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Saturday, April 29, 2006

The merry month of May 

I can't believe it's almost May! Two more days, my friend, and we will be smack dab in the middle of Spring meandering nicely toward Summer. As I sat here this morning looking out at the fully leafed-out trees, I wondered what holidays or happenings take place in May. Here's what I learned:And, just for good measure, here's a few wacky ones:

As President Barlett said in an old West Wing episode, "Oh, I could go on and on and on and on..." There are many ways to celebrate in the month of May. In fact, you could probably even start a few of your own. I personally like knowing that May is Date Your Mate month and that the first Friday in May is No Pants day. Happy Gardening, but be sure to wear your pants when you're out there pulling those weeds. Those mosquitoe bites could get ugly.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Ever since we moved in 4 years ago, our neighbor has had the most gorgeous clumping bamboo planted next to our yard. It has grown to about 7 feet tall and about 5 feet wide. I absolutely love it and was thinking of asking for a piece to root.

The neighbor and I got talking yesterday as he was digging a hole to plant guess what? Bamboo, but not the clumping kind. He hates the clumping kind and is going to rip it out and throw it away. He wants the runner variety. At first he tried to tell me that it would only spread laterally along his yard. Then when I began questioning, he admitted that it would also spread dimensionally. But he was planting it so that he could get the width of a lawn mower between it and our fence so any shoots would be cut. If that didn't keep it in check he would use Round Up, he promised.

Here's what is giving me heartburn. Running bamboo is insidious if not properly controlled. I don't care if he promises me with his hand on his heart and offers me his first born child. That stuff will spread! Secondly, we have water pipes to our pool not far from that fence and the last thing we need is bamboo shoots growing in and around those pipes. The shoots will puncture the pipes.

So now we have to be on constant guard for this stuff since we have no control over what he plants. Our immediate recourse will be to put in a physical barrier of heavy milimeter plastic. I understand we will need to install it roughly two to three feet along the edge of our fence for it to effectively manage the rhizomes from spreading to our yard. We do not have the luxury of mowing any shoots in that area so this is our best alternative. Luckily we have a bamboo grower less than a mile from our home where we will be able to buy the barrier material. Let's hope it works. If not I'm getting a machete! Happy Gardening.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Ain't love grand? 

I was reading the local newspaper a couple of weeks ago about planned development in one of the older neighborhoods in Tampa. That's always a bitter sweet story. No one wants to lose the history but, by the same token, the area becomes so run down no one really wants to live there. Anyway, the reporter came across a vacant lot and there smack in the middle was this sight.

It is a palm tree with a camphor wrapped around it not once but twice, looking for all the world like a romantic embrace. The city arborist calls it "the love tree". It is very unusual -- when trees come together too closely, most of the time one will dominate and crowd out the other. In this instance, however, they grew together and essentially became one.

The good news is that these trees will not be removed to make way for development. Hopefully a park will be planned so everyone can enjoy the beauty of this unique site. Happy Gardening!

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Thanks to Andrew Stenning who contributed the photograph for our masthead

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