Well, the new year is less than two months old, and we're pleased to announce we've already completed one of our New Year's Resolutions. We finally took some time to add some plants around the mailbox, adding a little shot of color to the area.
We had a few challenges to meet, the main one being that the people who owned the house before us had placed lava rock around the mailbox area without putting down landscape fabric underneath. In the intervening years, the lava rock settled down into the soil, making it very difficult to plant in this area without digging up all the rock first... something we didn't really want to have to do. So instead, we used some edging and filled it in with fill dirt and potting soil. Then we added our plants, society garlic and bulbine.
Society Garlic (Tulbaghia violacea) is native to rocky grasslands in South Africa, and thrives in Florida's climate without being invasive. It grows and spreads by rhizome, and after a year or two you can divide and spread it to other areas if you like. It tolerates dry conditions but also withstands our humid summers, as well as withstanding temps as low as 20 degrees.
Society Garlic has a flush of blooms in mid-winter (right around this time) and then off and on throughout the spring and summer. It rests in the winter. The foliage has a strong garlic scent, but the purple flowers themselves are surprisingly sweet-smelling. The bulbs and leaves can be used just like garlic.
Society Garlic mixes well with - and is often planted alongside - Bulbine (Bulbine frutescens), another plant native to South Africa. They thrive in the same conditions and have similar foliage, so they look nice planted together.
Neither of these plants have particularly showy flowers, but their foliage remains green all year round and they'll do well in the dry sunny area by the mailbox. Later this year, we plan to add a flowering vine like thumbergia to climb up the mailbox pole and add some more color. This landscaping may not be exciting or flashy, but it's easy to care for and Florida-Friendly - and we've checked one of our resolutions off the list!