Visit the Naples Botanical Garden

December 12, 2009 by Rick

 Naples Garden

Recently they had their grand opening of their new and extensive tropical habitat gardens. You will learn many things when you visit.  If you have not been to Naples in a while you will be impressed at how beautiful and colorful the city is now. The 2 Home Depot stores in Naples have some of the busiest and best stocked garden centers in Florida selling Florida Friendly Plants that brighten gardens with lasting color. Check out their butterfly pavilion at the Naples Botanical Garden.

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SausEdge - get the edge on your beds...

November 8, 2009 by Rick

At most Florida Home Depot stores, SausEdge is a new way we developed to quickly and easily ...get an edge on your beds. The unique biodegradable paper covered tube of soil and roots holds together for guaranteed success. The tube dries out slower and breathes to maintain the proper water to air to root relationship for success. Bury the tube and mulch the bed for best success. Now is a great time to get a beautiful edge on your plant and flower beds to add the finished look to your yard. Try this new innovation and see just how easy and effective it is.

SausEdge in Hand

  4 feet of Plant Edging per package – Half the Work and Half the Cost of Container Plants

 Cuban Gold Duranta SausEdge TM

Cuban Gold Duranta - Very Popular - Easy to Grow Perennial – Ideal for Edging – Shear it to keep it the desired size. Reduce the amount of turf by adding SausEdge around all your beds and add continuity to your design by tying the bed together. Add color contrast and interest and give your home a major shot of curb appeal.

 

Simple as 123

It is so much easier than planting individual pots and you will be so much more successful if you use SausEdge.

SausEdge Cuban Gold

Dig a shallow trench or use your edger as a trencher. Cover SausEdge with soil and water daily until it is well established

SmallSausedge Multicolor Josephs Coat

Multicolor Joseph's Coat is durable and very Florida Friendly.

SmallSausedge Sliced

Slice your SausEdge TM into individual plants to stretch your dollars even further.

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Natives for Your Neighborhood

October 5, 2009 by Rick

A very informative site is being developed to help you determine what might grow in your environment. Natives for Your Neighborhood (beta)

Gardeners looking to integrate wild species into their landscape for the benefits of attracting butterflies and birds to the garden will find this tool helpful. The images are clear and the information insightful.

Corkystem passionflower This is the native passion vine that is well behaved. Be careful where you plant the pretty Passiflora incarnata. It suckers and sprouts up far from where you plant it and become a dominant invasive plant in your gardens and your neighbors.  

The site helps you figure out what your preexisting habitat was before it became subdivision on deep sand fill dirt. Be aware that the natural soil is gone from the subdivision as drainage and water shedding was improved and retention has been altered and moved to a central site when the bulldozers and dump trucks created the streets and home sites. This means that what was growing on the site previously will not perform the same way if you try it again. Always consider Right Plant - Right Place weather you design your garden with natives or other Florida Friendly Plants that attract wildlife and are more attractive to gardeners. Look around similar neighborhoods for plants doing well in settings similar to your own. You won't have to look far. Take a digital camera with you and capture local plants you would like in your yard. Discuss the plants with other gardeners, neighbor, friends, or your local County Extension agents whose job it is to help you get it right.

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Backbone Plants for the White Garden

September 4, 2009 by Rick

Varigated Flax Lily

Variegated Flax Lily

Devil'sBackbone

Variegated Devils Backbone

JewelsOfOpar1

Jewels of Opar

The White Garden is popular for many folks who want to enjoy their garden in the twilight and evening hours. This is especially needed in the shorter days of fall, winter and spring when the weather here in paradise is why we live in Florida and enjoy it so much .Variegated Flax Lily, Devils Backbone and Jewels of Opar are three of the most dependable Florida Friendly Plants you can use in your garden. They live from year to year with few pests. Use them with repetition in your design. Plant individual plants, clumps of the same white plant or drifts of the same if you have a large area. The white areas will glow in the twilight as you stroll from patch to patch when colorful flowers in between will not show up.

 

WhiteFountainGrassCombinationContainer

 White and Ivory Fountain Grass also add movement, height and bright flowers to the white garden.

Livingstone Daisy Mezoo Red works as a drought tolerant groundcover to give you the white garden effect.

White Pentas standout in the twilight in the White Garden and do double duty as perennial favorites in the Butterfly garden.

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White flowering annuals like impatiens, begonias, petunias, vinca and others can be used for the same effect. If you spend most of your time enjoying your garden in the evening then white plants and flowers may be just the ticket.

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Ray White Petunias. The best petunia for Florida. Read more here.

 

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Cora White Vinca. Disease resistant variety that made growing Vinca in Florida possible again.

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Turn that Brown Thumb Green

August 19, 2009 by Rick

Gardening Basics

As Penny Carnathan, Tampa Tribune Garden Writer - The Dirt, is fond of saying about one of her gardening friends. "Her thumbs are so green she can grow rocks".

