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Green Gardening

Green gardening = sustainable or ecosystem gardening
Here we'll discuss how to: 1) save time & money, 2) provide more habitat for wildlife,
3) make the best use of resources, and 4) prepare for disasters like hurricanes or fire.

March 27th: The book tour has begun! I started with the Wildlfower Festival in beautiful and historic Deland, FL on Saturday. It was a great day with lots of interesting vendors and speakers plus a pretty good crowd considering the rain in the morning. I was glad I had my tarp with me to keep the books dry. My umbrella is not that large and the breeze blew the percipitation in various directions. Anyway, I spent a lot of tiem talking to folks about the native wild garlic (Allium canadense), which is one of the crops we cover in our book. If you missed this event, there are plenty more between now and the end of June. See my event calendar to see where I'll be next!

While spring has officially arrived, no one told Mother Nature!

This morning there was frost on the plants away from the house. The cool-weather vegetables may finish their cycles so I can harvest them before the hot weather hits, but all this cool weather is not good for our warm-weather crops. I was tempted to get them in the gardens last week when it was warm, but I'll wait until next week--after April Fools' Day. I guess you're a fool if you plant before then unless you're prepared to protect those tender crops if a late frost happens.

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March 4th! It seems like a good day for a hike!
Get it?

So spring is working its way into our weather, but still a few frosty nights are left so the cool wether vegetables will have a chance to mature before the heat of summer is upon us.

We received 1.8 inches of rain the other day and three days later this first rain lily (Zephyranthes atamasca) was the first to show itself this year.
Isn't it beautiful? >>





<< I won this abused winged elm (Ulmus alata) in a plant raffle three years ago. I could see that it had been badly pruned, but the circling roots were not obvious when I removed it from its pot for planting. This is one reason why you need to rinse all the soil away from trees that have been growing in pots.

Read more about how this elm is doing and more in my post " Native plants for your yard: the next step" where I answer the question, "Is native plant gardening a fairy tale?


My new book is now available and at one point last week it was #6 on Amazon's best seller list for southern garden books.

See my posts "Love your planet!" and " Back to cold weather" for some of what I've been doing so far. My official book tour begins in April and goes through June. Here is the link to the book's website and my events' page. I hope to see you at one or more of my events--it's going to be a crazy few months!

Also see my posts " Tomatoes and peppers from seed" and " A compost turning = happy gardening in 2013."

Let me know what you think of the book!

The dogwood blossoms came out early this year after some unseasonably warm days.
This made them stand out more than usual around here because the leaves hadn't come out yet.

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12/25/12 Merry Christmas!

My neighbor's camellia brightened my Christmas morning walk. I hope your holidays were merry. And I wish you a happy and greener 2013.

Winter Solstice and more...

This Green Gardening post includes details on the winter garden including some beautiful broccoli, a new load of wood chips, and an invasive plant that snuck into a wooded area on our property.

Scrubjay Trail Winterfest is a pictorial essay of a celebration in Clermont in central Florida. This was a great event to raise money for the trail maintenance. I was there to sign some books, talk about my next book and to promote the 2013 Florida Native Plant Society conference.

While I saw some scrubjays, a Florida endemic bird, this mockingbird was more cooperative for photo opportunities.

Supporting wildlife beyond your garden gate is a post I wrote for the Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens blog.

"It’s a pleasant experience to write for people like myself who also believe that creating more wildlife-friendly habitat is a good idea, but isn’t one of our goals to reach out to wider audiences who might not have thought that their landscaping decisions are important?"

Do you know the rule of P's when dealing with various government agencies and our political representatives? Read the post for my ideas and to see what I said to the Clay Count delegation earlier this month.

The Gainesville community behind Porter's Garden

I enjoyed my visit to Porter's Garden--such a green and sustainable community project. I loved running into Chris Cano of Gainesville Composting who remembered me from that stormy night at UF when I made a presentation to Gators for a Sustainable Campus three years ago. As I said at the time, "meeting these enthusiastic students and learning about their initiatives, gives me hope for the future." So now it is the future, and look what I uncovered. How Cool!

Recipe for failure: Long-day onions in Florida

When I went to Home depot to purchase onion plants on Dec. 1, most of what they were selling were long-day onions. This type of onion is for places like Maine or Minnesota where gardeners plants their onions just prior to the last snow of the season and where they would form bulbs as the days become longer. Here in Florida, we need short-day onion plants, because we grow onions right through the winter, when the days are guess what? Short! Read my rant over on my GreenGardeningMatters blog.

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11/21/12 Thanksgiving Harvest

Now it's time to harvest the edibles I'd planted on Labor Day. I'd planted two types of carrots, "nantes half" and cosmic purple." The purple carrots have matured faster than the orange ones. They both taste great because they are so fresh, but the purple ones flavor is more complex--my husband called the flavor "darker."

Read about the rest of my Thanksgiving harvest, which was my contribution to the family dinner.

Other recent posts:

· Blog Action Day on Oct 24th when thousands of bloggers all write about the same topic is always interesting. This year the topic was the Power of We. I posted my topic on the Florida Native Plant society's blog.

