to no maintenance and flowers all year round.  The foliage grows between 14-18 inches high and the flowers reach from 18-24 inches high.
Orange bulbine
Yellow bulbine

Look at all these baby bulbine waiting for their new homes, so cute!

The coral creeper, baleria repens, is a lot like the jasmine minima not only in its growth habit but also in the rate of growth, i.e. super fast!   Also like j. minima, once it grows in nice and full it can take some serious shaping, like a low formal hedge.  So if you are looking for a plant to literally take over an area for not a lot of cost then this is another one for you.  Definitely not intended for small gardens without a considerable amount of work to keep it in check.  Unless you want the natural look of overlaying plants, like in the wild.  Grows about 1-2 ft high and rambles outwards by rooting itself from new growth.  Not a picky plant by any means so in can grow in variety of soils.  It likes full sun to be a consistent bloomer of the pretty coral pink flowers but can grow in part shade like a champ and needs moderate water in full sun but can really be left alone in part shade once established.
Coral creeper

This next plant can not only be used as a ground cover but the perennial peanut, arachis glabrata, can also be used in replace of traditional grass like how I did at my house in Pompano Beach.   The sunshine mimosa, mimosa strigillosa, has the same uses as well, either a ground cover and as an alternative to grass.  Though we are going to talk about the peanut here.   And no unfortunately it does not produce the type of peanut you eat, this is a gorgeous ornamental variety.  It spreads by rhizomes and can really take over so if your neighbor has St. Augustine grass then you will need to install a type of landscape edging to keep it from jumping ship.  This plant is a beautiful bright green with a bright yellow pea flower that grows in full sun, grows in a variety of soils and once established can be fairly drought tolerant.  They bloom all year round though I found they really grow best when fertilized two or three times a year with an organic fertilizer like milorganite.  This is another one that by experience you have to plant a lot of them close together right off the bat so you can reduce the amount of weeding that will need to happen before they can take over.  Once the peanut plants have filled in, no weed may enter.  And you won't have to mow it if you don't wanna, but it does well if you wanna.
Here you can see how I used the perennial peanut in the front yard to replace the grass.
You can see how it is creeping over the edge of the driveway and the storm drain.   So we had to constantly be keeping it trimmed in certain areas, but look how gorgeous!
Isn't this perennial peanut at my Pompano Beach house just gorgesous!?! I would always have people stop to ask me about it.  Oh how I miss that house and landscape.

So the last one is an usual plant that most people round here probably haven't heard of.  It's called an ice plant, carpobrotus eduli, which are great for a garden that just needs to be left alone and admired.   There are quite a few varieties but this far south I have only found one variety and found one grower in the tricounty area.  It is definitely an under used plant that is really hearty to be able to with stand our harsh environment.  The ice plant is soft like a succulent with a pretty green color and a bright pink flower like the baby sunrose with foliage like a bulbine.  Whereas the bulbine foliage is round and long, the ice plant foliage is shaped in a triangle and is only about 4 inches high.  It actually looks like it could be a dune plant growing along the beach side.   Grows in full sun, likes a sandy loamy soil, can do pretty good in a dry environment and a good salt tolerant plant.  If you find this plant grab some and give them a try cause you probably be the only one in your area with this beauty!
Ice plant
Ice plant with pink flowers

So we are going to end it here cause someone, namely me, has got to get the Christmas decor packed up and back in the attic.   Based on our work load, if I don't get it done today, it'll be Christmas/Valentines around here.
Wishing you a wonderful and blessed new year!

Happy Gardening and Best Wishes,

Sheri B.