Thursday, December 10, 2015

Local Christmas Trees an Option in Polk County

Live Christmas trees in Florida are often shipped in from out-of-state, but now there is a local option for those of you wanting a live tree.  The Lake Wales Ridge State Forest is offering sand pines at the Arbuckle Tract for $10.  A permit is required and the cost is $10 for a tree under 15 feet tall.  You must bring your own hand saw.  Here is their flyer for more information.  

Cutting down your own Christmas tree can be a great family tradition and is environmentally-friendly. UF/IFAS Extension Polk County's Natural Resources Agent Shannon Carnevale has a wonderful fact sheet to help you decide what kind of Christmas tree is best for you.

Happy Christmas tree-hunting!




Thursday, November 26, 2015

Five Florida-Friendly Demonstration Gardens to Visit

Looking for something to do this weekend? Think about getting outside and visiting all the Florida-Friendly Demonstration Gardens in Polk County.  You can print the plant lists (below) before you go and with locations all around the county, there is likely to be one near you!  If you visit a garden, let us know! 







UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service
1702 Highway 17 South, Bartow
DOWNLOAD PLANT LIST HERE


Polk Training Center for Handicapped Citizens Nursery
111 Creek Road, Lake Alfred
(off County Road 557)
DOWNLOAD PLANT LIST HERE

Mackay Gardens & Lakeside Preserve
900 Mackay Boulevard, Lake Alfred
(off of Highway 17-92)
DOWNLOAD PLANT LIST HERE

SPCA of Polk County
5850 Brannen Road, Lakeland
DOWNLOAD PLANT LIST HERE

Fort Fraser Trail & Flutterby Lane
City of Lakeland Nursery ( Use entrance to Oak Hill Burial Park) 
4620 US Highway 98 S, Lakeland 

DOWNLOAD PLANT LIST HERE




Florida-Friendly Landscapes
These landscapes are not demonstration gardens, but they are open to the public and serve as good examples of Florida-Friendly Landscaping™.

Polk County Utilities
1011 Jim Keene Boulevard, Winter Haven
(off Winter Lake Road)

Winter Haven Utilities

401 6th Street SW, Winter Haven

Central Florida Regional Planning Council
555 East Church Street, Bartow 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Rain Barrel Round-Up

Rain barrels are easy to install and the water is great for all types of plants-indoor plants, vegetables & herbs, orchids, shrubs and more.  Enjoy our round-up of rain barrels, we hope they inspire you to install your own!















Monday, November 9, 2015

Muhly Grass in Full Bloom

Muhly grass is a showstopper in the fall landscape.  It is in full bloom now and can been seen growing everywhere from road medians to home landscapes. It is a drought-tolerant native plant that grows well in a variety of soil types.  It thrives in hot, sunny landscapes as well as around lakes and ponds.  It is an unassuming ornamental grass for most of the year until it blooms in the fall. The purple/pink blooms rise above the 2-3 foot tall plant.  It can be cut back after blooming and divides easily.  

Plant muhly grass in large masses for a striking fall planting.  Combine grasses with native wildflowers such as beach sunflower, gaillardia or black-eyed susan.  Plant grasses alongside evergreen shrubs such as dwarf holly for a nice contrast in texture.  You  may also want to consider planting muhly grass along your lakefront with other grasses and native aquatic plants to improve lake health and stabilize the bank.

Muhly grass is a versatile plant that truly can enhance any landscape.  Look for muhly grass at local native nurseries, plant festivals and ask your local garden center to carry the plant for you.

You can find more information on muhly grass on our websites.  


