Archive for the ‘wildflower seeds st augustine’ Category

Native and Drought Resistant Plants for St. Augustine: Wildflower Plantings in November

Monday, November 14th, 2011

by Sean Hess (, Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty ( Join us on Facebook.

My daughter seeding Florida native wildflowers.

My daughter seeding Florida native wildflowers.

This month we’re finally seeding wildflowers for our Valley of Life Project.

A recap: I’ve nicknamed my front yard “The Valley of Death” because nothing will grow there, except sand and the occasional weed.  So I decided to replant it using Florida native and drought resistant plants that are perfect for the soil and climate (read about our earlier plantings this season).

Last month we tarped off an area of the Valley for planting Florida native wildflowers.  The idea is to kill anything underneath the tarp using the heat of the sun, which is ironic as nothing grows in the Valley anyway.

In the meantime we ordered a 1.5 oz seed packet from  I ordered the beach wildflower mix which includes Beach Sunflower, Blanket Flower, Soft Coneflower, Standing Cypress, and Powder Puff Mimosa.  I chose the beach mix because I really like Blanket Flower and Soft Coneflower.

The real trick (before ordering the seeds) was trying to figure out how much/many seeds we needed.  After doing some research online I somehow came up with the figure of 7 pounds of seeds per acre.  The tarped test area that we were going to plant the wildflower seeds on was only 120 square feet (.22 percent of an acre).  So the smallest seed pack sold (1.5 ounces) would actually work out to something like 4 times as much seed as we needed.

When I pulled off the tarp this weekend the scraggly grass that was there when I covered it was dead (okay, I exaggerate when I say nothing grows…the grass is patchy and gets burned out easily in the hot sun), but some of the scraggly weeds still managed to maintain some green.  The weeds don’t grow well but they won’t die either!  Oh, well.

I moved the tarp to an adjacent area that we’ll seed next month.

My daughter and I used a rake to scrape and till the area, but not too much.

Then we took out the wildflower seeds in pinch-fuls and let the wind broadcast them onto the tilled area.  It’s hard to believe that so few seeds are needed.

Stomping down the wildflower seeds.

Fun, fun, fun! Stomping down the wildflower seeds.

Then the fun part (for my daughter) was stomping over the area to make sure the seeds made contact with the soil, so they can germinate.

Ideally we should have tarped the area in August and planted the seeds in October, per the reccomendations for Northeast Florida.  But since we live so close to the actual coast where it’s warmer, as opposed to being well inland, I’m hoping we’ll get by with a later planting season more suited to Central Florida.

If things go as planted the seeds should sprout sometime in the spring or early summer.

Contact St. Augustine Team or just call (904) 386-8327 if you want to find your Florida native home today!

Native Plants and Drought Resistant Plants for St. Augustine’s Valley of Death, Part III

Friday, October 21st, 2011

by Sean Hess (, Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty ( Join us on Facebook.

The future wildflower area tarped over.

The future wildflower area tarped over.

This month we’re preparing the ground in the Valley for some Florida native wildflower plantings.

We did it by spreading out a black tarp (actually black trash bags cut up) over the area where we want the wildflowers to grow.  We did this so the heat from the sun will kill what’s underneath.

What is ironic is that we actually have to kill something in the Valley of Death, where I’ve said nothing will grow anyway.  It’s not neccesarily that things won’t grow, but that they grow oddly, weeds and the occasional sprout of grass together, seperated by sand patches.

So we’re trying to take it down to the sand so we can seed Florida native wildflowers like Blanket Flower and Black Eyed Susan.

We tarped out only half the area designated on our plat for wildflowers.  Like the society garlic and tender fountain grass we’ve already planted, we want to see how it goes in small amounts first.

I should have actually done the tarping in August when the heat is much higher, and seeded this month.  But we hadn’t planted the society garlic yet, which forms the border with the wildflowers.  So here we are and we’ll see how it goes.

I’ll keep you updated as we move along!

For a group of Realtors that will keep you in green grass and wildflowers, contact St. Augustine Team or just give us a call at (904) 386-8327!

Native Plants and Drought Resistant Plants for St. Augustine’s “Valley of Death”

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

by Sean Hess (, Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty ( Join us on Facebook.

“Look around you, this is the Valley of Death.” -The Humongus to Mad Max, The Road Warrior

The Valley of Death is not so far away as the apocalyptic wasteland of the 1981 classic The Road Warrior.   In fact, it’s my front yard, near Wildwood Drive in what I like to call the Unfashionable South End of St. Augustine.

Fountain Grass wondering what it did to deserve this.

Fountain Grass wondering what it did to deserve this.

Beyond sand, the only thing my front yard will tolerate growing is the occasional and daring blade of bahia grass.  The centipede grass that we thought would weather the full sun and sand better than anyother grass only grows until the unyielding sun burns it into a brown crisp.  A magnolia…a Southern magnolia…that we planted six years ago still survives, but it’s shrunk.  It only stays alive from the water I use to wash my bike every weekend.

With the extended drought this year it’s been a particularly hard for the green things trying to eek out an existence in the Valley. Even the weeds won’t grow.

I don’t have an irrigation system, and don’t want one.  So what to do?

The solution of course is drought resistant plants and Florida Native plants whenever possible.

I started by checking out every Florida landscaping book and Florida native plant book from the library to get ideas.  From those books we got a good idea of what plants could survive the full sun and poor soil of the Valley of Death.

Then my wife and I “mapped” our yard by walking it and planting stakes in the approximate areas where were wanted to plant.  And then we figured out what we could plant during the hot month of August.

From there it was to Southern Horticulture on the Island where we talked to our friend Lauri to see what plants they had in stock.  We came up with something called Tender Fountain Grass (pennisetua setaceum) “Rubrum,” which tolerates heat, poor soil and doesn’t reseed itself all over the place. 

We had some good luck on the way.  The St. Johns County Ag Center was hosting a monthly talk on native plants at the same time.  Hosted by Elkton’s Renee Stambaugh of Native Plant Consulting, it was a quick introduction into some six or seven native varieties that we could plant right away.   

One of the master gardners speaking at the native plant talk also instructed us how to get the ground prepared now for planting Florida native wildflowers in October.  And even better, a source where you could buy Florida wildflower seeds in bulk: the aptly named

To start our plantigs we only put in three smallish containers of Fountain Grass.  As time goes on and we add plants season by season we’ll update you how it’s going in the Valley!

Planting Trees with Every Sale

Back in the day I started making a charity donation and tree planting donation with every sale.  The tree planting donation started when (during the go-go days of the real estate boom) a developer axed a gigantic old oak that my friends and I used to lunch under to build a parking lot.  The parking lot is pretty empty these days but the tree is still gone. 

I started the donation as an actual tree given to the buyer or seller (who’s house I just sold).  But nobody ever would get back to me on what plant or tree they wanted, so I just ended up donating to either American Forests or the American Chestnut Society, which used the monies to plant trees…but not necessarily in Florida.

So with this Valley of Death project I just started I am going to turn my donation focus there, for two reasons.  One, it will keep the donation local.  Two, it will also make the donation more relevant, in that we can learn together here about planting in the tough soils of St. Augustine. 

See our charity and tree donations so far.

For a team of Realtors that strives to be knowledgable about local plants as well as local real estate, contact St. Augustine Team Realty or call (904) 386-8327!