The Neighborhood Gardener – December

Red poinsettia outside

Happy Holidays!

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Bird-Friendly Plants

Bluejay bird As temperatures plummet up north, Florida plays host to hundreds of species of migratory birds. We all enjoy seeing them flit through our yards, but what can we feed them? Diets differ between species but there is a fool-proof menu you can offer migratory and native birds. Learn more in this new article on bird-friendly plants.

Gifts for Gardeners

Pink and white garden glovesLooking for a last-minute gift for a fellow gardener? Working in the garden is made even more pleasurable when you're using the right tool for the task at hand. How about a new pair of gardening gloves or, if you’re feeling fancy, a hori hori knife? While there are thousands of tools on the market, there are a few that a gardener really should have. Get some gift ideas, in this article on gardening tools.

Wendy's Wanderings

Wendy WilberFor the second time in as many weeks I am doing my cold-weather dance, “the tropical plant shuffle.” When freezing temperatures or frosty weather is predicted for my area, the activity begins. All the tropical babies get protected by coming under cover or getting covered with frost cloth. You might be thinking, "Isn’t she the 'Right Plant in the Right Place Queen'?" And if you have to haul it in or protect it, is it the right place? I ask myself the same questions! Read "Tropical Plant Shuffle."

MGV Book Club

Cover of Composting for a New Generation bookThe Florida MGV Book Club returns in January! This winter we’re digging into the science of decomposition and learning all we can about soil health. Join us as we read our first title of the new year, "Composting for a New Generation," by Michelle Balz. We're excited for another season of reading and growing together. And if you enjoyed reading along with us in 2020, now is a great time to invite a friend to read with you in 2021. Learn more about the book club.

Plant of the Month: Longleaf Pine

Green pine needles against a blue sky Longleaf pines once covered 30 to 60 million acres of the southeastern United States. A wide variety of native wildlife depends on the unique longleaf pine ecosystem, including gopher frogs and the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. This stately pine has been reduced to about 10 percent of its original geographic coverage. Thankfully, recognition of the value of longleaf pine ecosystems is growing. Get to know this "pioneer species" in our article on longleaf pine.

December in Your Garden

Red flowerAmaryllis is a popular plant for the holiday season. It can be forced to bloom now or planted outdoors for spring blooms. Continue to watch for brown patch and large patch in lawns; since treatment is difficult, prevention with proper cultural practices is key. Use fallen leaves to provide the carbon ingredient needed for successful composting and also to make a good mulch.

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.

What's Going On?

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