Spreading Lantana, Durable Butterfly Garden Groundcover

November 24, 2010 by admin

Spreading Lantana is available in Purple or Pure White at your Florida Home Depot Garden Centers year round. Find out about it and more at Floridafriendlyplants.com

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Spreading Lantana - Lantana montevidensis blooms best Fall through Spring and is a more prostrate grower than the New Gold and mounding types. This South African species also comes in white and both are hardier to frost and freeze than other Lantanas. Few pests bother it once it is established in a well-drained site. It tolerates salt air and poor sandy soils but, for continuous blooming, fertilize and water it more frequently or just wait for fall when it puts on a spectacular display.

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Florida Friendly Pumpkin Patch

October 20, 2010 by Rick

Gardeners are getting so clever with pumpkins these days. In Florida it is tough to grow pumpkins of any size with our summer heat and rain. A clever idea I have seen is to grow Ornamental Sweet Potatoes as a permanent easy to care for ground cover and place your pumpkins, gourds and corn stalks as if the vines had actually produced your crop. These imitation pumpkin vines contrast nicely with pumpkins or gourds and easily fool the untrained eye. For even more contrast you can add a colorful border to contain and frame your pumpkin patch by edging it with SausEdge.

Let your imagination run and look at some of these Links:

 

Pumpkin 1                Pumpkin 2                      Pumpkin 3                              Pumpkin 4

 

Another idea is to grow your Ornamental Sweet Potatoes in large containers as SPILLERS and arrange them on your front porch or patio with pumpkins and other colorful containers of Crotons as FILLERS and ornamental grass as THRILLERS. Try orange or black coleus for additional seasonal color that last longer than mums.

 Ornamental Sweet Potato Persian Shaield Combo

Add some Muhly Grass to your display and later plant if in a sunny spot in the garden. I also have a wonderful friend and great gardener, Janis, whose nickname is Pumpkin and here is her Blog.

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School Garden Classroom… Model for Florida Schools?

September 28, 2010 by Rick

Occasionally you get to see something that inspires you so much you can’t stop thinking about the possibilities. I met teacher, Mark Painter, and his enthusiastic volunteer staff of parents and admirers on a recent trip to Dallas at Stonewall Jackson elementary school garden. Mark’s philosophy is that you have to teach the younger children the importance of good nutrition and how healthy food is grown so they get the right appreciation for it before they have too many other distractions when they get older. At the elementary level, children all enjoy the garden and can easily grasp the concepts to develop a love for the environment and growing their own food. Then as they grow up their expectations are properly aligned with the kind of food we all need for a healthy diet.

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Mark told me the kids love to eat the tender raw okra right out of the garden. It is fast growing, prolific and a great southern crop to sink your teeth into. Mark teaches them to use lots of compost and an efficient no-till method. Free mulch from neighborhood arborists keeps the garden weeds to a manageable level. The students plant the okra in pots of compost enriched soil buried in the garden and use a micro sprayer in each pot to teach the value of water and how to concentrate it where it is needed with the least amount of waste. Mark says the children are fascinated by all the beneficial and pest insects attracted to the garden. Children get to share, work and learn science together in an educational setting they will remember for the rest of their lives. Read their recent blog post and you will see what I mean.

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With drip and micro irrigation and plenty of compost, Stonewall Gardens produces lots of food for it’s small size. More than that, Stonewall teachers work together with their science curriculum to inspire children for a lifetime of healthy eating and an understanding of good nutrition. There parents become involved and inspired to grow some of their own food in a small space at home. Imagine getting extra credit for growing some healthy vegetables at home for your family.

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You have to appreciate the large sums of cash from The Gates Foundation and Facebook and other private concerns going toward improving they way students learn with computers. This effort is more beneficial, in my opinion, because it does a better job of instilling a lifetime connection with science, nature, nutrition, management and learning. Instilling these values and knowledge in similar programs would be a great thing for the food industry, food retailers and agriculture to fund and connect their products and names to improving health, education and society. School boards need to be made aware of the Stonewall Garden project and how it can raise the education levels of their students.

