After several years of wanting to take the Florida Master Gardener course, and having multiple conflicts, I was finally able to fit my schedule to theirs, and enroll in the 2017 class with 16 other gardeners extraordinaire. Before beginning this course, I had planned to use this blog as a journal of what I was learning as a way of sharing the knowledge, but I was so busy during that 3-month course, I didn’t have time to make any posts at all. It was hard work, but I loved every minute. Would I do it again? You bet I would!
Here are some of my classmates during a portion of our final exam where we had to plant some poinsettias, demonstrate proper pruning of trees and shrubs, etc. The written test was much tougher. As usual, I was behind the camera.
It’s All About Community Service
Each new class of graduates is considered to be interns for the first 12 months, during which time they must complete 75 hours of volunteer service and 10 hours of continuing education units (CEUs). After the first year, all Master Gardeners must earn 10 CEUs and complete no less than 35 volunteer hours annually. The next training class for our county is scheduled for spring of 2019.
GIBMP? What’s That?
That acronym stands for “Green Industries Best Management Practices”. It’s extensive training in using and advising people on the proper use of fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, and insecticides. During the course, our class also received GIBMP training, and we are now GIBMP-certified by the State of Florida.
I will be sharing a lot of what I have learned in future blog posts. I hope you enjoy each of them. For now, here are just a few little tips:
- Be sure to remove the coverings over your plants as soon as the temps are above freezing, especially if they are in the sun.
- Resist the urge to remove freeze-damaged portions of plants for now. If we have another freeze, the damaged portions will shelter any tender new growth down below.
- Your warm season grass is either dormant, or going dormant this time of year. This means its roots become much shorter, and it needs no irrigation. Do not apply nitrogen to dormant turf grass. Over time (several years), applying nitrogen to warm-season grass during winter will damage your lawn. Excessive nitrogen attracts and feeds chinch bugs. More on that later. For now, please just trust me.
- Some folks like to over-seed dormant grass with winter rye grass. Please don’t do this. Dormant grass does not need water, but winter rye does — this will damage your dormant grass. The rye seeds also get into your neighbors’ yards through wind and bird droppings.
- In the event of another hard freeze, do not use plastic bags or tarps to cover your tropical or tender plants — everywhere the plastic touches the plant there will be freeze damage. Overturned plastic pots that plants come in can be used to cover small plants because they don’t actually touch the plant. Placing a rock or brick on them will (a) keep the pot from blowing off in strong wind, and (b) cover the drainage hole, thus keeping out cold air.
I’ve been working on a blog post about which of my flowers and foliage plants survived our recent nights of freezing temps. It’s not quite done yet, but it will show photos of those that survived. Another post will show those that did not do well. Hint: the flowers that did best were the snapdragons.
Happy news, fellow gardeners! On Friday, I learned I have been accepted into the University of Florida’s Master Gardener Program. They have an extension office in our county, so it will be a convenient drive.
Classes are on Fridays beginning September 1. I’m told it’s as intensive as a grad school course so I’ll be hitting the books. As time allows, I will try to share the experience with you. Wish me luck.
Today I have a guest post from Alexandria Heinz at FTD’s beautiful blog. It seems she saw my Wordless Wednesday photos of tulips, and found them to be gorgeous. Thank you, Alexandria.
Here’s Alexandria’s intro, followed by a brief excerpt from the FTD blog:
Did you know there are over 3,000 varieties of tulips? As one of spring’s most colorful flowers, it’s easy to see why they are one of the most popular flowers in the world. Since there are so many types of tulips, FTD created this handy guide that features the 14 main groups, along with a list of their most distinctive characteristics so that you can easily identify your favorite types. From the classic single early tulip to the exotic parrot tulip, your bound to find a few of your favorites featured below along with new tulips that you’ve never seen before!
From Alexandria and the FTD Blog:
Spring has sprung, and that means the tulip is showcasing her spectacular beauty. Tulips belong to the lily family, and are native to Eurasia and North Africa. Tulipa grow cultivated and in the wild, and are highly favored additions to gardens. Some of the more popular types of tulips include:
- Single tulips
- Double tulips
- Parrot tulips
- Darwin Hybrid tulips
- Triumph tulips
While a perennial, many gardeners grow tulips as annuals since it can be a challenge to get a repeat performance in the second and third year. Depending on the variety, their brightly colored flowers are single or double and shaped like a bell, cup, or lily.
Different types of tulips also have different bloom times, which are divided into early spring (typically mid-March to late April), mid-spring (early to mid-May), and late spring (mid- to late May). In their peak season, they make stunning arrangements that can range from simple and classic to exotic.
There are 3,000 registered tulip varieties with striking differences, so we’ve outlined the characteristics of the 14 groups, so you can choose the best variety for your garden. We also created a handy guide to help you visualize the characteristics of these different kinds of tulips. To read more about the types of tulips and see lovely photos, just click right here.
Posted in Bulbs, tulips, wordless wednesday
Tagged double tulips, fringed tulips, FTD, FTD blog, hybrid tulips, kaufmanniana tulips, lily flowered tulips, parrot tulips, species tulips, tulips, types of tulips, viridiflora tulips
Happy Earth Day! In honor of Earth Month in April each year, our local unit of United Methodist Women had a plant exchange at our April unit meeting.
Each woman was asked to take a plant or a cutting of a plant from her yard to the meeting. At the meeting each woman who wanted a new plant could choose one or more of the plants there. All gardeners love to share plants. I took three and picked three. Even if someone didn’t take a plant, she could still take one.
The Social Principles of the United Methodist Church call for us to care for and protect the planet that God provided for us to live. This requires us to be ecologically responsible. So consider not using styrofoam cups, using your own reusable bags for groceries, and buying locally grown produce. There are many other ways to protect our planet, but those are the ones I can think of off the top of my head.
Happy Earth Day, everyone!
I was recently asked by Wayfair.com to contribute a photo of my favorite planter, and to answer some questions related to container gardening for their section on garden planters. Of course, I was thrilled to be among the garden bloggers invited. Here’s my photo that’s featured on their site:
The section of garden bloggers tips on container gardening went live today on Wayfair.com. Click right here to see it.
The planter in the photo was given to me for my birthday a year or so ago by my dear friend, Becky Witherby. She had put a red bromeliad in it. I had put that bromeliad in the ground in my back yard garden only a few days before Wayfair’s invitation arrived in my inbox. Perfect timing, as I then had an empty planter. I’m now waiting with baited breath for the bromeliad to bloom again.
I love the gorgeous blue of this planter. Becky made a great choice. Thank you again, Becky.
Wayfair provided this clip from their site for all of us to add to our blogs. If you enjoy container gardening, you may find it useful:
Posted in Garden Containers & Planters
Tagged bloggers invited by Wayfair, container gardening, garden planters, hanging baskets, planter pots, planters for porch and deck railings, raised bed planter, round planter, terrariums, tips from the experts on container gardening, urn planters, wall planters, Wayfair.com, window boxes