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Sustainable South Florida Living with Natives, Fruits and Flowers

Sunday, May 8, 2011





Take a step outside your front door on most any day in South Florida and the climate will take you away. Welcome to the <st1:place w:st="on">Caribbean! Indeed, sometimes with our hectic pace of life here on the mainland we forget the simple fact that for most of the year we are climatically-speaking the greater <st1:place w:st="on">Caribbean. We share much of our natural world, the plants and the animals, with our island neighbors, and ignoring this fact invites many challenges in your home garden......

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Galapagos Encounter

Friday, October 1, 2010

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The Modern Botanic Garden

Friday, February 19, 2010

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Ms. Lucita Talks About David

Thursday, January 7, 2010

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Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Soils, but Were Afraid to Ask

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

South Florida soil consists of rock, sand, marl and muck. The rock is known as Miami limestone, which is an alkaline calcium carbonate. It is not coral rock as some believe. Miami limestone is high in pH (7.8-8.1), does not retain water or nutrients well and makes growing many plants a challenge. Our type of limestone is very young geologically and is found only one other place in the world (Bahamas). It was formed when the shallow seas covering much of South Florida receded exposing the ...

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Proper Planting

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The right plant in the right location The right plant in the wrong location Planting There are many questions when it comes to planting a new tree or shrub. How large should the hole be? Is it necessary to amend the soil or to add fertilizer? The answers to these questions are simple and can generally be applied to most new plantings. Your first step is to dig a hole for your plant. The hole should be dug slightly larger than the container of the tree or shrub being planted. If the soil is ...

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Does Size Matter?

Monday, June 2, 2008

When I go to the nursery to buy a tree to plant in my yard, I remind myself, "David beat Goliath" and "the tortoise beat the hare" . . . and "a small oak, mango, or royal poinciana tree often will beat a larger tree of the same species." That it is advantageous to plant smaller, younger trees as opposed to larger, older trees is a realization that has grown as my knowledge of trees has grown. Over the last three years, I have watched trees planted when they were very small (rootballs 8 to ...

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Heliconia General Information

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

The genus Heliconia refers to a group of plants related to gingers, bananas, prayer plants and Birds of Paradise. There are an estimated 350 species of heliconia, the vast majority are found in tropical America. Oddly, six species have evolved in the islands from Sulawezi to the Solomon Islands. Descriptions of 13 Heliconia species. These are rhizomatous, herbaceous plants that range in height from 18 inches to more than 20 feet tall. The "stems" (pseudostem) are the concentric, sheathing...

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What's this white stuff on my cycad?

Monday, November 20, 2006

It's sneaky, it's deadly and it's everywhere. Many of the cycads in South Florida neighborhoods have yellow and brown leaves, and are encrusted with a white substance. You've never seen this before. What's going on here? Miami-Dade County is experiencing the results of a surging population of an insect known as the cycad aulacaspis scale or Aulacaspis yasumatsui. It seems to affect only cycads, particularly favoring cycads of the genus Cycas, which includes the common Cycas revoluta (king ...

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It All Starts With Dirt

Monday, November 20, 2006

Here in the Garden nursery, we are frequently asked what kind of potting soils we like to use for our plants. This is not an easy question to answer since there are many factors-the water holding capacity, aeration, pH, potential shrinkage and more-that have to be taken into consideration. Following are some of the components we use in the nursery with an indication of what they contribute to the mixture. You'll also find recipes for two of our most useful mixes. Please keep in mind that...

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