Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Summertime Finds For Your Backyard

I love new plants. Especially flowers that are one of a kind that are easy to grow and look as gorgeous as candelabras on a grand piano. I found the Candelabra clerodendron at Blodgett's Nursery on Edgewater in Orlando last Friday. Its' deep green leaves and upright white flowers took my breath away. Perfect for shade or partial sun, this clerodendron is new to the market and not easily available. In fact, when I talked to Mike Gibson, with Blodgett's, he said they only had four! I think I'm going back for more!

I can't find any research on them so I'll be taking notes and letting you know how they perform in my backyard!

Another colorful shade-loving ornamental is the Persian Shield, Strobialanthus dyerianus. Very drought-tolerant, easy care, no pest issues, and provides psychedelic colors of purple, gold, green, and many other colors depending on the light. It can grow to 5 feet tall in full sun, but in the shade it will only get to be 2 - 3 feet. In full sun they will need more water and suffer stress.

I'll be talking about citrus problems in your backyard with Charles Fedunak, Lake County's Horticultural Agent. If you have orange, grapefruit, or tangerine trees, you won't want to miss it!

Surface Temperatures of Natural and Synthetic Turfgrass Systems in Gaine...

University of Florida's Jason K. Kruse's summertime temperature comparisons between natural turfgrass and artificial turf.

Even if you have to mow it, real turfgrass is much better for the environment.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

If You Can't Stand The Heat...

We're only mid-way through the summer and the heat is right on schedule. Rainfall is above average in Central Florida with Lake receiving nearly 53 inches, 5 inches over the norm. Orange and Seminole counties rainfall totals of 53 inches gives the residents 1 inch more than average.

So why is it so hot? It's July in a subtropical temperate zone! Thank goodness for air conditioning. Yes, we could be in Alaska with snow on the ground. Our aunt and uncle are visiting her home state and were given a weather buffet of everything you could ask for sun, rain, sleet, snow, but no heat.

As you can see with their beautiful photographs, Alaska's summertime flowers are Florida's wintertime annuals of lobelia, pansies, snapdragons, and phlox.

Okay, so it does look refreshing but it's not reality for Floridians. The bad news is that with our rainfall, expect to see more dollarweed, mushrooms, fungal diseases. Good news is that you don't really need to do anything to your turf but turn off the irrigation and let Mother Nature do the irrigating. Dollarweed can be reduced by reducing the amount of water your turf receives. It's too hot to spray herbicides. Mushroom spores are airborne and the mushrooms will eventually die. Fungicides are productive only if you spray them preventatively. If you can't get to Alaska, we're going to have to settle for a/c because we have at least three months till cooler weather arrives to our great outdoors.

Two weeks ago, WLBE's antennae took the brunt of a lightning strike that had the station out of operation for two weeks. Fortunately, last Tuesday the station had it repaired but not in time for "In Your Backyard." We're back this morning at 11:06 for your gardening questions. Looking forward to chatting with you.