My Secret Garden - Participant# 102 || 2004 Contest

My Private Oasis
by Shannon Firehammer (Springfield, IL USA)

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Tiger swallow tale

My name is Shannon Firehammer. I live in Springfield IL, zone 5, but I have a zone 10 yard. Being that I live in the city with all the noise and everything.

I have decided to make my own private oasis...

...Calla lilies have just bloomed their hearts out for the past 7 years they dont know that they really aren't hardy here...

Mexican hat

Grass garden

...hardy hibiscus plants blooming hearts out...

Lard Baltimore blooms so well

A tour around my garden

Castor Bean tree


Living room plants

Growing these plants in my climate...

Hardy banana
Musa basjoo

The Musa Basjoo is planted on the South side of my house. I feed it regularly and make sure that it doesn't dry out.

When the first frost hits my husband and I build a tower looking contraption. It is usually 7 feet tall. We wrap the tower with black yard fabric and i fill it with crumpled newspaper and mulch, we fill it till the top of the tree is covered.

In Spring when all frost is over we unwrap the "tower" clean up the dead foliage and begin the normal care of the banana plant.

This is what the front of our house looks like tonight.
My banana tree has really taken off...

Blood Banana


This is a Brugmansia that is Salmon in color and the smell is so wonderful!

Sometimes I can sit in my swing and just feel so at piece and the hustle and bustle of the city just disappears.

The way I take care of these is pretty basic. All my Brugs grow in tubs from 5 gallon pots to 19 gallon pots. During the spring summer and a little in the fall i feed my Brugs 2 times a week but they need watered more then that when the temps are high.

I usually allow them to get get hit by a little frost, and then I make sure there is no yard or plant waste in the container, check for bugs and so forth then trim them down if they are too big to fit inside, and since I do not have a green house I have to store them in a semi dark basement.

Frosty Pink (?)

I don't allow the to dry out, I do allow them to be on the dry side. I keep a fan in the basement for air circulation and I really don't have a problem with spider mites. When all chance of frost is over outside, I take them and move them out in the shade part of the yard to acclimate them and to start waking them up from there winters sleep.

Double purple datura

Garbriel a very prolific bloomer, long lasting flowers and this one tolerates neglect - and that is a plus

A great looking and smelling orange brug, nice long flowers and the smell is heavenly

This is 'Whiskers' and the tendrils are long,
the smell is wonderful

Datura that I grew from seed, it was supposed to be yellow but as you can see it is white. Goes to show that seeds really don't turn out like the parent plant.

Triple white datura

Triple yellow datura

Triple yellow datura

Versi Orange and Isabella are growing in the same
container - I think it looks neat together!

Peaches and Cream

Bush Moonflower

Red hock

Mimosa in bloom

Turk's Cap Lily

Wild life habitat...

I love dragonflies and to actually get to take a picture was just awesome!

This little Baby Robin jumped of his nest so I took a picture before his
mom came...

Butterflies are in love with my yard

I hope that I have given you some insight of my secret garden.
Thanks for taking the time to visit one of my favorite places!

...Thanks for having the contest! There are some amazing photos and it is a great chance to share with people from all over!..