Landscape Design: Ten Important Things to Consider

March 1, 2010 by Rick

Dr. Gail Hansen and the folks at U of F Extension have produced many great documents at their Solutions for Your Life Website. If you want to evaluate your landscape take a look at this Publication.

Consider adding a border to tie your landscape together and give it a finished look. At most Florida Home Depot stores you will find SausEdgeTM. You can use this innovative tube to cut your work and cost in half and get an edge on your beds.


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The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies

February 25, 2010 by Rick


From NOVA watch The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies online.

This one-hour program is divided into six chapters. Choose any chapter and select QuickTime or Windows Media Player to begin viewing the video at this NOVA link.

The videography is as amazing as the story. If you think you have heard this story before you are in for a pleasant surprise.


Monarchs in Florida are not part of the same population that migrates from Mexico’s mild winter resting sites to Canada each summer. Because we have warm winters, Florida monarchs can continue to feed and develop through their life cycles all year. Much of the Florida monarch population migrates north to mid south states is what is currently believed. Many Florida monarchs starved this year when the milkweed plants froze in this unusually cold winter. Sales for milkweed plants have been brisk at the Home Depot where we keep the plants stocked year round. Journey North is a site filled with monarch butterfly information and resources. The Florida monarchs are not as widely studied as the Canada to Mexico population that is the subject of The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies.



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2009 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

February 21, 2010 by Rick

Looking back at 2009’s Flower Festival helps us get more great ideas we can enjoy in our own gardens. Check out the Ornamental Sweet Potatoes used in this cleaver display as a pumpkin patch



This year we will have new Ornamental Sweet Potato varieties called “Bright Ideas”. They will be available with Lime (chartreuse), Black and Rusty Red foliage. Plant them in the spring or summer and then place your pumpkins in the foliage for a fall pumpkin patch display. They will be available in April at most Florida Home Depot garden centers.


 Bright Ideas

Ornamental Sweet Potatoes make great container and hanging basket plants. They are a SPILLER element in combination planters. Use the colors to echo colors in flowers or as contrast elements to make them pop.


2010 will surely be a great year at EPCOT for the Flowers. They just get better every year. Penny and Kim are talking a lot about the upcoming EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival on their blog over at The Dirt and in the Getaway section of the Tampa Tribune next Sunday.


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Spring is Coming to The Home Depot Garden Centers

February 19, 2010 by Rick

Over the last 3 weeks I have traveled around the state and met with 600 Home Depot garden associates spreading news and knowledge about great Florida Friendly Plants. This excited team is chomping at the bit for good weather after all the freezes we have had. We did have a little sleet and snow on January 10th in parts of Florida. What an El Nino winter this has been! With climate change we know winter and summer precipitation will be greater as there will be much more water vapor in the atmosphere as the planet warms yet droughts in drought prone areas are worsening. Poor Australia! We gardeners will just have to take what mother nature sends our way.

Home Depot Associates



A good percentage of associates are Florida Certified Horticulture Professionals (FCHP). Much of what I shared with the long time Home Depot garden associates (some as much as 20 year vets) is in the post  Successful Gardening in 2010.

Home Depot Delivery

New shipments of Florida Friendly Plants are arriving daily at most

Florida Home Depot garden centers.


Duranta Depot


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DIRT! – The Movie

February 16, 2010 by Rick


Well Done! Enjoy this trailer and let me know where and when it plays in Tampa.
 Also follow the blog there and enjoy seeing some things that you will possibly never forget. I hope so.


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Categories: Is Your Flower Pot Half Full? | Environmental Awareness Education | Is Your Flower Pot Half Full?
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Succulent Success part 2

February 13, 2010 by Rick

Succulent Container Gardens by Debra Lee Baldwin is a book I can highly recommend.

I have followed her through books magazines and blogs and learned from her descriptions and visuals. She is an inspiration to me and using her references and knowledge, I have built my collections and include a wide variety of beautiful succulents in the Classic Creations assortments available at most Florida Home Depot garden centers.



Debra has an eye for design that most of can use to gain inspiration for our own masterpieces.



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Categories: Container Gardening | Design | Succulent Success
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New Weather Prediction Graphic from UF

February 9, 2010 by Rick


The University of Florida has a new tool on their Florida Automated Weather Network FAWN

that shows the predicted temperature, winds and rainfall amounts at agricultural research centers around the state. Under the Tools tab you select Forecast and then select the center closest to you and you will get a better idea for your local weather than the regional averages from the weather channel.


