Posted in The Southern Garden, Uncategorized

What kind of garden will you grow?

Here is a question for you to consider…

are you a gardener for practicality or for beauty?

Because whichever one you decide you’re going to plant involves different plant choices and maintenance practices. Your chances for a successful garden could hinge on the answer you decide proceed with.


For the gardener who is concerned most with Visual Appeal, then your gardening starts with picking plants that appeal to you the most. Then you will combine them and the environment  you’ve chosen for them to grow to their fullest potential. Maintenance practices will also be different. Your primary goal is to achieve lush foliage and showy flowers. This will require more precise pruning and dead-heading. Your fertilizing will need to be more specific for blooming plants

For a basic Green Landscape the goal will be to maintain your plants in a healthy condition where they can be pruned and fertilized regularly. Attention to detail isn’t as required in this situation.



For the Sustainable Garden, or one that gives back, you may find more research is needed. It’s not as simple as going to the garden center and picking plants. You need to about know the plants  you’re picking. Do they need full sun? What insects are they prone to? When and how do you apply proper harvest methods? It’s extremely important with a sustainable garden to know what type of pesticides and fertilizers you are using. You want to be as organic as possible, using products that have little to no residual effect. Don’t forget, at some point you will want to harvest these products for eating.


Many people have a limited space for gardening and will combine all three types of gardens into one area and is perfectly doable. You need to be focused on details, because in a mixed garden, one little problem quickly grow in to a major problem that can devastate your fruit or flower harvest.

Take a few minutes before you go to the garden center and draw out on a piece of paper how much space you’re giving your garden. Then decide how much of that space you want to give up for each type of plants. Walk out and look at the area  you will plant. Be sure you have easy access for getting your plants and materials back to the garden. Then check the soil; do you need to add to it? Is a little peat moss needed, or is simply turning over the soil and loosening it up enough?

Being properly prepared before you go select your plant material will save you many steps down the road.

By planning ahead, you will enjoy your garden to the fullest.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Garden Players

Some will call them pest, some will call them cute, but I will call them entertainment!

I’m talking about those little guys with the bushy tails, always busy, always moving and (it seems) always eating.

45604279 - female red squirrel standing on tree branch with flowers

Copyright: <a href=’’>geertweggen / 123RF Stock Photo

Yes, I’m talking about Squirrels!

A friend of mine calls them rats with busy tails (obviously he doesn’t like them), but no matter what they are called, Squirrels are part of the garden culture. You need to learn to at least live with them.

Once you get past the fact they will eat the bird food you put out for the feathered guests in the garden, dig up your most tender plants and tease your cats watching from the window, you realize they really aren’t all that terrible to have in the garden.

My office has large windows looking out into my garden and I have hung the bird feeders in full view of all the activity. And there is plenty to watch. I’m fortunate to have a large variety of birds come to lunch on my offerings- from finches to cranes. Cardinals, blue jays, wood peckers, ground doves and mockingbirds are regular visitors as well. Occasionally I am lucky to find a humming bird. And as threatening as they can be, there is a falcon that will show up when he’s hungry.

Yet, as mesmerized as I become watching the movements of the birds, it is the antics of the squirrels that makes me smile. They endlessly chase each other around the garden, playing whole heartily like children at recess. Sometimes,  there will be a bit of bickering over who’s turn it is at the feeder, but it always works out, and everyone gets their share. Birds and squirrels alike. On the hot summer days, they can be found splashing and playing in the bird bath.

7159637 - bird and squirrel

Copyright: <a href=’′>redwood202 / 123RF Stock Photo

I was gifted a fun birdfeeder that twirls with the weight of the heavier birds. It is designed for small finches, but don’t tell my squirrels. They think it was put there for their enjoyment. Even greasing the pole doesn’t detour their attempts at a meal. I laugh out loud as I watch their efforts. Once they finally reach the top, they jump to the feeder, only to have their weight cause the feeder to spin, often sending them flying. But they don’t give up and immediately try again.

There are 5-7 regular visitors from the squirrel community that make my yard their home. Nesting in the oak trees overhead, using my roof as quick access to the front yard and resting on the bench under my palm tree. They are used to me, and I know   with a little effort I could tame them enough to eat from my hand. As they patiently wait on the fence where the feeder is hanging from as I refill it, one or two are chattering at me the whole time. Politely they wait for the feeder to be hung back up before venturing forth to eat, my presence doesn’t bother them.

9367719 - gray squirrel attempts to steal seeds from a bird feeder

Copyright: <a href=’’>telliott / 123RF Stock Photo

So, I feed the birds and the squirrels and in return they give me their form of friendship and vast amounts of entertainment. I’d say it’s an arrangement we all agree on.