Monday, March 8, 2010

Welcome to the Bay-Friendly Landscaping Blog!

Greetings Fellow Gardeners!

My name is Nanette O'Hara. As the Public Outreach Coordinator for the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, I am always promoting eco-friendly landscaping that helps reduce stormwater runoff into Tampa Bay. I've tried on my own to incorporate "bay-friendly" landscape principles in my own yard, those taught by the excellent Florida Yards & Neighborhoods Program coordinated by the IFAS Extension Service. But I never quite achieved the look or the environmental benefits I hoped for. And our existing landscape was still requiring much more attention than my husband and I want to devote to yard work!

This winter, like so many of you, I lost a substantial portion of my landscape to freeze damage. Sure, I knew most of it would come back eventually, but I'm not that patient! Plus, I realized there would never be a better time to dive into a total yard makeover than this Spring. I would need to buy a whole lot of new landscape plants anyway, so why not buy the RIGHT plants for the RIGHT place?

It was much easier to talk my husband, Rick, into this than I anticipated. We decided right away that our new landscape would have NO grass, so I merely dangled in front of him the lure of never mowing again (We are both avid fisherfolk, thus the fishing metaphors, and we would much rather be fishing than mowing and edging the lawn.) His eyes lit up at the prospect of "No Mowing, Mo' Fishing" and I knew I had reeled him in.

Then it just made sense, given what I do for a living, to share this yard makeover experience. Through this blog, I hope to learn from you, laugh with you, and maybe inspire you to follow my lead and give "Bay-Friendly Landscaping" a try yourself.