Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Some very skilled permaculture gardeners I know who are much tidier than me, have or are facing ongoing upsetting problems with neighbors and code enforcement with their own gardens or community gardens, with one now facing court action demanding they dismantle the garden completely. So I shared with them and others something I've relied on since the mid 80s in my Tampa and Denver yards, and the yards of Tampa clients in Carrollwood and on Davis Island, and in three hoity-toity neighborhoods in Denver......create a dramatic swath of color across the front of the property, closer to the street the better. Folks are MUCH less likely to object to alternative yards if they boast MUCH more color than the others. In those Denver neighborhoods this allowed me to wipe out vast areas of thirsty lawn and replace it with low water use Old Roses, perennials, annuals, herbs and veggies which delighted my clients AND their neighbors even though we were REALLY pushing the limits of the covenants. Many people feel that permaculture yards by nature look "messy" so I suggest that here in Florida people border them with yellow turnera, OLD FASHIONED red pentas (NOT the wimpy modern hybrids), dwarf yellow allamanda, lavender ruellia (Philippine Petunia), red fire spike and Klondyke Yellow Mixed Sulfur Cosmos (see the latter in a small planting in my east street bed by my van a few years ago that this week I extending to the large street facing beds bordered by logs). Sulfur Cosmos is xeric, self sows like crazy, feeds butterflies and honey bees, and is wonderfully cheery looking. I ordered a POUND of seed for just $17 from a company that I've happily dealt with for years, and have enjoyed a few nice phone chats with the owner. Each October I do a mass sowing of Dwarf Jewel Mix nasturtium seeds in my mail box bed (see pic) where they now self sow, and this October will do to in the other two beds as well...those seeds can be gotten very cheaply by the pound from Applewood Seeds in Golden, Colorado, whom I've also dealt with happily for years. I hate to see and hear about what these very gifted gardeners are going through and so want to share this technique that has served me and my landscape clients very well for years despite my own yards often being weedy and messy.....Martha Stewart I am NOT! I hope this proves helpful as here I have no problems year after year.



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