 
 






 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Polk Place..featuring a Polk County Master Gardener




The Polk County Master Gardeners work with Friends of the Park and Circle B Bar to present Dirt Days, a seasonal youth program at the Discovery Center.  The Master Gardeners do a wonderful job introducing a nature and/or garden theme to the kids each day.  The program includes a program, a tram tour, garden planting and snack.  The schedule for 2015/2016 is below:


Dirt Days #2: Water Matters!  Water and Water Birds
Saturday, January 9, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 noon
Polk's Nature Discovery Center, Circle B Bar Reserve, 4399 Winter Lake Road, Lakeland
Polk County Master Gardeners will present four fun, activity-filled workshops for kids in K - 5th grade.
The workshops will highlight Central Florida's native plants and the conservation of Central Florida prestine habitats.
Register for this free program here.
SPONSORS: Florida's Natural Growers Foundation, Friends of the Parks, Polk County Environmental Lands Program, Polk Master Gardners, UF/IFAS


Dirt Days #3: Busy Bees!
Saturday, April 9, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 noon
Polk's Nature Discovery Center, Circle B Bar Reserve, 4399 Winter Lake Road, Lakeland
Polk County Master Gardeners will present four fun, activity-filled workshops for kids in K - 5th grade.
The workshops will highlight Central Florida's native plants and the conservation of Central Florida prestine habitats.
Register for this free program here.
SPONSORS: Florida's Natural Growers Foundation, Friends of the Parks, Polk County Environmental Lands Program, Polk Master Gardners, UF/IFAS



Dirt Days #4: Alien Invasion (invasive plants)!
Saturday, July 9, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 noon
Polk's Nature Discovery Center, Circle B Bar Reserve, 4399 Winter Lake Road, Lakeland
Polk County Master Gardeners will present four fun, activity-filled workshops for kids in K - 5th grade.
The workshops will highlight Central Florida's native plants and the conservation of Central Florida prestine habitats.
Register for this free program here.
SPONSORS: Florida's Natural Growers Foundation, Friends of the Parks, Polk County Environmental Lands Program, Polk Master Gardners, UF/IFAS

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Starting a Native Wildflower Garden From Seed


It's a great time of year to sow wildflower seeds into your landscape.  If you are looking for a seed source, contact the Florida Wildflower Foundation, or you may be able to find seed locally through your Native Plant Society.  There are so many wonderful native wildflowers that you can grow in Central Florida.  Gaillardia, Salvia, Coreopsis, Rosinweed, Beach Sunflower, Liatris and Aster may be found in some of the native wildflower seed mixes.


 
    Beach Sunflower 

  
   
     Black-Eyed Susan  

        Gaillardia



Rosinweed



The first thing you need to do is determine where you would like your wildflowers.  Are you going to add them to an existing pollinator or butterfly garden or start a new one? Are you creating a no-mow area in your yard? Do you have a natural area that you would like to plant with flowers?  The area you choose should be in the full sun and have well drained soil.


When you are ready to plant, get a mix of compost and vermiculite ready and lightly till your site.  You want to make sure the site isn't hard-packed.  Mix your seeds with the soil mix and spread the soil evenly over the surface to be planted.  The mix should only be an inch or two deep.  When you have spread the mix, gently tamp the soil down.  You can walk over it to do this. Then, lightly water in the seeds.  Keep the soil moist throughout the germination process.

Some seeds will take longer to germinate than others. If you have used a seed mix, you may see some seeds coming up right away,while others may take a few months.  Do not fertilize or mulch the site while you wait for your new flowers to emerge.  

Once you have a nice stand of wildflowers, you can begin management. You may want to collect seed to use in other areas of your yard, or you may want to follow a mowing program to keep the area properly managed as a wildflower planting.  The flowers will die back to the ground in the winter months, so be prepared to cut them back at least once a year.  

Native wildflowers make a lovely, colorful addition to the landscape.  The flowers provide habitat and food for native insects and birds.  You can cut the flowers for bouquets or arrangements.  They are a great way to add a splash of color to your landscape without a lot of upkeep.  

Consider adding wildflowers to your landscape.  If you need more information, contact us at UF/IFAS Extension Polk County.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

2016 Polk County Master Gardener Calendar Gardening Guide is Available for Purchase

The 2016 Polk County Master Gardener Calendar & Gardening Guide is now available for purchase!  Cost is $10 ($12 mailed) and can be purchased at the UF/IFAS Extension Polk County at 1702 US Hwy 17 South in Bartow.  The calendar is also available for purchase at the Fall Plant Sale and Munn Park Garden Extravaganza

Every month brings new opportunities and challenges to Polk County gardeners. The biggest differences are between summer and winter but there are monthly differences as well. Each month brings different blooms or different fruit. Some plants should be pruned or planted at a particular time of year. Different insects or fungi are a problem at different times of the year.

