A to Z Challenge: E for Eh?… Ecology?

one of many leafy villains
one of many leafy villains

 This would have to be ecology of the yard, not the university classroom or workplace. And although this subject would seem to have nothing to do with my evolving theme of “family”, it does. It’s really meant to be a torture diversion for my family up north as they savor their 10 inches of new snow. (he he he, you could have stayed down here longer.)

Ecology defined:  the scientific study of interactions among organisms and their environment, such as the interactions organisms have with each other and with their abiotic environment. Topics of interest to ecologists include the diversity, distribution, amount (biomass), number (population) of organisms, as well as competition between them within and among ecosystems.

In other words, looking at the yard to see what grows well and what doesn’t, and taking care of it so it doesn’t completely bury you in vegetation. I’ve been working on this for years in the oneacrewoods. And this is the time of year where I stage for the growing season to come. Plants aren’t mean on purpose but they are. Mean.

This morning I spent four hours and got about 1/8 of the way around the house, cleaning gutters of leaves and flowers from the oaks, raking, pruning, and washing dirt and pollen off everything. Everywhere I look there is a plant needing attention and I could just keep at it for days but for the sake of a more balanced life, I’m breaking it down into sections.

As I’ve said before, we do have fall in Florida – we have it in the spring. My oak forest drops tons of leaves on the lawn, house, driveway, and garden beds. Some people like to rake, bag and send their leaves to the landfill. And then they buy mulch to keep their soil moist and protect their plantings. I’m just not going to do that 1) because I don’t have that kind of money for labor, bags and mulch and 2) ecology tells me that there has to be something good about leaves falling on the ground around trees or the trees would all be dead by now. I use the leaves as mulch and most of the time it works.

Another ecological move on my part is to quit fighting nature and grow only things that like living in my yard. Ferns love my yard. Flowers, most of them, do not. They are slug food and it’s pitiful to see them disappear one bite at a time. I also have bromeliads everywhere because they multiply like rabbits and like to grow around trees where it’s hard for me to mow anyway.

Okay, northern friends, come in and have a look at my green, growing, sunny, warm Florida yard.

Prune me, please
Prune me, please
Me too
Me too
Bromeliads move from here...
Bromeliads move from here…
...to here.
…to here.
One of several mega fern beds
One of several mega fern beds
a huge plant finds its favorite spot
a huge plant finds its favorite spot
Roses? not so much.
Roses? not so much.

8 thoughts on “A to Z Challenge: E for Eh?… Ecology?

  1. Shirb,
    I love your “villain” oak trees! Altho I don’t have to live with them:) They spread their branches out toward the sky in such beautiful way. Much different than most of our trees up here. I have several pictures of your villain trees taken on previous trips.

  2. Very wise gardening. So many times I try to plant stuff that I really like but that doesn’t fit into my yard “family”. I like your way of thinking–mulching with leaves is a great idea!

  3. I completely agree with your point about not fighting with things that don’t want to grow where you want them grow. I’ve wanted to have a flower garden but they just don’t grow and it’s sad to just see them sprout and wilt or get eaten up by moles.
    I’m taking part in the A-Z Challenge as well http://sukanyaramanujan.wordpress.com/

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