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“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.”  – Khalil Gibran

According to Wikipedia, Xeriscaping “refers to landscaping and gardening in ways that reduce or eliminate the need for supplemental water from irrigation. It is promoted in regions that do not have easily accessible, plentiful, or reliable supplies of fresh water, and is gaining acceptance in other areas as climate patterns shift.”

Xeri, comes from the Greek “xeros,” meaning dry, and “scape,”  is a kind of view or scene. When you put the two words together you have a  landscape with slow-growing, drought-tolerant plants to conserve water and establish a waste-efficient landscape.  Xeriscaping will also reduce the high cost of your water bills and comes in very handy during the drought periods we sometimes have in Florida.

For an in-depth explanation with lots of suggestions for choosing plants please click on the following link – xeriscaping. This link will bring you to the IFAS website, which looks like a newsletter.  There is a plethora of helpful information other than gardening and landscaping.  For example, you can find helpful information on energy, water conservation, waste management, wildlife, natural history, food and other local information.

There is a home on NW 8th Avenue in Gainesville that makes use of one aspect of xeriscaping.  All the plants have been strategically planted so that the water runoff on the property goes to these plants. It is truly a zero maintenance yard in spite of the variety of plants growing there.This home sits next to Rattlesnake creek and boasts a magnificent variety of trees such as:

  • Japanese persimmon
  • grapefruit
  • Orange
  • Satsuma tangerine
  • an avocado tree from Mexico and
  • Three varieties of olive trees
    1. green olive
    2. black olive
    3. brown olive
  • a Hong Kong Orchid tree and/or Mountain Ebony
  • camellias
  • two kinds of Bougainville’s
  • Paw Paw trees, and of course
  • Saw Palmettos

If having all this fruit isn’t enough, the home itself is an architects’ delight with  2 story soaring windows in the family room, an updated kitchen, a mother-in-law suite, a loft overlooking the pool area and a free form salt water pool.

There is a ravine along the back portion of the property, where rattlesnake creek runs, which has a cross-country trail system running through it.   This ravine sustains the life of, and breeding habits of, 60 of the 65 varieties of dragon flies found in Florida.

This home has over 3000 square feet of heated and cooled living space and is located only 8 blocks from the University of Florida in Gainesville. This is not only a great home, but you can purchase it at the great price of only $219,000.00.  This is a pre-approved short sale and the home will not last long on the market. For more information about this great home, please click on the following link: MLS# 329532.

Regarding the slide show below, the smaller pictures are of the home cleaned up when someone who cared about the property was living there.  The larger pictures are of the home in its current condition.  It can very easily be restored to the way it used to look – all it needs is some elbow grease and trimming of the yard. If you would like to take a tour of this property, please call for an appointment at the numbers below.

Jocelyne Grandjean-Brown

CDPE Trained

RE/MAX Professionals

Gainesville, FL 32606

Office: 352-375-1002

Cell: 352-870-9929

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“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young”    Henry Ford 

Colder temperatures send pests, such as field mice, spiders, water bugs, and cockroaches – or palmetto bugs as they call them here in Florida, searching for food, water and shelter inside your homes. Mice are a common winter nuisance here in the south, and only need a space the size of a nickel to enter your home.
I remember as a child, my father putting steel wool around the pipe openings, or if he made a repair, in the opening before sealing that repair.  It didn’t matter if there was no way anything could come into our home once the repair was made, as long as my mother felt secure, that is all that mattered. So to help you keep those unwanted house guests away here are some tips.

  • Seal any cracks and holes on the outside of the home, including utility and pipe entrances.
  • Seal the openings where a pipe comes into your home – under sinks etc. You can use that stuff that squirts into an opening then expands and hardens or you can use the old steel wool method.
  • Put screens on vents and openings to chimneys. This will also keep birds, bats, raccoons and squirrels away.
  • Replace loose mortar and weather-stripping around the basement foundation and windows, and at all entry doors. Helps with utility bills as well.
  • Keep attics, basements if you have one, and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
  • If you store items in totes, make sure you tape up the holes.  Those holes allow spiders, roaches and other assorted bugs to crawl into the tote and nest.  You’ll usually find those holes in the handles or the carved out spaces for your hands to carry the tote.  Yes, those holes are there for ventilation, but I for one do not like to be surprised with a spider nest when I go for something stored in the tote. I would rather seal it, than create a nesting place for bugs and mice. Been there! Done that!


“We cannot command Nature except by obeying her.” – Francis Bacon

One lone flower blooming amidst the carnage.  It seems even nature knew how upset I was over this whole fallen tree and the mess it left, that my Gardenia bush decided to put out a bloom to cheer me up.

Here we are at a stopping point until it stops raining and the wood dries out some.  Everything has been stripped of small sticks and leaves and piled in one stack for cutting.  The larger chunks are drying (if it stops raining for a few days) and will need to be split and stacked.  Then there is the remainder of the trunk, just hovering over my aloe.  When it gets cut, I’m sure I’ll lose a few aloe leaves. Oh well, the aloe grows like weeds here, so I’m sure it will be ok.

With all the rain, my bromeliads are doing great in their new growing place. I don’t know what is in the needles of the leaves but I sure got pricked by the leaves.  My arms and legs looked as if I had poison Ivy or some kind of rash, and it took about two weeks to clear up!

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“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” –  Ralph Waldo Emerson

This is a pictorial update to my post dated June 16th and titled “THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!” In that post I mentioned how we lost a Hickory tree in a storm and posted pictures of the aftermath.  Following, in this slide-show, are pictures from when we started to clean up the branches.  I clipped all the leaves from any branch that seemed a good candidate for firewood.   The pieces that were too small, all the leaves, and all the fallen moss, were put into a burn pit to dry out before burning.

The next big project was transplanting all the bromeliads from around the fallen tree.  First I  had to dig them out, then some of them had to be separated and cleaned of the dead leaves before going to their new home.  You’ll see some of my bromeliads laying in a wheelbarrow waiting to be transplanted.

Meanwhile, my husband Rob, hacked away at the larger branches and the trunk of the tree with his chain saw. He thought the pieces should be left in the sun to dry before stacking in the back for firewood.  With all this rain, I wonder how long it will take for the wood to dry before we can split it and stack it.  We still have quite a bit of trunk, and all the roots sticking up in the air left to cut. Between the rain and the high, humid temperatures, neither one of us feels like going out to work on that tree.  I hope it cools down some so we can finish it up and be done with it!

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Reducing dust mites is the last article in this series from Home Warranty of America, Inc.  To view this article, click on the red word above and you can either read the article on-line or print it for future use.


Another uninvited guest shows up on the back porch.  The cat’s are hissing and the dogs barking, all the while this racoon – I’ll call him Rocky, seems to be posing for the picture. What nerve! Nothing seems to bother him or her.


Can someone tell me what this creature is. One view is the back and the other is the front. I found this creature stuck to the kitchen window screen and took a picture of it. It looks evil like a mouse or bat with green wings, but it wasn’t very big. It’s wingspan was about 3 inches across. It hung out on the screen for about a day and a half then disappeared. I don’t know where it went and I don’t want to know either.

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