CHRIS GORMAN AND RYAN HUNTER, WESLEY CHAPEL
Q: Describe your garden.
Answer: My fiancé and I live on an acre and a half that has been transformed into an outdoor paradise. I built a 1,000-gallon pond with a waterfall and submersible lights that come on in the evenings. The pond has many types of aquatic plants and about six koi of various colors. It is surrounded by queen palms and other tropical plants, including banana palms and plumeria. We have several other plant and tree sections in our yard, including a raised bed butterfly garden and blueberry section. Some of our trees include Japanese plum, pear, apple, navel orange, lime, tangerine, persimmons, orchid trees, crape myrtles, and magnolias, just to name a few.
Q: How long have you been gardening?
Answer: I’ve been gardening since I was in kindergarten. My mom had a greenhouse when I was growing up, and we planted a vegetable garden in the yard when I was very young. I’ve always enjoyed working outside and watching the plants grow as I nurtured them.
Q: From whom (or what) have you learned the most as a gardener?
Answer: I learned most of my gardening skills from my parents; but, as with anything in life, you continue to learn as you grow.
Q: What are your go-to plants?
Answer: My go-to plants are pentas. They are pretty durable, and the butterflies seem to love them.
Q: What was your biggest gardening mistake?
Answer: I planted a vine called a Dutchman’s Pipe in my butterfly garden, and it continues to grow over many of my other plants. I plan on moving it to a terrace where it can branch out without smothering the nearby plants.
Q: What are some challenges you face in your garden?
Answer: Keeping the weeds under control on almost 2 acres of property is a constant battle. I’ve put weed guard down, but even with that, they still seem to grow in the mulch.
Q: What’s your best advice for fellow gardeners?
Answer: Keep an eye on your plants so you can catch insect and fungus infestations early.
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).