april 2015 newsletter
Do you know where you're going to??
Florida gardener's almanac
monthly timetable of gardening chores:
Fertilize Now: Many
plants are busy
now putting out new green growth, flowers or both. Now is the time to
plants so that nutrition may be put to use to form healthy new foliage,
abundant flowers and healthy fruit.
Always apply fertilizer at the rate
recommended by the
manufacturer then water the fertilizer in to get it into the upper few
of soil where the plant's roots can absorb it. If
your plants are mulched, simply apply the fertilizer on top of the
mulch and water it in.
Do not neglect to feed your potted
plants. The best fertilizers to use on
are either soluble fertilizers (such as Peters)
or a time-release type that
will continue to feed for several months.
Also be aware that different stages in
a plant's growth will
require the use of different types of fertilizers.
Plants that are producing foliage will
benefit more from a fertilizer high in nitrogen -- the "N" value of the
product. Nitrogen is used by plants for
the normal healthy growth of green plant tissues such as leaves and
stems. Be careful though as too much
cause rapid growth of leaves and soft stems which tend to be an open
for attack by pests and diseases. Plants
in bloom will benefit from a high "P"
value. "P" stands for Phosphorous.
Phosphorus is responsible for good root development, disease resistance
flower and fruit production. The "K" value--Potash--also helps
to promote disease resistance in plants as well as encouraging higher
Prune Shrubs: Two
techniques are used
for pruning shrubs. These are called heading and thinning.
Heading -- By this method, branches
are cut back to healthy buds. This leaves a cut close to a bud from
Thinning -- By this process, a shoot
or branch is completely removed either back to ground level or back to
main branch or trunk. No prominent stub remains.
When heading back, always make the cut
above a healthy bud. A
cut on a slight slant, 1/4 inch above the bud is the correct method.
bud should be located on the side of the branch that faces the
preferred for the new growth. Some plants will have two buds opposite
other on the stem. When such stems are cut, it is often desirable to
of the buds. If both are allowed to grow, a forked and often weak stem
Mulch, Mulch, Mulch!: During
this terribly dry weather it cannot be stressed enough how valuable
is. Mulch preserves moisture in the
soil; protects the soil from the intense heat of the sun; provides a
supply of organic material; prevents the quick drying of the soil
and dry periods; gives some protection to plants against root knot
nematodes; and improves soil texture.
Flowers to Plant this
Amaryllis, Balsam, Cosmos, Cockscombs, Forget-Me-Nots, Gaillardias,
Gloxinias, Lilies, Petunias, Portulacas, Salvia, Scabiosa,
Zephyranthes, and Zinnias
Home Grown; Florida
Gardening Month by Month
Of further interest to
Garden in Sarasota
1825 4th Street N, St Pete.
County Extension Service calendar for lots more gardening
Beautiful Commission in St. Petersburg
Kopsick Palm Arboretum in St. Petersburg
Monthly meetings at Moccasin
2750 Park Trail Ln., Clearwater:
1st Monday, October – May, 7:00-9:00pm.
Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society
First Wednesday of month, 7:30 - 9:30 p.m.
3rd Thursday, 7:30-9:30pm
will be on Sunday, April 19th at 1pm. Joe and Bob are opening their
lovely home and garden to us, so we know it will be a wonderful
gathering. Joe just had a hip replaced, so hopefully he will be
up to the hosting task. Bob insists that we still come as he can just
prop Joe up in a corner if he isn't at his best!
Bring something yummy for the pot-luck, and a plant for the raffle.
This meeting we will be a working meeting to prepare for Pride.
Bring any mass quantities of seeds you might have harvested from
your garden. We still have a lot of passiflora seeds from Jim to
to Members page
If you plan to bring a guest, please email
Joe so he can make your guest a nametag. It's a much
more welcoming experience than having one of those "Hello, my name is"
of the month by jim
For those of you who, like us, prefer not to have the manual and
chemical care and watering of a lawn to add to your list of gardening
chores and expenses, here are 2 alternatives.
The first is Arachis glabrata
known alternately as peanut grass, perennial peanut, ornamental peanut,
or ecoturf. The varieties developed in this country have many
advantages over the species form, which is native to South America, and
they are ideal for the Florida climate. They are ground-hugging,
dense growers that you can walk on. They don't produce seeds in
any quantity, and they have a moderate growth rate, so they are not
invasive. Once established they need no irrigation, and being
legumes, they take care of their nitrogen needs without fertilizer.
Unfortunately, perennial peanut is not well known yet, and not
easy to find in quantity. The source we finally located is in
Jacksonville, but they will ship. *Since this article was
first written, peanut grass has taken off in it acceptance and use.
It is found along many stretches of public spaces and is the
choice of many county landscapers. due to its lack of ongoing care.
The next is Mimosa strigillosa, the sunshine
mimosa, a Pinellas County native plant. Also a dense grower and a
legume, but not a walk-on ground cover, it has the advantage of being
perfectly adapted to our climate. The flowers are quite
showy, and attract butterflies. It is best in full sun, and away
from stepping stones, as there are some small thorns on the stems.
Both of these ground covers have long bloom seasons, and require
minimal care. Good news for busy gardeners!