Looking for info on what to do after messing up

I've been following this board for the last few weeks, along with other sites but can't seem to find basic solutions to apply when you realize you either neglected or somehow harmed a plant. I have books, brochures and websites saved that explain how to do things correctly from the first time but what could a newbie do when things don't go as planned?
For the first time I have a place with yard on all 4 sides of the house the house, a couple of miles from the water in the panhandle of Florida. Depending on where I look I'm either in zone 9 or 8. When I moved in (mid October) everything looked pretty well established. Green lawn, a few rose bushes, different palms and a couple other plants.
I'm looking forward to dedicate time in the yard but haven't set a good routine yet. For example: I knew I had to put some stuff in the lawn before the winter but things happened and before I had the chance, we had to endure a couple of frozen spells. So what now? I have the spreader and the bag of the product but not sure if is a good idea to apply it this late. The grass is looking very brown, some areas have a bit of green but other are basically light brown. Not only that, what about the water? I realize it doesn't need as much when is cold, but what if there are 5 or 6 days in a row with temps in the high 60's even low 70's?
With the roses. They stopped making flowers for a bit but it looks like some branches may be ready to make some. I couldn't figure out if I should've pruned them very short or not. Now they have some branches close to 4 feet long.
Containers from the back patio I placed either in the garage or inside. But what about the good sunny days? So far I'm moving them back and forth but not sure if that is the proper thing to do. What would be the deciding temperature to keep them out, no doubts when they warn us of a freeze or a hard freeze like this past week, but what if the low for the night is going to be 50? I realize it depends of what is in each container, so that is why I'm wondering if there is a site or a book that can help with this.
Other question that comes to mind is about introducing new plants. Bulbs seem to be easy to figure out but let's say an eucalyptus plant. I know my area is good for them because other houses in the street have them and some appear to be many years old, with trunks as big as a couple of feet diameter. Doing some research I learned that the best way to have eucalyptus is to start with a very small plant. I couldn't find one until mid December. Just my luck the day I bought the plant, it was 24 hours before a hard freeze warning. Well I didn't put the plant in the ground that day... or the next. It has been in the garage at nights and outside close to his future location during the day. When would it be a good time to put it in the ground?
I could go one but I suppose you are sick of this post by now... I just hope to find some sort of "Gardening troubleshooting 101"
thanks Ana
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For specific troubleshooting you can often get good advice in this ng (& sometimes bad advice) but for something as broad as "how do I go about gardening," I recommend reading through a couple basic gardening books from the library so that you'll know what's required in a general way, paying particular attention to organic techniques since these are almost always the best methods whether or not you adhere to organic principles for all things. If you've lots of roses, read up on those separately, paying special attention to pruning techniques & how to avoid rose diseases, as the needs of hybrid roses can be distinct from the majority of shrubs.
But book-learning is never the end-all for good gardening techniques; you can feel like you followed all the right advice & still fail, or you can do it bass-ackwards & have a super-great outcome. To large extent it takes "the knack" & the margin between good & bad methods is not always a broad margin. It's rare anyone has the knack immediately. You can start with notoriously easy plants, or inexpensive plants you can afford to fail with. Things already well-established in the garden are probably pretty hardy by now & won't soon suffer from imperfect care. Meet the general needs of the garden broadly, plus the specific needs of individual species of plants, assisted by a many-species guide such as the Sunset regionial guides to appropriate species & their care.
When it works our or doesn't work out to the best, try figure out what made the success versus the failure, learning by trial & error. A shade plant might not be able to thrive in THAT much shade, or it may need something larger planted near it so it has more shade -- something that supposedly needed lots of sun but then dried out probably needed more careful watering until the roots spread out. And so on, trial & error. It'll probably be only a couple seasons before you begin to get the knack. Then by your second spring it will seem so easy that you will no longer quite remember why it felt mysterious or complicated in the beginning.
-paghat the ratgirl
--
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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They go brown/white in the winter, recover nicely when the weather warms. The only thing I know of useful to do to it this time of year is to cut it back severely if it is overgrown, too much grass above the ground. Probably best to leave it alone until you determine what kind it is.
Eucalyptus can be a problem if they get root bound, too much root growth while in the pot. I don't know about planting them in the cold, but it might be well to put it into a bigger pot until it gets a chance to go into the ground.
A local nursery would be a good place to get specific information. -Charles -"...overqualified for a life of leisure."
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Don't worry too much. Long-experienced gardeners still make mistakes and kill things, it's just an opportunity for another experimental planting.
Your best source of advice for your area, is a nearby gardener, and most gardeners are very happy to offer advice, plants etc. Try joining a local gardening club..they aren't just for experts and welcome new members.
Janet
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Thanks, To you and to the responses.
So far I identified the grass in the yard as "mostly" St. Augustine. I'm planning to leave the winterizing product for next year and just keep it short pulling weeds by hand as I see them.
Assuming the forecast for the next 10 days or so is correct, the temperatures won't go below the mid 50's. Based on that I planted the eucalyptus making sure it has close to 6" of mulch all around it. I have a big enough framed plastic to protect it during the night for the next drop of temperature.
About my question. I've seen in catalogs and stores different moisture/humidity probe sensors. Are they a reasonable tool to have or just another gadget? if yes, is it worth to get a $20 and up or do the $5 at Home Depot do the job the same.
Ana
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