A Guide to Southern Gardening by Jim Notestein
What do we mean by "Southern gardening"?
mean the region known to gardeners as the Coastal South, stretching
from the Gulf coast of Texas to the Atlantic coast of South Carolina.
The region as a whole shares a number of distinctive characteristics:
long, hot, humid summers; mild winters; abundant rain and sunshine
(usually); many native plants; and best of all, the opportunity for
focus on North Central Florida because
that's where we are, and because it makes a good microcosm of the
region as a whole.
Why do Southern gardeners
need a special
gardening here is different. We're in the transition zone
between temperate and tropical climates. Advice you get from gardening
books and instructions on seed packets may give great results in Ohio,
but produce only weeds and frustration here. A plant that needs full
summer sun in Michigan may look like it's been toasted if it gets full
summer sun in Florida. Our mild winters don't kill off bugs and weeds
the way northern winters do, and so soil preparation and planting
techniques that work up north can yield a bumper crop of aggravation
here. In other words, we need a site that tells us how to grow where
How do we know all this?
Notestein is a fifth generation Floridian, and local grower of nearly
40 years. He and his wife Emily manage the Plants4Life nursery in
Gainesville and the ‘Agave Land’ nursery in LaCrosse. Their
horticultural products include North Florida native plants, edible
plants, cacti and succulents, bonsai, and rare plants and trees from
Florida and beyond. Jim is experienced in the propagation,
installation, & care of over 200 plant species, with a strong
emphasis on Florida native plants. He has facilitated hundreds of small
family food gardens in this area. Jim has also managed landscapes for
pollination, pests, birds, butterflies, colors, fragrance, fire,
heirlooms, lawns and lawn alternatives, restoration,light and shade,
privacy and security, wildlife, water use and special sounds. He has
designed and installed theme gardens, secret, sacred and xeric gardens,
memory gardens, labyrinths and mazes, container gardens and coastal
landscapes. He has done community food networks, contract growing,
horticultural therapy, firewise certification, garden coaching, solar
powered air conditioning, landscape structures, specimen plants and
topiary art, water gardens and yard bells.