Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Why I Love My Bay-Friendly Landscape This July

Yes indeed. I am loving my low-maintenance, low-impact landscape right now. Let me count the ways -- at least a few of them:

1. While up and down my street I hear the sounds of lawn mowers and weed whackers, silence reigns in my yard. Wait! What's that I hear? Oh, just a bird singing.

2. I can watch my neighbors drowning in sweat as they labor in their yards while I sit on my front porch with a cool umbrella drink in hand. I'm thinking I really need to get that porch swing I've always wanted.

3. My rain gauges are now rarely empty. No more dragging hoses and buckets of water from the rain barrel to quench my plants' thirst. It's finally raining, nearly every day. And the plants look so dang PURTY after it rains.

4. Summer means butterflies! Several visit my yard each day. I am never too busy to stop and watch them. Last week our first sulphur butterfly laid eggs on one of the cassia shrubs. Our black swallowtail caterpillar has gone off to form a chrysalis. And a few more monarchs have emerged from their little cases, though we still haven't been lucky enough to catch one in the act.

5.  July gives me the best of both worlds: My summer flowers are at peak bloom, AND some of the fall bloomers are just starting to produce blossoms too. Double delight!

Liriope is beginning its fall bloom cycle 

My beautyberry is also producing lovely little pink blooms
I still can't believe it myself, but my grass-free yard really is a breeze to maintain. My biggest chores are deadheading and pruning the flowers and shrubs that are growing like there's no tomorrow. And every couple of weeks, Rick or I use our leaf blower to blow leaves off our walkways back into our landscape beds. We STILL have had virtually no weeds this year-- and the few that do sprout are easily pulled out by hand. Other than that, we spend a lot of time just admiring all our beautiful plants and wondering why the heck we didn't embark on our landscape makeover years ago. Bring on August -- we're ready!

Coleus is a versatile plant that comes in several different varieties,
 perfect for mixing and matching 
Our landscape earned designation as a
Florida-Friendly Yard last year


  1. Your landscape looks beautiful and you get to enjoy it. That is the payoff. Your beautyberry looks so healthy. I'm off to put some Epsom salts on mine.

  2. NanaK, we loved the beautyberry so much that we planted two more beside it -- which may have been a mistake, as all are now threatening to take over our front yard. I think we will have to keep them pruned to a manageable size.

  3. Brilliant! Everything looks lovely. Hasn't the rain been a blessing?

    What's your secret to no weeds?

  4. Congrats on your award. Maybe your neighbors will catch on and eliminate some grass, so they can take it a little easier this summer, too.

  5. Daisy, I wish I knew why we don't have weeds, because I could make a fortune advising others! We certainly had plenty of weeds last year after we planted everything. Perhaps the plants have grown up so much and are now so close together that weeds can't find much of an opening. And, we do have a thick layer of mulch, especially in the front yard where the oak leaves add another inch of insulating mulch to the pine bark we put down.

    Susan, one of our neighbors came over last week to borrow our lawn mower. I looked at him blankly, trying not to laugh, while I reminded him that we gave our lawn mower away last year because we don't have grass anymore! To his credit, this particular neighbor did eliminate all the turf in his front yard earlier this year and mimic ours because he liked it so much. But he still has some in back for his children and dog, which is perfect. Several of our neighbors have made changes to their landscape after seeing what we did, which makes us feel great. But we do have one neighbor I call "Mr. Miracle Gro," who is obsessive about his lush, perfect lawn. He toured our landscape and concluded that our drought-tolerant yard just leaves more water for him to use on his!

  6. Nanette,
    Your yard is so fun to see. Love to hear the low-maintenance testimony. Your shade is a blessing in terms of weeds as well as adequate mulch. Every season is beautiful in Florida but the summer garden is amazing! Good for you enjoying your Florida-Friendly yard.

    Even though I've removed a LOT of grass I still have some for kids to play. But it is all the plants I've planted that keep me busiest. One of these days maybe I'll quit adding plants/projects and then perhaps I can sit back and relax and just look at it. Ha!

  7. Gosh it sounds as though you have it all working just right. Our climate here in tropical north Australia is very similar to the climate in Florida - Sarasota I would say. so I often enjoy looking at the Florida blogs to get ideas. Congratulations on your award!

  8. Thank you, africanaussie. I would love to hear more about your "Down Under Landscape" and your favorite plants. Bet we have a few of them here in Florida!