Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Vision House 2008 Three Years Later

How long does it take landscapes to mature in Florida? This slideshow shows you Vision House 2008 during construction and landscape installation and the established trees and shrubs three years later. When it was installed, there were some concerns about sparseness, but landscape plants and trees that don't need to compete for water and nutrients grow faster and healthier. Proper spacing reduces maintenance, less chemical and water use. There is no need for instant landscapes.

Vision House 2008
Previous Post: Leesburg Couple Rips Up But Is It Florida-friendly?

Irrigation Overkill

What's wrong with this picture?

For a sodded driveway this is overkill.  There is no reason to have the irrigation in the center sod strip.  They should have used either a groundcover or pavers in the center of the driveway.
What other mistakes did the irrigation installer or owner make?
  • Watering at 5pm in the early evening is a good way to get fungal disease.
  • Uneven spacing of irrigation heads on turfgrass means uneven distribution of water which is the one of the biggest water wasters.  
  • Possibly no rain shut-off device or not hooked up properly.  This location received two inches of rain the night before so irrigation was not necessary for this turf even if it was new sod.
I asked Aaron Smith, owner of  Insight Irrigation, for his professional irrigation contractor perspective. "When I see this several things come to mind that should be considered: 
  • Areas less than 4 foot wide should not use overhead irrigation. 
  • If necessary, small areas can be irrigated with drip. (many new products are out to do this I.e Hunter)
  • This is a safety hazard since people could slip .
  • This is an environmental hazard from oil from vehicles washing down into stormdrain."
When installing irrigation systems, get a certified irrigation professional like Aaron to help you or   learn what goes into having an efficient irrigation system before you do the work . 

Crape Murder Spree

Crape murder crime rate is still too high.  These landscape trees required by law, the labor to install them, and the water used to establish them  were wasted.  What a shame and does nothing to enhance the property or downtown. Commercially, these brutal cuts do nothing to promote the business or encourage customers to visit.

How should they have been pruned, if at all?  Crapemyrtle Pruning.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Landscape Boom For Independence Day!

Showcasing red, white, and blue vivid flowers in your landscape is a great way to accent your patriotism and a wonderful way to brighten up your neighborhood!  Finding our national colors with just the right seasonal bloom is very easy if you know what to look for.  You can display your flowers in mass planting beds, and around lighting, flagpoles and mailboxes.  For smaller apartments, and Fourth of July parties, you can decorate by your front door, on the patio, and on balconies with container gardens, and window boxes.

Setting up your mass bedding plants with patriotic colors, you will want to remember different heights and width.  Having a tiered effect of red, white and blue is extremely effective if your house is neutral or you have an evergreen hedge as a backdrop.  Coordinate your color palette by looking at your plants before you plant them.  Placing them in the desired location and standing in the road or in your neighbor’s yard to judge the potential impact is a good idea; before you do all the grunt work of installing them and then not getting the look you were ultimately desiring.
Colorful and patriotic clay, plastic, and ceramic, containers with decorative accoutrements such as ribbons, gold stars or flags, are an easy way to get into the independent spirit if it’s temporary, or if you only have a small area or location to work with.  Use a good potting soil and make sure if you are using window boxes that you allow for good drainage away from house walls.
Here are my flag-waving suggestions for red, white, and blue annuals and perennials with their height designations for placement in your garden bed or container.  As always — please check online, with local nursery or extension office for sun and moisture requirements before purchasing and combine plants only if they have similar needs.
Tall (t – use in back), medium (m – use in middle), and low (l- use as groundcover) or h (hanging).
Red Flowers
  • Begonia, wax (l, m)
  • Begonia, tuberous(l, m)
  • Cardinal flowers (t)
  • Celosia  (m)
  • Dianthus (m) 
  • Gerbera daisies  (l)
  • Geranium (l, m)
  • Gomphrena (m)
  • Impatiens (l)
  • Kalanchoe (l)
  • Lantana (m, h)
  • Lobelia (m)
  • Pentas (m, t)
  • Pentstemon (m,t)
  • Phlox (l)
  • Porterweed (t) 
  • Salvia (m, t)
  • Vinca (m)
  • Verbena (l,m, h)
  • Roses (see suggestions below)
  • Zinnias (l,m)  
White Flowers 
  • Begonia, tuberous (l, m)
  • Begonia, wax (l, m)
  • Catwhiskers (t)
  • Chrysanthemums (l, m)
  • Cosmos (l, m)
  • Dianthus (l)
  • Geraniums (l, m)
  • Impatiens (l)
  • Lantana (l, h)
  • Lisianthus, (m, t)
  • Marigolds, French (l, m) 
  • Moonflowers (vine)
  • Morning glories (vine)
  • Nemesia (l)
  • Nicotiana (m, t)
  • Osteospernum (m) 
  • Pentas (m,t)
  • Phlox (l)
  • Philippine violets (t)
  • Roses (see suggestions below)
  • Zinnias (l, m)   
Blue Flowers:
  • Agapanthus (t)
  • Ageratum (l)
  • Ajuga (l - shade)
  • Asters (m)
  • Blue Daze (l, h) 
  • Blue flax (l, m)
  • Centaura (m)
  • Exacum (l)
  • Lisianthus (m, t)
  • Morning glories (vine) 
  • Nemesia (l,)
  • Salvia, blue (m, t)
  • Scabiosa  (m)
  • Stokes Asters (m)
  • Torenia (l)
  • Porterweed (t)
  • Philipine Violets (t)
  • Plumbago  (t)
  • Russian Sage (t)
  • Verbena (l, h)
  • Veronica Speedwell (m)
Additional Summer Flowers for northern zones 4 – 7     
  • Alyssum (l)
  • Chrysanthemums (l, m)
  • Delphiniums (t)
  • Forget-me-nots (m) 
  • Hollyhocks (t)
  • Nicotiana (t)
  • Pansies (l)
  • Petunias (l, h)
  • Poppy (m, t)
  • Snapdragons (l, m, t)
  • Statice (m, t)
  • Stock (m, t)
Patriotic Roses: 

 Over 35 cultivars named America or have American in their name, these are my favorites:
  • America, large-flowered climber, orange-pink, fragrant
  • American Beauty: climber, strong fragrance, deep pink, the national flower symbol of United States
  • America, Climber, coral pink, strong fragrance
  • Fourth of July, 1999 All American selection, climber, red flowers striped with white, apple-fragrance
  • Memorial Day, 2004 All American selection, hybrid tea, dark pink, strong damask fragrance
  • Americana, hybrid, strong fragrance, medium red
  • Miss All-American Beauty, hybrid, pink, fragrant
  • Mr. Lincoln, deep red, hybrid tea, long-stemmed rose, fragrant
  • John F. Kennedy, white, hybrid tea, strong fragrance
  • Veteran’s Honor, hybrid tea, dark red, raspberry fragrance
  • American Pride, hybrid tea, large-flowered, dark red, strong fragrance
  • Patriot, large flowered hybrid, dark red, mildly fragrant
  • Peace, pink-yellow, hybrid tea, mild fragrance
  • United States, pernetiana, yellow, rare

Have a great Fourth of July!

Reprinted from permission from Suite 101, Gardening with Soul,  July 2004