Help for a beginner gardener in Florida

Discussion in 'Flower Gardening' started by Sophia W., Apr 17, 2019.

  1. Sophia W.

    Sophia W. New Seed

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    Hello, all. I have zero experience gardening but am tired of looking at my dead "yard."

    I am a renter and the HOA decided to cut down the tree in our front yard but did not and will not pull out the tree stump. The top of the stump is mostly dead but I imagine there are deep roots and I am not in the position to remove this stump.

    The rest of the area is pretty sandy and is occasionally flooded when the gutter pipe overflows.

    This area gets morning sun and afternoon shade. I am in Tampa, Florida.

    Any advice on what I can do with this space, what type of plants, and how I can landscape the area would be greatly appreciated. I've attached a photo for reference.

    Also, I'd like to plant something that will help with mosquitoes and bugs since we do spend a lot of time on our porch.

    Thank you for your time.

    Sophia

    Front Yard1.jpg
     
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  3. eileen

    eileen Resident Taxonomist Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    Hi there Sophia and welcome to our worldwide forums from Scotland. I'm sure you'll get lots of help from our members as to what to do with your yard and the bugs.
     
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  4. marlingardener

    marlingardener Strong Ash

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    Sophia, welcome!
    About that stump--get a nice decorative pot, put a dwarf lantana (it comes in several colors) and make a statement out of an otherwise useless stump.
    Put a 30 gal. garbage can under the gutter pipe and harvest the rain water. No flooding, and you have water when you need it (a sprinkler can dipped in and carried to the plants that are thirsty).
    Bugs and mosquitoes--spray yourself. There is no way to repel those pests with plants. We live in central Texas and are familiar with every type of biting, stinging, and generally irritating insect. Thank heavens for "bug spray"!
     
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  5. toni

    toni Mistress of Garden Junque Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    Hi Sophia, welcome to GardenStew.!!!

    First check with the HOA to find out what kind of plants they will allow you to plant....some of those groups are really stinky when it comes to what, where and how many. Also, make sure they will let you have a rain water catchment system of any kind....catching rainwater in Colorado is illegal but I don't know about Florida, in Texas no one can refuse you the right to have rainwater collection system, HOA, neighbors.
    For Mosquitos, find a bug spray containing Citronella, Rosemary, Lavender either one or a combo, they work better than the chemical based ones and have no bad side affects.

    Before thinking about digging up that stump you also need to contact the HOA, since they refuse to remove it they might not mind you hiring it done but then again without getting their permission you could be stuck with large fines for doing it or having it done.

    I lived in W.P.B. 40+ years ago but not in an HOA compound and pretty much anything you stick in the ground will soon put out roots and leaves.
     
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  6. Odif

    Odif In Flower

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    Hello and welcome.
    What do you want from your garden, food or decoration.
    Toni, that is disgusting that you are not allowed to collect rainwater in Colorado.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2019
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  7. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Hardy Maple Plants Contributor

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    Hi Sophia,

    Welcome to the Stew! I am a northernern, so little out of my depth gardening in Florida. Your soil looks very sandy; I would suggest adding organic material to it. But then I am a northerner a little out....etc etc. I would trust what @toni says about
    "prettymuch anything you stick in the ground will soon put out roots and leaves." in your area!

    How about some blooming shrubs?
     
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  8. Gail-Steman

    Gail-Steman Young Pine

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    Hello @Sophia W. welcome to GS and nice to have you with us :like:

    I'm from the UK and I don't know how it works in Florida regarding trees but here a large majority of them are protected and if that tree was, that could be the reason why the HOA won't remove it.

    @Cayuga Morning as given good advice on what's needed to be added to your sandy soil, otherwise if your not able to do much this link is of plants that grow in sandy soil.

    https://homeguides.sfgate.com/flowers-plants-grow-well-sandy-soil-49362.html
     
  9. Sophia W.

    Sophia W. New Seed

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    Hello Eileen, thank you for the welcome. My boss is to Scotland for his second time next week. He tells me it is beautiful there!

    HI there. Yes, I was thinking a large decorative pot and plant could go on top of the stump to save me the trouble of removing it.
    Unfortunately, the HOA definitely would not allow me to put a garbage can under the gutter to collect the water but this is a great idea.
    Thanks for your advice!

