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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Water Saving is Global and Personal

October 12, 2010 by Rick

Floridians average 159 gallons of water per day for personal use which includes the potable water we spray on our lawns. We use 15 times per day more than people in developing nations. It is a great thing that our children are being taught in school about conservation, recycling and environmental awareness. Reducing the use and waste of water in our communities that are within 20 miles of our coastline is especially important because the aquifer is becoming salty as we over draw the fresh ground water. Reducing the amount of irrigated turf areas in your yard reduces this pressure and reduces your cost of water. Installing or retrofitting drip or micro irrigation on your flowers and shrubs instead of high volume sprinklers is another way to reduce your water usage. The Hillsborough Extension Garden Blog has this post describing Micro Irrigation for Florida Landscapes.

  

We have been using Chapin Drip Tape on our farm for 27 years to directly water our containers with 6-8 0onces of water per irrigation. The Chapin Company has developed and distributes small inexpensive Simple Drip Irrigation kits for small farms that undoubtedly has saved many lives.

 

Water filters, small pumps and sanitation kits are desperately needed in developing nations and UNICEF has many programs which need our help in procuring these basic essential items.

 

Join us and contribute to Facebook - I Wet My Plants and help us develop interest in spreading this word and knowledge of responsible water use, conservation and methods for efficient irrigation.

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9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscapes

September 18, 2010 by Rick

Austin Outdoors has a classy video to help you learn and remember the University of Florida’s 9 principles. Once you have studied them a few times these principles begin to sink into your way of gardening design and the way you decorate and maintain your outdoor rooms and gardens.

 

We have more articles here to help your gardening success with the principles.

 

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Glass at the Botanical Gardens

September 4, 2010 by Rick

Always a big crowd pleaser, Dale Chihuly has displayed glass works of art in botanical gardens and enhanced the visitors experience. If you get a chance, take your camera. Here are just a few glimpses…

 

 

 

 

 

Visit the Chihuly Exhibit at The Morean Center in St Pete. Find them on Facebook.

 

 

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Right Plant, Right Place Makes Gardening Easy

August 15, 2010 by Rick

Austin Outdoor Florida introduces some principles that will save you time by getting it right the first time.

 

Meems has a great presentation on her blog showing Native and Florida-friendly plants working in harmony in her garden. Her use and discussion of Right Plant – Right Place will inspire you in your gardening efforts. For further reading on these topics and reducing the turf areas and their impacts start with reading these posts. 

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Lakes of Mount Dora Gets It!

August 6, 2010 by Rick

Following the 9 principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping is so rewarding for you and the environment. With a little study you can convert your yard and garden to one that requires less water and fertilizer and is still the nicest on the block. You can let your yard make a statement about who you are and how you feel about protecting the environment and reducing chemical and fertilizer runoff pollution.

 

 

Search our Database for many of these plants that can be found at you Florida Home Depot garden center.

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/nine_principles.htm

 

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Florida Friendly Landscapes Add Beauty and Easy Care

July 31, 2010 by Rick

The first thing you notice is there is minimal turf to mow, water and fertilize. You need some turf for pets and children but putting all that energy into a lawn can be a waste of time and resources. Mulch is a big time and water saver. Put it on thick and enjoy a lush garden with few weeds. Check out Laura’s video and see if this is an appealing way to decorate your outdoor space.

 

Pot-in-Pot Landscaping has a place in many Florida gardens. Check out how easy it is to install and maintain the beauty in your garden with this technique.

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Leu Gardens is Always Stunning - even in July

July 23, 2010 by Rick

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Disney has beautiful gardens that amaze visitors for days but for a combination of beauty and diversity of plants, The Harry P. Leu Gardens is the crown jewel of Orlando and Central Florida.

Just as you wouldn’t miss the Chicago Botanical Gardens in the windy city, you shouldn’t miss this Botanical Mecca if you visit our state. Allow plenty of time, wear comfortable shoes and bring extra batteries for your camera.

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Robert Bowden is the director and fellow committee member who showed the FNGLA marketing team the highlights and stunning views and garden rooms.

 

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Click this link to our Facebook Album for more Leu Garden Images.

RFF Donar Sign Perennials Leu Gardens 7-21-2010 2-53-23 PM

 

 

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Leu Gardens features many potted specimens and combination planters. They use the Thriller-Filler-Spiller concept to demonstrate how to make a beautiful container garden you would be happy to have on your porch or patio.

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Profusion Zinnias are a disease resistant type on display throughout many sunny spots in the garden. The butterflies were plentiful and highly attracted to these zinnias.

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Weddings are a big thing at Leu Gardens. They are booked over a year out. They have excellent facilities for multiple weddings and are located near downtown and near I-4 for easy access.

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The largest formal rose garden in the south is a central feature of Leu Gardens.

Photographers flock to this garden to take images of plants and flowers that are used in magazines and books published all over the world. Fashion photographers find many beautiful settings at this garden.

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Vertical Succulents are Getting Our Attention

June 8, 2010 by Rick

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We purchased these plastic containers designed to plant and hang on the wall.

We didn’t have a suitable wall so we thought using posts with the trees as a backdrop would let us view them from our back porch and place them in enough light to make them thrive.

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Much of my inspiration comes from 2 books by Debra Lee Baldwin that you too might enjoy.

 

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I rooted the succulents directly in this container in April for this early June hanging.

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With the rainy season starting we are more worried about too much water than too little. We considered a drip system for the dry season to water them. Succulents need little so little water and can go for weeks without it. I think we will determine if drip irrigation is needed before we install it. There are plenty of succulent varieties to make your own vertical garden project. Using succulents would mean the wall container doesn’t need to be very elaborate. I  think you could hang pots close together and create some interesting effects.

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The Spanish Moss hides the posts and blends in well with the moss covered plant stand holding the bromeliad planter. They are attached with 2 screws so I can take them down if we get a frost in the winter. It will be fun to watch them grow.

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Below is an inspiring video of vertical garden images to get you thinking if this is something that will help you decorate your own space.

 

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St Bernard’s Lily a Tough Grass Like-Plant

May 1, 2010 by Rick

Saint Bernard's Lily - Anthericum saundersiae. This grass-like plant has long, narrow leaves that are dark green forming a clump with upright arching leaves.

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Showy white flowers with yellow stamens persist throughout the year. Give it well drained soil and it grows to 3 feet or less. We have found that if you cut it to the ground every other year it sprouts back rejuvenated and to a similar size quickly. Use it as a 'THRILLER' in the center of a large combination planter for a long lived and trouble free focal plant. Mass plantings are very attractive especially when they are flowering heavily.

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Clumps are well behaved and dependable. St Bernard’s Lily can thrive on rainfall alone once it is established. It will grow rapidly and flower more with some irrigation and fertilizer if you feel the need.

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Anthericum tolerates a fair amount of shade and will grow as a companion to shade lovers like Impatiens and Persian Shield. Here is a link to the Top 10 Florida Friendly Shade Tolerant Plants.

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