Posted in Uncategorized

Back to the Basics

A beautiful garden takes work…

With the start of a new year, I thought it might be prudent to get back to some basics of gardening. It can feel overwhelming if you don’t know where to start in your gardening adventure. So, let’s start at the beginning!

The ABC’s of Gardening.

Teaching a novice to have a successful experience in gardening can be as easy as teaching a child their ABC’s. Regardless of whether the gardening experience will be for a few houseplants, a container garden, a large courtyard garden or even your entire landscape; these three principles apply to all. And if you follow them, you have a successful gardening experience. Let me explain more…

Photo by Bess Hamiti on Pexels.com

 A is Anticipation.

When you walk into your garden, look around you before you do anything. Anticipate what your garden needs are.

Do you have some wilting plants? Watering is an issue here.

Are the leaves yellow and pale? Maybe you need to consider a fertilizer application.

Do you see webbing or curling leaves? It could be a have an insect problem that needs your attention.

Looking around your garden before you start can give you an idea of what jobs lie ahead of you. This can also help you be prepared and have all of the essential tools that you’ll need to get your job done thoroughly and correctly.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

B it’s for Balance.

There has to be a balance between what you want the plant to do and what the plant is physically capable of doing. You need to know what your plant’s needs are; does it need a highlight, low water, or good air circulation. Placing plants in a location that doesn’t provide what they need, is the surest avenue for poor growing results.

Photo by Katarzyna Modrzejewska on Pexels.com

C is for Consistency.

It is essential to be consistent with your maintenance methods when you’re dealing with plants. A good example is this; if you water to your houseplants every Saturday afternoon, then you should do it each and every Saturday afternoon. It might even be a good idea to keep a log of your gardening activities, to be clear on what you have done and still need to do.

The plants will adapt to the way they are treated, but if there’s too much time between maintenance the plants get confused and they don’t know whether they should be stressed out or whether they are in a regular pattern. Consistency should also be for your fertilizing methods, your cleaning process, and your pruning techniques. Waiting until a plant is in need of something may not be the best way to be consistent in your gardening habits.

Be proactive; anticipate, balance, and be consistent for a successful gardening experience!

Of course, there are a lot more steps to a successful garden, but if you can start with these three basic steps, then you will enjoy your time with the plants and gardening all that much more.

For more gardening information, check out our book. Or visit our website


Posted in The Southern Garden, Uncategorized

Garden Envy

Every Gardener goes through Garden Envy.

That’s where you want other gardeners are growing. I think this is particularly noticeable between the North and the South. Even within the State of Florida we experience this. Why? Because we have a North and South and Central and the plants that are available in each of these three areas varies greatly.

I live in the northern part of South section of Florida (don’t laugh; we are very regional here!). This means I get to enjoy a little bit of the plantings that would traditionally grow in the center of the state and a bit of tropically plantings from the south.

 

 

When it comes to the South and the Tropics who can beat all the palms that are available. The coconuts swing over the beaches, and tropical orchids hanging from the trees naturally. Exotic Foliage that you can only dream of growing indoors in the North grow wild in the landscape.

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Then there’s the other extreme; Northern Florida.  Up there you even get a change of seasons. The Maple leaves will turn the bright red and drop. Some of the fruit you find in the Northern states will grow here, especially peaches. In the fall, the riot of fall mums is something we can’t get in southern Florida.

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When I think of Central Florida and I think what sticks out in my mind most are the azaleas. They will bloom prolifically, maybe because they don’t get the extreme cold will kill off the flower buds in a frost. One particular place that I love to visit is called Bok Towers. You walk the pathways up to the tower and it’s  a riot of different azaleas. There’s nothing more beautiful to enjoy on a March morning.

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Each of these three areas has specific plants that will grow there and, as a gardener, it’s up to you to know what region/zone you live in and what plants will grow best in your zone. There are many ways to find this information out the easiest of course is on the internet. Yet with some good old-fashioned trial and error you can create a garden to reflect the best of your regional plants. I know some plants that are tropical and will still grow  well in Central Florida. These plant need the right location; meaning a warm secluded area that is protected from the elements. Like every other gardener, you’re going to need to experiment and figure out what works best for your garden. Take into consideration not only the zone you live in, but the elements your garden is exposed to. Are you close to the ocean? You will need to consider the impact of salt. Are you in a high wind area? Then you need to worry about more tender plants that are fragile. Things like this will become second nature as you get more experience in your gardening.

