Green Resources

Here are links to some of my articles and posts. See below for some of my favorite Florida gardening books. - Ginny

Arborist chipped wood

Compost & mulch

- A compost turning = happy gardening in 2013!
- Follow the yellow mulch road
- A requiem for a hickory tree
- Composting for your garden
- Bokashi Composting, a fast, anaerobic, fermentation process
- An early fall compost pile
- From compost to dinners
- 6 reasons to use pine needle mulch in edible gardens
- Mulch is not the point of a no-lawn landscape
Enrich soil for crops by composting in-place
- Sequester this carbon! Don't throw it away.
Peat moss is never sustainable
Composting in place: Part 2


- Australian pines: one of Florida's least wanted
- Cats in the garden controversy
- We All Live in a Watershed!
- Disney Wilderness Preserve: a Nature Conservancy property
- Invasive vs. aggressive: they are not the same
- Removing invasives in Mandarin: a team effort
- Shoreline restoration and habitat building
- Shoreline habitat in the Intracoastal Waterway
- Native Park restoration
- Terrible taro and other invasives
- Managing a natural pond
- The joys of a Florida pond
- Florida's roadside meadows program
- Wintertime: a good time to remove invasive plants
Removing invasive plants in Florida costs $54 million per year
- The value of trees

A bountiful harvest!

- One good thing about 2020: more people are growing food.
 - Growing edibles has saved us 15% on our food budget
- Kohlrabi: a versatile cole crop
- Tomatoes are for summer
- Sweet treat carrots
- Edible flowers
- Grow more veggies: kids can help
- A native herb amongst the Mediterraneans
- Dotted horsemint: an appreciation
- Thanksgiving harvest
- Okra swales
- Short-day onions and more...
- Further lawn reduction, more edible garden space, and zebra longwings
- The skinny on onions
- The royal herb: sweet basil
- Florida blueberries
- Wide row planting and trench composting in the vegetable garden
- Recipe for failure: Long-day onions in Florida
- Fall edibles
- The herb garden: a (mint) family affair
- The eagle has landed, fall gardening and more...
- Results: The nematode experiment 
- Black swallowtail larvae in my dill
- Harvest-directed cooking
- Lime basil
Lime basil pesto
- Beautyberry bread
- Gardeners know when to "fold"
- Cole crops
- Garlic chives: a bountiful evergreen crop
- Spaghetti squash recipes and planting
- Harvest-based tempura
- A sweet onion harvest
- A Slow Food Summit
- Malabar spinach: a hot weather crop
- Squash family on the menu
What to do with rogue onions?
- Harvesting rainbow carrots and other tales
- Squash family on our menu
- End of the Seminole Pumpkin Season
- Wide-row beds and other adventures in fall gardening
- Holiday legends of rosemary
- Blueberry hill
Bucket gardening for your edibles
- Seminole pumpkin & onion upside-down cornbread
- Tomato history and growing them in Florida
- Lettuces
- Florida's Arbor Day
- Clay County's delegation hearing and plan ahead
- A wish for a Greener 2016
- March for Science
- Reaching new audiences
- 7 action items to support Mother Nature
- Moving to battery-powered tools
- When you plant a tree, you believe in tomorrow
- Speaking up for our only planet
Why talking about native plant landscapes is so important

Barbara's buttons (Marshallia graminifolia)