Yet another reason to endow our education system and this great land grant university.

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Categories: U of F Cooperative Extension Service | Environmental Awareness Education
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February 7, 2010 by Rick

Mums are one of the most hybridized flowers you can grow other than the many orchid hybrids among their species. Hybrid chrysanthemums have been popular since Victorian times. We even have antique stereoscope cards showing 3D greenhouses full of flowering mums in production from the 1890’s. The Chinese have sculpted chrysanthemums into plates and vases during the Ming Dynasty.


We usually have cut flower bouquets in our kitchen and dining area and mums last longer and offer more diversity than most flowers we buy. Certainly they are one of the best values in adding fresh color and changeable interest to your home.

Bouquets of mums add cheer to our home and we enjoy mixing the colors and new and unique types with the standards and pompom types. Check out this link on Wikipedia on the 13 type classifications. Here is the link to The National Chrysanthemum Society if you get a bug to grow these dynamic living works of art as a hobby.




Garden Mum Varieties from Ball Seed available to growers can be studied at the link.

New varieties are introduced each year that perform better and hold their vivid color longer as you will see in the descriptions.

Garden Mum


Cypress Gardens is just a fond memory now. Now that it is going to be a Legoland, the focus will not be on floral displays. I always enjoyed the mum festival.




Text and images below are from NYBG


This marks the third and final year of the Botanical Garden’s elaborate presentation of kiku (Japanese for chrysanthemum).
Celebrate the ancient horticultural traditions and brilliant autumn color of chrysanthemums and Japanese garden plants. The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory Courtyards are transformed into a setting that evokes the designed landscape gardens of Kyoto, Japan. Scarlet Japanese maples glow against Japanese black pines, and golden bamboos flash against other emerald conifers. Undulating masses of ferns and perennials echo the complex topography that is a hallmark of Japan’s classic gardens, while beautifully handcrafted pavilions, known as uwaya, constructed of Douglas fir, bamboo, and reeds and evocative of Japanese garden gates and tea houses, showcase kiku meticulously trained into amazing floral sculptures.
Kiku in the Japanese Autumn Garden beckons visitors to indulge in fall’s fleeting beauty. The combination of maples, ranging from scarlet to electric orange, and pink, yellow, and white chrysanthemums in spectacular flower transport viewers to the magnificent autumn gardens of Japan.




Follow this link to learn about Chrysanthemums in Pakistan. Here you will get a different and positive sense of a peaceful people. Our media talks only about Pakistan as combative with India and a government in turmoil and at odds with the US government. Surely there is more peace and happiness there than war and turmoil as this link suggests.


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Succulents Success part 1

February 2, 2010 by Rick


Succulents are easy to grow in Florida and make especially beautiful arrangements for a sunny patio. Succulents require little water and can survive on rainfall alone. One important key is a well drained soil so the container does not become soggy when we do get a lot of rain. Use your standard potting soil and add 25% perlite to the mix so it drains quickly and you don’t ant to buy cactus and succulent soil which also is ideal.



Succulents are the perfect plant to give and share. They last a long time so your friends can be successful even if they do not remember to water. Classic Creation Succulent 9 packs are exclusively available at most Florida Home Depot garden centers.



Low bowls are ideal for making mixed arrangements of succulents.

SucculentS Jar

Strawberry jars are ideal for sedum and succulent collections.


Sedum Florida Friendly Gold is the hardiest Florida sedum available for outstanding performance throughout the state in containers and in the landscape. It is heat, rain, humidity and freeze tolerant and available at most Florida Home Depots in Gallon Florida Friendly Perennial pots and in an economical 9 count Classic Selection tray.


Flickr Hive Mind, almost certainly the best search engine for photography on the web that can display targeted images like these Container,Succulents and you can mouse over for text and tags.

You can make your own Hypertufa Container. For a classy way to display a succulent garden and you will enjoy this set of Hypertufi.






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Categories: Design | Design | Succulents | Succulents
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Plant a Pansy or Contribute to Haiti or do Both

January 28, 2010 by Rick


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


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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Categories: Cool Season Gardening | Cool Season Gardening | Cool Season Gardening | Cool Season Gardening
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