TRICIA PIERCE, SOUTH LAKELAND
Q: Describe your garden.
Answer: My garden is Florida rich and features native plantings. My backyard is the focal point and includes brick paver walkways that lead to numerous seating areas, a children’s playhouse, a garden workshed and a gazebo. There is also a water feature and numerous fountains. Statuary is featured throughout the natural foliage with a number of trellises and archways framing each entryway. There are now, due to my mother’s assistance, featured potted plantings with annuals.
Q: How long have you been gardening?
Answer: I started after moving into my home more than 15 years ago. The enormous oak trees in the backyard precluded any real grass from growing, and the lack of a sprinkler system also prohibited a lush landscape.
Q: From whom (or what) have you learned the most as a gardener?
Answer: Both my mom and dad provided me a predisposition for gardening and yard work. My dad helped me develop the first of many beds on my over half-acre property. I also have a good friend who told me she was inspired by my yard and began her own journey to develop her backyard into an oasis. We have each other over often to share our new ideas and creations.
Q: What are your go-to plants?
Answer: Bromeliads, peace lilies, crape myrtles, ligustrums (which have grown into beautiful trees) and Australian ferns.
Q: What was your biggest gardening mistake?
Answer: Thinking I knew what would thrive in a mostly shady backyard. Truly the yard has taught me what would grow and do well and what was “meant to be.” Often I have found the plants that have “sprung up” and taken root weren’t from me but from nature taking over. I now have a number of elephant ears and magnolias that are thriving that weren’t through any of my doing.
Q: What are some challenges you face?
Answer: The shade, while conducive to the plants that thrive in my backyard, tends to support the growth of many molds and fungi that tend to be harsh to plant and other wood structures. Also, during the summer months when the rains come, the garden grows in leaps and bounds requiring at least an annual “haircut” and/or trimming.
Q: What is your best piece of advice for fellow gardeners?
Answer: Go with your gut and be patient. Just keep planting with love and your garden will grow.
Have you ever been so proud of your garden that you wished you had some way to show it off? We’re looking for readers’ photos and growing tips for our “How Does Your Garden Grow?” feature in Baylife. It doesn’t matter if you have a small container garden or a long-established landscape; we want to hear about it. Just answer the questions above and email them along with a couple of jpgs of your garden to Baylife@tampatrib.com. Or mail your answers and photos to Baylife, The Tampa Tribune, 202 S. Parker St., Tampa, FL 33606. Please include a phone number and/or email (not for publication).