Florida's native plants

- An All-American landscape filled with natives
- Getting started with native plants in Florida
- Palmettos in the landscape
- Longleaf pines
- An appreciation of scarlet hibiscus
- A shrub to be thankful for: the groundseltree or saltbush
- Florida's palms
- A review: The Trees of Florida
- What??! Native plants not pretty?
- Doug Tallamy!
- Snow squarestem: a bee and butterfly magnet
- Natives for your yard: the next step
- Natives for landscaping: an FNPS tool for you
- No need to beg for beggarticks
- Red bays are dying
An update: red bay trees that died back from laurel wilt disease in 2008.
- White-topped sedge
- Florida's marvelous mangroves
- Field trip to Torreya State park with Gil Nelson
- Pokeweed: A bird-friendly native
- The St. John's-worts: under-rated landscape plants
- The Arbor Day Foundation and Florida
- Maypop, a native butterfly and bee magnet
- Florida's native plant communities
- Remarkable resurrection ferns
- Florida natives for your landscape
- My magnificent, but messy, magnolias
- There's nothing Spanish or mossy about Spanish moss
- An appreciation of Muhly grass
End of March blues
Let’s make native gardens the new normal
- Winged elm: a beautiful Florida native
Giant Ironweed
For a more beautiful yard, plant more beautyberry
- Growing Florida's wildflowers from seed
Tropical sage: a Florida native wildflower
Green-eyes: beautiful and resilient Florida wildflowers
Starry rosinweed is a star in Florida yards
Hibiscus: Plants with the most beautiful flowers
Netted chain ferns
Red cedar: an important habitat tree
- Lyreleaf sage
Ohio Spiderwort: a pollinator-friendly native wildflower
Florida's goldenrods
White wild indigo
Winged sumac, a useful understory shrub
Other online resources for Florida natives:
- The Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS) website provides a wide range of resources including a tool to choose natives appropriate for your county with specific requirements such as shade, soil, and salinity. the FNPS site also includes a thorough description of Florida's native habitats, plus some frequently asked questions such as, "Why plant Natives?"
- The FNPS blog offers a wide variety of articles about  native plants and their habitats.
- The Florida Association Native Nurseries provides tools to find a plant or a nursery near you:
- The Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants provides distribution maps and photos of plants--native or not:

Good garden soil hosts lots of critters.

Good gardening

- Pot bound!
- Give Peace (Lilies) a Chance!
- Hurricane-Scaping
- A less than ideal potted tree? Even natives can have problems.
- I don't love crepe myrtles, But...
- Trees and shrubs: the bones of your landscape
- Gardenfests not popular? I beg to differ
- Troublesome spot? Convert to containers
- When native plants die... 
- Summertime, summertime...
- Listening to your landscape
- Just say not to seasonal plantings
- Rock-scaping in Florida: A good idea or not
A South American engulfed my resting vegetable beds
- Marigolds in the garden and more
- Hurricane-scaping in Florida

Integrated pest management (IPM)

- Just say no to poisons
- A poison is a poison is a poison!
- Results: the nematode experiment
- Integrated pest management in the edible garden
- Soap destroys plants' defenses
- A green lynx spider saga
- A discussion on neonicotinoids

An all-American landscape

- All-American landscape filled with natives
The never-ending story of a native landscape
- Sensational sunflowers
- Pee-yew! Those smelly stinkhorn fungi
- Ferns in the landscape
- Edging projects: risks and rewards
- There's gold in our meadows
- Jewels of summer
- Plan ahead!
- Adventures in creating a native garden
- Rayless sunflowers, fall seedlings, and more...
- Fixing a slumping problem
- Instant landscaping
- 6 easy ways to save time and money in your landscape
- NYC's High Line Park: a community restoration
Chicago’s Lurie Garden: a very public native space
- Native landscapes ARE possible in HOA restricted communities

- Two geezers and a shed: Part 1 and Part 2
Shrubs in the landscape


- Changes
- Cutting edges
- The lawn less mown
- Reducing the lawn in your landscape
- Sunshine mimosa, a lawn alternative for Florida
- From lawn to woods: a retrospective
- Our freedom lawn

Rain barrels, rain gardens, & other rain water issues

- Climb up my rain barrels
- Ooh la la, French drains
- A new bed... and standing stormwater
- Three More Rain Barrels
- Rain Lilies for my rain gardens
- Rain barrels revisited
- Expanded rain garden
- Reworking the elevated rain barrels
- Rain Gardening in the South: a Review
Reworking a downspout after drainpipe clog
- An unexpected drainage project

Science in the garden

- A Plant by Any Common Name...
- Invasive vs. aggressive Part1
- The magic of the mistletoes
- The Science Behind Southern Grasses, Including Turf
- Water Science for Gardeners
- Mother Nature's mysteries
- Plants have hormones, too
- Dealing with hydrophobic soil
Transpiration: Forests' most important service
- Smart gardening
Lichen: a three-way symbiotic organism
- Celebrating the winter solstice
Why do plants produce caffeine?

A bluebird in the early morning sun.

