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Looking for help with Florida gardening

I’m instinctively a gardener. I grew up in an atmosphere where family gardening was commonplace. We had a structured lifestyle and nothing ever changed. I grew up in one house my entire childhood; we never moved, and hardly traveled. I loved that. 

Being comfortable living in one place for a long time is what I’ve only ever known. After growing up, I wanted to explore the world. Starting roots has always been difficult for me. It’s easier to establish social roots after I’ve moved into a place that I can make something grow without being contained to a planter or window cup. 

I’m not a great gardener by any means. Seems like everything I plant dies, and that’s only because I’m only able to read the signs it needs water; I even forget to do that. I like to get them started. I kind of usually expect them to do the rest because all the nutrients are in the earth. Why should they need chemicals and other concentrations of nutrients. 

I sounds ignorant, but I’m only being blunt so that the suggestions I receive are clear enough someone less than clever will know how much information to provide. 

Living in Florida, our whole backyard is basically sand. Like, sand on the beach but a gray color and dense-ish. I’m not really sure how great plants will grow in that, but it makes me nervous. I don’t want to waste money on seeds and/or young plants just to watch them perish. It’s Florida, so it’s super sunny and hot like constantly. 

Plants I want to do are for more decoration. Like, big, green, leafy stuff. I want to turn the backyard into an oasis. Think plants that’ll grow quick and big enough to hide the privacy fence. That’s a goal. Expensive, but worth it. 

Not really curious about edibles, but cucumber ideas are up my alley (pickles). Just simple to grow items that actually produce. 
Bugs? Flying ants and spiders. Nothing else has survived the sand and heat. Bunches of adorable lizards though. 

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