Visit the Naples Botanical Garden

December 12, 2009 by Rick

 Naples Garden

Recently they had their grand opening of their new and extensive tropical habitat gardens. You will learn many things when you visit.  If you have not been to Naples in a while you will be impressed at how beautiful and colorful the city is now. The 2 Home Depot stores in Naples have some of the busiest and best stocked garden centers in Florida selling Florida Friendly Plants that brighten gardens with lasting color. Check out their butterfly pavilion at the Naples Botanical Garden.

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Florida Friendly Landscape FAQ's

June 25, 2009 by Rick

Frequently Asked Questions about Landscape Irrigation for Florida-Friendly Landscaping Ordinances

This FAQ link answers many questions but there is still more research being done by the U of F to get the best answers for protecting our environment.

State bill 494 is important since it will require BMP training for all lawn companies that apply fertilizer. In addition, it may ease watering restrictions for those who incorporate moisture or rain sensors as part of their irrigation system. Research shows that watering twice a week with less water improves turf and reduces water usage. U of F research also shows that there is little difference in water requirements between the different turf grasses. Turf uses more water in the spring when coming out of dormancy and then again in the fall when establishing roots

Phosphorus leaching from turf fertilizers is a big problem for our water supply. St Augustine turf uses and holds phosphorous, the P in N-P-K on your fertilizer bag, 30 times better than highly promoted Empire Zoysia. That also holds true for nitrogen recycling making St. Augustine more environmentally friendly than Zoysia.

The best thing you can do with your St. Augustine lawn is to only fertilize in the fall and only use a slow release N-P-K formula. Lawns overgrow and become thatched if you fertilize in the growing season when they do not need it. Overfertilized lawns are more prone to disease and insects and then require properly timed pesticide sprays to prevent decline. If you want a greener lawn in the summer you should just use iron fertilizer.

Empire Zoysia has shallow roots and goes dormant faster than St. Augustine. It is susceptible to brown patch and requires no less water than St. Augustine turf. It is slow to spread and slow to come out of winter dormancy.

The governor has not to signed the into law the bill that ties Florida Friendly Landscaping principles to protect homeowners rights if they employ them in their communities that may have laws or deed restrictions requiring turf. According to a story in the Bradenton Herald, Manasota 88 objected to late amendment language that lessens permitting requirements. See also Florida-Friendly Landscapes Pass the Legislature


"Consult the genius of place in all"

May 28, 2009 by Rick

Alexander Pope's 1731 statement is one for the ages. Today gardeners can seek local genius from the U of F's body of Florida research by scientists that seek out and publish facts to make us successful. As gardeners we benefit from the knowledge of what plant works in what setting. Right Plant - Right Place. The recently updated Vegetable Gardening Guide tells what modern and heirloom varieties of vegetables will work in the part of Florida where you live but just as importantly what dates we need to plant them to ensure a harvest.

        

If you garden in Florida your genius bookmark should be Solutions for Your Life. There you can easily access the knowledge database from the U of F Cooperative Extension Service and find the right answer to common and not so common problems with your turf, garden, house plants, pets, energy consumption, home economics and much more. The information is local to your county and staffed by a local genius who is just a call or email away and it's FREE.

You will also find your local county extension office is also the office of your local Florida Yards and Neighborhoods coordinator. FYN information is largely based on U of F research and partially funded by the DEP and water management districts to help you decide how to plant the Right Plant in the Right Place the right way to protect our rivers and lakes. Pass along these links to family, friends and neighbors so Florida's environment can improve. Learn what it takes to do your part to protect the environment and you too can become a genius of place.


Florida-Friendly Landscapes Pass the Legislature

May 16, 2009 by Rick

Landmark legislation went through several face-lifts during this legislative session resulting in a huge win for the environment.  The Florida-Friendly Landscape bill provides a critically needed and much overdue update of Florida law relating to landscapes. 
Historically, Florida law has highlighted Xeriscapes.  If signed by the Governor, the law will be updated to showcase the use of Florida-friendly landscapes (put the right plant in the right place). The bill also provides a missing link to Florida-friendly landscaping by recognizing not only the water conservation, but also the water quality, benefits which Florida-friendly landscapes provide.
The law explicitly adds a connection to the UF/IFAS Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Program for homeowners and builders.  The bill references the UF/IFAS Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology (for which FNGLA helped establish and secure funding four years ago) and the educational resources it provides. 
Finally, the bill strengthens protections for homeowners wishing to install Florida-friendly landscapes and clearly states local government ordinances cannot prohibit or be enforced to prohibit Florida-friendly landscaping.  Special thanks goes to Sen. JD Alexander (R-Lake Wales) and Rep. Seth McKeel (R-Lakeland) for shepherding this victory through the Legislature.


