Tuesday, March 5, 2013

I look forward to attending and speaking at Tricia's 'Spring into Sustainability' permaculture event this weekend in Brooksville, then my fourth visit to Andy's Firk's Bamboo Grove in Arcadia for another gathering there next month. Largely due to my having become a Facebook junkie, over the last 12-18 months I have gotten to meet and know a great many delightful people who are passionate gardeners and permaculturists. I've learned SO much from them and have acquired a great many new-to-me edible crops, both annual and perennial that are finding their way into my front and back yards as I re-invent both. Andy, plus Josh Jamison in Lake Wales, are brilliant plants men and horticulturists, and Josh in particular at just 20 already demonstrates an uncanny and inspiring appetite for inquiry then learning then sharing.....he has blessed me with several new crops I'd not known of! Tricia is giving me a rooted cutting of the White Mulberry that she and Josh love and promote as a perennial cooked veggie and as "kale chips"! Learning of hugel kultur and the Food Forest concepts has been a powerful catalyst for me as I reinvent my yard to once again breed roses, but this time with a very specific focus of breeding super xeric roses for Florida using a few key "Moms" and a wide variety of "Dads". Initially, years ago my front yard was home to 170 roses and was tidy and almost formal.....years of drought decimated that. This new version may have around 70 roses but THIS time have far more perennial and annual flowers and, for the first time, food crops interspersed between them to take advantage of my willingness to use a little more water than my previous obsession with using VERY little...each rose gets about 5 lbs. of cheap white clay cat litter at the bottom of the hole, and each bed will get MUCH thicker mulch than before. This effort is being shaped in part by what I've learned from people I know in real life or just on FaceBook, and I've enjoyed sharing what I have learned over the years with them and my students. One goal is to have the front yard MUCH tidier.....another is to have it MUCH more colorful while for the first time ever bearing food..... hot peppers, mints and alliums in particular. Here are a few pics from maybe 10 days ago showing the original bare bones of the garden I laid down in 2003 that had been consumed by bidens weeds, two giant roses 'Cherokee Rose' and 'Mermaid' and two perennial tropical vines of NIGHTMARISH vigor....Pandorea and Ipomoea acuminatta that I unwittingly planted back then. A LOT has occurred here since I took these pics as a delicious case of Spring Fever settles in. By midsummer my new goals and ambitions for my front yard should be fully apparent and partially realized. Thanks to many for the lessons, seeds, tubers, cuttings and plants! John

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