The Neighborhood Gardener – December

Speckled poinsettia

Happy Holidays!

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Lifetime Honorary Master Gardener Award

Sydney Park Brown Sydney Park Brown, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Horticulturist and Associate Professor Emeritus, was awarded the Lifetime Honorary Master Gardener Award at the 34th Annual State Master Gardner Conference in October. "The effects of Sydney's dedication to the Florida Master Gardener Volunteer program will be felt for decades to come," says Wendy Wilber, statewide program coordinator. "Her vision helped to shape the program into one of the best in the country." More


Wendy's Wanderings

Wendy WilberIf you are anything like me, you are still rushing to finish your holiday shopping. Some people are impossible to shop for and other people are gardeners. You might be lucky enough to have a gardener on your "to buy for" list. If you do, here are some great gift ideas for the gardener in your life. More


Rosemary Topiary Trees

Potted rosemary shaped like Christmas trees A useful and delicious holiday gift, rosemary plants shaped to look like Christmas trees require minimal care and will continue to reward you long after the holidays pass. A topiary can be used as a table centerpiece, mantle decoration, or even a decoration in a child's room—you can feel safe knowing if a bit of the topiary ends up ingested it's no problem at all. After the holidays, your rosemary can be planted outside in an area with full sun and good drainage. More


Yaupon Holly Tea

Yaupon holly foliage The days are getting shorter and there is a chill in the air. A nice warm cup of tea or coffee may be just what you need to warm up after a nice outside gardening session. Wouldn't it be amazing to be able to brew tea with leaves from your own garden? Yaupon holly is the only plant native to North America that contains caffeine. More


Plant of the Month: Firethorn

Yellow mumsLooking to add some color to your winter landscape? Firethorn is an evergreen shrub known for the colorful berries it produces in cooler weather. Not only are they attractive, the berries also serve as an important food source for wildlife. The branches hold up well in cut arrangements and make a festive accent in holiday centerpieces. This thorny shrub performs best in north and central parts of Florida, and will thrive when planted in well-drained soil and full sun. More


December in Your Garden

pink snapdragonsWith cooler temperatures outside many people will be bringing plants indoors for the winter. Be on the lookout for houseplant damage from pests or disease. In North and Central Florida, add color with winter annuals like petunias and snapdragons. In South Florida, plant begonias or geraniums.

For more month-by-month gardening tips, check out the Florida Gardening Calendar. Three different editions of the calendar provide specific tips for each of Florida's gardening regions—North, Central, and South.


Friend or Foe? Foe: Fungus Gnats

A monarch butterflyFungus gnats are a common pest of indoor plants. The larvae of these tiny flying pests can be found in the soil, feeding on rotting vegetation and plant roots. They're drawn to plants that are overwatered, so one way to control these flies is to let the soil dry out between waterings. You can also use yellow "sticky traps," placed near light to attract the adults. Coat a piece of yellow plastic (like that from a Solo cup) with petroleum jelly and stick it in the soil of your infected houseplant to attract the gnats. More


Do You Have a Success Story?

We're looking for inspiring, Florida-Friendly success stories from your county. Submit yours today to Emily Eubanks.

What's Going On?

If your Master Gardener program or Extension office is having an event, be sure to share it with us.