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Flowers, Flowers, Everywhere!

If you’ve ever bought flowers and never gotten around to actually planting them, we have a feeling it’s because planting can be intimidating. We’re here to share our best tips for a successful transplant.

flowers

STEP-BY-STEP

  1. Use the plants in their containers to arrange and plan your garden.

  2. Plan for how big the plant will be, not how big it is when you buy it.

  3. Dig holes twice as big as the container they come in.

  4. Plant with a gentle hand.

  5. Use good soil and good plant food.

  6. WATER, WATER, WATER!

Step 1: Place your store-bought plant containers, where you plan to plant them. This can help you map out your ideas and measure. It’s also a good time to double check the labels for light needs. Shift shade loving plants from bright areas, and sun-loving plants from shade areas.

Step 2: Ask a store associate or check the label for what size the plant will be when it is full grown. For example, if a plant will measure 3 feet wide when full grown, you want to plant them at LEAST 4 feet apart – or further if you want space in between. Just because the plants you buy are small at first doesn’t mean you should plant them close together. They are going to be BIG in no time at all!

gardening

Step 3: Make sure the holes you dig are deep enough for the plant. You can look up specifics of individual plants online, or ask a specialist at the nursery. We find a good rule of thumb is to dig a hole that is about twice the size of the container you purchase them in. Too shallow of a hole will make the plant struggle in the heat and cold because the roots will be more exposed to the elements. Too deep of a hole will make it harder for the roots to get water and nutrients. It’s the happy median you’re looking for.

Step 4: Plants are delicate and the transplanting process can be hard on them, so handle your new plants with a gentle hand to minimize the shock of the transplanting process. To transfer plants from container to the ground – gently grasp the plant around the base, turn the container to the side, and squeeze the container to help loosen it while you shimmy the plant free from the container. Be sure to gently separate the roots by using your fingers to loosen the roots underneath from the middle out. This encourages the roots to spread out which should help get it established quicker. Place the plant in the middle of the hole and cover with good soil.

plants

Step 5: Most nurseries have their own potting mix, and the ones with cedar in the mix have worked well for us here in Central Florida. We typically put the “good soil” on the top so that when we water the plants the nutrients trickle down into the roots. Pack down the dirt around the plant so that the plant is supported and the roots are protected. Finally, sprinkle a slow release food, like Osmocote, around the base of the plant.

Step 6: WATER is so important for establishing your new plants. After you have planted and sprinkled with food, immediately water generously at the base of the plant. (Ideally, using a garden hose with “shower” setting.) Be sure to water new plants every day for at least the first week. Here in Central Florida, SUN and HEAT are a factor – so only water in the early morning before the sun OR after the heat and sun of the day (dusk) as to not burn your plant/leaves. PRO TIP: Water new and established plants at the base. The roots are what distributes the water and nutrients. The leaves and stems do not. Wet leaves in the sun and heat can burn/kill your plants.

garden hose

Click here to read our previous article for ground care tips, including the easiest way to keep weeds out of your beautiful new flower bed!

Do you have other garden tips? Have a favorite place to buy flowers and plants in Central Florida? We want to hear! Let us know in the comment section of our social media. @DeAnnaAndCompany on Instagram and Facebook.

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Prepare Garden Beds for Spring Planting

It’s “winter” in Florida, and the cool temps mean it’s the perfect time to get to all those projects that are too-hot-to-handle the rest of the year. Garage organizing, house washing or painting, cleaning the gutters, AND putting some muscle power into the garden is all so much easier when the weather is cooler.

Let’s get started!

We’re not going to trim much. Azaleas and Hydrangea, along with many other flowering bushes, flower on OLD wood – so trimming before the spring would be a big mistake if you want to see them bursting with flowers in a few weeks. This month we are going to focus on the ground and plants that are past their prime.

Tools and Supplies: Plastic Leaf Rake, Metal Garden Rake, Garden Hand Tools (the claw and the scoop), Gloves, Newspaper, Paper Yard Bags, Mulch. 

The right tools make ALL the difference when it comes to spending as little time as possible preparing and maintaining a garden. You’ll thank yourself later for investing in a few items for yard maintenance, even if you have to budget for them over time. 

Paper Yard Bags: Most cities cannot take yard waste in plastic bags. It’s better to have it loose in a dedicated trash can, or in paper yard bags like <<< these found at The Home Depot, and many other home improvement stores.

 

Rake: Clear beds first by raking leaves with plastic rake. Use a metal garden rake to loosen the topsoil/mix any remaining old mulch into the dirt. Evenly distribute.

Weed: If you can muster the strength, hand weeding things like clover and fern will allow you to dig down to the root and seed pockets – which makes it way harder for those garden invaders to come back so quickly. Dig up and discard dead plants, or ones you plan to replace this year.

Newspaper: This is the Earth-friendly secret to fewer weeds in your garden beds! Newspaper allows water to get through and blocks weeds at the same time. Once you have raked, loosened, and evened out the topsoil, cover the beds with old newspapers. You want it to be about three pages thick. The thicker the newspaper layer, the less weeds can grow. In areas you plan to have potted plants or nothing at all, make your layers a couple of pages thicker. Use only matte newsprint pages, discard any of the glossy coated ones. Once you have blanketed your bed in newsprint, lightly shower the papers with water to get them to stay in place, then cover the whole area with a layer of mulch or pine bark nuggets.

