Around Our Yard

Golden Trowel Award from LawnStarter

Golden Trowel Award from LawnStarter

I am so happy to share this with our readers! MissSmartyPlants has been named with some of the Top Gardening Blogs as one to follow!  Do you follow other gardening blogs? This list includes some really great writers and gardeners. Enjoy the full list of top gardening blogs here. There are thousands of incredible bloggers who share stories, photos and knowledge about gardening and sustainable living. LawnStarter’s editorial team scoured the internet to put together a list of winners for LawnStarter’s Top Gardening Blogs of 2016, taking into account blog posts and other online activity during the year. Winners were judged on their reputation on Google, influence and popularity in social media, and quality and consistency of posts. So without further ado, in no particular order, allow us to announce the winners of our first-ever Golden Trowel Award.… Read Full Post
Best Winter Flowers for Florida Gardens

Best Winter Flowers for Florida Gardens

What beautiful weather!  Now is the time to enjoy the outdoors and get some flowers planted for the winter months. Not sure what to plant? Here are my top five best winter flowers for Florida gardens:   Geraniums: Large balls of flowers held high make this one of the most catching of our best winter flowers. These are easy to see from a distance, so areas like the mailbox or front yard are great places to plant. Plant geraniums now and they will last well into May. Sweet Alyssum: These flowers will fill the air with their soft, sweet fragrance. Reaching just 6” tall, alyssum work great in containers or in the front of a flower bed. Although flowers are small, about the size of a pencil eraser, there are so many it will look like a patch of white.… Read Full Post
Assassin Bugs

Assassin Bugs

I have to admit, assassin bugs are one of those insects I’ve known about, but haven’t seen myself. I don’t think I would have even known what they looked like if it wasn’t for “David Rogers’ Big Bugs” coming to Leu Gardens. All of the sudden I was learning about assassin bugs and helping to install a 7 foot long sculpture of this true bug. Introduction to Assassin Bugs True bug?  Well yes, not all insects are actually “bugs.” Arizona State explains it this way: The key difference between true bugs and other insects is their mouth parts. True bugs suck. That’s right, the true bugs have specialized mouth parts used to suck juices. Mostly they suck fluids from plants, but there are some true bugs, like bed bugs, that feed on animals.… Read Full Post
Gardening for Your Health

Gardening for Your Health

It is easy to think of gardening and yard work as a task specifically for beautifying your home, but have you considered it as a way to grow a healthier you? Gardening promotes the physical activity that many of us are missing in our lives without requiring a gym membership. After the recent tragedies in Orlando I found myself at a loss. The only thing I wanted to do was be outside working in our yard. For me, gardening for your health means the mental benefits of gardening far outweigh any other type of relaxation. As I call it, “putzing” around the garden puts me at ease and allows me to find some calm that is often missing. I don’t accomplish a whole heck of a lot, but it lets me slow down.… Read Full Post
Creating a succulent container garden display 

Creating a succulent container garden display 

As part of the Great Yard Renovation of 2016 we created a special succulent container garden display area in our front yard. This was really the part of our landscape design plan about which I was most unsure. But I realize there are times when we all need to step out of our comfort zone (i.e. hedges and groundcovers) and try something new. This project is certainly that. In my mind this achieved several goals: – It cleared all (yes, all!) of my potted plants off our our back deck. This pretty much sold Mike on the whole thing. – It actually gives the succulents better growing conditions. Our front yard is much sunnier than the back. I make the argument that I have to keep these because of the presentations I give on growing succulents in Florida.… Read Full Post
Removing Viburnum odoratissimum

Removing Viburnum odoratissimum

Finally getting around to removing this huge tree from my yard is making me very happy. Removing viburnum might be one of my best gardening moments. Okay, probably not really, but it is still a good feeling. I consider viburnum to be my nemesis.   Finally getting around to removing this huge tree from my yard is making me very happy. Removing viburnum might be one of my best gardening moments. Okay, probably not really, but it is still a good feeling. I consider viburnum to be my nemesis.You may be thinking to yourself, “why would someone find so much pleasure in removing viburnum from their yard?” A very good question indeed. The University of Florida’s publication on Viburnum odoratissimum states, “Often used as a screen or clipped hedge, its dense, spreading, evergreen habit makes Sweet Viburnum suitable for use as a small tree, reaching 25 to 30 feet tall and wide at maturity, with a dense, multibranched, rounded canopy.”  I just don’t have room for a plant this big!… Read Full Post
Great Plant Combinations

Great Plant Combinations

One of the things I enjoy most about garden tours and visiting botanical gardens is looking for intriguing plant combinations. Occasionally you see two plants together that absolutely pop. They make make both plants look better and more interesting. I saw this plant combination of Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ and an unknown orange lily together in Minneapolis and it still stands out in my mind as a stunning plant combination.   I was very fortunate to have the privilege to present at the 2016 EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival. It was during this weekend that I came across this plant combination at EPCOT. I stopped, in the pouring rain, and took several photos as Mike and I hurried it find lunch.     Later in the day the talented Ms.… Read Full Post
Installing a Disappearing Fountain

Installing a Disappearing Fountain

This has by far and away been one of my most rewarding projects. Installing a disappearing fountain has been a wish list project for a really long time. I go to trade shows and see all of these beautiful fountains but never actually purchase or move forward until now. As I was shopping for the containers for my new privacy panels, I came across this beauty. Just look at the color! Waiting for this perfect fountain is exactly the reason I’ve been holding off on installing a disappearing fountain!  And, I am happy that it has a little chip in the bottom so it was 40% off. I knew we wanted to place our fountain directly in the site line from our kitchen.… Read Full Post
Installing Privacy Panels

Installing Privacy Panels

Our yard renovations continue! One of the first projects I wanted to complete first was installing these privacy panels. Simple materials with a very design forward feel and I was instantly in love. Our privacy panels project shows care and thought while also providing a beautiful place to show off specimen plants. When we first started meeting, one point I mentioned is really important to us is to maintain privacy. Our small yard means our neighbors are very close by and we want to have a visual barrier between us (two cheers for bamboo!). But a bamboo enclosure probably doesn’t make complete sense, even though tempting. On the plan from landscape architect Joe Brooks you can see how this looks. We already have some of these panels in our yard to keep the chickens from tearing up our yard and/or escaping.… Read Full Post
Removing Bismark Palms

Removing Bismark Palms

Warning: If you find yourself extremely sensitive to killing plants I suggest you quit reading here. As I mentioned in my last post we are undertaking a renovation of our yard and garden. There are a lot of plants that I know need to be removed and, quite honestly, I needed some help to accept this point. Removing our two Bismark palms was one of those. The University of Florida cites in their Bismark Palm document that “the Bismarck palm is a native of Madagascar that grows to a height of 30 to 60 feet with a spread of 12 to 16 feet… The bold texture and color and eventual great height of this species make a strong statement in any setting, but can be overpowering in small residential landscapes.” Case in point, our yard.… Read Full Post

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My name is Keri and I am as comfortable speaking to a group about color in the garden as I am covered in dirt.

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