Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Making Your Bath More Luxurious

Creeping Rosemary, Rosemary officinalis 'Prostratus'

Studies have proven that not only is working in the landscape good for your mental health,  but you can also relieve stress and help your skin with the herbs grown in your garden. Taking a steamy, relaxing bath every night, especially after digging in the dirt all day, is part of my "getting ready for bed" ritual.  Adding different plants, herbs, and flowers can be added to your bath to help clean, soothe and revigorate your skin and bath recipes are easy to prepare. 

You can use fragrances you enjoy the most singularly or combined with other herbs. This is where a little bit of this and some of that works for anyone.  You can be as creative as you like.  Add ground oatmeal to your herbal concoctions to help defoliate dried skin cells, soothe irritation, and reduce inflammation of sunburns and insects bites.
Warning:  Check with your doctor before ingesting any herbs for medicinal purposes.

Flowers, foliage, roots, and seeds that can be used in your beauty routine:
  • Artemesia ~ Baths
  • Basil ~ Baths
  • Catnip ~ Potpourri, baths
  • Calendula ~ Astringent, highlights hair
  • Chamomille ~ Astringent, highlights hair
  • Comfrey ~ Reduces skin irritation and inflammation
  • Dill ~ Baths, facials
  • Elder ~ Baths,
  • Eucalyptus ~ Baths, facials
  • Fennel ~ Astringent, baths
  • Geraniums, Wild ~ Astringent, baths
  • Hops ~ Baths, soporific
  • Hyssop ~ Cleanses pores, used with thyme and rosemary in baths
  • Jasmine ~ Baths, muscle relaxant, relieves inflammation
  • Juniper berries ~ Baths
  • Lady's Mantle ~ Astringent, baths
  • Lavender ~ Baths, used as a vinegar helps oily skin
  • Lemon Balm ~Astringent, baths, skin
  • Lemon Verbena ~ Energizes
  • Marjoram ~ Energizes
  • Mints ~ Baths
  • Oatmeal, Baths, soap, facials, cleanses pores
  • Oregano ~ Baths, muscle relaxant
  • Nettle ~ Baths, hair conditioner, facials for oily skin,
  • Parsley ~ Facials for oily skin, hair rinse for dark hair
  • Peppermint ~ Astringent, freshner and energizer
  • Rose ~ Astringent, skin hydration
  • Rosemary ~ Baths, soaps. energizer, facials for oily skin, hair rinse for dark hair
  • Sage ~ Astringent, baths, muscle relaxant, conditioner for dark hair
  • Rose Geraniums ~ Baths
  • Thyme ~ Antiseptic, baths, energizes
  • Valerian ~ Baths, soporific
  • Violets ~ Soaps, Facial steams
  • Willow ~ Baths, relieves pain and inflammation, muscle relaxant
  • Yarrow ~ Astringent, baths, facials for oily skin
Combine your favorite herbal scents with oatmeal or powdered milk in a muslin  or cheesecloth bag, tied with rubber band or pretty ribbon.  Place in your bath water as it fills or hang from the bath faucet to allow the warm running water to release the fragrances.

To make an infusion for your bath: Mix 4 cups of boiling water with 4 tablespoons of fresh or dried herbs and flowers, soak for 20 minutes, then strain through cheesecloth or sieve.  Add to bath water. For hard organic materials such as bark, seeds, and roots, boil ingredients for 20 minutes then strain.

Mexican Sage, Salvia longistyla
Here's a great recipe for adding Kama Sutra mint potion to your bath, courtesy of our friends at Top Tropicals Nursery.
Harvest 1 cup of fresh leaves. In a large thermos, mix the leaves with 4 cups of boiling water and. Seal the cap tightly and let sit for 24 hours, then pass the decoction through a sieve, squeezing the most you can out of the leaves. Add juice of one freshly squeezed lemon to the mint concentrate - it is an essential part of the recipe that keeps active ingredients of Kama Sutra Mint at most effective level and helps making your skin smooth and velvet. Add 1-2 table spoons of your favorite bath gel, stir. Fill a bath with cool or slightly warm water. Add mint/lemon potion.


Culbertson, Molly ed.. Book of Herbs. 1st. Des Moines, Iowa: Meredith Corporation, 1994.

Tolley, Emelie, and Chris Mead. Gifts from the Herb Garden. 1st. New York, New York: Clarkson N. Potter Inc., 1991.

