The Neighborhood Gardener – April

Tiny daisy like flowers of native wildflower fleabane

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Yellow bracts of tropical plantHeliconias are true rainforest beauties. Gardeners love their lush foliage and bright, striking bracts. Ecologists, too, are charmed. They study the plant's evolutionary relationship with rainforest birds. These tropical delights aren't for every landscape, though. Read the full article on Gardening Solutions to learn more about the planting and care of heliconia species

Parts of a Flower

A cutaway diagram of a flowerFlowers come in a dazzling array of color, shapes, sizes, and scents. They aren't there only for our enjoyment, however. Flowers are the structures plants use to reproduce. This article will walk you through the basics of flower biology. We'll also cover monoecious and dioecious plants and help you choose the right one for your landscape.

Biopesticides: Bt and Spinosad

Label of commercially available BtFor gardeners looking for alternatives to conventional pesticides, biopesticides represent an effective but gentler solution. Bt and Spinosad are two common biopesticides. More specifically, they are microbial pesticides. Like all pesticides, they work best as part of an integrated pest management (IPM) program. This new article hopes to answer common questions about using Bt and Spinosad.

Wendy's Wanderings

Wendy WilberDid you know that April is National Gardening Month? With all the plant sales and garden festivals going on you don't need to read your newsfeed to figure out that the gardening season is upon us. This is the month when your spring fever sets in to be a more serious condition. If you are enjoying your gardening efforts consider sharing them with others because gardening, like happiness, is not perfected until it is shared. Wendy has ideas to get your started.

Plant of the Month: Florida Butterfly Orchid

Pale green flowerOne of the showiest native species, the Florida butterfly orchid has small flowers colored yellow, copper, green, orange, or bronze. A cluster of these blooms looks like a flutter of tiny, colorful butterflies. It grows as an epiphyte in almost every county in the state. Notably, the orchids can withstand a freeze, making them popular on the northern edge of their range. Learn more about this and other Florida native ochirds.

April in Your Garden

tender young fig leaf on treeFlorida gardens are flush with new growth in the spring; now is a good time to monitor landscape plants for hungry pests like aphids on tender new leaves. Expand or rejuvenate garden beds by dividing clumps of bulbs, ornamental grasses, or herbaceous perennials; you can share these "new" plants with friends. Plant heat-tolerant annuals like coleus. Continue planting warm-season crops like beans, Southern peas, and chayote.

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.