Design Your Florida Garden for Success

January 7, 2011 by Rick

 

Head over to Florida-Friendly Landscaping before you start your planning process. Use the web to gather images and data and to decide what appeals to you and what is easy to maintain. Determine what will thrive and grow into a planned mature landscape that is in scale with your home.

 

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The University of Florida’s Extension Service and their science based research are the source of the 9 Principles of Florida-Friendly Landscaping. It is helpful to us them and their trusted information and resources.

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The Water Management Districts of Florida provide most of the information you need to plan and implement a successful design. Micro Irrigation is something to consider and it will ensure success when properly installed, operated and maintained. Fortunately that is simple and straightforward.

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Search the web for more videos, blogs, Facebook pages for ideas and design help like this.

Learn the principles garden design and combine them with the 9 Principles of Florida-Friendly Landscaping

Try to get a big picture and then select plants and systems that are Florida Friendly.

Garden Coaches can also be a huge help and inspiration. They can save you many more dollars than you will spend on the trial and error method. You can also go to your Garden Center and get inspiration and prices so you have an idea of what is in season and popular for gardens now.

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Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Plant Selection Guide

December 11, 2010 by Rick

Hot off the press, the new Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Plant Selection Guide.

You will be very impressed with this downloadable publication that shows you in great detail how to design and implement a Florida Friendly Landscape. The experts at the University of Florida Extension Service have combined their talents and years of experience. The links are missing to the numbered EDIS publications for the critical proper planting of trees, turf and landscape plants so you will have to do some further searching on the Home Lawn and Landscape Section of the extensive EDIS Site to complete the implementation of your plan.

I consider this knowledge essential to professionals you may hire and a valuable resource for you to check the credibility of a contractor’s knowledge. Too often folks tend to trust a ‘yardman’ to select and properly install the Right Plant in the Right Place only to later find that the selection was inappropriate.

Bookmark these references and turn your garden into a functional Florida Friendly Landscape. Here are the 9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping.

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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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American Beautyberry

September 9, 2010 by Rick

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If you live near any wooded or open area, chances are you have volunteer Beautyberry seedlings that have sprouted in your garden periphery. It is one of the natives we recommend for your perennial and butterfly gardens on our Florida Friendly Plants website. Birds drop the seed everywhere so the chances of having them are high. If not, you can poke around in the woods or fence rows and find seedlings just about anywhere to transplant to your perennial border. Here is a link to all the images on the web to help you ID this wonderful native wildflower.

Eat the Weeds writer, Green Dean, has a website filled with information on what you can eat right from the wild. Check him out and bookmark him in case your fridge is looking a little bare or your feel like an eating adventure on your next trip to the forest.

Consider a large bed of Beautyberry to replace thirsty turf. The beautyberry will become a permanent garden plant that only requires an annual layer of oak leaves or other mulch to keep the bed more weed free and self maintaining. Cut the plants back hard in late winter and your garden chores will be reduced and the butterflies and birds will be stopping by for regular visits.

 

You can see Beautyberry on display at the University of Florida’s Teaching Garden in Plant City along with many other native, landscape plants and vegetable garden techniques. Here is the Florida publication on Beautyberry from Dr. Ed Gilman.

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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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Categories: 9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping | Butterfly Garden | Cold Hardy Perennial | Compost | Design | Environmental Awareness Education | Florida Friendly Landscape | Mulch | U of F Cooperative Extension Service
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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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Categories: 9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping | Butterfly Garden | Design | Drip Irrigation | Environmental Awareness Education | Florida Friendly Landscape | Mulch | Pot-in-Pot Landscaping | U of F Cooperative Extension Service | Turf Substitute
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Rethinking the Lawn

July 26, 2010 by Rick

“Lawn out front, flowers in the back. It's the landscaping equivalent of a mullet haircut: Business in the front, party out back.

And it's headed the same way.

More homeowners are giving up on staid front-yard lawns and putting gardens front and center instead. Many choose native and Florida-friendly plants that, placed in the right spot, save time and money, water and fertilizer.

But not everyone's doing it just for the savings.”

Read the full article in this link

Penny Carnathan’s article in The Tampa Tribune Getaway on Sunday

 

Using Florida Friendly Plants as the article suggests has been a theme of ours for 28 years. Check out this post for a great plant that will add beauty and the savings discussed in the article.

 

Shrink the Size of Your Lawn Today!

SedumHybFloridaFriendlyGold1TM

 

Another low growing drought tolerant Florida Friendly Plant that is a perennial is the Ornamental Sweet Potato. It is a spreader that covers a lot of mulched area and requires minimal care.

 

One-potato-two-potato-three-potato-four!

