The Neighborhood Gardener – August

Cluster of tiny white flowers

(Photo: Florida clover ash, Tetrazygia bicolor. Courtesy of Stephen Brown, UF/IFAS Extension Lee County)

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Florida Gardening for New Residents

Blue highway sign that reads Welcome to Florida, the Sunshine StateFor gardeners who have recently moved to Florida, adjusting to such a unique environment can be challenging. With eight distinct USDA Hardiness Zones, the variety of ornamental, edible, and native plants that happily grow here in the Sunshine State is staggering. But the Master Gardener Volunteer Program is here to help! In this article we'll walk you through the growing seasons, a dramatic rainy season, soil, sand, salt, invasive species, and more.

Garden Myths, Vol. 1

Orange marigold flowersEvery pursuit has its myths and legends; gardening is no different. From sure-fire fire ant treatments to magical marigolds and tree-killing moss, the tall tales passed along in gardening circles offer plenty of intrigue. As this new school year begins we're excited to offer you a number of our favorite garden myths, as well as the truth behind the fiction.

Wendy's Wanderings

Wendy WilberYou might be a Florida gardener if you are thinking about getting your vegetable garden going again. Even though it is hotter than a pepper patch in the Sunshine State, it is time to start planning the fall garden. I know this time of year we are keeping one eye on hurricane tracks but it really is the best time to get an edible planting in. Read on for Wendy's fall edible gardening suggestions.

Plant of the Month: Thryallis

A cluster of small, bright yellow flowersThryallis is a Florida-Friendly splash of color that we love to see in landscapes. Also commonly known as "rain-of-gold," Galphimia gracilis is a flowering, evergreen shrub. Although native to Mexico and Central America, thryallis is well-adapted to Florida's climate and not considered invasive. And if you're looking for a low-maintenance shrub with a stunning floral display, this is the plant for you. It's drought tolerant, blooms reliably, and is not prone to pests, disease, or deer. This article will show you how to add this colorful shrub to your landscape.

Snails and Slugs

Snail sitting in the palm of someone's handBoth snails and slugs prefer humid, moist environments, so during Florida's rainy season, these mollusks are a common sight. While a few are true garden pests, most species do little damage to the landscape. And there are garden-friendly snails, too. Predatory snails, like the rosy wolf snail (Euglandina rosea), feed on other snails and slugs. This article will help you understand, identify, and manage snails and slugs in the landscape.

MGV Book Club

Cover of the Florida Oranges bookNext month is our live meeting with Erin Thursby, author of "Florida Oranges," so mark your calendars for 1 p.m. on Friday, September 17. If you haven't read this season's book club pick, it's not too late to grab a copy and join us. Whether you're new to Florida or a born and raised Floridian, there's a lot to learn about the history surrounding our state's citrus crops! "Florida Oranges: A Colorful History" covers Ponce de Leon's first groves in St. Augustine to the current citrus greening crisis, and much more. Learn more about the book and the MGV club.

August in Your Garden

Red tomatoes on the vineIt's too hot to plant all but the most heat-tolerant annuals, like coleus, kalanchoe, and bulbine. Now's the time to think about your fall vegetable garden; many crops can be started now, including eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes. South Florida gardeners can start pumpkins from seed this month. Do you have poinsettias? Pinch them back before the end of the month to allow time for buds to form for winter bloom.

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.