Friday, March 29, 2013

7th Annual Backyard GardenFest & Plant Sale

Mark your calendars now for The 7th Annual Backyard GardenFest & Plant Sale presented by the Polk County Master Gardeners.  The event will be held at the UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service (horse arena) on Saturday, April 27, 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. 
Native plants, butterfly plants, edibles & herbs, orchids, bromeliads, and low-maintenance available for sale.  Rain barrels, melaleuca mulch, gardening books, garden accessories and THE perfect Mother's Day gift for YOUR mother (any and all of the above) also for sale. 

Know & Grow workshops offered at 10 am (Florida-Friendly Landscaping) and 11 am (Attracting Butterflies to your Yard).  Get expert advice on planting combinations and landscape design, ask the expert all your gardening questions and get a soil test. 

See you there!


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

UF/IFAS April Horticulture Programs

Ornamental Grasses: How to incorporate beautiful, low maintenance ornamental grasses into your landscape design
Mackay Gardens & Lakeside Preserve Workshop Series,
presented by the Polk County Master Gardeners
Thursday, April 4, 10:00 a.m.
900 Mackay Blvd., Lake Alfred
All programs are FREE and DO NOT require pre registration. Directions can be found at or by calling the City of Lake Alfred at (863) 291-5747.We provide drinks for each program. Attendees are invited to share a snack or finger food, if desired.
Our classes make a perfect field trip for area garden clubs. Attendees are free to explore the grounds and visit our Florida Friendly demonstration garden after the program. There is no admission charge to the Preserve. If you have a club or large group that would like to attend, please contact Pat Farris, Master Gardener (863-293-3426) so we can plan for the size of your group.
What You Grow: It Matters! Dirt Days Programs for YouthInvasive Plants vs. Native Plants
Saturday, April 6, 9:00-11:00 a.m.
Circle B Bar Reserve, 4399 Winter Lake Road, Lakeland
This program is for kids ages 6-12 and an adult. You will plant seeds or take cuttings and learn how to grow the featured plant. This is a free program. Presented by the Polk County Master Gardeners. Sign up
Florida-Friendly Landscaping™: Perennials for Your Landscape Lunch & Learn WorkshopTuesday, April 23, 12:00-1:00 p.m.
nd Electric Building, 501 East Lemon St., Lakeland
This workshop is a lunch and learn class. Lunch is provided. You must have a photo I.D. to enter the building. Workshop and lunch provided by the Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program and the City of Lakeland Water Utilities. Click
HERE to register for the workshop.
Go to for a list of more workshops!

The 7th Annual Backyard GardenFest & Plant Sale

The Polk County Master Gardeners present the 7th Annual Backyard GardenFest & Plant Sale on Saturday, April 27, 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. at the UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service at 1702 US Hwy 17 South, Bartow.
Admission to the event is free.  Native plants, bromeliads, orchids, vegetables, herbs, butterfly plants, rain barrels, melaleuca mulch and other garden items will be for sale. 
Join us for two Know & Grow workshops at 10:00 a.m. (Florida-Friendly Landscaping) and 11:00 a.m. (Butterfly gardening).  Get free landscape design assistance, free soil pH tests and ask the experts your horticultural questions. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Do You Know How to Take a Soil Sample?

Have you had your soil tested?  The Polk County Master Gardeners test soil each week  and offer recommendations ($3 per sample).  If you would like to have your soil tested bring a sample to the UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service or to the Master Gardener tent at Spring Obsession next Saturday. 
But how do you take the sample from your yard?

Follow these steps to collect soil:
1. With a shovel, take samples from 6-8 different spots around your landscape.  You will mix them all together to get a general sample of your yard. 
2. If you sample in the lawn area, dig down 2-4 inches.  If you are sampling in a landscape bed, dig down 6-8 inches. 
3. Only take a small scoop of soil from each location and put them all into a bucket.
4. Mix the samples together.
5. Remove only one pint (the size of a small plastic container of blueberries from the supermarket). 
6. Lay the soil on some newspaper to dry.
7. When the soil is dry, take 1/2 of the soil and place it into a small bag.
8. Bring your sample to the Extension Service

If you have areas of your landscape where you have had trouble keeping plants alive, have noticed a lot of yellowing/deficiencies in your plants, or want to plant pH sensitive plants, a soil test is just what you need.  For more information on soil testing, download this document