Penny and Kim, The Dirt girls, organized a trip to see Riverview Flower Farm in operation today as we planted and packed orders to go to 144 of The Home Depot stores throughout most of Florida. All of our plants go to Home Depot and we couldn't sell any at the farm even though many folks asked.
Penny and Rick get 190 Friends of the Dirt Field-trippers organized in groups for the tours.
Enthusiastic FODies learned how we grow Florida Friendly Plants using a blend of local yard waste compost and drip irrigation to use the least amount of water and fertilizer while growing the best plants. This cuts waste and eliminates irrigation runoff and reduces the need to spray because the leaves and flowers stay dry.
They also learned how to save the most amount of water and fertilizer while maximizing growth and health of their own plants in their home gardens by using the Pot-in-Pot method.
The succulents FODies saw today can be identified using these links:
Virtual Plant Tags The Cactus Collection Cactus & Succulent Id
and this image..
Hawaiian Portulaca Portulaca in Maui A new species 1987
A field of blooming Muhly Grass and another of Butterfly Cassia about to explode were also highlights as well as detailed information about new and existing varieties of Florida Friendly Plants.
FODies learned how to recycle The Tampa Tribune by making paper pots and planting milkweed and sunflower seeds. Paper Pots are a big part of growing better starter plants and the method is very sustainable.
This is a great idea and a fun way for introducing children to gardening as we did last week at A Kids Place in Brandon.
From all of us at Riverview Flower Farm, thank you Penny and Kim and we hope you plan another field trip to our farm next year.
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Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson and Farm Bureau President John Hoblick presented Riverview Flower Farm with the CARES Award. We are one of twelve Tampa Bay growers recognized for their superior natural resource stewardship during the first-ever Tampa Bay CARES dinner that was held during the Hillsborough County Farm Bureau’s annual meeting on Oct. 1. http://www.thisfarmcares.org/press/2009_0922
Our story is best told in a presentation produced by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Commissioner Charles Bronson had previously awarded us with the Environmental Leadership Award for which we are very grateful. Read More
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A very informative site is being developed to help you determine what might grow in your environment. Natives for Your Neighborhood (beta)
Gardeners looking to integrate wild species into their landscape for the benefits of attracting butterflies and birds to the garden will find this tool helpful. The images are clear and the information insightful.
Corkystem passionflower This is the native passion vine that is well behaved. Be careful where you plant the pretty Passiflora incarnata. It suckers and sprouts up far from where you plant it and become a dominant invasive plant in your gardens and your neighbors.
The site helps you figure out what your preexisting habitat was before it became subdivision on deep sand fill dirt. Be aware that the natural soil is gone from the subdivision as drainage and water shedding was improved and retention has been altered and moved to a central site when the bulldozers and dump trucks created the streets and home sites. This means that what was growing on the site previously will not perform the same way if you try it again. Always consider Right Plant - Right Place weather you design your garden with natives or other Florida Friendly Plants that attract wildlife and are more attractive to gardeners. Look around similar neighborhoods for plants doing well in settings similar to your own. You won't have to look far. Take a digital camera with you and capture local plants you would like in your yard. Discuss the plants with other gardeners, neighbor, friends, or your local County Extension agents whose job it is to help you get it right.
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From the director of the Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program:
It is a very important time regarding Florida-Friendly Landscaping and Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program!
Governor Crist signed the SB2080 relating to Water Resources last week. A few higlights:
The new bill deletes references to “xeriscape”; requires water management districts to provide model Florida-Friendly LandscapingTM ordinances to local governments; each district shall use the materials developed by the FDEP, UF/IFAS and Center for Landscape Conservation & Ecology/ Florida Friendly LandscapingTM Program, including but not limited to Florida Yards & Neighborhoods (FYN) Home Owners, FYN Builder & Developers & the Green Industries Best Management Practices Program; the districts shall coordinate with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) & UF/IFAS if revisions to the educational materials are needed; a deed restriction or covenant may not prohibit or be enforce to prohibit any property owner from implementing FFL on his or her land; a local government ordinance may not prohibit or be enforced so as to prohibit any property owner from implementing FFL on his or her land; local governments shall use the standards and guidelines when developing landscape irrigation and Florida-Friendly LandscapingTM ordinances.
Please see the link for the SB2080 for further info:
Another important bill is SB494 which relates to water conservation that Governor Crist signed last month. This bill requires that all commercial fertilizer applicators will be required by law to have a FDACS license by January 1, 2014. Passing the GI-BMP training, or an approved equivalent, is mandatory to obtain that license. The FDEP, in cooperation with the IFAS shall provide training and testing programs in urban landscape management practices and may issue certificates demonstrating satisfactory completion of the training; after receiving a certificate of completion a person may apply to the FDACS to receive a limited certification for urban landscape commercial fertilizer application under s. 482.1562. A person possessing such certification is not subject to additional local testing. Beginning January 2014, any person applying fertilizer to an urban landscape must be certified under S 482.1562, Florida Statues. A limited certification expires 4 years after the date of issuance. Before applying for recertification, the applicant must complete 4 classroom hours of acceptable continuing education, of which at least 2 hours of fertilizer best management practices.
Please see the link for SB494 for further info:
Esen Momol, Ph.D., Director
Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program
University of Florida, IFAS
Environmental Horticulture Department,
114 Mehrhof Hall, P.O.Box 110675, Gainesville, FL 32611-0670
Tel:(352 392-1831 ext 330 Fax: (352) 392-1413
So now you can Take Out the Grass legally and put something in the space between the curb and sidewalk that needs no water, spray or fertilizer like Perennial Peanut or Beach Sunflower. This would be a good start to improve the environment and increase awareness of what happens when you spread fertilizer on and near the sidewalk, driveway and street. You can just imagine how much fertilizer is misdirected and bounces or is washed with the first irrigation or rain into the street and down the drain to the wetlands.
Get familiar with the 9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping here and make a plan to save water, improve the environment. Click the Pass it on Florida tab at the top of this page and share the good news with neighbors, family and friends.