Sunday, July 18, 2010

I answer questions...

I get lots of emails with questions. When I have time (like this morning), I answer them.

Hi there,
My name is . I recently bought my first house in downtown Orlando. My got a huge corner lot that is was in pretty pathetic shape garden-wise. I really want a color and scented garden. Is there anything you can suggest? So far I have a few jasmines, plumbago, butterfly bushes, verbenas, a purple "yellow bell" looking thing whose name I can never remember, and some little succulents whose name I can also never remember. I also want to plant fruit trees, mostly blueberries, citrus and strawberries. Do you suggest any other fruit? Sorry to bombard you with questions, I think I am a little garden happy right now.
Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

p.s. if you have any nursery suggestions I will take those too!

dear , it's a tough time of the year to start anything aside from woody perennials (like your jasmines and plumbagos). heck, even those are difficult unless it's very rainy. best to wait until the first cool front in november to try to plant much of anything new. right now i'm on standby--weeding, watering, waiting.

the easiest fruits to grow, imo, are grapes, citrus and bananas. a little harder are peaches & persimmons. blueberries are somewhat difficult inasmuch as it is very hard to keep the pH down (keep the acidity high). i really recommend sunshine blue blueberries, as these are very indifferent to acidity. you can get the sunshines at lowes in the cool months--very inexpensive, very productive bushes that don't grow too big. perfect for the backyard grower.

citrus can be got at a bigbox store, or at just about any nursery. i recommend that you order your grapes from a good nursery, esp one like JUST FRUITS AND EXOTICS (google it!). i grow nesbitt. very productive and easy. peaches, plums and persimmons can be purchased from JUST FRUITS and also from CHESTNUT HILL TREE FARM. i really like my flordaprince peach. i just planted some gulf-series plum, and i'm told they are fairly easy and productive.

for the best bananas you should attend the swaps that are organized on gardenweb, or post something on the swap page there. lots of very good gardeners down in orlando with tons of pups to give away.

finally, if you're look for something easy and pretty, i really recommend the new red knockout roses that are widely available. own-root, vigorous, and they are blooming heavily for me. i might make a big bed of them out front of my house this winter.

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