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At Stonewall garden they plant herbs, eggplant and peppers in large buried containers to confine the compost and focus the irrigation and organic fertilizer.

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The parents volunteer with some of the weeding and composting to keep the garden neat and organized.

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In this exercise the students are taught to record their crops progress and to recognize the leaf shape so they can distinguish their seedlings from the weeds.

 

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The classes feed and tend the chickens which stimulate them to ask many questions as they become immersed in the garden and farm while learning where food comes from and how it impacts their diet.

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Students study and plant wild flowers and the butterflies and hummingbirds they attract. This close link to the environment broadens the understanding of these children raised in this urban area.

The Stonewall Jackson Garden website will answer more of the questions I hope I have stirred in this post. Read back through their blog posts to get a feel for how they interact with the community and the students. I hope you are as inspired as I am. This ought to be a feature on 60 Minutes.

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Plant a Pansy or Contribute to Haiti or do Both

January 28, 2010 by Rick

PansyMajesticGiants

In a December post, Remembering a Great Horticulturalist, I wrote about the loss of a friend, Tom VanWingerden, who inspired me, very early in my career. Before his recent accident he had just returned from one of his monthly visits to his families' project in Haiti, Double Harvest. I had requested you consider a donation for their efforts then in Tom’s memory for all he had done. Now, more than ever, Haiti needs your dollars and Double Harvest is there on the ground. Listen to John VanWingerden in this interview and you will learn more about what is really happening in Haiti and how it is different from what the TV news is showing to drive their ratings.

 

Give now to:

Double Harvest – Haiti
55 South Main Street
Oberlin, OH 44074
www.DoubleHarvest.org
440-714-1694

 

Pansies are ready to plant and in many parts of the country you will find VanWingerden Greenhouse grown pansy plants like these at major retailers. This is the “Generator” John talks about in the interview. I hope you get a real perspective of Haiti from his words.

 

Metrolina Pansy

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Successful Gardening in 2010

January 25, 2010 by Rick

 

1. Hardy Perennials – Gardeners are asking what plants thrive both frost and hot summer temperatures. These plants tolerate frost quickly recover after cold weather. These popular plants are what customers will have the most success with and will remove some fear of planting. Plant success!

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                           Sedum Florida Friendly Gold

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                                             Blue Eyed Grass

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                                 Bulbine – Jelly Burn Plant 

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                                            Dianthus Firewitch

2. Drought Tolerant Grass and Accent Plants – Gardeners looking for long lived, easy care plants that will survive the typically dry spring and fall growing seasons will be successful with these plants. For the Top 20 Drought Tolerant Florida Perennials go to http://floridafriendlyplants.com/

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                  Purple Showers                                       Purple Queen               

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                                              Variegated Flax Lily

3. Butterfly Plants – For success in attracting butterflies to your garden you can use both the nectar host plants and the larval host plants. Plant them in a sunny site them in the landscape. Refer to the Home Depot tag information for suitable planting conditions.

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                Lantana                              Pentas                               Milkweed

For the Top 20 Drought Tolerant Perennials and the Top 20 Florida Butterfly Plants go to http://floridafriendlyplants.com/

SausEdgeTM is an innovative way to save money and time and get instant results in your garden. Several popular varieties make an instant border in your garden.

http://floridafriendlyplants.com/Sausedge.asp

 

See the video at http://www.youtube.com/profile?edit=1#p/u/5/E1MObn0HqQc

or search Sausedge on Youtube

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                              Cuban Gold Duranta from SausEdgeTM

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                                          Lantana from SausEdgeTM

 

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Classic Selections are an economical way to plant perennials and use less plastic.

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Classic Creations give instant results for combinations in your own containers.

 

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Categories: 9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping | Container Gardening | Cold Hardy Perennial | Butterfly Garden | Cool Season Gardening | Design | Environmental Awareness Education | Florida Friendly Landscape | SausEdge get the edge on your beds.. | SausEdge TM | Warm Season Gardening
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Pot-in-Pot, The Ultimate Winter Plant Protection

January 12, 2010 by Rick

 

The weather outside is frightful… By Florida standards anyway. At the nursery, we cover acres of plant with Frost Cloth every time a freeze threatens. This works very well except when the wind blows the cloth off your plants. At home I use a different method I developed called Pot-in-Pot Landscaping.

