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Tuesday, Sep 02, 2014
Lifestyle Stories

‘We can sit back and enjoy this year-round’

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Describe your garden.

My wife, Barbara, was very good at designing the layout of flower beds. She had such a desire to have a beautiful yard, and she worked hard to get it just the way it looked the best. There were two established ligustrum trees that provided shade, and we planted bromeliads around the bottom to create root coverage. There also was a rubber tree that was unsightly at the ground, but we planted plumbago around the bottom, and it is now a beautiful accent to the total landscape.

How long have you been gardening?

I have been interested in gardening since I was a child. We had beautiful plants and flowers in our yard.

What or who have you learned the most from as a gardener?

As a child, I learned a great deal from my father, who loved to work with plants and flowers. He taught me the process of grafting as well as the proper way to plant and replant.

What are your go-to plants?

Our go-to plants used to create our oasis are azaleas, Indian hawthorne, gardenias, arbicola, jatropha and agapantha, with crape myrtle for height. We incorporated confederate jasmine to cover fencing as well as to provide privacy.

What was your biggest gardening mistake?

Our biggest mistake was planting jatropha not knowing that it was subject to cold weather. However, we trimmed the plants back, and they came out again after a month or so.

What are some challenges you face in your garden?

I am sure our problems are much the same as anyone caring for a lawn and plants: the hot weather during the summer months, drought and insect control. However, we have been able to handle these problems without a great deal of cost or work.

What is your best piece of advice for fellow gardeners?

The work to create this oasis was hard and time consuming, but it is worth it now that we can sit back and enjoy this year-round. Be patient and always aware of problems that come up occasionally and eliminate them before they take control.


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, 200 S. Parker St., Tampa, FL 33606. Please include a phone number and/or email (not for publication).

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