In just a few hours time, you’ll have beautiful garden beds ready for all of your spring planting, OR if you never get around to flowers, you have perfectly manicured and mulched landscaping!

A quick guide for common Central Florida yard waste and debris:

“Yard waste” is natural, organic matter only. Meaning; grass clippings, leaves, branches, weeds, dirt, etc. Plastic mulch bags, old plant containers, nails, screws, and other random things you happen to find outside should go into the regular garbage.

  • Palm fronds, can be stacked together or tied with jute or natural twine.
  • Ties should be an organic material like jute or natural cotton. (Not the white or yellow plastic cord stuff.) 
  • Fill PAPER yard bags about 3/4 of the way to avoid ripping.
  • Avoid those black plastic yard bags, even though the box says they are for yard waste. They don’t break down, so workers have to remove them.
  • It’s fine to fill a can with loose clippings and leaves, you only need to bag or bundle items that are not in a can.
  • Disperse heavier items among several cans (small tree trunks, branches, limbs, etc.) to offset the weight.
  • Large twigs, trunks, branches, bamboo, etc. should be cut into 3’ segements and bundled.
  • Our waste management company says you can typically put out as many cans and bundles as would fit in a large pick up truck bed.

Keep in mind, most yard waste is still tended to by hand by a small team of workers. Make sure your bins, bags, and bundles can be physically picked up to be dumped or hauled away. Over-filling bags and heavy trunk-filled garbage cans makes it really hard on workers, especially in the summer months.

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Mums the Word!

Well technically “chrysanthemums” is the word – and they are the perfect little flower for fall landscaping.

Mums the Word!

Mums are one of the easiest ways to give your autumn curb a happy little kick of color. These flowers are easy to care for, a reasonable cost, and available in the garden department of almost every home improvement store. What are you waiting for? Grab a few planters today and give your yard all of the fall vibes it deserves!

More About Mums:

  • Mum flowers typically last about one month, in our warm Florida climate they can last longer if you cut off flowers as they fade. Cut the flowers just below their base, leaving the stem long.
  • Mums are thirsty flowers, so water them a few times a week to keep them happy and blooming as long as possible. A wilted mum is a sad mum indeed. Water at the base of the plant, rather than on the leaves or flowers.
  • These flowers love being in the sun, which can also dry them out, so give them their time in the sun, but don’t forget to water.
  • Keep away from pets. Mums are best to use in areas that your pets do not have access to, as I read mums can make pets sick if eaten.
  • If you plant your chrysanthemums in the ground, cut the stems back to about 4″ after the plant has gone brown and dormant to encourage new growth next season.

Mums come in a variety of colors – reds, yellows, even purples.

A really cute way to decorate with mums is by creating, what we call, an autumn “porchscape.”

You will need:

1 hay bale

3 to 5 pumpkins in varying sizes (Psst, you could even throw in a seasonal gourd if you’re feeling extra… fall-y?)

1 bandana or fabric square in a complementing fall color or pattern

1 to 3 potted chrysanthemums

1 small chalkboard easel or fall sign

Let’s make it:

The first thing you will have to decide is where you want your porchscape – on a table, or on the ground? For a table you could use smaller hay bales available at craft stores with mini pumpkins, while ground-based creations would require bigger hay bales and larger pumpkins. Whatever the size, the design approach is the same:

  • When in doubt, odd numbers usually work best for groupings or quantities
  • Designs like this tend to look better slightly off center, and at angles rather than perfectly centered or flush against walls
  • You want some elements that are taller (the mums), some medium (the hay bale) and some smaller (the pumpkins)
  • Your show piece pumpkin selections should be half as tall as the hay bale or mums and shorter so you can make little tiered groups

How we would do it:

  1. Start with your hay bale, at an angle, out from the wall. Make sure that your design is in a good, safe, and dry place. Never put decorations near heat sources like lights, outlets, or in the path of high traffic or sprinklers. 
  2. Drape your bandana or fabric square over the bale off center, to the right. Drop a corner over the front edge as a color/shape accent. You’ve just created a little stage to set items on!
  3. Next place one mum on the floor on the right side of the hay seated back, one mum on floor in front of the hay left of center, and one mum on the top of hay on the left corner. This should create a visual triangle with the mums.
  4. Then you fill in your design around that triangle – large pumpkin on ground in front of the mums on the right side of hay, place another large pumpkin next to planter on top of hay, group with one to two smaller pumpkins.
  5. Finish with a friendly message or fall sign on your small chalkboard easel placed on the fabric on the top of hay bale. You can cozy up a mini pumpkin around your sign for even more autumn-ness if you like.

Kinda like this:

Think of this as an outline for your porchscape. You may need to move things around to work out the right feel for your space with the exact flowers and elements you’ve selected. Get creative – you may prefer to create this concept backwards, or to group two mums together, or use more pumpkins… that’s all the fun of design, go for it! Pro tip: view your porchscape up close and from a distance as you rearrange items. Move one thing and stand back to see how it looks as a whole design. You may find you need to angle or move things further than you think, and you can see that best by standing back a little to take in the whole composition.

The most important part is to have fun creating and don’t forget to share your porchscape masterpiece with us on Facebook or Instagram!

Don’t have a porch to “scape”? We can help with that! Getting pre-approved for a home loan is all done virtually! Click on “Apply Now” to learn more or call us!