Top Tropical Nursery, Retail Garden Center located at 300 Center Road, Ft. Myers, Florida

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Suggested Central Florida Plants Least Preferred By Deer

Wildlife use vegetation for a number of reasons: food, water, protection, physical and territorial behavior. A deer’s diet includes foliage, fruit (acorns), flowers and flower buds, but not necessarily all on the same plant, while young stags use the bark of small trees to “rub the velvet from their antlers and mark their area.” (Appleton, 2008) Deer like to eat plants that are young, easily accessible, over-fertilized, overwatered, pruned often, and have new growth. Deer do not like to eat plants that are odoriferous, have either grayish, leathery, or thorny foliage, or have foliage that has milky or sticky sap.

Reducing landscape damage by deer needs to be a community-wide effort. Feeding deer will only lessen their natural fear of humans and encourages them to encroach on residential areas. There are several options to keeping deer off your property. Installing seven-foot fencing will reduce chances that deer will jump onto property. Using chemical repellents are not always effective and can be expensive, foul-smelling, and need to be applied before plants are eaten and on a continuous basis.

There are no deer-proof plants. Deer eat a wide variety of flowers, grasses, shrubs and trees, but some plants are less desirable than others. Plants normally consumed by deer in the South may not be eaten by deer in northern states and inversely, with deer-damaged plant species in the North; they may not be eaten by deer in the southern states. During years with high deer population, severe weather conditions such as droughts or flooding that lessen vegetation or eradicate their usual diet, deer will eat plants not normally browsed on. Also, deer will become used to unfamiliar plant species, (like loropetalums) and graze on vegetation that for seasons were previously left uneaten.

The suggested plants are not guaranteed to be deer-proof but have been shown to be not severely affected by grazing, and should recover. Plants should be selected first by soil and sunlight conditions and then reviewed for favorability by deer.   The plant options are compiled from several older lists (1999) and updated to include newer plant species grown in Zones 8 – 11. Protect new, smaller shrubs/trees for first few years with fencing or tree shelters.

Suggested Central Florida Plants Least Preferred By Deer

References and resources:
Deer in the Urban Landscape - Texas A & M
Deer Resistant Plants - Proven Winners
Deer-Resistant Landscaping - Iowa City Government
Deer Resistant Species - Native Plant Information Network, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Ornamental plant susceptibility to damage by deer - University of Florida
Landscape Plants Rated By Deer Resistance - Rutgers University
Deer and Rabbit Resistance - University of Arizona
Northern Gardening Web - Deer Resistant Plants
Deer Images

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hardscape Made Easy

At the Spring Fever in The Garden in Winter Garden this year, I met Irwin Grossman, a wonderful, enthusiastic retiree, who wanted me to come see his backyard. He had an impressive rock landscape with dry river bed running through it and couldn't wait to show it off.  I can understand why - it is a backyard worthy of superlatives. It is an incredible amount of stone with Japanese rock garden theme. Mr. Grossman's rockscape appeals to his need for very low water use and maintenance.  Despite all the rocks, liners, artificial turf, and the lack of plants, Mr. Grossman still needs a maintenance schedule to spray herbicides for the tough weeds that invariably emerge.

While for me personally, I would like to see more shade, a water feature like a waterfall or small creek, and more plants to soften the rocks, I can appreciate the homeowner's effort, quality of work and materials, and see the beauty in the planted rugged and smooth stones. Mr. Grossman's landscape theme is called "Safe Haven" and was designed by Mr. Paul Verlander, Landscape Architecture LLC.

Monday, June 18, 2012

God's Secret Weapon: Attack of the Christian Tomatoes

As if things couldn't get sadder and scarier in Egypt, now agriculture has been demonized.  The Popular Egyptian Islamic Association has condemned eating tomatoes because they are supposedly Christian.

The group posted a photo on its page of a tomato - which appears to reveal the shape of a cross after being cut in half – along with the message: “Eating tomatoes is forbidden because they are Christian. [The tomato] praises the cross instead of Allah and says that Allah is three (a reference to the Trinity). [God help us]. I implore you to spread this photo because there is a sister from Palestine who saw the prophet of Allah [Mohammad] in a vision and he was crying, warning his nation against eating them [tomatoes]. If you don’t spread this [message], know that it is the devil who stopped you.”
After posting their diatribe on Facebook and receiving uproar over the insane directive, the group was forced to clarify that "We didn’t say you can’t eat tomatoes. We said don’t cut it in [such a way that reveals] the cross shape.”