· Planting Garlic in Wide Rows is a look at how I build this intensive gardening arrangement and also how I implement trench composting as part of the mix.

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10/10/12 Organic Methods for Vegetable Gardening in Florida

Don't you just love the cover of my new book? It is now available for preorder on Amazon. Yay! I will be available for speaking to garden-oriented groups and gardenfests from April through June 2013 in north and north central Florida. My coauthor, Melissa Contreras, will be covering south and south central Florida. Send me an email if you're interested.

Here are some of my recent posts:

· A beautiful cover and progress in the gardens where I discover that my very productive okra had root-knot nematodes.

· Changes... Progress on de-lawning and how to accomplish it a little at a time. And I talk about the new USDA planting zone map. It's about time, because the old one was from 1990!

· Attracting damsels and dragons is my monthly post over on the Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens blog. This time I talk about the odonates: the dragonflies and damselflies.

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9/16/12 I've done a fair amount of ranting this past month, but on a gentler note I've also covered my wide-row planting methods for my edibles:
· Fall Edibles is a post on which cool-weather crops I've planted so far.
· Not more queen palms! is my rant questioning why a restaurant in St. Augustine deserved a good landscape award when queen palms dominated their landscape.
· I don't love crape myrtles, but... covers how over-planted these trees are, but they can be a good addition to a landscape.
· Native Plant Issues: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly summarizes an extended and not always polite conversation on native plant issues.

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8/4/12 Snow squarestem or salt and pepper (Melanthera nivea), a member of the daisy family (Asteraceae), attracts a high volume of butterflies, skippers, bees, wasps and even hummingbirds. It has only white disk florets in its flower head–unlike a sunflower, it has no ray florets that look like petals. Its common name comes from the white flowers and its square stems with a mostly opposite leaf arrangement. Many members of the mint family (Lamiaceae) also have square stems and opposite leaves, so when I first heard the common name I assumed that this was in the mint family, but the plants are classified mostly by their flowers’ characteristics, not by their stems or leaves. (See A Plant by Any Common Name…)

The squarestem is a perennial that dies to the ground each winter and over winters with a ring of basal leaves. It can tolerate poor soil, drought, and some salt spray, which are all important traits for much of its range, particularly here in Florida. Its range includes most of the SE US, according to the USDA.

Read more on my post over on the Native Plants & Wildlfie Gardens blog.

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7/27/12 I hope your summer is going well and that the country-wide drought has not taken too much of a toll in your gardens. Here in Florida We had too much rain at the beginning of the month (12" in 2 days) and then a couple of weeks with no rain, but now "things" are in a normal pattern for our wet season with frequent afternoon/evening thunder showers.

In my Green Gardening Matters blog, I talk about how to build okra swales and more in Okra Swales. Okra flowers are simply beautiful. Don't you think??

Come take a walk around my yard just after sunrise. I posted a short photo journal in An Early Morning Garden Tour where I show you both sides of this newly emerged male black swallowtail.

Recently I settled a family feud in my herb garden--it was the mint family vs. the onion family and the mints were winning. Actually it was a couple of mint family members causing the problems; 1) The greek oregano was growing into the chives (as shown in this photo), and 2) the spearmint was fixing to take over the whole herb garden. I think I removed the errant rhizomes, but if not, I'll be keeping a close eye on new growth so the feud does not begin again.

Read The herb garden: a (mint) family affair

7/4/12 Passionvine, purple passion flower, maypop (Passiflora incarnata) is a beautiful perennial native vine with a wonderfully complex flower with crimped petal-like tepals. It dies back to the ground in the winter, but pops up in more places the next spring–in May usually.

Like most gardeners, I love beautiful plants that attract many pollinators. See what else happens to my passionvines on my post over on the Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens blog.

This week I was also a guest ranter on the Garden Rant blog. Read my post: Garden Writers: Who are we writing for and why is it important?

I hope you enjoy your 4th of July celebrations.

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6/27/12 "For the rain, it raineth every day," Wm. Shakespeare

My neighbor's swale would be more effective at quickly soaking up the stormwater if the turf was replace with a good selection of rain garden plants.

As gardeners we must make adjustments and plan for better drainage to absorb future storms.
I've written extensively about rain gardens and I'm happy to say that ours have worked well. I'm especially pleased with our expanded downspout rain garden with its built-in drainage to a drywell. We all need to make more effort to keep as much of our rainwater on our properties as possible. It's better for our aquifers, which did not recharge enough after three years of drought, and it's better for our waterways, because any stormwater that travels across lawns, driveways, and roads will be carrying an excess nutrient load and various other pollutants.

For more details, see my article We All Live in a Watershed! that I wrote for Blog Action Day 2010 on The Florida Native Plant Society's blog.

Continue reading this blog post, which relates Tropical Storm Debby and all her rain: It Raineth Every Day!


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Read Ginny's Transplanted Gardener articles OR
go to her blog:

updated 6/20/12

© LC
Tallahassee, Florida USA