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: 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:

An Equal Opportunity Institution

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!