One potato, two potato, three potato, four!

May 11, 2009 by Rick

George Washington Carver invented 108 ways to use the sweet potato. Sweet Potato Products

Plant Breeders today have found sweet potatoes can be very useful as sturdy landscape perennial color components. You can eat the ornamental varieties but once you taste them you will go back to the traditional and much more delectable garden varieties suitable for Florida. Maybe you want to have your cake and it eat too. Alternate your favorite color of ornamental sweet potato with edible varieties to create a pleasing and extensive ground cover to replace thirsty turf while enhancing the view in your landscape. Focus the water on the plants in rows using highly efficient drip irrigation and you will use a fraction of what it takes to maintain an equivalent lawn area. Mulch the entire area with free oak leaves from your neighbors that they leave at the curb or buy some Florida Friendly Melaluca or Eucalyptus mulch to keep the weeds down. If you interplant edible and ornamental types, as you harvest your edible tubers the ornamental vines will keep the view looking beautiful and quickly cover where the edible tubers vines are harvested. Her are some good reasons you might Eat the View.

Margerita Tuber

Ornamental Sweet Potato tuber of Sweet Potato Vine 'Margarita'

OrnamentalSweetPotato

Today, colorful hybrids are readily available in gallon containers and in 9 count Classic Selection trays at most Florida Home Depot stores.

OrnamentalSweetPotatoClassicSelection9Count

OrnamentalSweetPotatoClassicSelection

Ornamental Sweet Potatoes are easy to plant and thrive in Florida.

They make an excellent spreading ground cover and make the color of the other plants in your garden stand out. Think of ways to use the prolific and easy to care for plants as complementary components in designing with color. They can also be used dependably as SPILLERS and FILLERS in container combinations.

AfricanBushDaisyCombination 

Ornamental Sweet Potato Persian Shaield Combo

OrnamentalSweetPotatoPersianShieldPetuniaCombo


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Categories: 9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping | Design | Drip Irrigation | Florida Friendly Landscape | Thriller-Filler-Spiller Design Concept | Turf Substitute | U of F Cooperative Extension Service
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Compost Happens

May 2, 2009 by Rick

As Felder Says, " Rule #1 Stop throwing that stuff away. Rule #2 Pile it up."

Or, you can get real elaborate if you compost your table scraps too and don't want the critters digging in your pile. 

Take a look at this fancy ECOmposter at COSTCO It looks like an easy way to get into compost production. It is 32 inches in diameter and one of the practical rules is that the pile needs to be 3 foot by 3 foot by 3 foot to build enough heat to effectively compost. Maybe the black color, patented air tubes and shape do give the ECOmposter the ability to heat up and work quickly as they claim. You would have to have it nearly full and the stand that allows you to spin it is included at that price only when you purchase it from Costco. It would be difficult to manage for some folks without the stand. Will it keep the racoons out of your food scraps? I have seen some smart and toothy racoons and would like to know if anyone has an ECOmposter and can declare it bandito proof and an efficient tool. Costco's 100% satisfaction gauranteed return policy is another reason it is one of my favorite stores.

picture of a racoon

Image from CathCat

The U of F Cooperative Extension Service in your county has information and workshops on composting that will enlighten you about these natural happenings.


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Categories: Environmental Awareness Education | 9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping | U of F Cooperative Extension Service | Environmental Awareness Education | U of F Cooperative Extension Service
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Earth Day - just once a year???