The Master Gardener calendar gives helpful advice on what gardeners need to do each month. There is a discussion of what trees, shrubs and flowers are blooming, what fruit is in season, what annuals and vegetables can be planted, problems that you can expect with your lawn, and what insects may attack your lawn, fruit trees and shrubs. The calendar may also have a timely short article or two on some gardening subject such as planting citrus or care of roses plus a discussion of some of the good and bad bugs you can encounter.
The date portion of the calendar has squares large enough to write on. It makes a great diary of your gardening activities. You can use it to record what and when you plant new plants or when each shrub or tree is fertilized or when it needs to be fertilized.

The calendar is a great gift and the proceeds benefit Polk County Master Gardener projects. 

The Florida Master Gardener Program is a volunteer-driven program that benefits UF/IFAS Extension and the citizens of Florida. The program relies on dedicated volunteers who have an interest in gardening and in giving back to their communities.

Think you might be interested in becoming a Master Gardener? Read more about the history of the program and how to become a Master Gardener.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Plant Sale this Saturday!

The Polk County Master Gardeners are busy preparing plants for the plant sale this Saturday, October 10, 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at the City of Lakeland Nursery ( Use entrance to Oak Hill Burial Park, 4620 US Highway 98 S, Lakeland).  Hope to see you there!



Flutterby Lane and our newest Florida-Friendly Landscaping Demonstration Garden are looking good! Enjoy a stroll down the Fort Fraser Trail looking at all our fun new plants!

Monday, October 5, 2015

All things autumn

It is officially autumn in Florida!  And it feels...just like summer did!  But there are some exciting fall events and programs on the horizon as well as some gardening tasks to get you in the autumn mood, even if the weather isn't cooperating.



Landscaping with Ornamental Grasses
Friday, October 9, 12:00 noon-1:00 p.m.
Lakeland Police Dept. Community Room, 219 N. Massachusetts Ave. Lakeland

Fall Plant Sale
Saturday, October 10, 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

City of Lakeland Nursery ( Use entrance to Oak Hill Burial Park) 
4620 US Highway 98 S, Lakeland

Garden Tour
Second Saturday of each month, October 10, 9:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
UF/IFAS Extension, Polk County, 1702 US Hwy 17 South, Bartow


Dirt Days #1: Terrific Trees!
Saturday, October 10, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 noon
Circle B Bar Reserve, Lakeland 

Munn Park Garden Extravaganza
Saturday, October 24, 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Munn Park, Downtown Lakeland

Composting Lunch & Learn at Bok Tower Gardens 
Wednesday, October 28, 12:00 noon-1:30 p.m. 
Bok Tower Gardens, 1151 Tower Blvd., Lake Wales


Autumn Gardening Tasks


1.  Divide plants

There are many landscape plants that benefit from division.  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.



2.  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. 

3.  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 two to three 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.  

4.  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 and take advantage of all the fall plant sales to stock up.


Community Gardening Workshops Coming Soon!

Enjoy being part of a community and gardening?

Come learn how to start and sustain a vibrant community garden at a workshop hosted by The UF/IFAS Extension and Bok Tower Gardens Partnership. Community gardens are fun places where people from all cultures, backgrounds and ages connect to learn from each other to grow healthy, nutritious food and ornamental plants. Polk County residents who attend a workshop will be eligible to apply for a community garden mini-grant through The UF/IFAS Extension and Bok Tower Gardens Partnership. The workshops are free and open to the public, but space is limited.

For more information on how to attend workshops in Haines City, Lake Wales or Lakeland, download our flyer.  

Monday, September 21, 2015

Do you pick up after your pet?

