The sunsets and the dogs on the beach are great reasons to live in South Florida. Trying to figure out how to garden here might be another story. Having spent most of my life 600 miles north of here, I thought I would be able to buy some books about what grows here and figure it out. Come to find out there really aren’t any good books.
The title sounds like something Hitler might have done. Actually, it was a bit of advice given to me by a longtime Treasure Coast gardener a few years ago. I had been lamenting the lack of good gardening information for our area and frustrated by what I had been reading in the Florida Gardening books. She said ‘throw the books away, they have no meaning here’.
This kernel of knowledge proved correct and popped into my brain this morning as I was looking at the charred remains of my Mondo Grass (that supposedly grows in Zone 10 – where I live) My suspicion is Mondo Grass will grow in Zone 10 if you import soil and water for it and keep an umbrella over it at all times, otherwise, forget about it. I had Mondo Grass further north and it was a reliable nearly indestructible groundcover. It was used as lawn in places too shady for turfgrass.
The Mondo Grass was my last rely on the books installation. My other major char broil was Bronzeleaf Begonias, which I did not even know could be burned up. I planted them in front of my Soap Aloe in my South facing front yard. Once the summer started they curled, browned, withered and unceremoniously died. The Aloe looked and still looks great. I feel bad about throwing away the offshoots sometimes, but not everybody wants a Soap Aloe. Instead of gaining sea legs on a ship, I am gaining sand legs in gardening. And usually end up covered in it.
This had left me wondering if it is really possible to write a useful gardening book with plant selection advice for a wide geographical area. I think not.