Some folks rely mostly on organics. Why do they work so well for these green thumbs? Plant-soil-microbe-fungus relationships are highly complicated and studied but the truth is science has a hard time quantifying and isolating the tremendous number of complex interactions involved. We do know quite a bit about many interactions. We know that the good fungi and bacteria outnumber the bad many times over and when good fungi and good bacteria loose their overwhelming advantage things can go wrong. Compost and organic matter support good fungi good bacteria good nematodes and many other good microorganisms and earthworms with the good bacteria in their hyperactive gut. Too much salt based fertilizer upsets the balance and kills the good guys that are working in the organic system.

Compost and Organic Matter support the good micro organisms that naturally control bad nematodes. Most of the nematodes in the world are good guys. Nematodes account for 90% of the living multi-celled organisms on the planet yet you can't see them with the naked eye. They are really small but interrelated to the natural processes in more ways than we will ever know. So you have to take it on faith or experience that relying on organic processes will help turn your brown thumb green. Here is the scoop on Nematodes for Bedding Plants in Florida.

In contrast to gardening in soil rich in organic matter, we can grow plants in our nutrient poor sandy soils that have very little organic matter. This is where you need to add timed release salt based fertilizer. This is always more cost effective than liquid or fast release 6-6-6 granular that only seem cheap. Don't feed your plants a 3 month's supply of the cheap stuff only to have it wash away in one rain when you can give them a 3 month supply of timed release fertilizer in one application that releases a little with each irrigation. and not pollute the downstream environment!

Pot-in-Pot Landscaping is a great way to turn a brown thumb green. You should try this and report back on the color of your thumb. Ask away and we will answer questions to get you on the right garden path.

9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping

We share through numerous posts our enthusiasm and experience as long-time Florida gardeners and horticulturists. Our hope is that your gardening efforts will be successful and enjoyable.  We share ways to make your yards and patios beautiful while following the University of Florida's Nine Principles of Florida-Friendly Landscaping:

1) Right Plant, Right Place: Plants selected to suit a specific site will require minimal amounts of water, fertilizers and pesticides.

2) Water Efficiently: Irrigate only when your lawn needs water. Efficient watering is the key to a healthy yard and conservation of limited resources.

3) Fertilize Appropriately: Less is often best. Over-use of fertilizers can be hazardous to your yard and the environment.

4) Mulch: Maintain two to three inches of mulch to help retain soil moisture, prevent erosion and suppress weeds.

5) Attract Wildlife: Plants in your yard that provide food, water and shelter can conserve Florida’s diverse wildlife.

6) Manage Yard Pests Responsibly: Unwise use of pesticides can harm people, pets, beneficial organisms and the environment.

7) Recycle: Grass clippings, leaves and yard trimmings composted and recycled on site provide nutrients to the soil and reduce waste disposal.

8) Reduce Storm water Runoff: Water running off your yard can carry pollutants, such as fertilizer, pesticides, soil and debris that can harm water quality. Reduction of this runoff will help prevent pollution.

9) Protect the Waterfront: Waterfront property, whether on a river, stream, pond, bay or beach, is very fragile and should be carefully protected to maintain freshwater and marine ecosystems.

More details can be found here: http://fyn.ifas.ufl.edu/homeowners/strategies.htm

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Categories: 9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping | Environmental Awareness Education | Florida Friendly Landscape | Pot-in-Pot Landscaping | U of F Cooperative Extension Service
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To Pinch or Not To Pinch - When is the Question

August 16, 2009 by Rick

The answer is detailed on our web site http://www.floridafriendlyplants.com/ on the Successful Gardening page under Maintenance by the need to do so and the reasons. Recent strong windstorms topple many fast growing soft stemmed plants like Coleus and Persian Shield.

Remove a few at time 

Time to take this coleus growing in partial shade down a bit at a time to stop it from flowering and accentuate it's shape and strength.

Flowering buds for removal

Look for the flower buds which appear at different stages depending on the coleus variety.

A good length to remove

Pinch a few tips each visit to your garden and sculpt and shape your plants to your liking.

Removing some tall falowering tips

Cup of coffee in one hand and a few pinches in the other.

 

Pinched Finger Paint Coleus

Finger Paint Coleus after a pinch at the right time still looks stunning. Don't wait until it is too tall and starting to fall apart.

Coleus Finger Paint Sports yellow red and painted leaves

Finger Paint is a red and yellow bicolor coleus that sports some all yellow and some all red branches and leaves. You can pinch the variants so you don't end up with all one color.

Pinche Defiance the most popular coleus

Coleus Defiance growing in the full sun looks good after a careful pinch to reduce height and create a fuller stronger plant.

