Saturday, February 19, 2011

In the Green of Things

Deadline day and the landscape gardeners are doing a botanical boogie-woogie outside putting over one hundred new plants and trees in place across ten different planting areas. In the northeast corner a man wrestles a majestic beauty into place between crinum lilies and bulbine plants, making sure the alignment gives the harmony he is looking for. To the west of that a team of three settle a huge Chinese fan palm into its hole, sprinkling both hole and root system with plant food and beneficial bacteria.

Scattered around the grounds are big bundles of blue-eyed grass and bales of rusty Georgia pine straw. The blue-eyed grass will fill out beds, the straw provide a blanket for newly planted areas and warmth for unsettled roots. The pine straw is also useful in blocking sunlight from sprouts of pesky dollar weed. In this climate dollar weed spreads quickly, like that equally troublesome southern cousin kudzu. For four months the newly planted beds cannot be sprayed with weed killer. The pine straw will help to hold the dollar weed down.

One of the gardeners has dug up two huge rocks, moving them into a Japanese-like arrangement around the newly planted pineapple-guava tree. Blocked from the wind and salt spray there is hope that the rocks will eventually become host to baby ferns and swatches of green moss.

Two desired varieties are missing for the time being. The final design will include orange birds of paradise and white fountain grass, but the first is late arriving and the second arrived in what the head gardener calls a weak and unhealthy condition. The fountain grass will be sent back and those designated areas in the plan will remain empty until March when the new grass arrives.

The white sand beach and ocean blue are now fronted by a new aspect of flowering green and rusty red pine straw. Calls to mind a famous line, “God shed his grace on thee…”


(1) giant agave plant being put in

(2) after planting with juniper, pine straw and giant rock

(3) blued-eyed grass in pine straw with bulbine and giant rock


  1. Can't wait to see it. It may be sooner than you think.

  2. So glad years ago I half-heartedly started fooling around with plants in pots and some in flowerbeds. Didn't take long to get hooked on getting hands dirty and the pleasure of seeing beautiful plants grow. And the added benefit is how relaxing it all is.

  3. It's gorgeous! Don't listen to the grouches. They must have very unhappy lives!


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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America