Saturday, April 9, 2011

My NEW Email...just for the Garden

Well...I certainly hope you are having a grand weekend...spending time in your Garden, I am sure...:)

Just in case you might need to contact me with comments or questions about this Blog, or about YOUR Garden, here is my new email, just for all of the Gardeners and Plant Lovers who read my stuff.
Here ya go... 


Friday, April 8, 2011

Watering Your Garden

Well, it sure seems like Summer is in a big hurry to get here with us in the Central Florida area. 
What happened to SPRING ?...sheesh…

It goes without saying that our weather makes GARDENING a bit of a challenge at times, especially since we are still dealing with drought conditions.

HERE is some useful stuff to consider when it comes to watering your Garden. 
It focuses on hand…hose…watering, but may be applied to Gardens that use irrigation systems.

Watering Your Garden:

During the dry, hot months of the Summer, standard lawns and groundcovers will need one inch of water every week. Florida Native grass lawns and groundcovers need one inch every other week. Use a rain gauge or a clean, empty container with a large opening, like a coffee can.
When you water, soak the soil thoroughly. It is better to water more heavily and less frequently than to water lightly with much greater frequency. Deep watering promotes deep root growth, and discourages the growth of shallow-root weeds.
To minimize the frequent need for watering, mulch thoroughly. During hot, rainless periods…droughts in the Southeast fit in this category…a healthy, established annual or perennial plant should be watered one to three times a week. A woody tree or shrub in the same environment would need a thorough soaking once or twice weekly.

Watering New Plants:

When deciding how often to water your new delights, ask the following questions in order to get familiar with your Garden’s watering needs...
1.      How long since transplanting? Newly planted plants require more frequent watering.. Start reducing your watering after 2 to 3 weeks. Make sure that the plant roots start growing out into the surrounding soil and the above ground portion of the plant shows strong signs of new growth before doing so.
2.      How hot and windy is it? Heat and wind cause increased water loss by plants. When day time temperatures move into the 80’s, water newly transplanted plants every other day. Once the air temperature hits the 90 degree mark check the plants morning and evening, looking for wilted leaves as these indicate dry soil. In the beginning,, a daily watering WILL be needed for small plants.
3.      How deep did that last rain soak the soil? Rain amounts can be deceiving. Always stick a shovel…or other indicator with surface that is easy to see when it’s wet.…in to the ground after a rain and do a visual check as to how deeply the water soaked into the soil. The soil needs to be damp to a depth of at least 4 inches to do new transplants any good. 
4.      Have the plants been mulched? Mulching plants can cut watering frequency by half (every other day vs. daily...twice weekly vs. every other day).
5.      Sandy soils dry out very quickly and plants will need very frequent irrigation when first planted. Also keep in mind that when climate conditions are very dry, extra water is needed to replace moisture lost to the dry soil surrounding the plant.

Signs of over-watering:

When the soil stays wet and the leaves of recent transplants become yellow and slimy, cut back watering by half…NOT half the amount, but half of the frequency.
If you are watering regularly but the leaves look wilted all the time, the plant roots are dying of suffocation. Too much water keeps the soil waterlogged and oxygen deprived.
Move aside the mulch from around the plant and let the top inch or so of the soil completely dry out between watering.

Well, I hope this has helped with watering your Garden here, in Central Florida.
As always, please feel free to email me if you have any additional questions about this, or any other topic that will help make YOUR Garden an AWESOME ADVENTURE.


P.S. Just to add a tiny morsel of more information...Tom McCubbin, of Channel 13...just emailed me and said that a good basic rule for WATERING is to let the water soak down into the Garden soil about 4 - 6 inches, which is about 1/2 - 3/4 of an inch of standing water...;)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Priorities and The Garden

One of the hardest things for me to NOT do is spending too much money at the beginning of Spring, in an effort to make The Garden "pretty"...

I have learned, from experience, that the best stuff you can do in the beginning of the Season is to do a basic CLEAN UP of the flower beds and such.
Start with stirring up the mulch to loosen it and give it better air circulation and the ability to allow more water to be absorbed.
Cut back all of the "dead stuff"...dead stems, leaves and buds...and get busy on those annoying WEEDS !!

Then, once all of the basic "clean-up" has been accomplished, take a little Walk About and really LOOK at your Garden.

Are there "empty spots" that make it look out of balance?
Do you have "bald spots" in your mulch ?
Are some of your plants looking leggy and sparse ?
Start off by seeing which of your plants can be moved from one spot to another to "fill in" the empty spots without creating another "hole".
Make certain that the plant you move will thrive in the new space...water well after transplanting.
Next, cut off the leggy and less filled out bits of your plants, pruning back back to encourage new Spring growth.
Dead head any bloom remains or wilted buds...this will stimulate more blossoms.
Now, if you MUST spend money on your Garden for Spring, buy fresh MULCH and freshen what you already have, making sure to fill in any of the "bald spots" you previously noted.

After you have started doing the basic garden maintenance and establish a routine,  begin a watering schedule.
If you use a sprinkler, or water by hand, try to do so no more than twice a week, unless you have transplants. Transplanted stuff should be watered daily for the first few days, just to help the roots get settled in their new place and prevent shock.
Many people make the mistake of over watering...
This can lead to root rot...fungus in the soil...bacterial growth in the dirt and on the roots, often moving up to the main bits of the plant...and shallow root, which makes the plant less stable in the soil.
It can also encourage the growth of those WEEDS that we all do not love, as most weeds tend to be shallow-rooted, needing water closer to the surface.

So, now you have your Garden ready for Spring and all of the rain and warm Sun that inspire growth and blossoms and beauty !!
Take a few weeks just to enjoy what you already HAVE...
Appreciate the wonder of new growth and FLOWERS, paying close attention to which of your blooms entice the butterflies and the hummingbirds...provide awesome color to your landscape after the grays of Winter...and don't forget...

Early morning or just after sunset...go out to your garden and be still...LISTEN...
And take in a deep breath of the FRAGRANCES of Spring !
Even flowers and plants that are not known for their aromas still give off a scent that I call GREENSCENT.
Take it in...
And remember that your Garden is always a WORK IN Adventure in Creativity...
Enjoy the Journey...

Until next time...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Spring 2011...UPDATE

Wouldn't you know it...sheesh...
The LINKS I provided in my very first POST to this new Blog don't work.

So, here are the LISTS, in TEXT format.
After you read them, you can cut and paste the information if you want to...

As the Seasons pass, I will add new LISTS...more comprehensive and detailed as I find the necessary information to share... to your "inventory".


*****Flowers that Grow Well in Florida Zone 9

…a short list:






*****Shade/Part-Sun Plants that Grow Well in Florida

Zone 9

…a short list:

…Aloe Vera





*****Shade Trees that Grow Well in Florida Zone 9

…a short list:

…Purple Ash

…Tulip Tree

…Beech Tree

…Live Oak

…Sawtooth Oak


Spring 2011

Spring 2011... Time to shake off the remnants of Winter, and bring some color into our lives !!

Since I live in Zone 9...Florida and the Deep South...this means hot temperatures, strong Summer Sun and potential torrential rains.
So, I will focus on stuff that deals directly with our weather, and the flowers and plants that thrive in the Zone 9 environment.

Here are a few LISTS to get you inspired and motivated...

Flowers That Grow Well in Zone 9

Shade Plants for Zone 9

Shade Trees for Zone 9

As the Spring rolls along, I will provide information and resources for all kinds of stuff having to do with Gardening in Central Florida.
My next Blog Entry will look at WATERING and PEST CONTROL.

Until then,