 

These plants respond quickly to frequent pinching. If you remove the tender tips you will see new shoots develop from the sides of the stems below the pinch point. How much you pinch really depends on how fast the plant is growing and what the desired ultimate height is. Often you just don't know where you want the plant height to end up. A better rule is to pinch regularly and get a feel for how fast it is growing between pinches. If you don't pinch at all the plant may split open or fall over  under the wet conditions we have been having this summer. This is especially true if it is an aggressive grower like coleus or the Persian Shield pictured below.

Time to pinch Persian Shield

Pinching and pruning are tasks that are learned by doing them. Once you get the feel for how plants respond you will have some knowledge that you can carry with you for a better gardening experience and something worth sharing with another generation of gardeners.

pinch Pentas seed heads

Once the butterflies have pollinated all the individual florets, the florets fall off just leaving seed capsules exposed. The seed is generally not viable so you might as well pinch the seed clusters off so the plant can develop new nectar rich flowers faster. Italians are known to be the best pinchers.

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Categories: 9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping | Butterfly Garden | Warm Season Gardening
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Pot-in-Pot Updated

July 21, 2009 by Rick

In an earlier Post we detailed the Pot-in-Pot method of growing annuals and perennials in sleeves in the ground. This makes gardening easier and more successful in many situations and should be tried by Florida gardeners throughout the state for many different reasons. We listed 20 reasons on this previous Pot-in-Pot post.

A new twist is a method that makes it faster and easier to mulch for the first planting and for subsequent mulch applications. By inserting another pot in your pot sleeve before you mulch you make the mulching task easier. Adding this second pot allows you to spread the mulch quickly and to fill the second pot during the spreading process. Next you lift the inside pot full of mulch and spread it around in the bed. Now you have an empty sleeve to drop in your plant and complete you Pot-in-Pot landscape.

Post Hole Digging for Pot-in-Pot

Digging holes with a post hole digger is fast and just the right size. You can cut through roots with this tool and dig in difficult soil much easier than with a trowel. Root encroachment from surrounding trees and shrubs in your planting beds is a primary reason to use the Pot-in-Pot method.

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Using standard size gallon pots you can nest them so you have a collection pot for catching the mulch in the next step for easy removal.

Removing much collecting pot

Removing the excess mulch in the catch pot is a breeze.

Slow Release Fertilizing Pot-in-Pot Plants

Don't forget the slow release fertilizer. This is salt based so read the label and apply every 3 months as directed. Don't overdose or you will kill the beneficial organisms growing in our compost rich potting soil.

Dropping in Pot-in-Pot a

Drop you plants into the empty sleeve and stand back and admire your work. Best of all, when it is time to change the flowers this will be a snap. Next time you need to apply a layer of mulch. Lift your plants and insert your empty catch pot. Apply mulch liberally and not so carefully. Lift and dump the pot-o-mulch. Reinsert your potted flowers and stand back and admire. Now you have 21 reasons to try the Pot-in-Pot method.


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Categories: 9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping | Container Gardening | Design | Drip Irrigation | Pot-in-Pot Landscaping
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It's the Law! Florida Friendly Landscaping is Legal Everywhere

July 12, 2009 by Rick

From the director of the Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program:

Greetings,
It is a very important time regarding Florida-Friendly Landscaping and Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program!
Governor Crist signed the SB2080 relating to Water Resources last week.  A few higlights:
The new bill deletes references to “xeriscape”; requires water management districts to provide model Florida-Friendly LandscapingTM ordinances to local governments; each district shall use the materials developed by the FDEP, UF/IFAS and Center for Landscape Conservation & Ecology/ Florida Friendly LandscapingTM  Program, including but not limited to Florida Yards & Neighborhoods (FYN) Home Owners, FYN Builder & Developers & the Green Industries Best Management Practices Program; the districts shall coordinate with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) & UF/IFAS if revisions to the educational materials are needed; a deed restriction or covenant may not prohibit or be enforce to prohibit any property owner from implementing FFL on his or her land; a local government ordinance may not prohibit or be enforced so as to prohibit any property owner from implementing FFL on his or her land; local governments shall use the standards and guidelines when developing landscape irrigation and Florida-Friendly LandscapingTM ordinances.
Please see the link for the SB2080 for further info:
http://www.flsenate.gov/data/session/2009/Senate/bills/billtext/pdf/s2080er.pdf
Another important bill is SB494 which relates to water conservation that Governor Crist signed last month. This bill requires that all commercial fertilizer applicators will be required by law to have a FDACS license by January 1, 2014. Passing the GI-BMP training, or an approved equivalent, is mandatory to obtain that license.  The FDEP, in cooperation with the IFAS shall provide training and testing programs in urban landscape management practices and may issue certificates demonstrating satisfactory completion of the training; after receiving a certificate of completion a person may apply to the FDACS to receive a limited certification for urban landscape commercial fertilizer application under s. 482.1562. A person possessing such certification is not subject to additional local testing.  Beginning January 2014, any person applying fertilizer to an urban landscape must be certified under S 482.1562, Florida Statues. A limited certification expires 4 years after the date of issuance. Before applying for recertification, the applicant must complete 4 classroom hours of acceptable continuing education, of which at least 2 hours of fertilizer best management practices.
Please see the link for SB494 for further info:
http://www.flsenate.gov/data/session/2009/Senate/bills/billtext/pdf/s0494er.pdf
Thanks,
Esen Momol, Ph.D., Director
Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program
University of Florida, IFAS
Environmental Horticulture Department,
114 Mehrhof Hall, P.O.Box 110675, Gainesville, FL 32611-0670
Tel:(352 392-1831 ext 330 Fax: (352) 392-1413
E-mail: eam@ufl.edu