- Backyard habitat certification
- From stump to butterfly haven
- Pond pleasures
- Cheer for the predators in ecosystem gardening
- Of timberdoodles and ecotones
- Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
- Christmas is for the birds
- Managing a natural meadow
- Invite birds to your yard
- Can the birds count on you?
- One native plant = three habitat benefits
- An inch-by-inch decoration feat
- An exception to the rules
- Attracting damsels and dragons
- Teeming with zebras
- The joys of a Florida pond 
- Managing a natural pond
- 6 easy steps to support wildlife in 2014
- Spiders in the marigolds
Birds of prey in our yard
- Habitat gardening

Great reference books for Florida gardening and conservation:

"Sustainable Gardening for Florida": It's my own book, so of course, I'm recommending it. But what makes it different is that I've included information about how to be a better gardener. You'll learn: how to plant a tree, the best way to use containers (surprise--don't use gravel in the bottom), why you need to build rain gardens & rain barrels, how to prepare for hurricanes, and much more. 50% of the royalties from this book are automatically donated to the Florida branch of The Nature Conservancy.

Purchase at Amazon

I wrote my second book, "Organic Methods for Vegetable Gardening in Florida" with cowriter Melissa Contreras who gardens in Miami. There are a couple of vegetable books for Florida growers, but they do not cover organic methods. We've arranged the crops by plant family to help gardeners with crop rotation scheduling and also we then only have to explain about legumes and their nitrogen-fixing bacterial or how to build a squash mound one time for the all the crops in those families.

Here are links to some reviews: in the Tallahassee Democrat, in the The Daytona Beach News Journal.  Purchase at Amazon

My third book, "The Art of Maintaining a Florida Native Landscape" answers the question, "So you want a native landscape; now what?" I've provided ideas and tools for planning, proven planting methods, and tips for easier ongoing maintenance. My advice helps ensure that you'll be a happy gardener, your plants will be happy, and so will your neighbors and maybe even your HOA. 50% of the royalties for this book will be automatically donated to The Florida Native Plant Society.   Purchase at Amazon.

I wrote "A Step-by-Step Guide to a Florida Native Yard" with Marjorie Shropshire, who has been my illustrator for the previous 2 books. She's a coauthor here because her drawings are central to the book's main purpose, which is to help Floridians nativize their yards. It answers the question, "I have a small yard filled with exotics; where do I start?"

20% of the royalties will go to The Florida Native Plant SocietyPurchase at Amazon.

Sue Reed, a landscape architect in Massachusetts is my coauthor of "Climate-Wise Landscaping: Practical Actions for a Sustainable Future." We did not debate climate change but came up with 100s of things that you can do right now that will accomplish at least one of 3 goals:
1) Help the landscape be more resilient in the face of climate change.
2) Help wildlife survive conditions caused by climate change.
3) Help mitigate climate change.

For more information and to order the book, go to our website


I wrote "Adventures of a Transplanted Gardener: Advice for Gardeners New to Florida" during the pandemic in 2020/2021 as an introduction to Florida in general and as a look back at some of the columns dealing with my difficulties adjusting from gardening in New England and the Mid-Atlantic states to North Florida. I provide 20/20 hindsight and more. 

Click to purchase the book from University Press of Florida or at Amazon.

If you can afford only one other book, buy Gil Nelson's "Florida's Best Native Landscape Plants: 200 Readily Available Species for Homeowners and Professionals." It provides details on size, where to plant, type of soil, and what to plant with each of the 200 plants. He wrote it with the help of David Chiappini of The Florida Association of Native Nurseries to ensure that the plants are likely to be available. Purchase at Amazon

Craig Huegel, a Florida native nurseryman has written a trio of useful books for helping Florida gardeners choosing and being successful with their native plants.

Native Wildflowers and other Groundcovers for Florida Landscapes Native Plant Landscaping for Florida Wildlife  Native Florida Plants for Shady Landscapes

Gil Nelson has written a number of field guides, but these two are my favorites. Of course, trees and shrubs are the bones of your landscape, so it's good to find out what the heck you have. And I love ferns, because if you take out the turf from beneath the trees, ferns are often the best replacements.

Purchase Trees of Florida and/or Ferns of Florida at Amazon.

I own "Guide to the Vascular Plants of Florida" by Richard Wunderlin & Bruce Hansen. I'd recommend it only to the more serious botantists, because it assumes your understanding the botanical terms to use the keys.  There are no illustrations, but it covers everything, which is really useful.

Purchase at Amazon

Doug Tallamy has provided native plant enthusiasts with well-researched and easy-to-understand arguments for using more native plants in your yard, no matter how small. See my post Doug Tallamy!

Purchase Bringing Nature Home at Amazon

Purchase Nature's Best Hope at Amazon

Marjory Stoneman Douglas was way ahead of her time with this wonderful book. I'd highly recommend "The Everglades: River of Grass" to any Florida citizen.

Purchase at Amazon