|View of the whole planet changed our perspective and we started Earth Day. It was MUCH needed at that time.|
Sunday, April 29, 2018
The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970. There were many environmental problems in those days, but these problems had been building up for decades. (See this NY Times summary of our status at that time: America Before Earth Day.) Those were NOT, for many reasons, the “good old days.”
What had happened the previous year, was that we had seen pictures of our beautiful planet from the moon. The Apollo Astronauts called it a "Blue Marble." That name and that vantage point from afar provided a perspective of how beautiful and fragile our only planet was. Politicians of every stripe worked at every level to put regulations in place to reverse the rampant pollution of our air, water, and land. The regulations have been amazingly effective and air, water and soil pollution has been drastically reduced. Those regulations are still needed today—maybe more than ever because there are billions more humans all competing our planet’s resources. It is unconscionable that our present administration is working in many ways to undo all the good that has been accomplished in the last two decades.
Monday, March 5, 2018
|A pine-straw baler made from scrap lumber|
Saturday, February 10, 2018
|Muhly grass makes a nice border planting. |
It's attractive even when it's not in full bloom.
It likes dry soil in full sun or partial sun. It can be trimmed back in the late winter if there is a real need for neatness, but it's not necessary, because it tends to itself with new growth totally covering the old stalks.
Monday, January 1, 2018
|This long garden used to be next to the fence, |
but since the fence is gone, it now sticks
out like a peninsula into the lawn area.
I'd pulled a small red maple tree (Acer rubrum) from the edge of our front pond. It was in a place where another tree would not work well, but when I pulled it, all its roots were still attached in a blob of mud. I stuck the tree in an empty pot near the rain barrels. Over the next couple of weeks, it seemed to be happy in the bottom of the pot with just occasional splashes of rain barrel water. I didn't know what I was going to do with it, but its presence there reminded me to do something every time I came to that side of the garage with the rain barrels and compost piles.
I had a thought when I was cleaning out the long garden that used to back up to a fence, but when we gave away the fence, this bed jutted out into the yard like a peninsula. Placing a tree at the end of this bed would eventually provide an anchor. It will also eventually shade out the nice muhly grass, but it will be years before that happens.
Sunday, December 17, 2017
|A 9-year old rosemary shrub is 3 feet tall & wide|
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officianalis) is a winter-blooming shrub that grows well throughout Florida. That alone makes it a great choice for your garden. But like a talented actor, rosemary plays multiple roles. It brightens your drought-tolerant landscape, adds flavor to your cooking and aroma to your potpourri. Rosemary has been immortalized in song and classic literature, plus it plays a part in a charming legend of Christmas.
Its waxy needle-like leaves grow from the newer sections of the stems, while the older sections of the stem are covered with a rough gray bark. Rosemary is one of many culinary herbs in the mint family. Others include mints, thyme, marjoram, oregano, sages, monarda, and many others. Plants in our herb gardens produce aromatic chemicals to help to fight off leaf-eating predators, but these properties also add flavor to our cooking and aroma to potpourri mixtures.
Monday, November 13, 2017
|Here's how it started, but over the years I converted to a |
more nave plant pallet with a big yucca replacing those
hidden ginger lilies. And tropical sage and blue curls
replacing the zinnias.
Read my post from back then, From Stump to Butterfly Haven.
Moving the blueberriesBack in 2009, I planted 3 blueberry bushes that were bred for Florida. I wrote about this adventure in Florida's Blueberries. The bushes were small when I planted them 3 feet from the back of the detached garage.
Monday, September 25, 2017
What a bountiful crop!
Saturday, August 5, 2017
|I'd been using these elevated barrels since Feb. 2009.|
These 3 elevated rain barrels have been well used over the years, because their placement near the edible gardens means that I have been able to use a hose to water thirsty crops rather than hauling watering cans. My back has been grateful.
Our best growing season here in north Florida is Fall, Winter, and early Spring--these are our dry months, but rarely have the barrels run dry during those times. I also have 3 other rain barrels not too far away, but they have not been set up with a single drain like these. See my post Three More Barrels for details on how my husband installed them.
After 8 years, it was time to rework the barrels...
Saturday, July 1, 2017
|What could be more patriotic than a native landscape that supports Mother Nature??|
|Belfast castle garden is an example of a non-native and|
unsustainable landscape. This is NOT authentic to America.
It's time for a more patriotic approach...
The All-American Landscape
filled with regionally authentic plants
Friday, June 9, 2017
|3 different species of bee work a |
Seminole pumpkin flower.
The Squash familyThere are quite a few important crops in this family (Curcubitaceae), from cucumbers and melons to zucchinis and pumpkins, all members of this family have separate male and female flowers which need to be pollinated--most female flowers need to be visited by pollinators (mostly bees and wasps) 7 to 10 times before a fruit forms. The female flower sits atop a small preformed fruit, while the male flower is borne on a long stalk. If a fruit does not grow after the flower fades and it turns yellow, this usually means that it was not fertilized.
Most squash vines put out several to many male flowers first before the first female flower is formed. My guess is that this strategy attracts pollinators to the area before it spends the extra energy to form a female flower.
Up until 2 weeks ago, it's been a dry spring, so I've irrigated the squashes every other day at the minimum to keep them from stressing due to wilting. This has been hand irrigation with rain barrel water, in addition to the once a week landscape-wide irrigation. The reason for this is that squashes need a consistent and generous amount of water to produce the fastest growth of the fruit.
For more detailed information on growing the squash family crops see our book "Organic Methods for Vegetable Gardening in Florida."