Friday, October 29, 2010

Backyard Gardener's Festival and Plant Sale

Make plans to attend the Backyard Gardener's Festival and Plant Sale at the UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service on November 6th. The Polk County Master Gardeners put on this fun and educational event each year. Purchase plants and other garden related items, attend free workshops, pick up free educational information and ask the experts your gardening questions. For more information contact the UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service at (863) 519-8677.

Monday, October 25, 2010

New Searchable Plant Database for Central Florida

The St. John's River Water Management District has developed a new website for homeowners to search for plants that work well in Central Florida. View the database here.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Munn Park Garden Extravaganza is Saturday!

Visit the Polk County Master Gardeners at the Munn Park Garden Extravaganza this Saturday at Munn Park in Lakeland. Munn Park is on West Main Street (between Kentucky and Tennessee) in Downtown Lakeland. The event starts at 8:00 a.m. and ends at 4:00 p.m. The Master Gardeners will be answering your gardening questions, selling books and other items, and will have their 2011 gardening calendar for sale! The Greater Lakeland Garden Clubs sponsor this gardening event. It is a great place to find plants and other garden items just in time for fall planting!

Want to Enjoy the Fall Weather--Get Outside!

The Southwest Florida Water Management District offers a recreation guide for hiking, biking, birding, and much more! Enjoy this lovely fall weather by taking advantage of the conservation lands in your area.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Five Fall Landscaping Tasks

Do you feel that cooler air? Fall is on the way! As fall weather moves into Central Florida, things in the landscape will start to slow down. Grass will grow more slowly and hopefully the weeds will too! As usual, there are some garden chores that need to be tackled at this time of year. These chores will help clean up the landscape you abandoned during the hot summer months (totally understandable) and get everything neat and tidy so that you can relax the rest of the fall and winter months.

1. Revive ornamental grasses
Do you have ornamental grasses in your landscape? This is a great time of year to prune them back if they are looking bad. If they are still flowering, or getting ready to, make sure you wait until they are done. If they need to be pruned back, the easiest way to do this is to use electric hedge pruners or large clippers. Cut the grass back to about eight inches high. You may also wish to divide up your grasses at this time of year. After you cut the grass back, use a sharp shovel to divide up the grass. This is a great way to create more plants for the yard or share plants with friends or neighbors.

2. Divide plants
In addition to dividing your ornamental grasses; there are other plants that you may wish to divide. Perennials such as liriope, African iris, flax lily, bulbine, and herbs such as rosemary and tarragon are easy to divide. You may want to cut them back to the ground and then divide the clump into smaller sections using a sharp shovel.

3. Move plants that have outgrown their space
If you have let things get a little out of control over the summer months, now is a great time to move plants that have outgrown their allotted space or have self-seeded themselves and created a crowded landscape. Find a new spot for the plant that has more room than its current location. You want to find a spot that will allow your plant to spread without having to continually prune it during the growing season. This may be a great time to create new mulched beds or expand existing mulched beds in your yard. By dividing and moving plants you may be able to create new planting areas for free by using plants you already have, or consider doing a plant exchange with your friends or neighbors using the plants you have divided or removed.

4. Re-mulch
As you clean up the plants in your mulched beds, you may find that you need to re-mulch. Remember that you need to have three to four inches of mulch in your beds. This will help keep down weeds, reduce erosion, and keep the soil moist. If you find that you need to re-mulch, choose a by-product mulch such as pine bark, pine straw, eucalyptus, melaleuca, oak leaves, or compost. The addition of mulch will also help create a clean and neat look in the mulched beds that you have worked so hard to clean up.

5. Plant trees and shrubs
After you have cleaned up, divided, and pruned your way through the landscape, you may find that you want to add more trees and shrubs to your yard. Fall is a great time to plant trees and shrubs in Central Florida. Choose plants that are the appropriate size for your yard and utilize local plant lists, such as those available from the Florida Yards & Neighborhoods program.

Take advantage of the cooler fall temperatures to clean up your landscape, and remember to follow the principles of Florida-Friendly LandscapingÔ while doing so. For more information on fall gardening tasks contact the UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Natives Nursery Open for Retail Customers This Saturday!

The Natives Nursery in Davenport will be open to retail customers this Saturday, October 2, from 9:00 a.m. until 3:0o p.m. It is a great time to do some fall planting and many of our native plants are quite showy in the fall! Go to their website for directions. Happy planting!