University of Florida

The Neighborhood Gardener –
Wendy's Wanderings

June 10, 2015

This month marks the beginning of summer. For Floridians, there are a lot of markers to the month of June — hurricane season, the end of the school year, the rainy season starting, and reaping the harvest of our spring gardens.

For me growing up in South Florida, June meant the Royal Poinciana trees (Delonix regia) were blooming and it was time to start picking avocados and mangoes on our farm. Our version of summer camp was learning to drive the tractor and seeing who could fill a field crate fastest (although my sister would say I was often seen hiding in the shade).

Here, June at the Master Gardener office has been spent finalizing plans for the State MG conference that is being held in Kissimmee, October 18-21.

On Sunday the 18th, we'll start out with a choice of two great tours: one headed to Leu Gardens and the Exploration Gardens at the Orange County Extension Office, and the second going to Disney Topiaries and the interior-scape of Gaylord Palms.

Our keynote speaker for Monday morning is from the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition. A member of the expedition will describe the journey that their team made from the Everglades to the Okefenokee Swamp on foot, by kayak, and on horseback across the wilds of Florida. 

From there we will have 24 concurrent sessions on Florida-Friendly Landscaping™, horticulture and gardening, soils and diagnostics, as well as invasives and wildlife.  I'm really excited to have four Master Gardener volunteers presenting at the conference this year, along with the state's finest specialists and agents. It will be a great conference, especially if you can make it.

This spring I have had the pleasure to meet with a few Master Gardener program leaders around the state.  I met Judy Ludlow in Calhoun County, attended MG graduations in Columbia and Palm Beach counties, and was able to have a quick tour around the Discovery gardens at the Hillsborough County Office.  It was a pleasure to meet with these vibrant, productive MG programs.

Whether you are getting yourself together for hurricane season, picking vegetables, or even hiding in the shade of an avocado tree, I hope your summer gets off to a great start. 

-- Wendy Wilber

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