Do you take baggies along when you walk your dog?

How do you dispose of your kitty litter?

These may seem like silly things to think about, but pet waste pollution is very harmful to our lakes and ponds. In fact, pet waste can carry tapeworms, e. coli, parvo, Salmonella and other bacteria, that when left in the lawn, can live in the soil for many years. These bacteria can also wash into our waterways during a rain or irrigation event.  According to the EPA, pet waste is as toxic as an oil spill!

What can you do?

  • Use baggies to pick up pet waste when you walk your dog.  Dispose of the baggies in receptacles (such as those shown in the photo on the left) or in trash cans.
  • Scoop the pet waste in your yard.  Use a "pooper scooper" or shovel to pick up pet waste in your yard. Collect it in a bag and dispose of it in your trash can.
  • If you manage a kennel facility, make sure that no waste is washed into low areas such as ditches.  Follow the procedures for pick-up as outlined in the previous bullet.
  • If you have cats do not dump kitty litter into the yard.  Bag used litter and dispose of it in your trash can.   

More on the importance of picking up after your pet

Monday, September 14, 2015

Plant Sale List is Here!

The plant availability list for the Fall Plant Sale is now here!  Check out the list below and make your shopping list accordingly.  

The Polk County Master Gardeners are holding their Fall Plant Sale on Saturday, October 10, 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. at the City of Lakeland Nursery.  The nursery is located at 4620 US HWY 98 S in Lakeland (use the Oak Hill Burial Park entrance).  

Plants and rain barrels will be offered for sale.  For more information go to the Polk County Master Gardener website.  


Monday, August 31, 2015

Landscape Pest Management program offered in Lake Alfred on Thursday


When:  Thursday, September 3rd at 10:00 a.m.
Where:  Mackay Lakeside Gardens and Preserve, main house
What:  Joe Wolf, Master Gardener will present his program Landscape Pest Management

Joe, with eleven-plus years as a Florida Master Gardener has extensive experience writing garden articles for the Polk Homes section of the Ledger, as well as helping homeowners through the Master Gardener help line and in numerous activities throughout Polk county.  Joe has also spent years as a volunteer at Bok Tower Gardens.  If you are interested in learning the difference between good bugs and bad bugs, and how to responsibly control pests in your home garden, this is the program you've been waiting for.

Programs at Mackay Gardens are presented by the Polk  County Master Gardeners. 
Join them on the first Thursday of each month at 10:00 a.m. for an exciting and educational program.  For more information: http://polk.ifas.ufl.edu/mg.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

New EDIS Publication

There is a new EDIS publication on maintaining/controlling weeds in planting beds.  Click here to download the PDF.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

New gardening programs for fall & winter

Register for Florida-Friendly Workshops at http://polkfyn.eventbrite.com

Backyard Beekeeping
Mackay Monthly Presentation Presented by the Polk County Master Gardeners
First Thursday of each month, August 6, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 noon
Mackay Gardens & Lakeside Preserve, 900 Mackay Blvd., Lake Alfred
Ray and Bonnie have been keeping bees in their Lake Alfred backyard for three years.  In this presentation they will take us through their adventures in beekeeping, from their novice beginnings to a healthy and thriving backyard apiary.  If you’ve ever thought about beekeeping as a hobby or business venture, this program will give you important information including: the benefits of bees, the equipment and resources involved, and the differences between commercial vs backyard honey production.  And if you're lucky, you might get to  taste some of the best local, unprocessed honey around!  No registration required.

Garden Tour
Second Saturday of each month, August 8, 9:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
UF/IFAS Extension Polk County, 1702 US Hwy 17/98 South, Bartow
Enjoy a tour of the gardens at the Extension Service led by a Master Gardener.  Ask questions, get gardening tips & ideas, learn how to garden in Central Florida.  Meet at the Paul Anderson Gazebo at 9:00 a.m. Sign up for the garden tour here.

