Floridata Article

Transplanted Gardener

In 2004, Ginny Stibolt moved from Maryland to the wilds of northeastern Florida where she discovered a whole new world of plants and gardening. Her articles cover both her successes and failures on topics from rain gardens to vegetable gardening. (You'll find them entertaining and useful even if you don't live in Florida.)

Sustainable gardening practices

Ginny removed the lawn from around these trees and shrubs. Photo by Ginny Stibolt
Ginny removed the lawn from around these trees and shrubs. Lawn abutting trees is bad for the trees and the turf, so do what you can to create groupings of trees with no lawn around them. As a bonus, it's also easier to mow.

Ginny uses the term "sustainable" as a wide-ranging topic, where gardeners can save time, money, and the environment. She's discussed sustainable lawn-care, strategies for dealing with plants in containers, either temporarily or permanently, and dealing with the climate, both microclimates within the landscape and overall climatic conditions. She also wrote " Sustainable Gardening for Florida," which was published by University Press of Florida in 2009. The book covers this topic in much more detail.

Sustainable lawncare practices:

Gardening for the climate:

Native plant gardening:

Dealing with plants in containers:

Water: rainwater & otherwise

Finding ways to collect rain water on your property reduces pollution of our waterways. Photo by Ginny Stibolt
Finding ways to collect rain water on your property reduces pollution of our waterways.

As we know, water is necessary for plants to grow. Ginny explains water science for gardeners. Plus with more droughts and water shortages; you can harvest some of the rain to use for plants and compost. They'll appreciate the lack of chlorine and other additives used in our drinking water. Ginny shows how to build your own rain barrel systems, build rain gardens to capture the extra storm water, and how to handle drainage issues with French drains and dry wells.

Composting and mulching

Ginny loves wood chips as mulch.  Photo by Ginny Stibolt
Ginny loves wood chips as mulch. They are sustainable on so many levels: the tree guys working in her neighborhood can dump their load before they leave, the wood chips perform well as mulch and they are free.

Composting is that magical gardeners' process that turns waste into black gold, which is so good for the soil in gardens and around newly planted trees and shrubs. Ginny shares her various composting strategies. Mulching builds soil, but not before it protects it from weed invasions, temperature changes, and loss of moisture.

Ecosystem gardening

A great purple hairstreak butterfly. Photo by Ginny Stibolt
A great purple hairstreak butterfly sips nectar from a snow squarestem (Melanthera nivea).

Working with Mother Nature instead of against her, makes your landscape friendly to birds and pollinators. From reducing pesticides to using more native plants, everything you do makes a positive difference to wildlife. Ginny articles cover a wide range of projects she's tackled to make her landscape more of a working ecosystem. For further information, Doug Tallamy's book, "Bringing Nature Home", provides well-researched and easy-to-understand arguments for using more native plants in your yard, no matter how small.

Edible gardens

Sweet Treat Carrots. Photo by Ginny Stibolt
Sweet Treat Carrots from Ginny's garden.

Vegetable gardening in Florida is vastly different than when Ginny grew edibles in Maryland or New England. Ginny grows enough food to have reduced the food expenditures for her and her husband by 15%! Her adventures in her north Florida edible gardens have also led to her writing "Organic Methods for Vegetable Gardening in Florida" with Melissa Contreras, who gardens in Miami. It was published in 2013 by University Press of Florida.

Trees, shrubs, & vines

Florida's state tree. Photo by Ginny Stibolt
Florida's state tree, the cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto).

Woody plants play important roles in your landscape. Take care to choose the ones with the best chance of success and use the best practices for planting and ongoing care to increase the odds.

Herbaceous plants

A gulf fritillary sips from a matching zinnia. Photo by Ginny Stibolt
A gulf fritillary sips from a matching zinnia.

Herbaceous plants may do the most to decorate your landscape. They may also be your worst weeds. Ginny works to sort through some of these important landscape plants and some science on how the southern grasses have become so efficient in the hot weather.

Gardening Lists & Misc.

There is alwys somethings to do in the garden. Photo by Ginny Stibolt
There is always something to do in Ginny's garden. This sphinx moth worm's list is much shorter than Ginny's, but they both keep chewing away.

People love lists. Ginny is no exception. She's made a number of gardening to-do lists over the years. There are also some articles here that didn't fit into the other categories, so they've been added to this list.

To-do lists:


Celebrating the holidays in the garden

American holly (Ilex opaca).  Photo by Ginny Stibolt
American holly (Ilex opaca)

Plants have always played an important part in celebrating holidays. Ginny has taken note of some of the myths and traditions.

Ginny Stibolt moved to northeastern Florida in 2004 and even though she's a botanist and lifelong gardener, Florida gardening was a shock. She started writing The Adventures of a Transplanted Gardener columns for the Times Union newspaper in Jacksonville. This is one of those columns archived here on Floridata.com for your enjoyment. Now she's written three Florida garden books published by University Press of Florida: Sustainable Gardening for Florida, 2009; Organic Methods for Vegetable Gardening in Florida with Melissa Contreras, 2013, and The Art of Maintaining a Florida Native Landscape, 2015. Check out her blog for the latest news and articles: www.GreenGardeningMatters.com

Transplanted Gardener Article Index

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