Tropical South

March, 2004
Regional Report

Take a Notebook and Pencil

Whenever you visit another garden, you're sure to see something you'll want to remember. Write it down, complete with the details of which genus, species, and variety has that gorgeous color. Note combinations of plants that bring out the best in one another. If you are comfortable with a camera, take that along. Often you can take a picture of a whole information board and read it at home instead of copying it on the spot.

Take a Picnic to a Public Garden

Or stop for carry-out on the way. Most public gardens have picnic tables or at least a place where you can spread a blanket. If you make it a lunch stop on a long trip, the rest of your party will seldom mind if you run around and see as much as you can while they rest.

Join a Botanical Garden

Become a member of the botanical garden closest to you. This is a good investment as there are many benefits involved, often including a newsletter, a discount on plants purchased and workshop prices, early admittance to special shows and sales, and sometimes a discount at other gardens in the same state or area. The price of membership helps maintain the gardens, so it is an investment for the planet, the community, and the future as well.

Adapt Ideas from Garden Visits

Even within our own region, we'll see plants at other gardens that may not grow as well in our own gardens since our Florida climate changes somewhat every 30 miles or so. We'll also see some things that will grow even better in our gardens. Out of state, we have to adapt even more, but we'll still see some plants we can grow and some combinations in which we can make some substitutions with more appropriate plants.

Enjoy Florida's Spring

March is my favorite of our 12 pleasant months in central and southern Florida. The air is perfumed with orange blossoms for weeks, followed by weeks of jasmine. Flowering trees are blooming and the last leaves are falling. Rake the leaves off the lawn if you want, but use them as mulch around the trees, shrubs, and flowers. If you are worried about them blowing around again, soak the mulch with water and sprinkle just a little bit of soil on the top to hold them in place and start decomposition.

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