I hope no one tells the Salafist organization about Jerusalem artichokes.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Groveland Volunteers Produce Community Vegetable Garden


Check out Teresa's an in-depth article on Edilble Landscaping featured in Green Builder magazine on "Edible Landscaping 02" pages 31 - 37.


Growing a Community - continuation of a Community Garden in Groveland.
"This is a new experience for me. Just to see these grow from the ground  --- it touches the soul."  
David Allen is speaking. He's talking about the community garden in Groveland's historically African-American community located south of State Road 50 and east of State Road 33. Allen is the younger of the two men who have taken on the daily care of the garden. His mentor and partner-in-gardening is Willy Dykes, who lives directly across the street from the South Street vegetable garden. As Dykes says of his gardening efforts, "It just makes me feel so good that I'm helping others and myself. They see things growing, big pretty greens, and they ask 'whose greens are these' and I tell them they're yours."  
Dykes estimates that 30 families in the community partake in the harvest from the garden: sweet potatoes, okra, peppers, Georgia collards ("the best," according to Dykes), scallions, Vidalia onions, kale, tomatoes, cucumbers, rosemary, and spaghetti squash...  
Support for the garden is high in the community in which it is located, as evidenced by the fact that at the February CRA meeting, at which the spring planting was approved, an estimated 40 people from the community, many of them young people, came to the meeting as a show of support. As Allen said at the time, "They volunteered to come out tonight and show you that this is a real community." Speaking in a recent interview, he added "There is so much respect for that garden, it blows my mind." As Marie Damato says, "the community garden as been a community-wide effort."

See more pictures here.

October 1, 2011

Q. What do you get when a Community Redevelopment Agency joins together with volunteers?

A. A wonderful neighborhood vegetable garden.

City Councilwoman Evelyn Wilson came up with the idea of redeveloping a grassy park area into a community vegetable garden during a Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) meeting two years ago.  Finding encouragement from fellow Trilogy residents, Marie Damato and Dr. Linda Jacobsen, Wilson went to the City of Groveland to secure a grant. Along with partners B and H Consultants, Inc,  Zion Lutheran Church,  Thrinvent Financial, Wildflowers of Trilogy Garden Club, Wilson was able to get the city's urban project financed in 2010.

Dr. Jacobsen noted how she was organized finances for the community gardens:
"... along with other members of Zion Lutheran Church, we were able to obtain funding from Lake-Sumter Chapter of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans for the 2010 planting. "
They were able to purchase plants, soil, raised beds, landscape timber, and hoses with the monies. The food, water, and other items needed were provided by Dina Sweatt and the city of Groveland.
This summer, the year-old community vegetable garden needed revitalization and a sustainable plan.

I designed the vegetable gardens to ensure successful maintenance and long-term future growth.  City staff and Smithwell, Inc. employees helped to remove the older landscape timbers, build the raised beds and prepare the overgrown gardens from the previous year.  Seeds and many of the plants were purchased through Thrivevent. Volunteers from the Thrivevent Financial for Lutherans, Zion Lutheran Church, the Wildflowers of Trilogy Garden Club, along with elected officials Mayor Mike Radzik, Vice-Mayor Jim Gearheart, District 3 Councilman Tim Loucks, CRA member Dina Sweatt, and former Councilman James Smith, helped to install the raised beds and mulched paths and then plant the vegetables that Groveland children grew from seed. HollyLou the clown, pumpkin decorating, making plant markers, and an inflatable bounce house entertained the children (and the Garden Club members). 

Vegetables and herbs planted included late summer and cool seasonal crops.  Cabbage, corn, collards, eggplant, green beans, lettuce, different kinds of peppers, okra, onions, rosemary, snow peas, spinach, and varieties of tomatoes, like Beefsteak, Cherokee Purple, and Super Sweet 100's. Cleome and salvia were used in the raised beds to fill in around the herbs. Fruit trees will be planted in the corner of the garden. A Kadota fig tree, Ficus carica, provided by Wendel Martinkovic, of Wendel's Farm & Nursery in Lake Panasoffkee, was planted. Wendel also donated the flowers and many of the vegetables from his permaculture nursery.  Assistance with mulch and garden soil were supplied by Reliable Peat of Leesburg.

