Around Our Yard

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
Yard Renovation Time

Yard Renovation Time

It has been a busy few weeks in our garden!  After much deliberation, we’ve decided to do a major overhaul and yard renovation of our backyard. I love the lushness of our yard, but I also understand that it may have gotten a little out of hand. For instance, Bismark Palms (Bismarkia nobilis) are absolutely stunning palms. When I moved into our house five years ago the previous owner had planted two of these little babies in our back yard. They were so cute. And not having the heart to remove them back then, over time these plants have grown!  At maturity Bismark palms can be 30′ tall with a spread of 12-16 feet. This is just not the plant for a small backyard.… Read Full Post
Testing Out the Root Assassin Shovel

Testing Out the Root Assassin Shovel

As I sit down to write this, I am pondering two possible titles, “Testing Out the Root Assassin Shovel” or “My New Favorite Shovel.” Hmmm. When the folks from the Root Assassin sent me a shovel to test for this review I was initially skeptical. It is kind of a crazy looking thing!  Almost like an alligator, chainsaw, and shovel had a baby. I was waiting for the perfect project to give the Root Assassin a project it deserved. I mean you can’t use something called the Root Assassin to plant pansies!  We are working on a major yard renovation and I knew this would be the perfect opportunity. My dad came to town and we were cutting down trees, removing palms and getting busy on our projects.… 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
Frost Protection in the Garden

Frost Protection in the Garden

It doesn’t happen often, but once or twice a year we hear on the news to “cover your plants” because of the possibility of cold weather. How do you know if this is time and money well spent on frost protection for your plants? Or, if on the other hand, you can stay nice and warm inside and leave things alone to tough it out? Let’s look at a few things to consider when freezing temperatures are predicted and frost protection is a possibility. The weather preceding a night with cold temperatures is very important. If the weather has been getting gradually cooler over several weeks then, just like us, the plants in your yard are better acclimated to the cold snap.… Read Full Post
Narrow Strip Irrigation

Narrow Strip Irrigation

Learning how to garden in the narrow strip between your sidewalk and the street can be a challenge. For my project, the most important step was installing narrow strip irrigation in this area (you can see the rest of the process here). I am happy to say this was one of the easiest parts!   Narrow strip irrigation is most efficient with micro-irrigation and it worked perfectly in this scenario. Read on to learn how this project was done: Why Micro Irrigation? Very narrow strips are hard to water with spray heads. They tend to overspray, wasting water on the sidewalk and street rather than the soil. Even the most fine-tuned system is going to have a hard time on our 22″ wide strip, almost 35′ in length.  … Read Full Post
How to Prune Crinum Lily

How to Prune Crinum Lily

Crinum lilies are large, perennial plants with strappy leaves and large flowers throughout the year. They work great as an accent plant and also make an incredible mass planting in large spaces. Crinum lilies grow from what are among the largest true bulbs, some weighing over 40-pounds. Over time they grow very large clumps that can be split or divided. This where my Suniday project comes in: taking time to prune crinum lily clumps in our front yard. On the corner of our house, what was once a single small plant has created a solid wall of crinum lily plants. This plant was here when we moved in, and about once a year I find myself thinning it out and pruning down to a more manageable size.… Read Full Post
Stepping Stone Path

Stepping Stone Path

High on the top of my to-do list has been to remove an area of crappy grass and replace it with stepping stones. I’ve managed to put this off for several years, but recently I saw a neighbor’s beautiful stepping stone path and decided it was time. Do you ever have those projects where you know in your mind exactly how you want it to look, but you can’t exactly find a photo to show it or lay it out? That was this project for me. I looked through all kinds of books and magazines to see if I could find a visual to match my vision. Nothing. The closest I came was a stone patio featured on page 136 of Rochelle Greyer’s Cultivating Garden Style (fyi- I am Organic Modern!).… Read Full Post
Fall Containers

Fall Containers

I woke up this morning to take the dogs outside and couldn’t believe it. There was a slight bit of coolness in the air! For Floridians who have been putting up with the unbearable heat and humidity since May, this slight break in the weather is a big deal. I am sure that many of you in other places are surprised that we celebrate 66 degrees. For a few weeks I’ve been trimming my summer containers back, trying to keep things in bounds and looking their best. These were planted in April, so six months later they are starting to go downhill. I am confident that if I gave them a hard pruning and watered more often they would come back well, but truth be told, I am ready for a change too.… Read Full Post
Simple Garden Fixes

Simple Garden Fixes

The 12 month growing season in Florida can be both a blessing and a curse at the same time. Especially for transplants from other parts of the country, the fast growth of most plants is shocking! A landscape with new plants can quickly become overgrown and out of control if plants are placed too close together. There comes a time in every yard and garden when some hard pruning must take place to get things under control. Now I know that I should have taken a ‘before’ photo of this overgrown corner of our yard, but when the mood hit me to clear it out there was absolutely no stopping the momentum. Within fifteen minutes the plants that were swallowing our red chairs had been cut back and removed, leaving in their absence an open area just begging for some attention.… 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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