So now you can Take Out the Grass legally and put something in the space between the curb and sidewalk that needs no water, spray or fertilizer like Perennial Peanut or Beach Sunflower. This would be a good start to improve the environment and increase awareness of what happens when you spread fertilizer on and near the sidewalk, driveway and street. You can just imagine how much fertilizer is misdirected and bounces or is washed with the first irrigation or rain into the street and down the drain to the wetlands.

PerennialPeanut BeachSunflower

Get familiar with the 9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping here and make a plan to save water, improve the environment. Click the Pass it on Florida tab at the top of this page and share the good news with neighbors, family and friends.


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Categories: 9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping | 9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping | Florida Friendly Landscape | Florida Friendly Landscape | U of F Cooperative Extension Service | U of F Cooperative Extension Service
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Pazazz Purslane is Turning Heads

July 9, 2009 by Rick

Florida gardeners have taken notice to this much improved series of patented purslane from plant breeder Danziger. Bred in Israel, Pazazz is the first purslane series to have open flowers all day! Pazazz even opens on cloudy days.

Pazazz has more vigor and performs as a perennial in areas of the state that escape hard freezes. It is only available at your Florida Home Depot's and only in the 1 gallon Florida Friendly Perennial pots and the Classic Selection 9 count handle packs. The Home Depot tag says annual but that is a national description you can ignore until new tags are available. All the purslane in the green 1 gallon pots are Pazazz.

 

NEW Pazazz_Vivid_Yellow_Purslane

 

PazazzVividYellow

 

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PazazzSalmonGlow

Thanks for making Pazazz one of this years most popular new plant introductions.

From an earlier post .....  Penny Carnathan, garden writer for the Tampa Tribune, has written about and planted and enjoyed Pazazz and we are sure you will enjoy this major upgrade of an all time favorite Florida Friendly Plant. Check out this post in The Dirt.


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Florida Friendly Landscape FAQ's

June 25, 2009 by Rick

Frequently Asked Questions about Landscape Irrigation for Florida-Friendly Landscaping Ordinances

This FAQ link answers many questions but there is still more research being done by the U of F to get the best answers for protecting our environment.

State bill 494 is important since it will require BMP training for all lawn companies that apply fertilizer. In addition, it may ease watering restrictions for those who incorporate moisture or rain sensors as part of their irrigation system. Research shows that watering twice a week with less water improves turf and reduces water usage. U of F research also shows that there is little difference in water requirements between the different turf grasses. Turf uses more water in the spring when coming out of dormancy and then again in the fall when establishing roots

Phosphorus leaching from turf fertilizers is a big problem for our water supply. St Augustine turf uses and holds phosphorous, the P in N-P-K on your fertilizer bag, 30 times better than highly promoted Empire Zoysia. That also holds true for nitrogen recycling making St. Augustine more environmentally friendly than Zoysia.

The best thing you can do with your St. Augustine lawn is to only fertilize in the fall and only use a slow release N-P-K formula. Lawns overgrow and become thatched if you fertilize in the growing season when they do not need it. Overfertilized lawns are more prone to disease and insects and then require properly timed pesticide sprays to prevent decline. If you want a greener lawn in the summer you should just use iron fertilizer.

Empire Zoysia has shallow roots and goes dormant faster than St. Augustine. It is susceptible to brown patch and requires no less water than St. Augustine turf. It is slow to spread and slow to come out of winter dormancy.

The governor has not to signed the into law the bill that ties Florida Friendly Landscaping principles to protect homeowners rights if they employ them in their communities that may have laws or deed restrictions requiring turf. According to a story in the Bradenton Herald, Manasota 88 objected to late amendment language that lessens permitting requirements. See also Florida-Friendly Landscapes Pass the Legislature


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Categories: 9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping | Environmental Awareness Education | Florida Friendly Landscape | Turf Substitute | U of F Cooperative Extension Service
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