Monday, September 28, 2009

The Neighborhood Gardener

The UF/IFAS Extension Service offers a monthly gardening newsletter, The Neighborhood Gardener. This newsletter provides monthly gardening tips for Florida gardeners. You can sign up to receive the newsletter each month, or you can view past issues by clicking on the link above. Happy Gardening!

Water Conservation in the Home Landscape workshop is this Saturday!

Do you need to learn how to conserve water in your yard? Attend the Water Conservation in the Home Landscape workshop this Saturday, October 3, from 9:00 am-12:00 pm. This free workshop will be held at Circle B Bar Reserve on Winter Lake Road in Lakeland. The workshop will feature Florida-Friendly plants, water conservation tools, irrigation system maintenance, micro-irrigation in the home landscape and ways to conserve water at home. Register for the workshop here.

The workshop is presented by the UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Program, The City of Lakeland Water Utilities Administration, Precise Irrigation Design and Consulting, Inc., and the Florida Automated Weather Network.

Florida-Friendly Photos

We have posted some new photos on our Flickr site. Check out the site for photos of yards, Florida-friendly plants, painted rain barrels, and compost bins. We will be posting more photos soon so check back often!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Do you know how to use your irrigation controller?

The University of Florida now has some very helpful videos on the topic of irrigation. Irrigation controllers are often scary, but check out the video below for step-by-step instructions on how to set your irrigation controller.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Florida Water Star Gold Home in Lakeland

HOT OFF THE PRESSES! Master Gardener Calendars Are For Sale!

The Polk County Master Gardener 2010 calendar is now available for sale! The calendar is your month-by-month guide to gardening in Central Florida. Each month features gardening tips, lawn care advice, vegetables and herbs to plant, flowers to plant, Florida-friendly tips, and full color pictures! The cost of the calendar is $8.00 (include $2.00 per calendar if you would like it shipped to you). It can be purchased at the UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service in Bartow, at the Lakeland Farmers Market (3rd Saturday of the month) and at the Munn Park Garden Extravaganza on October 24th in Lakeland. Call the Extension Service at (863) 519-8677 for more information on the Master Gardener calendar!

Mark Your Calendars!

The Polk County Master Gardeners are holding the Backyard Gardener Festival and Plant Sale on Saturday, November 7th from 9:00 am-2:00 pm at the UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service in Bartow. This event features workshops, free literature and exhibits, and a plant sale! A great place to stock up on unusual plants AND get helpful advice from the Master Gardeners!

Landscape Photos of PCBA Green Home

Go to my Flickr site to view a gallery of photographs that I took during the installation of the Florida-Friendly and Florida Water Star Gold landscape at the Green Home.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Lynn's Garden at Florida Southern College

I visited Lynn's Garden at Florida Southern College last week because driving by I noticed that it was planted using a lot of Florida native plants. The landscape beds in the garden are primarily native plants and some of the ground cover areas include Perennial Peanut. I would suggest a visit to this little garden on Lake Hollingsworth, particularly if you would like to see how easy it is to incorporate native plants into any landscape or garden.


Ornamental Grasses

Elliott's Love Grass

Yucca and Dwarf Schillings Holly

Beautyberry and Chickasaw Plum

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Master Gardener Training Starts Next Week!

Master Gardener Training is offered once a year at the Polk County Extension Service in Bartow.The program will start on September 15th and meet every Tuesday (except Thanksgiving week) for 5 hours until December 8th. Classes hours are 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. There is a fee of $110 to cover the cost of materials. If you are interested, click on The Sprouting Kit (88.32KB pdf), which will give you all the details about the program, along with an application and short quiz. Or, you can call the Extension Office at (863) 519-8677 Ext. 109 and request a Sprouting Kit.
Please keep in mind that the program is designed to train volunteers to help the Environmental Horticulturist with his programs, which include taking homeowner telephone calls, working on demonstration gardens, working with school children, working with the disabled and the elderly and many more. After training is completed in December, you will be expected to contribute 75 volunteers hours over the next year. To maintain Master Gardener status in following years, you will need to contribute 35 hours of volunteer service per year.

Butterfly Gardening is Easy!

Installing a butterfly garden is an easy way to enjoy wildlife in your own backyard. Many plants that attract butterflies are readily available, easy to maintain and drought tolerant. If you are just starting out there are a few things you need to know.
An important thing to remember when starting a butterfly garden is to provide food for both the larvae (caterpillars) as well as the adult butterflies. The larval plants will be devoured by the hungry caterpillars and many times will be left with out any leaves, so don’t worry if you start to see plants without leaves they aren't dead. Examples of larval plants include Milkweed, Dutchman's Pipevine, Passionflower, Parsley, Dill and Fennel.
The nectar plants for the adults will not be chewed, as the adults feed on the nectar in the flowers. It is
important to have both of these food sources available so that the butterflies will live and reproduce in your garden. Examples of nectar plants include Pentas, Plumbago, Liatris, Lantana, Golden Dewdrop and Coral Honeysuckle.
Another important thing to remember when planting a butterfly garden is to abstain from using pesticides. Use natural predators (such as ladybugs) or remove any pests you find by hand. Any pesticides you use will harm your butterflies!
You may also want to provide a puddling station for your butterflies to drink from. It can be made using a plant saucer and layering a few inches of sand, compost and finally small stones on top. Fill the saucer with water and make sure the stones are not covered. The butterflies will land on the stones and drink the water from the pore spaces.
Now you have a few tips to get started creating a butterfly garden in your yard. For more information contact the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods program at the Polk County Extension Service. Our Florida-Friendly Demonstration Garden in Bartow is a great place to get ideas, learn about what plants attract butterflies, and what plant combinations work well together. Visit the garden at the UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service, 1702 Highway 17 South in Bartow.