Relying on My Experts
Full disclosure: I don’t have a green thumb. In fact, I have always been intimidated by gardening. Seems as though it was just about putting my hand in the dirt and digging the first hole.
But realizing that a lovely and edible garden is a life necessity, I have to start somewhere. So, I turn to the Florida Gardening experts. And I don’t have to go far, as my aunts and cousins have been gardening in Florida for decades. Especially my Aunt Jean, who was very active in her garden club. And there are plenty of other experts to help – who you will meet.
There are a few things I care about when it comes to gardening: fresh citrus, herbs, and authentic Florida plants/flowers. That’s it. Seems simple enough, but there’s a lot to learn.
Recently, I was recommended a citrus nursery by the name of Drymon’s in Sarasota. I called my cousin, Caroline, my gardening guru, who knew exactly where it was. You could easily miss it, and it’s not your usual nursery. You drive into the driveway which has a big garage and small office attached. Across the street is a green house with every kind of citrus plant you need. B.C. Drymon is a fourth generation Floridian. His office is full of boars heads and all kinds of stuffed critters. He reminded me of characters from The Land Remembered. Authentic for sure.
I am interested in planting citrus trees in my yard and B.C. recommended the following as starters.
- Bearss Lemon – bears fruit July-Dec
- Ponkan Tangerine (Chinese Honey) – bears fruit Dec-Jan
- Minneola Tangelo (Honeybell) – bears fruit Dec-May
- Key Lime – an everbearing tree (several crops throughout the year)
Next, I will be featuring the planting and initial stages of citrus farming.
Drymon’s Citrus Nursery
3146 47th Street.
Sarasota, Fl 34234
Herbs and I have a love-hate relationship, but since I love to cook, I can’t do without them. I can certainly buy herbs at the grocery, which I do, but their freshness can never be guaranteed. So, gardening with fresh herbs is a must.
At least I know to put them in boxes. I went to the Earthbox store in Ellenton, and they set me up with a box, giving me the instructions and basics for planting. Earthboxes are for gardening dummies and that’s me. They are planter boxes with a screen at the bottom, a tube for the watering, leaving room so that the root system receives just enough water for a bountiful garden. Blake Whisenant, the inventor and patent holder, developed the system. Follow my steps through the photos, but the Earthbox folks will be very helpful.
Growing An Authentic Yard
Jan, my yard master, knows a heck of a lot about plants and where to grow them. Growing up on a Michigan family farm, Jan learned the business from a young age. His family vacationed in Florida while living in Michigan and later Jan moved here. He has lived and worked in the gardening world for 30 years and knows his Florida horticulture. Since I live near water, I have to be very careful to plant what grows best. Jan will be helping me with authentic plants and flowers and what best to grow, so stay tuned for more on Authentic Gardening.
Jan Benedict, Garden Master, 941.468.2811
Recommended books by my Florida experts:
- Florida, My Eden by Frederic B. Stresau
- Your Florida Garden, Watkins & Wolfe
(Try any used book store)