April 22, 2009 by Rick

"Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's
greed." - Mahatma Gandhi

File:Earth flag PD.jpg

http://www.wikihow.com/Celebrate-Earth-Day

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_Day


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Categories: Environmental Awareness Education | Environmental Awareness Education
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Dripirrigation.org Brings Us Some Timely Info

April 20, 2009 by Rick

A new web site that has the information for making wise decisions has been published by Toro at http://www.dripirrigation.org/landscape.html

Drip with Pot in Pot

Drip irrigation tubes can focus the water to each plant. Using the Pot-in-Pot method you can focus less water directly into the pot with very little waste and optimize the performance of your plants.

DripEpcot

Roses do particularly well with drip irrigation since they are less prone to disease if the foliage stays dry.

DripRaisedPlanter

Drip irrigation in raised planter beds makes watering easy and efficient.

DripIrrigationPot

Our container production benefits from drip tape irrigation by keeping the foliage dry, saving water and fertilizer and allowing us to water all the plants only when they need it.

DripIrrigationTubes


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Categories: 9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping | Container Gardening | Drip Irrigation | Pot-in-Pot Landscaping
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Environmental Awareness at Epcot

April 14, 2009 by Rick

Epcot Floral

The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is always a hit every spring as gardeners from around the world are amazed by the floral displays. Throughout the years the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association members and Florida Master Gardeners have volunteered at demonstrations set up for Flower Festival visitors. Nearly 1 million Florida Gardeners visit the Festival each spring and learn how to beautify their home landscape using the latest environmentally friendly practices and products.

Welcome Sign

Volunteers greet interested folks who want to learn ways to cut down on waste and save water and energy using the methods and products on display in the demonstrations.

 

RU Wasteful Mailbox RU Wasteful House

RU Wasteful Sign Look for the Leak

We had the most questions from homeowners in central Florida looking for alternatives the St. Augustine grass featured at the R. U. Wasteful residence along with other good Florida plants planted in the wrong place.

The display at the adjacent I.M. Green residence featured turf alternatives like Beach Sunflower and many plants that require low amounts of water to thrive in Florida. It also featured Empire Zoysia turf that can survive without irrigation after establishment.

IM Green Sign IM Green Mailbox

Pesticide Use Drought Tolerant Bulbine at Epcot Demonstration

Compost Bin Compost Sign

Harvest Rainwater Rain Guage Sign

Rain Guage Rainbarrel

Water Saving Demo at Epcot Drip Irrigation Roses Epcot

Rainbird Watersaving Demo at Epcot 09

Rainbird staffs a booth demonstrating the proper way to set up and use efficient irrigation systems with timers, nozzles, drip emitters and rain shutoff devices. There is still plenty of time to get to the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival before it ends June 1.


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Welcome to our Florida Friendly Plants Blog

January 19, 2009 by Rick

We plan to share through numerous posts our enthusiasm and experience as long-time Florida gardeners and horticulturists. Our hope is that your gardening efforts will be successful and enjoyable.  We’ll share ways to make your yards and patios beautiful while following the University of Florida's Nine Principles of Florida-Friendly Landscaping:

 

1) Right Plant, Right Place: Plants selected to suit a specific site will require minimal amounts of water, fertilizers and pesticides.

 

2) Water Efficiently: Irrigate only when your lawn needs water. Efficient watering is the key to a healthy yard and conservation of limited resources.

 

3) Fertilize Appropriately: Less is often best. Over-use of fertilizers can be hazardous to your yard and the environment.

 

4) Mulch: Maintain two to three inches of mulch to help retain soil moisture, prevent erosion and suppress weeds.

 

5) Attract Wildlife: Plants in your yard that provide food, water and shelter can conserve Florida’s diverse wildlife.

 

6) Manage Yard Pests Responsibly: Unwise use of pesticides can harm people, pets, beneficial organisms and the environment.

 

7) Recycle: Grass clippings, leaves and yard trimmings composted and recycled on site provide nutrients to the soil and reduce waste disposal.

 

8) Reduce Storm water Runoff: Water running off your yard can carry pollutants, such as fertilizer, pesticides, soil and debris that can harm water quality. Reduction of this runoff will help prevent pollution.

 

9) Protect the Waterfront: Waterfront property, whether on a river, stream, pond, bay or beach, is very fragile and should be carefully protected to maintain freshwater and marine ecosystems.

 

More details can be found here: http://fyn.ifas.ufl.edu/homeowners/nine_principles.htm

 

 
Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.


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