Dr. Jacobsen said a huge grateful credit goes to Janet Shira of B and H Consultants, Inc for keeping all the diverse groups working cohesively together throughout the urban project.  More BIG thank-you's to all the volunteers and partners, those who helped on other days preparing the gardens, and today's planting day, including 8 year old Mollie Robinshaw, Master Gardener Barb Schroeder, Louise Willim, and Gigi Klemash from Thrivent Financial.

November events to celebrate the Community Vegetable Garden will include a Harvest Day and Picnic. The garden will be planted twice a year with spring and fall vegetables.  Future needs of the garden include arbors, fencing, irrigation system, signage, and fruit such as blackberries, apple, olive, peach, and pear trees.  If you would like to contribute assistance for this neighborhood project, please contact Janet Shira with B and H Consultants, Inc. in Clermont.

Preliminary Concept

Before and after photographs of the David Blanks Park Community Vegetable Garden.

Groveland Community Vegetable Garden

More great photos from Planting Day.

Read past Earth Shattering Gardening posts on vegetable gardens.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Pineland Scrub Blossoms In Summer

Beauty in the white sands of a pine flatwoods and scrub ecosystem may be hard to imagine. Unknowing visitors will see the dead foliage, broken snags, and thick, impenetrable vegetation as weedy, unkempt, and dangerous, but native wildlife and naturalists appreciate the value of Florida's oldest ecosystem's resources to provide food, cover, and nesting during the summertime.

These dry, upland habitats were once Florida's ancient coasts but now are home for endemic species, both wildlife and vegetation that thrive in harsh environments with seasonal rainfall (both drought and flooding), nutrient deficiencies, and frequent fires.

My photographs of native plants and wildflowers were shot in a Seminole County ten-acre residential community that leaves all but the homesite undeveloped. Click on the photographs for larger viewing. The various pictures show berries for bears, birds, deer, gopher tortoises, and raccoons, and host plants for butterflies and birds.

Tarflower,Bejaria racemosa, Saw palmetto, Serenoa repens, Sparkleberry, Vacciunium arboreum. Mother Nature's Smorgasbord for Florida wildlife.

Blackroot, Pterocaulon pycnostachyum, provides food for wild hogs.

Coastalplain St. Johns-wort, Hypericum brachyphyllum, host plant for insect pollinators, like bees, butterflies, and moths. These flowers are found in bogs, lakefronts, coasts, and ephermeral ponds.

Frogfruit, Phyla nodiflora, Lippia nodiflora, can also be seen growing in urban cement sidewalk cracks, residential lawns, and near water. Host plant for the White Peacock Butterfly, Anartia jatrophae, Common Buckeye Butterfly, Junonia coenia, Phaon Crescent Butterfly, Phyciodes phaon.

Rusty Lyonia, Lyonia ferruginea, popular with deer and insects.

Saw palmetto, Serenoa repens, provides food for migrating mammals and birds, and is the host plant for the Palmetto Skipper.

Shiny blueberry, Vaccinium myrsinites, food resource for mammals, including humans, birds.

Tarflower, Bejaria racemosa, nectar plant for pollinators.

Six foot tall Tarflower, Bejaria racemosa

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Why Are My Elephant Ears Turning Yellow?

Bob from South Carolina asks:
I have several large elephant ears that have leaves that are turning yellow?

There are several reasons that elephant ears (alocasias, colocasias, or philodendrons) could be turning yellow. Chlorosis (yellowing of leaves) could be old age, disease, too much sun, not enough sun, not enough nutrients, too much fertilizer, not getting enough water, or receiving too much water. You have to determine what the cause is by eliminating the stresses one by one.

With Tropical storm Beryl, hitting the coast line recently and summer rain patterns now occuring, how much are you irrigating?


Colocasia 'Mojito'
Bob's response:
Our rainfall has been normal. My wife irrigates two to three times a week in addition to the rain.

Then she's definitely overwatering. Watering often also creates a short root system and if the area of South Carolina goes into a drought, your plants' roots will be so short, the landscape won't survive. Keep landscape drier, roots will naturally grow deeper, and when a drought occurs, your plants will survive better with less water/rain. 1 inch of rain (in sand/humus soils) will go down 12 inches of sand and rich organic soils. Your wife is also defeating the purpose of any fertilizer she's putting down. When landscapes are overirrigated, you can leach out the fertilizer or any nutrients in the upper 6" - 12" of soils. Buy your wife a beautiful inexpensive rain gauge, put it up for her, and let her know that if she receives 1.5 inches + of rain a week - no need to irrigate.

