The Garden Pathway

Form Follows Function

The design phrase “form follows function” was first attributed to architectural structures,
but the concept is valid whenever design comes into play…
even when designing a Garden Pathway.

When we think of pathways winding through a garden or landscape, we envision a cool, peaceful stroll while our senses take in the beauty and aroma of flowers and plants around us. But these paths can also be useful. They provide air circulation, form natural plant and people boundaries, and give access to maintenance. While most pathways have a set beginning and an end-point, the line of travel is optional. It can form the quickest way from here to there, or take the explorer on a contemplative stroll past a focus point or vista. Pathways help us relax and take in the beauty of our surroundings.

A pathway can be both functional and aesthetic. It’s the perfect medium for designers who practice the art of form follows function design.

FORM refers to how it’s built.

Is the walkway straight or curvy? Flat or rolling? Is it built with stone, shells or mulch? These answers depend on the professional assessment of several factors, including the existing property, grade, soil conditions, structures, and much much more.

FUNCTION refers to the purpose of the path.

Does it provide direction through the garden, prevent stepping on fragile plants, keep feet dry and soil from becoming too compact? Can adding a path through the landscape help protect sensitive ecosystems?

Design of a well-functioning pathway is the art of balancing the variables. It can take time and patience, but a well-designed garden path makes for a more enjoyable and useful landscape. Paths encourage us to experience the magic of nature more fully.

Would you like to explore adding paths to your landscape? Visit our website to learn how we approach Landscape Design, or call (772) 546-2861 now to request an on-site visit. 

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Secrets and Science of the Florida Blueberry

April is Blueberry Festival Time

We love our native plants, and Florida blueberries are natives! 

Celebrate Florida Blueberries

Early settlers gathered wild blueberries and gave them names: High Bush, Rabbit Eye, and Evergreen. In those days, it took a great deal of luck and a lot of patience to grow and gather enough blueberries for one pie!

Later generations learned (perhaps by trial and error) that to bear fruit the blueberry bush must have a few hours to “chill out” every season. When temperatures drop below 45° F and stay there long enough, a chilled blueberry bush will flower and leaf out in the spring — and if the bush is planted in full sun, its fruit quality will be high. Check out Florida’s chill hours.

Years ago, there was a blueberry farm located off Citrus Blvd, but unfortunately it’s no longer there. Still, we love our blueberries so much that the smart scientists at the University of Florida IFAS Extension keep a close eye on them for us. IFAS can report that production has steadily increased from about 1.5 million pounds in the early 1990s to over 25 million pounds in 2015 even with numerous and sometimes severe production problems.

Florida’s blueberry production will always be touch-and-go, unlike northern states such as Washington, who leads the nation with a production of over 96 million pounds a year, and Michigan with over 20,000 acres set aside just for growing blueberries.

Florida ranks #8, which is “up there” only because of the introduction of a new variety developed by our own University of Florida and named the ‘Southern Highbush’. Thanks, UF/IFAS for improving the science and production of the Florida blueberry!

April is Blueberry Festival Time in Florida; even though someone could pull a Covid-cancel at the last minute, many festivals are still on!

BLUEBERRY FESTIVALS

Mount Dora Blueberry Festival
April 24/25 in Donnelly Park
website

Find a Florida Blueberry Festival in 2021

THE BLUEBERRY GARDENER’S GUIDE

From UF/IFAS Extension, the Blueberry Gardener’s Guide provides home gardeners with basic information on growing blueberries in Florida. Download the PDF.

Interested in adding blueberry bushes to your landscape? Ask to speak to one of our horticulturists.

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How We Preserve Our Most Important Natural Resource – Water!

When it rains, it pours! This familiar phrase was first coined by Morton Salt in 1911 to sell their first free-flowing salt that promised not to clump on rainy days. The classic catch-phrase suggests that “one bad thing follows another” — like rain (or lack of it) in south Florida. 

South Florida’s tropical landscapes thrive with an average of 8.5 inches of rain in August, but need irrigation to survive the January drought of just 2.5 inches. 

Florida has a water problem! Our water-dependent ecosystems of springs, rivers, lakes and wetlands must survive these flood-to-drought situations and can only do so if we adopt landscape irrigation restrictions and increase our use of reclaimed water.

Green Cay Wetlands in Florida. Robin Mehdee/Flickr

According to the Florida Chamber of Commerce Florida’s population could increase to nearly 26 million by 2030, a number larger than the entire population of Australia. Practicing environmentally-friendly landscaping practices are vital to protect, conserve, and sustain our water needs for people and commerce.

This is why Jenkins Landscape is a major supporter of the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ (FFL) programs from the University of Florida IFAS Extension. FLL promotes nine basic landscape principles for water conservation:

  1. right plant, right place
  2. water efficiently
  3. fertilize appropriately
  4. mulch
  5. attract wildlife
  6. manage yard pests responsibly
  7. recycle
  8. reduce stormwater runoff
  9. protect the waterfront

We design, install and maintain low-impact landscapes according to FLL principles, but any homeowner or HOA can adopt these practices on their own. For example:

  • Prevent irrigation runoff when rainfall is plentiful using a zone approach for irrigation with a functioning automatic rainfall shutoff device for in-ground systems and a rain gauge to track rainfall amounts. 
  • During dry months, use low-flow irrigation methods with a soil moisture sensor in plant and flower beds. 
  • Use “smart clocks” on systems to save thousands of gallons of water annually.

Water conservation must be a top priority of all Floridians, especially with the new surge of incoming residents. FFL’s program for residential landscapes, Florida Yards and Neighborhoods, educates homeowners on how to design, install and maintain low-impact landscapes. 

All landscapes are not the same. Some have large areas of turf and smaller plant and flower beds; others have minimal turf grass areas and expansive shade and plant beds. Each landscape requires a specialized approach to water conservation.

Do you want to be part of the water-saving solution?

AVAILABLE RESOURCES

Visit the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for ideas and suggestions on what you can do to conserve our most important resource – water!

ASK A JENKINS EXPERT

Clients trust us to design, manage and maintain their yards, create healthy, beautiful landscapes and irrigation systems in ways that conserve Florida’s vital water resources. Call us (772) 546-2861 and ask to speak with a water conservation expert.

asterisk When it comes to using technology to practice water conservation, Jenkins personnel use a “smart watering” solution that enables our technicians to actually “show” you in graphic detail how much water and money you saved every month. Ask us about our newest Internet-connected water management solution!

Please share this newsletter with anyone you know that cares about water conservation and protection of Florida’s most important natural resource.