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Thursday, Dec 18, 2014
Lifestyle Stories

How Does Your Garden Grow? ‘I have had my hands in the soil all my life’

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PAULINE WHITAKER HARRIS/PLANT CITY

Q: Describe your garden.

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Answer: My beautiful flowers and plants make me feel closer to God. We live on over 2 acres in Plant City. I have so many flowers and plants that I don’t even know the name of. Some I can name are caladiums, hibiscus, lilies, ferns, periwinkles, cloches and many roses. My crape myrtles and bougainvillea are beautiful this time of year. Many butterfly plants. My husband has a vegetable garden that keeps us in fresh and frozen vegetables.

Q: How long have you been gardening?

Answer: I was born a Southern farmer’s daughter. I picked a lot of strawberries. I am over 80 years young, and I have had my hands in the soil all my life.

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

Answer: My mother and daddy. Many friends have given me plants. I am not afraid to ask for advice from other gardeners. I am always on the lookout for new information.

Q: What are your go-to plants?

Answer: My caladiums, cloches, ferns, periwinkles and roses. The beautiful plants that I don’t remember the name of make me proud.

Q: What was your biggest gardening mistake?

Answer: I did it again by planting my New Guinea impatiens in the sun. I do have to thin or cut out some plants because of overcrowding.

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

Answer: Weeds and freezing are my biggest challenge. I actually love to weed my garden and trim my hedges. We use covers when a freeze is predicted.

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

Answer: Get advice from experts. When you see a beautiful garden, ask the gardener what her secret to a beautiful garden is. I like to give advice, and I am sure other gardeners do, too. Plant books and newspaper articles are also helpful.

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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