Let her know nicely...

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Ms. Teresa,
I'd like to have some of the seeds you offered on last Tuesday's program 22 May, 2012.
Also, do you know a natural bug deterrent to enjoy outdoor backyard. I've read that rosemary is a good deck/patio plant.
Thanks for your show, In Your Backyard.

Please send me your home address so I can send the rain lily seeds, too.

There really is no vegetative bug deterrent for mosquitos. Rosemary has flowers that can attract bees so I don't see it as a "bug deterrent." But rosemary is a wonderful fragrant plant for a deck container. Mosquitos need water to lay eggs, so I would make sure there is no standing water anywhere in your backyard vicinity. including bird baths, mulch, gutters, pots, children's toys. DEET is an excellent, safe product to repel mosquitos.

Mosquito myths

Mosquito repellents

Thank you for writing and listening to the show!

Ireland's Planting of the Green

County Carlow

Update:  In the current environment about climate change, talk about the selfishly depletion of forest resources here in the United States and around the world is not new. I found that these genealogy archive documents show that 18th century Ireland had also depleted their forestlands for the use of fuel, construction, and industry. The local governments with assistance of English monies provided project grant funds to the Irish landowners and renters to encourage the replanting of two million trees. Despite lack of documentation that all 200,000 trees in Carlow were planted, the tree project seems to have been successful.

Update: With the assistance of Ian McDermott, (no relation) Executive Director of the International Society of Arborists UK, and Moray Simpson, we have found out the mysterious species "phillyears."  It is a misspelling or local colloquialism of the ancient species, Phillyrea latifolia, an olive-like small tree, or large shrub.  Moray found the Latin genus in her book Collins Guide to Trees for British and European trees. Many thanks to Mac and Moray, and I've put the Collins book on my must-have list for my library.

June 1, 2012. I often discuss my first and second generation Scottish and Irish roots. Not tree roots, but family tree roots. I also love researching my heritage and hearing stories of Irish immigrants coming to this country.  I receive genealogy notes from the Irish-American listserv on Rootsweb Ancestry website.  The following page is from the Pat Purcell Papers.  Pat Purcell was born in 1896 and died in 1995 at the age of 99 years old.  Purcell left a huge legacy of historical documents which are being transcribed to the listserv for all to read. They are fascinating. The legal document below is from 1828 and shows the amount and species of trees planted on the private estate of Thomas Bunbury, Esquire in County Carlow. The signed and sealed document's legal and Victorian phrasing is difficult to understand, so I'm not sure if the trees were advertised for documentation of the estate permanently, for the enhancement of the Esquire's rental properties, or for eventual sale to the public. 

I am amazed at the availability of 19th century varieties of trees, including foreign species like American, Dutch, Middle Eastern, Portuguese, and citrus trees.  Who knew we exported American trees to Ireland?  Most people I think, believe it was only potatoes and tobacco that sailed from the Americas.

I'm assuming the Aspalia apples is a phonetically spelled form of Espaliered apples and the Timber Sallow is a broad-leafed willow used for construction and woodworking.  Other misspellings are the Balm of Gilead, which is could be several types of poplar trees and Plumb, which is the spelling used when speaking of measurements.

Another newhorticultural term for me is Elm Quicks, which after researching long and hard, is a British term meaning a hedge-like row of elms.

