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Friday, Oct 20, 2017
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'I have been in the garden for over 40 years'

Q: How long have you been gardening? A: I started mowing with my parents' riding mower when I was 10. My Nana had me trimming, mowing, raking and sweeping by the following year. She paid me, too! I have been in the garden for over 40 years. Q: Who or what have you learned the most from as a gardener? A: Other gardeners and nursery owners, and plant sellers and enthusiasts at the University of South Florida and GreenFest at Plant Park.
Q: What are your go-to plants? A: I love the beauty, variety, color and versatility of crotons. They can live in pots, in the ground, in the shade or in the sun. Hibiscus are also wonderful, but when potted they require constant attention and water. Q: What was your biggest gardening mistake? A: When I was 24, I bought about two dozen viburnum to go around an ugly fence that surrounded our yard in Seminole Heights. I over-fertilized the doggone things and lost them all! I now read fertilizer directions carefully! Q: What are some challenges you face in your garden? A: It took me awhile to learn to understand the different watering needs of my plants — which potted plants needed a tray to help them keep wet and which plants just don't like wet feet. Q: What is your best piece of advice for fellow gardeners? A: Don't spend your money on something you have never seen growing in Central Florida. It won't live! Look around and find what you like in other people's yards. If they can grow it, then you probably can, too!

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, 200 S. Parker St., Tampa, FL 33606. Please include a phone number and/or email (not for publication).
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