Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What's Blooming at the Polk County Extension Service?

Bee Balm
Monarda punctata

Bee Balm is a native perennial that blooms late summer through fall.  It grows two-three feet tall and will spread at least twice as wide.  Bee Balm grows in zone 8-10A in well-drained soil.  It prefers sun to partial shade.  The flowers are very small, the colorful and attractive part of the flowers are actually bracts.  Bracts are actually modified leaves, but many are colorful, a good example being the Poinsettia.  The bracts vary in color from light pink, yellow, and white to purple.  Bee Balm is an attractive plant to pollinators and is an interesting and low maintenance addition to any garden. If you want to see Bee Balm growing, visit the Florida-Friendly Landscaping Demonstration Gardens at the UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service in Bartow. 

Irrigation School, September 17

A 2-hour irrigation school will be held at Circle B Bar Reserve, 4399 Winter Lake Road, Lakeland on Tuesday, September 17 from 6:00-8:00 pm.
The class will focus on reducing water consumption by increasing irrigation efficiency, using rain sensors, and retrofitting existing irrigation systems.  Local guest speakers will de-mystify time clock controllers and discuss smart irrigation technology and Florida Friendly landscaping.
Refreshments will be provided, displays and hands-on demonstrations on-site.  Future classes will be held throughout Polk County.  Class is a cooperative effort by Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program, UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service; City of Lakeland Water Utilities; and Polk County Utilities.
For more information and to reserve a space, please go to https://fflirrigation.eventbrite.com/

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Polk County Master Gardener Training Starts September 10

Do you love to garden?  Enjoying helping others? Have a desire to learn? Have a personal committment to volunteer service?

The Polk County Master Gardener Program may be for you! 
Training starts September 10th at the UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service (  1702 US HWY 17/98 South in Bartow). 

Master Gardener Training is offered once a year at the Polk County Extension Service in Bartow. In 2013, the program will start on September 10th and meet every Tuesday (except Thanksgiving week) for 5 hours until December 3rd. Classes hours are 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. There is a fee of $140 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.

Gardening Workshops

Register now for these Florida-Friendly Landscaping workshops!
Right Plant, Right Place: Shrub Selection
Wednesday, August 21, 12:00 noon-1:00 p.m.
Lakeland Electric Building, 501 East Lemon St., Lakeland
Are you looking for low-maintenance shrubs for your landscape? This workshop will teach you how to choose plants that will work for your yard. 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.
Irrigation School
Tuesday, September 17, 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
Circle Bar B Reserve
4399 Winter Lake Road, Lakeland
Are you a homeowner interested in learning more about your irrigation system and how you can increase efficiency?
Are you an irrigation contractor or landscaper interested in maximizing your business by learning how to offer new services to your clientele?
Join us for a free Irrigation School, dinner will be provided.
Click here to register.

Topics presented will include:
Irrigation system maintenance--how to repair broken heads, clogged sprinkler heads, adjust sprinkler overspray and how to address design issues
Micro-irrigation--how to install the different types of micro-irrigation, how to retrofit an existing irrigation system with micro-irrigation
How much should you water?--Learn how to calibrate your sprinkler system
Time clocks--how to use your time clock, create seasonal programs and maintain your rain sensor
This program is presented by:
Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program, UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service
Florida Automated Weather Network
City of Lakeland Water Utilities
Polk County Utilities

Composting Workshop
Saturday, September 28, 9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.
St. Paul Lutheran School, 4550 Harden Blvd. LakelandIn this workshop you will learn the basic methods of composting and how to choose a method that will work for you. Composting is easy and fun. It is a great way to learn about recycling and the end product can be used in your garden. This workshop is open to the public. Children and families are encouraged to attend.
After the workshop, the Polk County Master Gardeners will present a hands-on demonstration of worm composting and provide each attendee with a mini worm farm. In addition, you will be able to purchase compost bins for $60 (Earth Machine compost bins) and rain barrels for $30. You must pre-register for both the compost bins and rain barrels so we can make sure there are plenty available.
Click here to register.