the dustbowl.

It is very dry here in South Florida. I mean popcorn-fart dry. I do not enjoy these droughts we have, I am sure no one else does. I find it particularly painful to watch all the foliage crisping up while I sprinkle my whole Social Security check’s worth of water onto it. In futility, like a dog chasing it’s tail.

I save what I can, moving the plants who still have a chance into shady areas, and setting up areas close to the water hose where I can set the most fragile ones, to be watered daily. We have a very large lot for this area, I like to see the astonishment on my friend’s faces when I show them my backyard garden with the most enormous oak they have ever seen. And my most beautiful gardens. Actually it is God’s garden, I just tend it.

I have been very fortunate to have worked with a Master Gardener in a Paradise called Sailfish Point on the very southernmost tip of Hutchinson Island. His name was Lynn, and he knew the nuts and bolts of every plant that grows here. How to grow it, feed it, water and prune it, until it gives the most glorious display. And I tried, every day, to absorb some small kernel of his knowledge. Any tree or flower growing on that golf course was fair game for me to take a seedling, a cutting, a pod- even an entire plant-if Lynn gave me the green light. This property has some interesting specimen plants who had their roots (ha ha!!) on Sailfish Point. This is a favorite of mine, he called it a “Pine Palm”, and I have only ever seen these near the ocean.110 Banyan, abandoned and vandalized 001

It actually looks much better than it did when this was taken- I have since learned to keep the centers of each group of fronds as dry as possible, or they start to rot. I eventually had to prune the whole near left section off for this very reason. I had not noticed in time that my sprinkler was dropping exactly over the center of that bunch of fronds. The tree frogs told me about it. I believe that, on the wind-swept dunes near the beach where this species grows naturally, the stiff ocean breeze would keep these trees quite dry. One thing I did learn when landscaping: Pay attention to the plants natural surroundings, and plant in as similar a position as you can.

This means that if your new shrub came from the sunny side of a slope, but under a tree that shades it in the late afternoon, then you should give it a well-drained west facing partially shaded spot. Shady in the late afternoon, that is. And pay attention to the soil where your specimen came from. Sand? Deep moist black earth? (Boy, I wish we had that here!!! That is what Pennsylvania earth is like, in the western Appalachian foothills.)

Anyway, I digress. Just be an observant gardener, and your results will please you and make all your girlfriends jealous when they come over for coffee. Another great trick to fool them into thinking you are a master gardener is to find some cheap, aged pots and planters from a Thrift store and fill them with good potting mix and fresh. blooming annuals from a nursery. Then just make sure to tend to these three or four, moving them from place to place near your front walkway or doorstoop (stoop?) (stop?) area. Even if the rest of your yard looks like poo, keep tending these few- Miracle Grow anyone?-and you will blow them all away with your mad skills. Observe:my new hair, and stuff to sell 022

See how the yard is pretty plain behind my little front patch of flowers? I am SO sneaky! I rearrange the pots as some flowers fade or I just have a whim, taking the shabby looking pots around back to be reworked at a later date.

And I just love taking objects that totally look like they do not belong outside and placing them around my garden for focal points. Broken plates (pretty ones) make nice edging, old chairs you were going to throw away make a great plant stand with a coat of bright spray paint!

That old carved owl was a throw away from a friend- I kept it in the garden till it just fell all apart. and we had bunches of leftover ceramic tile from when I did the house, so Dad started using it to edge the beds, and it looks pretty spiffyIMG_20140507_114010I Has been fun sharing this with you all, I feel ready for my own T.V. show now:

” The Sneaky Crafty Artsy Lady Gardener Show”!

I am keeping my prayers focused on Jehovah’s promises for a new world where righteousness will dwell, and where there will be no more pain, suffering, war or death. I pray that we can all be there one day soon.! I’m ready to live in a peaceful world!

Goodnight!

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