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 Remember. you don’t have to suffer from garden envy! You can simply get in your car and drive to another section of the state and enjoy their Gardens.

About the photos:
Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_zocchi2′>zocchi2 / 123RF Stock Photo</a>   Azalea
Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_inyrdreams’>inyrdreams / 123RF Stock Photo</a>  Mum
Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_paulgrecaud’>paulgrecaud / 123RF Stock Photo</a>  Bird 
Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_nadil’>nadil / 123RF Stock Photo</a>   map

 

Posted in The Southern Garden, Uncategorized

A Southern Rain

 Rain in the south is different from up north.
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Songs are written about the rain– there’s a country one out about rain, corn, and whiskey. Conversations are made about the rain; perfect strangers will think nothing of commenting to you in an elevator or on a sidewalk about the lack of rain or the overabundance of rain. Because down here that seems to be how it is. We get it either too much or not at all…
It’s sweltering hot and humid and we’re dying for the rain,  the lawns are turning crispy and folks are looking for cloud cover to just cool the temperature couple of degrees.
Or it’s raining so hard the parking lots are flooding. Backyard suddenly look like they are hosting a small lake, and roads look like they have rivers running down them.
If you pay attention, you can tell when the storm is going to hit.Yes, the sky gets dark and the wind picks up, but there’s other signs too. The birds and the squirrels are suddenly eating like crazy out of the bird feeders.  There’s a stillness just before the storm hits, not only with the movement of the wind, but with the sound of the animals. And then the first crack  of thunder breaks the silence. You run for cover.
It’s not uncommon to see rain coming down heavy across the street, and your yard is getting nothing-not a drop. And then, just like that, it’s over. Their lawns are wet and yours is still crispy.
But there’s a saying down here about the weather:
Wait 5 minutes and it will change.
Roads that were flooded are clear in a matter of hours. You can almost see the grass getting greener as it sucks up the water and overnight the difference is amazing.
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There’s a fern that grows on the Live Oaks called Resurrection Fern. When the rain comes the foliage turns into beautiful green within hours, but when it’s dry the fern is brown and dead-looking. The rain resurrects it once more to beautiful plant.  The trees are covered in green lush foliage from the fern growing up the branches and trunks. Everything has a new fresh look to it. The dust is going from the leaves,  the plants shimmer in the sunlight, the grass is green once again. For a few minutes the humidity is gone and you can almost feel a hint of coolness in the breeze. The birds come back out in full force, singing happily, the cricket start chirping and the squirrels are running from tree to tree to make sure that their nest are still intact.
So a Southerner may lament the lack of rain and then moan about a couple of days of steady rain. But to me there’s no better place to live than down here in South Florida. Because after all; just wait 5 minutes and the weather will change.
Marine landscape at sunset
Posted in The Southern Garden

The 1st blog from the Garden.

Why Gossip from the Southern Garden?

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Gossip can bring many things to mind; teenagers at the mall, neighbors talking over the fence, mothers stopping to talk with each other at the market…the list goes on.

But, to me, when you add the word “southern”, a whole new image comes to my mind. I’m envisioning Southern Belles in beautiful gowns, having sweet tea on the veranda, picnics and porch swings.

Add in the concept of “gardens”, and I visualize color, palm trees, sweet scents, vast lawns, draping Spanish Moss, Orchids, Hibiscus and other exotic, tropical plants.

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Now, I grew up in the north, so maybe I’ve romanticized the southern life a bit. I’ve lived in the south for 30+ years, and I know there is much more than that to the way of live down here. Hot, hot summers, and humidity that can make you wring out your clothes like a dish rag. And then there are the bugs-bigger than small mammals, reptiles that should only be allowed in a zoo, and of course those tropical storms.

Yet, with all that, the Southern Garden can be breath-taking. Full of big and small, delightful surprises.

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So, yes, I’ll take my romantic Southern Garden, flaws and all. Because I’m a Southern Gardner at heart.