 

 

I use an empty pot as a sleeve. It is the same size pot as the pot of the plant I am installing

and I drop it in for a finished job. When the frost threatens, I lift the plants and park them in my garage for the evening.

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The method has many reason for you to consider using it in Florida. Follow this link to 21 reasons for Pot-in-Pot Gardening. This works also well for larger containers and combinations too.

 

Using this method in combination with a drip irrigation system save water and improves plant quality and longevity. Pot-in-Pot is also ideal for using tender plants within large containers as shown here.

 

 

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Categories: 9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping | Container Gardening | 9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping | 9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping | Container Gardening | Container Gardening | Cool Season Gardening | Container Gardening | Cool Season Gardening | Design | Cool Season Gardening | Design | Cool Season Gardening | Design | Drip Irrigation | Drip Irrigation | Design | Drip Irrigation | Environmental Awareness Education | Environmental Awareness Education | Drip Irrigation | Florida Friendly Landscape | Environmental Awareness Education | Florida Friendly Landscape | Environmental Awareness Education | Florida Friendly Landscape | Pot-in-Pot Landscaping | Pot-in-Pot Landscaping | Florida Friendly Landscape | Pot-in-Pot Landscaping | Pot-in-Pot Landscaping
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Temple Terrace Trees –Right Plant-Right Place

January 10, 2010 by Rick

Temple Terrace, located on the East Side of Tampa,  is designated by the Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree City USA. Some of our Florida Native Trees are the best choice for longevity and structure.

Trees make gardening in Florida much more enjoyable. I can’t imagine gardening without the partial shade of trees. Plants growing in the full sun all day require so much more water to look their tropical best.

 

Trees create a micro climate as we see on days like today after a freezing night like last night. Trees prevent some radiation heat loss. As you look around your neighborhood this week you will see how much better plants growing under the trees survived this extreme cold snap of 2010.

 

Temple Terrace Trees

 

The Temple Terrace Garden Club, the city of Temple Terrace and Tampa Electric Co. have produced a full-color Temple Terrace Tree Guide That is available with in formation on how to select the right tree for the right spot.

 

The guides are at the Temple Terrace Public Library, 202 Bullard Park way, and Temple Terrace City Hall, 11250 N. 56th St. Similar information can be found on the web at:

Tampa Electrics Florida Tree Planting Guide

TECO also has information about tree trimming. Learn much more about all the Florida Trees at this University of Florida Extension Service site.

 

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Categories: 9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping | U of F Cooperative Extension Service | Environmental Awareness Education | Cool Season Gardening | Florida Friendly Landscape
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Missing the Snow?

December 7, 2009 by Rick

 

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Categories: Cool Season Gardening
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Raised Bed Gardens are Very Florida Friendly

August 24, 2009 by Rick

How to make a scarecrow

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Categories: Container Gardening | Cool Season Gardening | Drip Irrigation | Florida Friendly Landscape
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Timing is Everything in the Garden

July 28, 2009 by Rick
Gardening in Florida is seasonal dependant just like in other areas of the country. Just because we don't have freezing weather you can't succeed by planting anytime you get the urge. NOW is the time to get an urge and do some preparation. I know it is hot and rain is predicted but if you drive to the farming areas the farmers have already plowed the fields and are preparing to plant cool season vegetables, fall tomatoes, peppers, corn, onions and strawberries. Check out the newly updated Florida vegetable Guide from these links. Successful Vegetable gardening can involve composting and rainbarrels and timing that avoids major pests. Learn about this from the Cooperative Extension Service for free. This video is well done and illustrates a progression that gives you an idea of how much work you are going to have to do to get started. You sure want to do it at the right time if you plan to eat from your back yard. You also may want to get involved in a Community Garden to learn by doing before you start digging.

This Lawn is Your Lawn from roger doiron on Vimeo.


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