A species I have not identified is the Phillyears. Is the spelling correct or is it earlier English spelling?  Is it a tree or a shrub? I have contacted Irish arborists and hope to have an answer soon.
I Abraham Hopkins of Ballybit,Carlow, Farmer, do swear on the Holy
Evangelists that I have planted or caused to be planted within twelve Calender months, last past, on the lands of Ballybit in the Parish of Rathvilly, Barony of Rathvilly, and County of Carlow, lands held by me from Thomas Bunbury,Esquire, the undermentioned Trees, Viz.~~
100 Elm Quicks.100 Oak.
100 Limes.
100 Poplar.
100 Larch.
50 Ash Plants.
20 Sweet Chestnut.
10 Spurge Laurels.
10 English Elms.
10 Horse Chestnut.
10 Balm of Gitead.
10 Laurestines.
10 Portugal Laurels.
10 Phillyears..12 Hollys.
10 American Black Spruce.
10 Alder.
10 Dutch Alder.
10 Aspalia Apple.
10 Timber Sallow.
10 Plumb.
10 Pear Trees.
Deponent further saith, that he hath caused a notice in writing to be served on Hugh Graves, Esquire, of the City of Dublin who is Agent or the Receiver of the Rents for the aforesaid Thomas Bunbury, Esquire under whom Deponent holds said Lands, of my intention to register said trees to be advertised in Saunders's News Letter thirty days at the least previous to the date hereof (signed) Abraham Hopkins. Sworn before me this 16th day of February 1828 at Carlow. (signed) Adam B.Feltus..
 Another resource for British tree species with their historical use.

Thank you to Carlow Mike for doing the research and passing along the interesting historical information in these papers.  Even if I'm not related to the family, I certainly love reading the thoughts and activities of the Irish immigrants and families back home in Ireland, especially the gardening and farming anecdotes.

Update - More Tree Plantings - 1825

Pat Purcell Papers.
John Walker of Ballyknocken?,Carlow, came before me, one of his Majestys Justices of the Peace, and Voluntarily made Oath on the Holy Evangelists that he has planted or caused to be planted the twelve calender months last past, on the lands of Ballyknocken? in the Parish of Fenagh,Carlow, lands held by him as asigned by Henry Bradly from David LaTouche, Esquire, and being the property of the Right Honourable William Carr, Lord Beresford, the following trees, viz ~ 1,000 Oak.
1,300 Larch.
1,000 Scoth Fir.
1,300 Birch.
500 Spruce Fir.
200 Ash.
and 50 Lime.
And that he has given notice to Charles Doyne, Esquire, accreditted agent of the said Right Honourable William Carr, Lord Beresford, of his intention to register said trees more than thirty days previous to the date hereof. Dated October 19th 1825. (signed) John Walker.
Sworn before me the 21st October 1825. (signed) Philip Newton.

Update - More Tree Plantings - 1821.
Pat Purcell Papers.
Take Notice that I have planted, or caused to be planted on the Lands of Ballanaacrea in the Parish of Myshall, Barony of Forth and County of Carlow, lands held by me from John Whelan, Esquire, the following trees:
100 Larch.
200 Ash.
390 Spruce.
130 Mountain Ash.
125 Alder.
90 Sycamore.
50 American Black Spruce.
62 Apple.
25 Platting.
50 Lime.
20 Silver Fir.
50 Birch.
20 Scotch Fir.
and that I have given notice to the said John Whelan, Esquire. Under whom I immediately derive of my Intention to register the trees and that I have given notice of my intention to register the trees by publick advertisment in the Dublin Gazette thirty days at the least previous to the date hereof. (signed) James Corragan.
Sworn before me this 25th day of October 1822 (signed) John Cornwall.
Update - Explanation of all the Tree Planting Registrations.
TREE PLANTING In 1814, Benjamin Bunbury claimed : *'that I have caused the lands of Mortarstown, Carlow **to be planted*' with 52 beech and 13 sycamores. He was acting ‘*as immediate agent*’ for his nephew Thomas Bunbury Esquire. He stated that he planned to register the trees at the next general sessions of Carlow in order to avail of the grants. Corruption was clearly to the fore in local politics back then as it was claimed some one million trees were planted in Carlow during this period, which would have made the county one big forest. "By the end of the 17th century a great deal of Ireland's natural woodland had been cut down and timber was beginning to be in short supply. Sir William Petty suggested that two million trees should be planted. It would appear that over 200,000 trees were planted in Carlow between 1770 and 1890. In 1698, the first of seventeen Acts was applied to Ireland to enforce, or at least to encourage, the planting of trees. The provisions of the 1765 Act, stated that, on the expiration of his lease, a tenant could claim for the value of the trees that he had planted, provided that he certified this planting and then lodged the certificate with the clerk of the peace for the county. This exercise resulted in the Register of Trees which have survived for various counties in Ireland. The registrations were recorded at the quarter sessions and published in *The Dublin Gazette.* Subsequently this information was entered in the ledger entitled Register of Trees into which, depending on the diligence of the Justice of the Peace, the original affidavits were copied out in full or in summary form. This information can be useful to genealogists interested in a particular family who had long-established roots in a particular townland or county. Note added 2012 by Michael Purcell : I believe that many of the trees claimed for during this period were not planted, the application was a means of availing of the grant, all one needed was a friendly Justice of the Peace or a fellow Magistrate to witness your signature on claiming the grant.' Sources: Crown and Peace Records, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Pat Purcell Papers, Browne-Clayton Archive.]