Garden Tour
Second Saturday of each month, September 12, 9:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
UF/IFAS Extension Polk County, 1702 US Hwy 17/98 South, Bartow
Enjoy a tour of the gardens at the Extension Service led by a Master Gardener.  Ask questions, get gardening tips & ideas, learn how to garden in Central Florida.  Meet at the Paul Anderson Gazebo at 9:00 a.m. Sign up for the garden tour here.


Landscaping with Ornamental Grasses, Lunch & Learn Workshop
Friday, October 9, 12:00 noon-1:00 p.m.
Lakeland Police Dept. Community Room, 219 N. Massachusetts Ave. Lakeland
Ornamental grasses can be showstoppers in your fall landscape.  Learn what grasses do well in Central Florida and how you can incorporate them into your landscape.   Register now, seating is limited.  Workshop includes lunch.  
Workshop provided by the City of Lakeland Water Utilities and UF/IFAS Extension Polk County's Florida-Friendly Landscaping program. 

Fall Plant Sale & Flutterby Lane GRAND OPENING

Saturday, October 10, 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
City of Lakeland Nursery ( Use entrance to Oak Hill Burial Park)
4620 US Highway 98 S, Lakeland
The Polk County Master Gardeners present their fall plant sale at the City of Lakeland Nursery and the Grand Opening of Flutterby Lane, the Florida-Friendly Landscaping Demonstration Garden on the Fort Fraser Trail.  Purchase unusual and hard-to-find plants from the Master Gardeners and tour the newest demonstration garden. For more information: http://polkmastergardener.com or (863) 519-1041.  RAIN OR SHINE.

Garden Tour

Second Saturday of each month, October 10, 9:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
UF/IFAS Extension Polk County, 1702 US Hwy 17/98 South, Bartow
Enjoy a tour of the gardens at the Extension Service led by a Master Gardener.  Ask questions, get gardening tips & ideas, learn how to garden in Central Florida.  Meet at the Paul Anderson Gazebo at 9:00 a.m. Sign up for the garden tour here.

Bat Talk and Bat Box Workshop at Bok Tower Gardens
Saturday, October 24, 2015
1:00 p.m. – lecture
2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. -building a bat box workshop
Bok Tower Gardens, 1151 Tower Blvd., Lake Wales
Free lecture with garden admission.  Reservations required for bat box building workshop, call (863) 676-1408.  Cost is $150 and includes all supplies.
Learn all about bats and how they fit into our local ecosystems! As popular critters in horror movies and creepy stories, bats have gotten a bad reputation. Join us to learn what they’re really like. 
Program presented by Shannon Carnevale, Natural Resources and Conservation Agent, UF/IFAS Extension Polk County.


Composting Lunch & Learn at Bok Tower Gardens
Wednesday, October 28, 12:00 noon-1:30 p.m.
Bok Tower Gardens, 1151 Tower Blvd., Lake Wales
Free program with garden admission.  Bring your lunch or purchase one at the cafe.  Reservations, call (863) 676-1408.

Learn how to turn your kitchen scraps and yard waste into garden gold!  Composting is easy to do and we can teach you everything you need to start a successful compost pile in your yard. 
This program is presented by UF/IFAS Extension Polk County Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ program.  

Garden Tour
Second Saturday of each month, November 8, 9:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
UF/IFAS Extension Polk County, 1702 US Hwy 17/98 South, Bartow
Enjoy a tour of the gardens at the Extension Service led by a Master Gardener.  Ask questions, get gardening tips & ideas, learn how to garden in Central Florida.  Meet at the Paul Anderson Gazebo at 9:00 a.m. Sign up for the garden tour here.

Growing & Cooking with Herbs Workshop
Tuesday, November 10, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 noon
Lakeland Public Library, 100 Lake Morton Drive, Lakeland
Learn how to grow and cook with the herbs that can be grown in Central Florida yards. The Florida-Friendly Landscaping program will teach you how to grow herbs and Whitney Fung, UF/IFAS Extension Polk County Family Consumer Science Agent will present a cooking segment using those herbs.
Register now, seating is limited.
This program is presented by UF/IFAS Extension Polk County Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ program.  

