MOSI _ Tampa’s Butterfly Garden

December 1, 2009 by Rick
There are always butterflies nectaring on the plants in their gardens. You can teach children the amazing life cycle of the butterfly and the moth at MOSI. Watch as larvae feed on milkweed and other host plants and see them change before your eyes.

Support Ag in the Classroom

November 29, 2009 by Rick

Buy a car tag to show support of a program that exposes kids to an important part of Florida’s economy and a satisfying career choice towards a sustainable future.

Florida AITC - Rainbow Chicks and Students

Image via Wikipedia




Scarlet Milkweed are magnet plants attracting Monarch and Queen butterflies for nectar in the flowers and as a larval host food when they eat the leaves. These milkweed are available year round at most Florida Home Depot stores. Bring butterflies into your yard or patio in a container garden. Watch for the complete life cycles of these wonderful creatures to develop before your eyes. Use these plants as a way to connect with your children and to get them outside and connecting with nature on a regular basis.

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Is Your Flower Pot Half Full? part 3

November 5, 2009 by Rick

Sometimes gardeners get overwhelmed with weeds and pests. Florida and the south are getting overwhelmed with exotic invasive's. Good news is there is significant progress on some of the most devastating invaders. The Old World Climbing Fern Lygodium microphyllum has found it's way around most of the state. It is heavily infesting many of our forests and you may have seen it covering long stands of trees and power lines by highways like the Florida Turnpike in Saint Lucie and Martin counties. The USDA Agriculture Research Service has worked for 12 years to control the climbing fern that was on the verge of covering 1/3 of Florida with the potential for devastating fires that could kill all the trees in the forests if it is not controlled.

According to this recent 2009 article, in 2008 the ARS released a little moth known as Neomusotima conspurcatalis—nicknamed “Neo”. The moth larvae is currently the most successful of all the biocontrol agents that have been tested by the Fort Lauderdale scientists. Other biocontrols are being tested so there is much to be hopeful for.


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Is Your Flower Pot Half Full? part 2

October 21, 2009 by Rick

The ARS is on the verge of victory in the battle of an aggressive invader that has swallowed much of the south.


The invincible, KUDZU. Seems they have figured out how to infect it with a fungus, Myrothecium verrucaria, specifically effective on Kudzu. This fungus works so quickly that plants sprayed in the morning with Myrothecium show signs of decline by the afternoon with killing potential of nearly 100% and no injury to other trees and plants tested so far. They are still testing it for safety and formulating sprays that have good shelf life and efficacy. There is even hope that it will be useful controlling weedy purslane and spurge in vegetable production. Wouldn't it be nice if it works on Air Potatoes and Skunk Vine too? This has to be a more sustainable way to control weeds and pests, return the environment to a sustainable state and replace some reliance on synthetic and salt based herbicides. It likely could be certified as organic. Homeowner formulas would be nice but it is too soon to know if the use is too narrow for marketability or other use complications make private use unavailable.  

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Thank You, Florida Commissioner Bronson

October 18, 2009 by Rick

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.

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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Categories: Environmental Awareness Education
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Good & Natural Bacteria - Growth Products

October 8, 2009 by Rick

Grwoth Prod group

At The Landscape Show in Orlando last week I met up with the providers of the good bacterial and natural plant growth products that help us grow Florida Friendly Plants in a sustainable way that is good for the environment and works well with the locally produced compost we use for potting media. These Bacteria subtilis organisms continue to grow in and around your plant roots in your home landscape and protect the roots from fungus and disease.

I met with Claire Renenberg, the founder and the microbiologist  behind Companion and other natural products we use. Here is a link to an article on Riverview Flower Farm and the Good Bacteria we rely on.

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Categories: 9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping | Environmental Awareness Education
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Raised Bed Gardens are Very Florida Friendly

August 24, 2009 by Rick

How to make a scarecrow

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Categories: Container Gardening | Cool Season Gardening | Drip Irrigation | Florida Friendly Landscape
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Organic Thrips Repellents

August 7, 2009 by Rick


Kaolin Powder Clay at Amazon for $9.00 per pound has been shown to confuse and or make feeding difficult for thrips insects that attack vegetables and ornamental plants.

Kaolin Powder Clay - 1 lb., (Frontier)

In an article, Thrips Research in Florida, details of how the clay might be used in combination with tea-tree oil, lemongrass oil or geraniol to significantly reduce thrip feeding and the viruses transmitted by the feeding.

In a previous article, Mama Mia - Garlic Extract Controls Garden Pests , we talked about how effective garlic extract is for us in production as a soil drench. Other Florida growers have found that weekly spraying one quart per half acre per 100 gallons of Alsa (garlic extract) controls thrips as well as synthetic chemicals on crops like crotons. The goal is to find enough alternatives to make control as safe as possible and still effective. We also want to not make thrips resistant to synthetic chemicals by overuse. We have made great strides recently. Let us know what you have found to be most effective against Florida pests.

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Categories: 9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping | Environmental Awareness Education | U of F Cooperative Extension Service
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Timing is Everything in the Garden

July 28, 2009 by Rick
Gardening in Florida is seasonal dependant just like in other areas of the country. Just because we don't have freezing weather you can't succeed by planting anytime you get the urge. NOW is the time to get an urge and do some preparation. I know it is hot and rain is predicted but if you drive to the farming areas the farmers have already plowed the fields and are preparing to plant cool season vegetables, fall tomatoes, peppers, corn, onions and strawberries. Check out the newly updated Florida vegetable Guide from these links. Successful Vegetable gardening can involve composting and rainbarrels and timing that avoids major pests. Learn about this from the Cooperative Extension Service for free. This video is well done and illustrates a progression that gives you an idea of how much work you are going to have to do to get started. You sure want to do it at the right time if you plan to eat from your back yard. You also may want to get involved in a Community Garden to learn by doing before you start digging.

This Lawn is Your Lawn from roger doiron on Vimeo.

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Categories: Cool Season Gardening | U of F Cooperative Extension Service | Warm Season Gardening
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It's the Law! Florida Friendly Landscaping is Legal Everywhere

July 12, 2009 by Rick

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.

PerennialPeanut BeachSunflower

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.

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Categories: 9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping | 9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping | Florida Friendly Landscape | Florida Friendly Landscape | U of F Cooperative Extension Service | U of F Cooperative Extension Service
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