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Florida Friendly Landscaping For HOA's

The Florida Community Associations Journal March 2012 issue has a great synopsis of the Florida Community Associations Institute panel in Orlando that I was part of in January this year. The Central Florida gated community's efforts to implement Florida-friendly covenants is presented generically so that any community can duplicate our success, You can read the article here: "The Perfect Team."

Edible Landscapes: So Good You Could Eat Them Right Up

The latest trend in landscaping is to create landscapes that sustain us. Instead of buying all of our fruits and vegetables from a grocery, we are now being encouraged to grow our own food in our own backyards.  Growing your own food in times of war is not a new trend. The first wartime gardens were created in the 16th century.
"Carrets are good to be eaten with salt fish. Therefore sowe Carrets in your Gardens, and humbly praise God for them, as for a singular and great blessing; so thus much for the use and benefit had in the commonwealth by Carrets. Admiot if it should please God that any City or towne should be besieged with the Enemy, what better provision for the greatest number of people can bee, then every garden to be sufficiently planted with Carrets."
~ Richard Gardiner - 1597
During the 19th and 20th century in the United States, community gardens brought people together.  Victory gardens were a patriotic must during World War I and II. Even in urban cities, children and adults harvested everything from artichokes to zucchini year round from their yards.

How can you create your own edible landscape that will help put food on your table but is also attractive?

Assess your site for the correct gardening zone and growing conditions. Select a site that will get full sun, and good drainage. If you are creating an entire landscape for harvesting, an efficient irrigation system is required. Add soil amendments if your yard has sand or soils that don't percolate well.  Your local county extension office can help you determine what type of soil you have and if there is a need for additional amendments.

When deciding on what fruits and vegetables to grow, create multiple areas of interest with height, depth, and dimension.  Consider how tall and wide your shrubs and trees will get.  It will be important that your plant material does not have to compete with other plants for nutrition and water, so proper spacing is important. Select plants for every growing season throughout the year.  Remember, that some fruit trees and shrubs are deciduous during the winter, so you could plant evergreen shrubs, perennials, or fill in the area with annuals for color and a look of fullness.

I wrote an in-depth article on Edible Landscaping for Green Builder magazine on "Edible Landscaping 02" pages 31 - 37.

Spring budding and blooms.

African Blue Basil - pollinator.

'Anna' Apple blossom

More 'Anna' blossoms

'Sharp' Blueberries

Espaliered 'Sunraycer' Nectarines

First peach of the season.

Newly installed 'Tropic Beauty' peach tree.

'Tropic Beauty' peach blossoms

Espaliered 'Gulf Blaze' Plum
Cabbages and roses at neighboring yard.

Restoring Ecosystems

Lakefront restoration is an effort that will restore or recreate an ecosystem of abundant natives on a residential or commercial shoreline.  Replacing the chemically-controlled non-native weeds that encroach and take over with appropriate wetland natives that keep weeds under control is not a cheap project but in the long run, will be more cost-effective and healthier for the environment than spraying chemicals regularly.  Native habitats also provide resources for food and nesting areas to attract more birds and wildlife.

Assess the lakefront site for surrounding ecosystems will help determine what native plants belong and if broadening the area to replant natives would be beneficial.

With my current landscape design project for a new home construction, the adjacent marsh area was seceding into an upland pine area because a small stream had been blocked by the previous owner's attempts to put a back entrance road into the property. In the future months, I am encouraging the new owners to unblock the stream and install a large cement drain pipe to allow water runoff from the road to flow down the hillside. As seasonal hurricane and summer rains begin, the stormwater runoff will enter into the marsh area, keeping the soils too wet for pines to establish.

Check out the before and installation photographs on my Facebook page.  I will post photographs of the lakefront after establishment.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Buttercup Bud

Click to Mix and Solve

I love solving crosswords, jigsaw puzzles, and playing Scrabble is a deathsport. Take a few minutes in your day to solve the flowers.