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 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:
- Fr. Frr. Frigid Florida: What's a Gardener to do?
- Planning for Microclimates
- Spring garden detective work
- Signs of Spring in Northeastern Florida, Finally!
Native plant gardening:
Dealing with plants in containers:
Water: rainwater & otherwise
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.
- Water science and gardening
- Climb up my rain barrels
- Rain Barrels Revisited
- Three More Rain Barrels
- Rain Lilies for my rain gardens
- Expanded Rain Garden
- Rain Gardening in the South: a Book Review
- Ooh la la! French drains
- A New Bed: and Standing Stormwater
Composting and mulching
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.
- Composting for Your Garden
- Wide Row Planting and Trench Composting in the Vegetable Garden
- Follow the Yellow Mulch Road
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.
- Creating Backyard Habitat
- From Stump to Butterfly Haven
- Invite Birds to your Yard
- Just Say No to Poisons
- Managing a Natural Meadow
- Pond Pleasures
- Pee-yew! Those smelly stinkhorn fungi
- What's Been Eating My Bushy Seedbox
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.
- The Royal Herb: Sweet Basil
- Florida Blueberries
- Sweet Treat Carrots
- Edible Flowers
- The Skinny on Onions
- The Tale of Two Parsleys
- A Garden for Your Senses
- Tomatoes are for Summer
- Grow More Veggies in 2009: Kids Can Help
Trees, shrubs, & vines
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.
- Longleaf Pines
- My Magnificent but Messy Magnolias
- Palmettos in the Landscape
- Red Bay Trees are Dying
- Hey! My sago is not a palm
- Trees and Shrubs: the "Bones" of Your Landscape
- Vicious, vigorous, and vibrant vines
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.
- The (Almost) Ghost Orchids of Clay County
- No Need to Beg for Beggarticks
- The Calla Lilies are Blooming Again
- Hidden Ginger Lilies and Other Intriguing Monocots
- There's Gold in Our Meadows
- The Science Behind Southern Grasses, Including Turf
- I Covet my Neighbors' Ebony Spleenworts!
- Sensational Sunflowers
- Jewels of Summer
Gardening Lists & Misc.
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.
- Green Gators: There's More to University of Florida Gators than Just Football
- An Interview with Noted Nature Author, Gil Nelson
- A Plant by Any Common Name
- Homesick for a Real Mid-Atlantic Spring
- A tour of an Urb Farm in Jacksonville
- Wildflower Surprises
Celebrating the holidays in the garden
Plants have always played an important part in celebrating holidays. Ginny has taken note of some of the myths and traditions.
- Holly, Ivy, Poinsettias and more
- Myths and History of Mistletoe and Magnolia
- Poinsettias are NOT Poisonous
- Winter Solstice Poem
- Celebrate the Vernal Equinox
- The Recycled Christmas Wreath
- Seasonal Notes: Preparing Christmas greens and other winter house & garden ideas
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