Creating a Rain Garden
, Lunch & Learn Workshop

Friday, November 13, 12:00 noon-1:00 p.m.
Lakeland Police Dept. Community Room, 219 N. Massachusetts Ave. Lakeland
Are you interested in creating a rain garden in your yard but don't know where to start? In this workshop we will teach you how to determine the best location for your rain garden and how to choose appropriate plants.
Register now, seating is limited.  Workshop includes lunch.    
Workshop provided by the City of Lakeland Water Utilities and UF/IFAS Extension Polk County's Florida-Friendly Landscaping program. 

Hypertufa Workshop at Bok Tower Gardens
Saturday, November 14, 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
Olmstead House, Bok Tower Gardens, 1151 Tower Blvd., Lake Wales
$15 per participant includes supplies. Reservations required, only 20 spots available.  Reservations, call (863) 676-1408.
Learn how to make your own hypertufa container. Using a mix of cement, peat moss and vermiculite/perlite, participants will take home a piece of art that is sure to be the highlight of your garden! This workshop will get messy, so be sure to wear old clothes!
Program presented by the Master Gardeners at UF/IFAS Extension Polk County.

Growing Herbs Lunch & Learn at Bok Tower Gardens
Wednesday, November 18, 12:00 noon-1:30 p.m.
Bok Tower Gardens, 1151 Tower Blvd., Lake Wales
Free program with garden admission.  Bring your lunch or purchase one at the cafe.  Reservations, call (863) 676-1408.
This program is an overview of herbs that can be grown in central Florida, with tips for successful herb gardening. This program is presented by UF/IFAS Extension Polk County.


Selecting Shrubs for Your Landscape Workshop
Friday, November 20, 10:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
Winter Haven Public Library, 325 Avenue A NW, Winter Haven
In this workshop you will learn how to select shrubs to fit the site conditions in your yard.
We will help you determine what shrubs will work best in your yard with minimal maintenance.
Workshop attendees will receive a Florida-Friendly plant guide.
This workshop is free and registration is limited. Sign up now!
This program is presented by UF/IFAS Extension Polk County Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ program.  


Holiday Color in the Landscape, Lunch & Learn Workshop
Friday, December 11, 12:00 noon-1:00 p.m.
Lakeland Police Dept. Community Room, 219 N. Massachusetts Ave. Lakeland
Learn how to have a colorful holiday landscape--both indoors and outside!
Register now, seating is limited.  Workshop includes lunch.  
Workshop provided by the City of Lakeland Water Utilities and UF/IFAS Extension Polk County's Florida-Friendly Landscaping program. 

Garden Tour

Second Saturday of each month, December 13, 9:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
UF/IFAS Extension Polk County, 1702 US Hwy 17/98 South, Bartow
Enjoy a tour of the gardens at the Extension Service led by a Master Gardener.  Ask questions, get gardening tips & ideas, learn how to garden in Central Florida.  Meet at the Paul Anderson Gazebo at 9:00 a.m. Sign up for the garden tour here.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Cicada Killer Wasp in the Demonstration Gardens

   

While working in our FFL demonstration garden, we came upon a Cicada Killer Wasp dragging a Cicada across the ground.

The Cicada Killer had already killed one Cicada and put in into the small hole of a utility box cover.  It was piercing the second Cicada and dragging it to the same hole.  Cicada Killers pierce the Cicadas and lay their eggs inside of the Cicada. Normally they dig a hole in the sand where they bury the Cicadas, but this one was making her nest elsewhere.  

 

Here, you can see the two Cicadas, in the "nest".  The Cicadas Killers will then hatch out of the Cicada and feed on it's decaying body.  Cicada Killers are considered "good bugs" because they destroy the Cicadas that feed on plants.  They are not aggressive and do not normally sting.  See more information on Cicada Killers here.



Tuesday, July 21, 2015

What's Happening Along the Ft. Fraser Trail in Lakeland?


If you have walked, biked or ran past this stretch of the Fort Fraser Trail in Lakeland, you may have noticed some work going on.

