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Thursday, Sep 18, 2014
Lifestyle Stories

How Does Your Garden Grow?: I call my garden my ‘organized jungle’

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BEVERLY SISCO, LAKE MAGDALENE

Q: Describe your garden.

Answer: We live on almost 1 acre of land with a lot of trees and very rich soil. I call my garden my “organized jungle.” I grow a lot of bromeliads and tropical plants. I have one large area I call my rain forest bed. I have two water features.

Q: How long have you been gardening?

Answer: Most of my adult life, but seriously since 1988, when we put in our pool and I wanted to landscape around it with tropicals. I joined the Bromeliad Guild of Tampa Bay about 10 years ago, and I’ve collected many beautiful plants.

Q: From whom (or what) have you learned the most as a gardener?

Answer: My sister-in-law first inspired me when I was in my late teens. I’ve learned a lot from my fellow (Bromeliad Guild) club members, friends and nurserymen.

Q: What are your go-to plants?

Answer: Bromeliads and heliconias, flowering vines and colorful crotons.

Q: What was your biggest gardening mistake?

Answer: Not allowing plants enough room to grow. Planting some plants too close to the house.

Q: What are some challenges you face in your garden?

Answer: My biggest challenge is keeping the “skunk vine” at bay. It is so invasive, and you have to pull it out by the roots. Roundup won’t kill it.

Q: What is your best piece of advice for fellow gardeners?

Answer: Leave enough space between plants and plant them in the right light conditions. Give them TLC. Feed them fertilizer, water and spray for pests if necessary.

Have you ever been so proud of your garden that you wished you had some way to show it off? We’re looking for readers’ photos and growing tips for our “How Does Your Garden Grow?” feature in Baylife. It doesn’t matter if you have a small container garden or a long-established landscape; we want to hear about it. Just answer the questions above and email them along with a couple of jpgs of your garden to Baylife@tampatrib .com. Or mail your answers and photos to Baylife, The Tampa Tribune, 202 S. Parker St., Tampa, FL 33606. Please include a phone number and/or email (not for publication).

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