Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Demonstration Garden Feature: Polk Training Center Nursery for Handicapped Citizens

The temperatures are rising, spring is around the corner, and gardeners in Central Florida are becoming restless...
Before you create a new landscape plan or continue working on your existing plan, visit one of the four Florida-Friendly Demonstration Gardens located around Polk County.  All of the gardens are designed, installed and maintained by the Polk County Master Gardeners and the Florida-Friendly Landscaping (FFL) program.  The nine principles of FFL are followed during each step of the landscaping process.  The demonstration gardens are a unique source of information for the garden visitors.  The gardens are a place where YOU can go and get new design ideas, see new and unusual plants or just plants that you might not be familiar with.  It is great to see what plants really look like before you decide to install them in your yard.  The gardens at each location are very different and are all worth a visit.  The first garden we are featuring is the demonstration garden at the Polk Training Center for Handicapped Citizens Nursery at 111 Creek Road in Lake Alfred.  

The garden was originally installed in 2007 and started with a completely blank slate as you can see in the photograph below.

The first version of the garden was installed with grant funding from the Southwest Florida Water Management District, Mister Landscaper donated the irrigation and the Polk County Master Gardeners and the students at the training center installed the plants and walkways.  It worked well for many years.





















    


In 2011, the garden was in need of a face lift and we had a Master Gardener, Molly Griner, who was actively volunteering at the site.  She redesigned, installed and managed the maintenance of this garden for a few years.  Her work at the garden won a Master Gardener State Award in 2011.














 The garden is now a showcase for Florida-Friendly Landscaping in Polk County and thrives with very minimal care.  We have a wonderful Master Gardener that works in the garden monthly.  Visit this garden to see a variety of flowering plants, mature shrubs, native  plants and ornamental grasses, and other plants that thrive in full sun and sandy soil.  This garden is only open to the public during the nursery's operating hours.  All plants are labeled and a plant list can be downloaded from our website.  Next week we will feature the other demonstration garden in Lake Alfred, Mackay Gardens.



Friday, February 20, 2015

Cold Protection of Landscape Plants

Refer to this EDIS publication when covering and protecting your landscape plants during cold weather.  

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Garden Tours at the Extension Service







Have you attended one of our monthly garden tours? They are a great way to get ideas for your own yard and learn more about landscaping in Polk County.

Master Gardeners will lead you in a free tour around the Florida-Friendly Demonstration Gardens.  Get ideas for your own yard by seeing the nine principles up close.  This is a great event for clubs, groups or kids.  Sign up here.  The tour will be offered on the second Saturday of each month.

Our next tour is offered on Saturday, February 14 at 9:00 a.m.
The gardens are located at the UF/IFAS Extension, 1702 US Hwy 17/98 South, Bartow 
(meet on the south side of the Extension building in the Paul Anderson Gazebo)

Monday, February 2, 2015

February Gardening Programs

Florida-Friendly Ground Covers Thursday, February 5, 10:00-11:00 a.m.
Mackay Gardens, 900 Mackay Blvd., Lake Alfred
Dr. David Shibles, Environmental Horticulturist, UF/IFAS Polk County Extension, will share how to plant and enjoy easy maintenance, low water use alternatives to turf grass for the Florida landscape.
  No registration is necessary. 

Planning and Prepping the Garden 

Wednesday, February 11, 12:00 noon
Bok Tower Gardens, 1151 Tower Blvd., Lake Wales
Join us for a lunchtime lecture (bring your own lunch or buy one at the cafe). Learn how to set up your garden properly to save lots of time--and money--later on  Planning and prepping your garden for Florida's unique climate will help ensure a healthy landscape.  The Extension Service is proud to partner with Bok Tower Gardens to provide gardening programming that will enable Florida residents to learn the best practices and methods to garden successfully in this unique environment.  Workshop is free with admission to the gardens. For more information contact Bok Tower Gardens at (863) 676-1408 or visit http://boktowergardens.org

Rain Barrels in the Florida Landscape Lunch & Learn 

Thursday, February 12, 12:00 noon-1:00 p.m.
Lakeland Police Department Community Room, 219 N. Massachusetts Ave., Lakeland
Are you interested in conserving water, efficiently watering your plants or reducing your potable water use?   If you answered yes, then a rain barrel is for you!  
Learn how to conserve water and construct a rain barrel to collect rainwater off your roof.  
This workshop is free and includes lunch, so register now!  Program in cooperation with the City of Lakeland, Water Utilities, UF/IFAS Extension and the Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program.

Composting with Worms, Gardening Talk 
Thursday, February  12, 1:30 p.m. 
Latt Maxcy Memorial Library, 15 N. Magnolia Ave., Frostproof
Join the Polk County Master Gardeners in a series of landscaping programs at the library. We will discuss using worms to compost food waste and you will learn how to create a worm farm.  To register for the free workshop, contact Missy Hadden at the library.  Call (863) 635-7857 or email.

Florida-Friendly Demonstration Garden Tours
Saturday, February 14, 9:00 a.m.
UF/IFAS Extension, 1702 US Hwy 17/98 South, Bartow 
(meet on the south side of the Extension building in the Paul Anderson Gazebo)
Master Gardeners will lead you in a free tour around the Florida-Friendly Demonstration Gardens.  Get ideas for your own yard by seeing the nine principles up close.  This is a great event for clubs, groups or kids.  Sign up here.  The tour will be offered on the second Saturday of each month.

Florida-Friendly Plants for Your Yard Saturday, February 21, 10:00-11:00 a.m.
Bok Tower Gardens, 1151 Tower Blvd., Lake Wales
Program is free with admission.
Gardening in Florida is very different from gardening in other parts of the U.S., but can be fun and productive if you know how.  The Extension Service is proud to partner with Bok Tower Gardens to provide gardening programming that will enable Florida residents to learn the best practices and methods to garden successfully in this unique environment. For more information contact contact Bok Tower Gardens at (863) 676-1408 or visit http://boktowergardens.org