3/22/12

How to Get Green Grass

Everyone wants green grass. Here are a few steps you can take at home to get deep green grass.

Tinsel the Yorkie loves green grass.

Water consistently. More isn't better. It needs consistency.
Use a mower with sharp blades.
Fertilize only when needed in your garden zone.
Apply a nitrate and iron product for an instant green.
Go to your local garden supply store and ask what's recommended for your zone and type of grass.
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3/8/12

Fragrant Plants for South Florida

Want some fragrance in your South Florida garden? Here is a list of the best fragrant plants to use in South Florida.

Confederate Jasmine

Confederate Jasmine is a vine which will grow on a fence or trellis. It blooms for several months in late Spring here in South Florida. Train it in an espalier shape or let it climb naturally. Requires very little water once established.

Brugmansia (Angel Trumpet)

Brugmansia also called Angel Trumpet, produces a huge flower that hangs upside down and blooms all day and all night. It smells like a cross between soap and perfume, especially at night. If you know someone who has a brugmansia, ask them to break off a 6-12" section, strip leaves, and plant in soil. In a few months, new growth will emerge and you'll have a free Angel Trumpet. Heavily cut it back often for a bushier plant. Here in South Florida, low temps will kill the plant, but it always comes back in a month or two. The flowers are poisonous to pets and humans if consumed.

Gardenia

The gardenia blooms from Sprint to summer. They are pretty susceptible to bugs, so they require maintenance. Other than that, the blooms are amazing. Make sure to get a grafted gardenia and to give it rooms to grow up in full sunlight.

Many Floridians love night blooming jasmine. It's got a very strong sweet aroma that fills the air in the night. The plant is easy to care for and requires pruning to make it bushy.

Meyer Lemon Tree
I love adding citrus trees to a South Florida home. Oranges, limes, lemons, grapefruit, etc. all produce a wonderful aroma. Once the scented blossoms are gone, you can watch the fruit grow.

How to Dig a Well

For the past 6 months, our irrigation system has been failing. We've had the irrigation guy out many times. He clears out sand that clogged the pipes and says you need a new well.

As a first time homeowner, I didn't know what that meant....a new well.

Well, now I understand.




Here's the truck that's been parked in the driveway for 2 days. It's an F450 with a giant auger built into it. It's already drilled down more than 120 feet. Not sure if I'm getting ripped off, but I'm told we need to drill down further to avoid a sulphur smell and iron deposits that will stain the house orange.

These photos were taken before work this morning. When I got home after work, the whole street had an opaque run off all over it and the grass surrounding the new well was flooded with sandy water.

I can only assume this guy knows what he's doing. John hired him at the recommendation of our irrigation guy.


Apparently getting a "new well" means getting a pipe that goes into the water table...beyond 120 feet. It's a metal pipe that draws water from the ground and send it to the irrigation pump. Our old PVC well had holes in it. The sandy soil kept getting into the pipe and thus into the sprinkler lines.

All this work should hopefully get our sprinklers working again which will get the lawn back to a nice deep green color instead of this light brown...

3/4/12

Night Blooming Jasmine in Florida

Night blooming jasmine is loved by most Floridians. I personally don't care for the aroma, but I love other jasmines such as star and confederate. Night blooming jasmine (Cestrum Nocturnum) blooms in the summer and fills the entire area with a strong sweet aroma.


I planted the night blooming jasmine near the fence on the south side of the house. This way, it'll get light all day and the fence will support it's semi-climbing nature.

Night blooming jasmine

Saturday Chores and Garden Blooms

Yesterday was Saturday...I wanted to get some chores done then go play in the garden. Work first then fun!

I was so happy to get the garage cleaned up finally.
Then I moved on to wash the car...


After washing the car went so well, I decided to wash the house and driveway with the pressure washer.
Of course, the pressure washer had been sitting dormant since last year, so after a few minutes, it shut itself off and I had to get out the manual.



I cleaned the air filter and changed the oil. Not sure why it had 3 times as much oil as it needs...maybe that was the reason it was shutting off.



Regardless, I started with the driveway, did the front of the house, then moved around to the side yard.


Along the way, I took a few pressure washing breaks to get out the Rustaid sprayer. I love watching Rustaid work. It takes off the rust from the irrigation in about 3-5 seconds...it reminds me of some Mr.Wizard experiment.



I washed the compost bin...I need to start using it more.



Then I moved on to power wash the mailbox. I figured while I was at it, I'd wash the neighbor's mailbox too.



Since chipped paint washed off during power washing, I decided I'd prime and pain the mailboxes. They look pretty good. I usually need to do this every 3 years anyway.



After the power washing was done, I fertilized all the palms...about a cup at the base of each palm. I like using Vigoro.



About 4pm, I was feeling like these plants...drained of all energy. It registered 88 today. Not sure what the heat index was. Usually, these plants' leaves are spread up...the heat got them down though.



About 6pm, I took off the work gloves and put on the gardening gloves. I did some weeding, yanked all kinds of aloe pups, and noticed this! The amaryllis are emerging!

In 2011, they bloomed on March 14.
In 2010, they bloomed on April 12.
In 2009, they bloomed on April 29

I looks like they will likely bloom this year in April.



Then I looked directly up at the peaches. They look good. I've been talking a lot about them since this is the tree's last year to perform. If the peaches are once again infested, I'm yanking the tree.



The aloe all over the yard is in bloom right now. The blueberries (to the right of the aloe) are beginning to flower as well. the young broccoli plants to the left of the aloe will be growing much larger over the next month.


Here's a beautiful double hibiscus plant that I propagated from a large mature plant. The flowers turned out identical since the plant is a clone.



Here are the meyer lemon blossoms which will burst any day now. I can't wait for all the bees and the amazing aroma citrus blossoms produce. That being said, the star jasmine just put out it's first few blooms. I loooove the aroma of star jasmine.


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