Thursday, August 26, 2010

Two Years Vacant in Florida = 1 billion Weeds!

It's been a long spring and summer - fighting the weeds at our new (old) home in Jacksonville, Florida. After being vacant for two years... Craziness! Being sustainable has seemed overwhelming.
Little by little we've been digging out - trying to start a compost pile - pulling out weeds and removing some not so healthy looking shubbery. We even had to take down a very old very sick Laurel Oak. (I cried... but the arborist pointed out that it was on its way down one way or the other).

We took down ivy that was tearing apart our mortar in between bricks. I cried about that too - but John pointed out - bricks were warmer than ivy in the winter - and so I continued pulling it all down... 

Our lawn in the front yard was comprised of one part grass to 25 parts strange weeds. We discussed options... trying to make the weeds green and full and just mowing it to make it look pretty, landscaping the whole thing and getting rid of the "lawn", putting in perennial peanut.... In the end - because of simplicity and cost - we ended up resodding. Maybe not the most sustainable decision - but definitely instant gratification. (if 2 months of prep work qualifies as instant gratification.

I'm super pscyhed about the end result when I pull in to the driveway now. Little by little we are making progress. I can't wait till all this manual labor is manageable and we can really start to be creative with a garden.  First thing on my list... to cover up the lovely squirrels lurking in our iron work by the front door. Whoever thought squirrels were in good taste... was wrong. 

But the best thing about Florida in the summer (at least with some plants) is that it is hot and humid and things are growing fast. I planted jasmine in June and it has started to cover the iron work. Can't wait till this is all green!

And then window boxes! Less is more - I love these textures in an all green window.

What are some things I really want to do? Well landscaping... and that's on the schedule for this Fall. Hopefully all native (or as many native as possible) plants. Ideas? I'd love to hear them. But really more fun is a living wall. We've got some big open brick wall spaces on our back patio... Perfect for a living wall. Check out the gallery at Bright Green.