 

Something to entertain you as you ponder the subject… Taking out the Grass is a Gas

 

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Categories: U of F Cooperative Extension Service | Environmental Awareness Education | Mulch | 9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping | Florida Friendly Landscape | Turf Substitute | Butterfly Garden | Mulch | Drip Irrigation | U of F Cooperative Extension Service | Turf Substitute | Environmental Awareness Education | U of F Cooperative Extension Service | Florida Friendly Landscape | Mulch | Turf Substitute | U of F Cooperative Extension Service
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Mulch and Compost – Form and Function

May 21, 2010 by Rick

Organic matter is the secret to growing better garden plants in Florida. It is the most important component to gardening. Organic matter is leaves, wood, fiber and bark from trees, shrubs and grasses and manures and sludge and peat mosses. These break down by a process known as composting. The breakdown occurs naturally or you can concentrate and control it for your benefit. Some plants need lots of compost and mulch to thrive and others just need mulch.

You can grow a garden in the sand like the farmers do but you need chemicals to kill weeds, root pests like nematodes and grubs, plastic to prevent erosion of the sand and fertilizer and a constant supply of water and nutrients. But instead of this… If you have enough organic matter you can grow a better garden with the use of few chemicals and fertilizers and much less little water. A rich soil is full of micro organisms like good bacteria and good fungus that grow symbiotically with plant roots and make available the nutrients from the organic matter. There are also macro organisms like earthworms, good nematodes, pillbugs etc that play a big part of breaking down organic matter and making it readily available for plants to use for nutrients and protection from bad organisms. It is hard to visualize what is going on down there but the results are amazing once you see the difference yourself. Rich soils also hold onto the water whereas sand lets it pour right through.

 

Composting can be more work than you are willing to do for all the places you want to add flowers and vegetables around your home garden. An easy alternative way to garden is to focus your organic growing in a container you bury in the poor sandy Florida soil you have. We call this method Pot-in-Pot Landscaping and here are all the posted details.

Dropping in Pot-in-Pot a

Drip irrigation allows you to focus a small and appropriate amount of water to your plants so you are not wasting the resource or adding to the fertilizer runoff problems in our rivers and bays.

Pot-in-Pot Landscaping with Drip Irrigation and Eucalyptus Mulch = Success

From our Frequently Asked Questions Page

4. Why is the Riverview Flower Farm potting soil superior to other grower mixes and how does that help me garden?

Our organic potting soil is alive with beneficial organisms. It is a rich blend of compost and peat moss that allow your plants to absorb natural nutrients and water much better than light weight mixes with lots of inexpensive fillers. Salt based liquid and slow release fertilizers can be used at the labeled rate or less so you do not harm the beneficial organisms that will multiply and spread into your garden. These beneficial organisms form a symbiotic relationship with the plants root system and grow as the roots grow to protect against disease and nematodes which are microscopic root destroying worms. Adding organic matter (peat moss, compost, leaf mold, cow manure) enhances this symbiotic relationship so your plants can grow better with less salt fertilizer and less water. The labeled fertilizer rates were developed for less fertile light weight mixes. You can and should use less fertilizer when growing in a rich organic potting soil or flower bed. Spend a little more on building the soil and save a lot on the fertilizer while keeping the waste and runoff to a minimum.

 

MULCHES

Mulches are as important as compost rich soil is in having a healthy, thriving garden and flowers. Having stated that, there are many Florida Friendly Plants, Shrubs, and Trees both native and non native that do not need compost rich soil but they benefit from surface mulches. Many plants that thrive in Florida have adapted to grow with the nematodes and other soil organisms that kill vegetables and flowers.

All plants benefit from the mulches breaking down (composting) and supplying nutrients naturally. Mulches cool the soil and prevent weeds, erosion and leaching. They are more important than they look and not just for the esthetics they create.

Modern Cypress Mulches are a blend of various wood types and some cypress wood. Overharvesting of cypress trees in Florida wetlands has caused this shift in the mulch components. We are familiar with the name Cypress Mulch but in reality the amount of cypress is much lower in the bag you buy. This is a good thing because we all need to mulch and save the cypress swamps too. Feeling less guilty? A better way to mulch is to use thick layers of oak leaves which are so plentiful and then cover them with your favorite looking mulch as a top dressing.

Two other mulches are available that you can feel good about using are Maleluca mulch which is harvested from areas of the Everglades being recovered from this invasive tree and farm raised eucalyptus mulch made at a eucalyptus plantation that is continuously harvested in sections that rotate every 6 years for just this purpose. The Florida Native Plant Society has a blog post on mulch the furthers this information.

Change your life and garden for the better by discovering all the virtues of compost and mulch.

Shirley Bovshow posted MULCH 101: THE ART OF SELECTING THE PERFECT GARDEN MULCH! You will also enjoy her Garden World Report Show.

 

 

 

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Categories: 9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping | Drip Irrigation | Environmental Awareness Education | Plant Production | Pot-in-Pot Landscaping | U of F Cooperative Extension Service | Mulch | Compost
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