Sustainable Gardening for Florida cover graphic.

Sustainable Gardening for Florida
by Ginny Stibolt 

The photos and captions for
Sustainable Gardening for Florida

While we have 30 excellent line drawings by John Markowski within the text, Ginny and her editor decided to use more of the 40 allocated images and included nine photos as black and white images within the text as well.  All the photos were taken by Ginny except for the two living shoreline photos.

The centerfold color photos are below.

Photo 3.1: Shredded tree trimmings from arborists working in your neighborhood are the most sustainable mulch.  The tree trimmers save gas by dumping locally, you save gas and money by not paying someone to deliver mulch or picking it up yourself, and the landfills are not used.  Commercial production of bagged mulch, no matter what type, uses energy in the packaging and delivery.

Photo 6.1.a: A pot bound shrub.

Photo 6.1.b: When planting a tree or shrub that was pot bound, first rinse away spent soil from around the roots.  Unwind the roots and spread them out. Plant your tree or shrub so it sits at the same level it was in the pot--you might see a root flare.  Use only soil from the hole to fill in--don't add any enrichments.  Irrigate liberally. 

Photo 10.1: A rain gauge helps to coordinate your irrigation schedule with the rainfall so your landscape receives only the amount it needs.  In Florida rainfall is highly local.



Photo 11.1.a:  This closed rain barrel system diverts downspout water into a series of 3/4-inch PVC pipes into the barrel.  Once it's full, the water overflows back through the diverter into the downspout.  

Photo 11.1.b:  The pieces of the diverter laid out in order: The container with a hole in the bottom and a hole on a side near the bottom, the 2-inch pipe fittings that serve as the overflow pipe inside the container, the series of 3/4-inch pipes and fittings that direct the water into and out of the barrel.

Photo 12.1:  A French drain, consisting of an end-point drain and cloth-covered permeable pipe, laid next to a cement driveway.  The bed is prepared for mulch.  Note that the weed barrier cloth protects the pipe from the soil.

The color photos which appear on eight pages in the center of the book:

Plate 1:  Put the right plant in the right place--take advantage of microclimates.  These native prickly pears thrive in a dry, hot, full-sun corner.  Lava rock adds to the heat. (Chapter 2)

Plate 2: Composting and mulching enrich and protect the soil. These are two of the most sustainable activities in your garden.  A tree trimmer in the neighborhood dumped this giant pile, saving both of us gas, money, and energy.  (Chapter 3)

Plate 3: Reduce the size of your lawn by installing mulched beds around groups of trees and creating meadow areas in out-of-the way spaces. Make the lawn easy to mow with wide sweeping curves and edges designed to reduce the need for string trimmers and edgers.  Also, reduce the use of fertilizer, herbicides, and pesticides.  (Chapter 4)  

Plate 4: This bird-friendly yard provides meadows, nectar-rich flowers (supplemented by sugar water), and habitat for nesting, and hiding. (Chapter 5)



Plate 5a & b: When creating habitat for butterflies plant flowers for the adults and food for the larvae.  Milkweed serves both purposes for monarch butterflies.  Other items needed for habitat are water sources (Mud flats are important for butterflies.), a variety of vegetation for shelter from predators and weather; and most important stop using general pesticides. (Chapter 5)

Plate 6a & b: Attractive meadows are possible anywhere in Florida.  The field of yellow rain lilies makes a statement in Key West, while a mixture of black-eyed Susans and mist flowers thrive along a roadside in northern Florida.  Meadows provide excellent habitat for a wide variety of birds, butterflies, and other wildlife.  Meadow maintenance can be as simple as mowing once a year or just removing woody plants every other year or so.  (Chapter 5)

Plate 7: When possible choose native trees and shrubs for your landscape.  This delicate wild azalea produces quite a show in the spring.  (Chapter 6)

Palm trunk crossection

Plate 8: Palms don't have annual rings and can't heal themselves like other trees do.  Their woody structure is generally more flexible than other trees, so they're especially recommended for stormwise landscaping. (Chapters 6 & 14)


