The Neighborhood Gardener – September

Zebrawing butterfly on firebush flowers

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Yaupon Tea

Hand holding clear plastic cup of tea in front of a yaupon holly shrubEnjoying a warm cup of coffee or tea provides many a gardener with a jolt of energy to start their day. What if you could grow caffeine-rich tea leaves right in your backyard? Yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria) is a native Florida shrub that makes a great tea alternative. This article on Gardening Solutions explains the process and introduces you to the budding yaupon tea industry in Florida.

Landscaping Mistakes

Stone edged planting beds too close to each other for a mower to come through and cut the grass in betweenIt’s easy to find what you should do when designing your landscape, but it is also important to be aware of what not to do. We’ve compiled a list of the top ten landscaping mistakes that can unfortunately be seen throughout the state. Don’t worry if you’ve made any of these mistakes; you have the tools to fix them! See examples of what not to do in this new article on Gardening Solutions

Climate-Smart Gardening

Naturally shaped slate pavers spaced far enough apart for grass to grow in betweenAs you’ve likely noticed just from checking the weather, Florida’s climate is changing. We’re facing higher temperatures, stronger storms, and water depletion. Fortunately, there are actions you can take to help your landscape adapt to these changes and mitigate some climate change impacts. This new article has nine ways you can garden and landscape for the changing climate.

Wendy's Wanderings

Wendy WilberEdible flowers are always a welcome sight in salads, soups, desserts, and drinks. They bring the beauty of the garden to the kitchen and dining room. There are a wide range of flowers that are edible, and fall is a wonderful time to get them growing. With varying shapes and colors, the flowers also have different flavors ranging from sweet to savory. Pick only from plants that haven't been treated with sprays or pesticides and be sure to make a correct ID—not all flowers are edible. Read on for Wendy's cautionary tale of pretty poison.

Plant of the Month: Yaupon Holly

Small yaupon holly shrub in pot on patioAdd wildlife interest and winter color to your yard with yaupon holly, one of the most durable and adaptable of the small-leaved evergreen hollies for Florida landscapes. Birds and other wildlife will feed on the bright berries the female shrubs produce through the winter months. Yaupon hollies should be planted in a spot where they'll receive full or partial sun. They are both drought and salt tolerant, meaning this plant can find a home in a variety of landscapes. Learn more about Ilex vomitoria.

Medicinal Plants

Yellow-orange daisy like flowers of calendulaDid you know that many of the garden plants you are already familiar with have been traditionally used for healing? Florida is home to many medicinal plants, both native and non-native. Of course, the purported benefits of these plants are still being researched and should only be considered as possibilities, not guarantees. Gardening Solutions has a list of some medicinal plants that are commonly found in home gardens.

September in Your Garden

Bright orange frilly marigold flowersIt’s still hot out, but September brings the promise of cooler temperatures. In addition to planting fall vegetables and herbs,consider switching your summer flower beds up to add some fall color. Continue to monitor the lawn; pests such as fall armyworms, chinch bugs, and sod webworms are still active.

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.