    The HOA here is very strange. They don't particularly care what types of plants are planted. They cut down the tree just because they didn't like it (years before I moved in and it was as tall as the building so it had been there long enough) but have told my landlords the HOA "doesn't have the money" to remove the stump. They are very odd.
    They definitely won't allow me to collect rainwater for aesthetic purposes, whether or not it's legal.
    I like the ideas of sprays containing plants so I'll look for those.

    Hi there, I'm looking for decoration. Something simple to take care of that can withstand the Florida heat.

    Do you have a specific suggestion for organic material? I literally have no idea what I'm doing here. Blooming shrubs sound nice but I don't really know where to start. Do you have any certain ones I can look up? Do they require a lot of trimming and maintenance?

    Thank you.

    The tree was not protected, the HOA simply did not like the way it looked anymore and cut it down :smt012. It provided a lot of shade for the front part of my home so it's very annoying that it is gone now.

    Thank you for the link, I will check it out.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 19, 2019
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  10. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Hardy Maple Plants Contributor

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    Sophia,
    I use compost from my compost pile. I am guessing that being new to your home, you don't have one!! I suggest peat moss, incorporated into the soil. But really, you should hear from our southern folk who deal with sandy soil.

    Are there buildings/homes around you with shrubs that you like? If so, take a photo & go to a nursery. Ask the workers what they'd advise. Find out if they bloom all season or just for a week or two (the shrubs, not the workers). And how much sun/water they require.

    My parents had a home in FL. I remember everything grew incredibly. Pruning was a major affair. Being a northern transplant, my dad always added organic material before planting anything.
     
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  11. Odif

    Odif In Flower

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    You could plant a banana. They are easy to grow and decorative. Ask the garden centre or people around you what grows good in your area. I have sandy soil and you need organic matter to build the fertility of the sand and help with water retention. Compost is excellent. Mulching with dry organic matter will help the soil stay moist and cool in the summer.
     
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  12. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Hardy Maple Plants Contributor

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    Odif, the banana plants I have seen tend to be really messy. They go through a growth & then dying back process that is normal but not what you want to see next to your front door.
     
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  13. Jewell

    Jewell Incorrigible Gardener Plants Contributor

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    Sophia, that cute little front step looks to me like it is begging for a mosquito netting. Silly you might think, but I got one, king bed size, for camping that we hang inside our trailer canopy. It would be quite sheer and you could keep it open most of the time. Wonder if the HOA rules would allow something like that. Can’t wait to see the collection of pots and plants you decide for the area.
     
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  14. Gail-Steman

    Gail-Steman Young Pine

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    Sophia you could always plant about 3 6f pampas grasses there and you'll still get a nice display from the grass in flower with what colour you choose plus it might help regarding the light.
     
  15. mart

    mart Hardy Maple

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    First of all,, find a neighbor with a drill and drill some deep holes in the top of that stump ! Then fill the holes half full with plain table salt ! That will make sure the roots of the tree are indeed dead and prevent sprouts coming up from the roots ! It will also allow water to seep in and rot the root faster so it can turn to wood chips in a shorter time ! Since the area is close to your apartment/house try planting some coleus ! They come in many colors, are easy to propagate, and require only minimal fertilizer and to keep the soil damp ! A little compost wouldnt hurt but it can be added to the top of the planting area ! The coleus are only maybe 2 feet tall and that would hide the stump till it rots !
     
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  16. hummerbum

    hummerbum In Flower

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    Pots, many pots, especially since the stump is still green. Until then, fill up some nice pots with plants that will bring you joy. If you love butterflies, hummers, bees, then as Marlingardener said, lantana would do the trick in your space. If you love a multitude of color, shapes & sizes, then plant your heart desires. You can actually stick veggies in with the flowers. (in my case flowers with the veggies) I've done a lot of small space gardening for the past 11 years...Even grew 8-10 ft tomato vines (one tomato..lol) on a screened in porch last year...so you can do a lot with your space. Don't you just love HOAs. Below is a pic of my small space right in front of the carport/shed taken on 4/19/19. (Walking Onions, lettuces, peppers, garlic, kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, basil, oregano, spinach, mint) You should see them today....my freckled lettuce is back after i picked it down almost 2 weeks ago. I just added another pot with an okra plant and tall phlox bulbs in the same pot. The point is, there is so much you can grow in a small space to cover that stump and sand. These are fabric pots, which will meld with the stump until it's gone or you move...lol. Hope this gives you some ideas. I'm close to Savannah Georgia.
    4-7-19 No More Shrubs.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2019
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