Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Earth Day News: CO2 Isn't Harmful To Environment

More science based data on CO2's harmful effects: There's none.

CO2SCIENCE: Isolated for 42 days in chambers of ambient and elevated CO2 concentrations, we periodically document the growth of cowpea plants (Vigna unguiculata) via time-lapse photography.

In Your Backyard: Lots of Things To Do

If you didn't get to participate in any Earth Day events, there's still plenty to do:

This Friday, April 30th is National “Save the Frogs” Day, highlighting awareness of our amphibian friends and their habitats.

The Lake County Water Authority is hosting a wetland walk at Sawgrass Island Preserve for the public. It is limited to 15, RSVP 343-3777, ext. 0.

The Hike will start at 9:00 am in the northern parking area. Participants will visit the Preserve's seasonal wetlands dipping for salamanders and frogs. The biologist will talk about the native wildlife, importance of wetlands and the uplands that protect these fragile habitats. The 1,200-acre Sawgrass Island Preserve was purchased by LCWA in 1994 to protect the 600+ acre marsh at the north shore of Lake Yale.

I will be at EPCOT on Sunday, May 9th for the International Flower and Garden Festival to provide garden advice for your backyard. Looking forward to talking to Florida residents. I'll be posting photographs of all the great flower containers, topiaries, and scenery. It should be wonderful weather, come out and see me!

See previous year's International Flower and Garden Festival photographs at EPCOT.

The Lake County Water Authority's tour of their one year old NURF facility was incredible. It's amazing to see how the alum cleans up the polluted water of Lake Apopka that comes into the Beauclair Canal. If you didn't get a chance to visit, here are some of the highlights:

NURF Tour -April 22 -2010

Today's topics:

With the warmer temperatures we are now seeing an increase of flea infestations, not only on our pets but in our yards. Even homeowners that don't have pets can see flea issues due to rodents like squirrels, mice, and citrus rats. What should you do so you don't have to "flea your premises?"

Name these lovely native wildflowers that is blooming freely along the backroads of Lake County?

Answer: Fringed Bluestar (Amsonia ciliata) and Florida Greeneyes (Berlandia betonicifolia)

Good for you if you got them right! Excellent if you have seen them!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

In Your Backyard: Florida's Gardener's Resource - All You Need To Know To Plan, Plant, & Maintain A Florida Garden

The most frequent question I get from beginning garden enthusiasts is: What gardening book do I use most at home? The answer is never simple. Most gardening and nature books are theme-specific, especially here in Florida where gardening has year-round opportunity. My best advice is always: “Depending on your interests, you’ll need several, but Tom MacCubbin’s books are must-haves for Florida gardeners.”

I can now amend my usual advice to put Tom’s newest gardening book at the top and recommend “Florida Gardener’s Resource - All You Need To Know To Plan, Plant, & Maintain A Florida Garden” that Florida green-thumbs, even non-gardeners, should have in their home library.

Tom MacCubbin, University of Florida/IFAS Extension Agent and Professor emeritus, is Central Florida's award-winning Orlando Sentinel garden columnist, television and radio personality. His books, ““Edible Landscape”, “Month by Month Gardening”, and Florida’s Gardener’s Guide” to name just a few, have made Tom the most relied upon horticultural expert in Central Florida for over 18 years.

A collaborative effort between Florida’s four most popular gardening gurus and authors, Tom MacCubbin, Georgia Tasker, Robert Bowden, and Joe Lamp'l, “Florida Gardener’s Resource” has what I need in a gardening book. The chapters are organized by plant categories for easy reference, with seasonal charts on planting. Monthly chores in the landscape and color photographs provide easy-to-understand information. Less than $15, this gardening book provides advice on lawns,fruits, herbs, and vegetables, natives, water conservation, and attracting butterflies. New residents and experienced master gardeners can now have that “one book". “Florida’s Garden Resource” should become our state's newest gardening attraction.

I'll be interviewing Tom on Florida Gardener's Resource and plant problems today on "In Your Backyard."
More information on where to find Tom gardening:

Tom's website: Better Lawns , blog Tom's Digs, and Tom and Joanie's new video website: "His and Hers Gardening.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

In Your Backyard: "Beautiful Wildflowers"

Our scenic Florida highways are a source of inspiration for color in the landscape. The wildflowers are blooming in swales, meadows, and in the medians and sides of the roads. Beautiful native flowers such as spiderworts, Tradescantia ohiensis, lyre-leaf sage, Salvia lyrata, toadflax, Linearis canadensis, phlox, Phlox drummondi, and narrow-leaf yellowtops, Flaveria linearis. In the shade of larger trees and wetter soils, we are seeing Red buckeye, Aesculus pavia , fringetree, Chionanthus virginicus, and titi, Cyrilla racemifolia,

Non-native red sorrel mixed with native toadflax.

Great opportunities to view wildflowers and submit your own photographs or favorite locations.

Please never pick the wildflowers. Native wildflowers will not do well in residential landscapes and ultimately die, but then they are not left in their original location to reseed and bloom the following year so that eventually the wildflowers die and vanish from the site.

Kathy Brown, renowned B. B. Brown's Nursery owner and scrub jay enthusiast, will be on the show today to talk about the colorful, low maintenance natives, how to enjoy them, and her upcoming Clermont workshops.

Resources for native plants:

Non-natives can also be beautiful and low maintenance. I am very pleased with how well my lovely False Freesia, Anomatheca laxa, has reseeded and is blooming so quickly this spring. Usually blooming in May and June, this South African drought tolerant native, handles Florida's heat and rain very, starting to bloom in April. I will let you know how long the flowers continue to appear. It easily reseeds and allows you to provide pass-along plants.

Call in with your gardening questions!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

In Your Backyard: "Spring Vegetables"

Still enjoying the cooler temperatures with highs in the 80's and lows in the upper 50's at night. Landscape shrubs and trees are busting out with leaves and returning to their normal growth patterns.

We'll be talking about growing vegetables today with Jerry Carris, former Mayor of Winter Garden, beloved West Orange High School Agriculture teacher, and UF/IFAS's 2009 Master Gardener of the Year.

We will talk with Jerry about his love of gardening, how and what to plant for a great spring and summer vegetable garden, and his newest project, the Winter Garden Community Garden.

Want more information on growing vegetables here in Florida?

Last Friday, my husband and I, and our two Scottish terriers trekked a portion of the Florida Greenways, the Marshall Swamp Trail. With the abundance of rainfall in March, this truly was a swamp adventure. The trail is very well laid out but we did have to slosh our way through some lower portions of path. Beautiful native rain lilies, Zephyranthes spp. were blooming just in time for Easter Sunday.

I'll post the link to all of our hike's photographs this afternoon.

Call in to "In Your Backyard" with your gardening questions.