Since I'm technically on vacation from GardenLine for this coming weekend, I thought I would also enlist someone else's help for this week's email tip as well. For those who have seen these email tips for some time may remember a missive from one of my neighbor's explaining how well the fertilization schedule works, even if you have the worst soil in the world to start with. Just remember, no matter how bad you think your situation is, nothing can compare to the unmitigated crap that Ronne and Kevin started out with some three years ago.
In her words, I'll let Ronne explain why it's worth toughing it out and having a little patience with gardening techniques along the Gulf Coast - even though most of us are in for the "immediate gratification" alternatives. So, without further ado, here's a message from Neighbor Ronne.
Those of you who have been listening to GardenLine for at least the last three years have heard Randy mention Kevin and Ronne, his neighbors. We are the naïve California transplants who were swindled by a now defunct Houston landscaper.
Randy came to the rescue and helped redo our landscaping and gave us information to get our grass growing. In the front yard beds, we dug up the poor soil mix the landscaper put in and replaced it with top-quality rose soil. So, essentially, in the planting beds, we started with a clean slate, planted new nursery stock, and quickly had healthy looking bushes and flowers.
Our lawn, especially in front, had problems, too. We certainly didn't want to begin anew. Tearing out the sod and replacing it was too expensive to contemplate. Randy made some suggestions that we followed. After two long years adhering to Randy's advice and fertilization schedule (and some of our own instincts) the grass finally became healthy, thick turf. Randy credits us with lots of patience. He admits that he probably would have started over since he wants results "NOW" and lacks patience on lawn issues. But, our patience paid off! We often receive compliments about our front yard.
The backyard wasn't so easy. Randy stepped in and helped us develop a plan. The landscaper had built mulch beds for us but didn't plant any bushes. Randy suggested that when we dig out our front landscaping, we should transplant the shrubs into the backyard mulch beds. Bringing in enough rose soil to re-do the beds like we'd done for the front would have been costly (and too much work) so he recommended that Kevin rototill the beds and mix some good rose soil into the planting holes. Before planting, we dunked each bush in Randy's special concoction of Hasta Grow Plant Food and Superthrive. Randy stated that it would take awhile, but using good mulch every four months would improve the soil profile allowing our transplants to thrive.
After following Randy's advice (sometimes not very happily) for two long, tedious years, and many hours with shovels in our hands, our backyard is gorgeous. Yes, it is still a work in progress; isn't every garden? We look out the windows at flowers in bloom, bushes we'd thought were lost causes now thriving, and a rich, lush lawn. When we put in new plants and shrubs, we are surprised by how rich the soil looks.
So, yes (with lots of hard work and determination) you can transform a yard that has horrible soil conditions into one that makes you proud. It just takes adherence to Randy's schedules and advice, a bit of time and whole bunch of patience.
Ronne and Kevin
Be sure to check out Randy's event page to see where else Randy will be for the next few weekends. Bring your plants, bugs, and diseases for identification purpose.
And you can still purchase a copy of my new book
Until our next issue, here's to great gardening from the GardenLine, heard exclusively weekend mornings 8 a.m.-noon on TALKRADIO 950 KPRC.
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