Plate 9:  Even in a small space, like this St. Augustine balcony, you can have a fabulous garden using containers. (Chapter 7) 


Plate 10: A graceful container dresses up the area next to a pond.  Both plants in this arrangement thrive in a moist, shaded environment.  (Chapter 7)

Plate 11: Growing fruits and vegetables is sustainable because no energy is used in transporting the produce.  Controlling your edibles from seed (or seedling) to the table provides peace of mind because you know that no poisons were used.  And really fresh vegetables taste better and have more vitamins.  In Florida you can grow your own vegetables year-round.  (Chapter 8)

Plate 12: Cherry tomatoes do well when the soil has been enriched with compost and composted horse manure.  In Florida we can plant two crops of tomatoes each year.  

Plate 13: A green spider captures a beetle on this sunflower head.  Integrated pest management allows bugs and their predators to reach a balance. (Chapter 9)

Plate 14: Creating habitat for bug predators is an important step in your Integrated Pest Management. (Chapter 5 & 9)

Plate 15: This hornworm is covered with brachiod wasp larvae. These larvae will consume their host and are some of Mother Nature's many biological tools to keep bugs in balance. (Chapter 9)

Plate 16: Water running down the street and irrigation running when it's not needed indicate that a "set it and forget it"  automatic irrigation system is wasting too much precious water.  Follow all irrigation regulations and pay attention to the rainfall and the natural cycle of your turf.  (Chapter 10)

Plate 18: Harvesting pine needles from the street keeps the storm drains clear of debris that clogs drains and overloads waterways with organic matter.  Plus the pine needles make an excellent mulch.  (Chapters 10 and 3)

Plate 19a: This open rain barrel system consists of three barrels with overflow hoses between barrels and the third overflow hose directed into a watering can. Excess water flows away from the building into a low wooded area. (Chapter 11)

Plate 19b: The water collection feature of the first rain barrel shown in plate19a consists of a screen-covered plastic basket with a lip that sits loosely in a hole in the top of the barrel.  The diverted downspout pipe empties all its water into the basket where the screen catches roof debris and keeps out the mosquitoes. 

Plate 20a & b: On the left a downspout rain garden with a blooming rain lily and two types of fern just after its installation. A dry well is filled with gravel under the river rocks for better absorption of rainwater.  The excess will flow into the grass. On the right a year or so later, the blue-eyed grass obscures the stones, a different rain lily blooms, and the ferns have spread.  Rain garden plants help absorb water.  (Chapter 12)

Plate 21a & b: On the left, a hard-to-maintain parking lot green space in central Florida.  It's so over-mowed that the bark of surface roots of the trees is skinned right off--weakening the trees. On the right, this parking lot swale planted with a variety of rain garden plants absorbs more stormwater and provides good habitat for birds and butterflies.  This attractive parking lot, also in central Florida, requires less maintenance and reduces the volume of water entering the local stormwater drainage system. (Chapter 12)

Plate 22: Red mangroves, plants with their own stilts, create a tangled structure that adds to the stability of Florida's shorelines and creates habitat for fish and other wildlife. (Chapter 13)

Plate 23a & b: A living shoreline has been installed on Perdido Key (near Pensacola).  On the left in 1999 the bare sand and a newly installed baffle before planting.  On the right in 2001, beach grasses have filled in.  The shoreline is protected and important shoreline habitat has been created.  (Florida DEP provided these photos. Used with permission.)  (Chapter 13)

Plate 24: Preparing your landscape for hurricanes and fires is sustainable.  Trees in water-logged soil are more vulnerable to hurricane-force winds, but expert pruning can lighten the crown.  Stormwise and firewise landscaping may significantly reduce damage and save time and money. (Chapter 14)

Ginny took a book tour across the state in 2009 & 2010. 
She made 52 stops; see where went at Florida appearances

Order your copy of Sustainable Gardening for Florida from University Press of FL, Amazon, or your local bookstore.

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