Garden

An idea for all that basil

Basil is an easy herb to grow in your garden, but when you see the plant start to flower, it's time to start thinking of ways to use it up. If you plant more than one, chances are you'll find yourself with more basil than you know what to do with. You can always give some away to friends and neighbors, but making pesto is a great way to use up your basil and keep some for later.

Florida Friendly Plant of the Week: Firebush (Hamelia patens)

by Lilly Browning, Hernando County Florida Friendly Landscaping Program Coordinator

Firebush, Hamelia patens, is a wonderful native bush that is blooming right now. It grows in horticultural zones 9-11. It’s a fast growing bush that can grow anywhere from 5-20 feet tall and 5-8 feet wide. It is happy in dry or partially moist soil and has a medium drought tolerance. It is content in any light conditions. But if you are looking for more of the orange/red, tubular flowers place it in the sun. They will have hardier, darker green foliage in shadier areas, but fewer flowers. This bush has little to no salt tolerance.

Butterfly Gardening Tips

by Pat Cooke, UF/IFAS Hernando County Master Gardener

Photography by Kenneth Dwain Harrelson

If you plant for butterflies, you should expect to see caterpillars too. There is still time this year to fill the gaps in your landscape with plants that attract butterflies. It is a great way to add color and a variety of foliage to your garden while drawing in wildlife. Many plants that do well in this area serve as a nectar source for butterflies. Try adding purple coneflower, calendula, coreopsis, firespike, tropical sage or members of the cassia family to your mixed butterfly border. For best effect, plant in groups of three or five.

Florida Friendly Plant of the Week: Crepemyrtle (Lagerstroemia spp.)

by LILLY BROWNING, Hernando County Florida Friendly Landscaping Program Coordinator

Crepemyrtle (Lagerstroemia species) has become one of our southern beauties. They have just started blooming in central Florida, and their blooms will stick around in abundance through late September.

There is a wide variety of crapemyrtles to choose from. You can find a chart of the many varieties in the University of Florida publication entitled, “Crepemyrtle in Florida.” http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg266

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