The City of Lakeland Nursery runs along the trail at this point, and we are in the process of working with the Parks & Rec Department to install Flutterby Lane, a new Florida-Friendly Landscaping Demonstration Garden.  Flutterby Lane will emphasize butterfly plants and will be filled with color.  Preparations have begun for this garden and plants will go in very soon!

The City of Lakeland Nursery is also home to the Polk County Master Gardeners Potting Shed.  They work with the city to grow plants for our gardens, projects, and to sell.  The first Fall Plant Sale will take place here in October along with the grand opening of the newest Florida-Friendly Landscaping Demonstration Garden.

Fall Plant Sale & Flutterby Lane GRAND OPENING
Saturday, October 10, 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
City of Lakeland Nursery ( Use entrance to Oak Hill Burial Park) 
4620 US Highway 98 S, Lakeland
The Polk County Master Gardeners present their fall plant sale at the City of Lakeland Nursery and the Grand Opening of Flutterby Lane, the Florida-Friendly Landscaping Demonstration Garden on the Fort Fraser Trail. Purchase unusual and hard-to-find plants from the Master Gardeners and tour the newest demonstration garden. For more information: http://polkmastergardener.com or (863) 519-1041. RAIN OR SHINE.

Check back soon for garden updates!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Lakes Workshop in Winter Haven

July is Lakes Appreciation Month
We All Live in a Watershed
Join us on Thursday, July 23, for a Lakes Workshop

At this workshop, participants will learn the basics of lake water quality and the factors which influence it. The focus of the workshop will be on community solutions for water quality and actions individuals can take to help local water quality. 

Who should attend? Lakefront residents, lakefront business owners, any resident who wants to help improve our lakes' water quality. 
Where? Winter Haven Public Library
When? Thursday, July 23, 5:30 - 7pm
How much does it cost? Free! Register here: http://polknr.eventbrite.com

An Equal Opportunity Institution

 Speaker:
Shannon Carnevale
University of Florida IFAS Extension Polk County
Natural Resources and Conservation Extension Agent
Have questions about Lakes Workshop: What can residents do to help water quality??Contact UF/IFAS Extension Polk County: Natural Resources Program

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Red, White & Blue in the Garden

If you plan on doing any gardening over the holiday weekend, here are some great plants to add to your yard that fit the Fourth of July theme--red, white and blue!

Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus-castus)
This large shrub or small tree is a great specimen plant for any sunny landscape.  The shrub is covered in blue flowers in the summer.  Chaste tree is drought-tolerant and adapts to many garden situations.  


Lily of the Nile (Agapanthus orientalis)
Lily of the Nile is a clumping perennial that will grow up to two feet tall and wide.  When flowering, the blue flowers stand tall above the foliage.  There are dwarf varieties available.  

Pentas (Pentas lanceolata)
Pentas are a common landscape perennial, available in many colors.  The red variety is a great addition to a perennial border, is attractive mixed with ornamental grasses and stands out against evergreen shrubs.  Pentas grow well in full sun and are drought-tolerant.  They attract butterflies and other pollinators.

Firecracker Plant (Russelia equisetiformis)
This weeping, sprawling shrub attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.  It is drought-tolerant and grows well in full sun.  Because of the weeping habit of this shrub, plant it where it has room to grow.  It will grow four feet tall and 4-6 feet wide.


  Caladium (Caladium sp.)
Caladiums are bulbs that grow (mostly) in shaded areas of the landscape.  There are many colors available, even a bright red.  White caladiums brighten a dark, shady landscape very nicely.  They die back in the winter months so you may want to plant annuals during that time of year.  


Pineland Heliotrope (Heliotropum sp.)
This native groundcover is tough! It is drought-tolerant, grows in hot, sunny locations and blooms all summer.  Don't be fooled by this up-close photo--the plant is thick and grows up to one foot tall and 2-3 feet wide. It makes a great plant to edge sidewalks or pathways.  It will freeze back in the winter, but comes back with a vengeance!

Happy Fourth of July Gardening!