Florida Friendly Plant of the Week: Peacock Ginger, Kaempferia spp.

by Lilly Browning, Hernando County Florida Friendly Landscaping Program Coordinator

Peacock Ginger, Kaempferia spp. Is a wonderful plant for those who miss their hostas up north. It has a “hosta look” to it, with its wide leaves and intricate foliage patterns. It is not a native Floridian plant, but it does well in horticultural zones 8-10. Hernando County is in Zone 9a. This nice ground cover grows about 2 feet tall and 1-4 feet wide. It likes dry to partially moist soil and it is a wonderful plant for those party sunny to shady areas in your landscape. It has little to no salt tolerance. It will shoot up small, four petaled purple flowers.

Florida Friendly Plant of the Week: Yaupon Holly

Lilly Browning is the Hernando County Florida Friendly Landscaping Program Coordinator

Yaupon Holly, Ilex vomitoria, is a great native plant that can be used as a shrub or as a small, specimen tree. They have tiny leaves and produce white, spring through summer flowers. The red fruit provides food for wildlife in the late fall and into the winter. It will grow 15-30 feet tall and 6-20 feet wide. They prefer wet or partially moist soil. They enjoy a sunny to partial sunny location in the landscape. They have a high salt tolerance, so it is a plant to think about if you live on the coast.

Master Gardeners Needed

UF/IFAS Extension Hernando County

What is a Master Gardener? What do they do? Is the program for everyone? All good questions. Here we will try to provide the answers. Master Gardener programs exist in all fifty states and in Canada. The program goals are to provide instruction and science-based information to individuals who will, in turn, volunteer in the community to share that knowledge with the public. Requirements to participate vary from state to state. Florida’s Master Gardener program is part of the Extension Service of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS).

The Teaching Garden at Moton Elementary

Photo courtesy of Linda Kelly

Sherry Pedonesi and Brooksville Garden Club volunteer, Beverly Lewis work with second graders in the teaching garden at Moton Elementary School. The Brooksville Garden club has been gardening with these students since kindergarten. This fall (2016-2017 school year) they will begin third grade and continue with this gardening program under the direction of Sherry Pedonesi and Rich Stratton and the Brooksville Garden Club Volunteers.

FWC postpones bear hunting in 2016

Photography by FWC

EASTPOINT, Fla. - Today, the seven-member Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) voted to postpone bear hunting in Florida in 2016. Although the framework for bear hunting in Florida remains in place, there will be a zero hunt objective set for 2016, and the Commission could consider future bear hunting in 2017.

Florida Unfriendly Plant of the Week: Manchineel Tree

The Manchineel Tree is native to Florida and can be found on sandy beaches and brackish marshes among mangroves. It has a fruit that resembles an apple. The tree can grow to around 50ft tall and is listed as endangered in Florida.

The Manchineel Tree is also very poisonous. According to Nicola H Strickland who ate a Manchineel apple without knowing the danger on the caribbean island of Tobago. She wrote about her experience.

Rain Gardens to reduce stormwater runoff

by Lilly Browning, Hernando County Florida Friendly Landscaping Program Coordinator

Photo: Rain garden by Rogersoh


Rain Gardens are a fairly simple and beautiful way to practice Florida-Friendly Principle # 9 – Reduce Stormwater Runoff. What is a rain garden? Well it is not a pond, nor is it a “water garden.” It can almost be more compared to a municipal drainage retention area, although much smaller and much more attractive.

Rain gardens take advantage of the flow of water in your yard, capture it for a short time, and allow that water to infiltrate the soil and promote aquifer recharge.

Operation Skeeter Stop

Several local agencies are conducting "Operation Skeeter Stop" this summer.

A number of diseases, including Zika, West Nile and Chikungunya viruses, can be transmitted via a simple mosquito bite.

EPA approved mosquito repellent provides the best protection from being bitten by a mosquito. Grab yours today! But don’t forget about our homeless who generally don’t have this option. The UF/IFAS Extension Office is teaming up with other agencies to better equip Hernando County’s homeless population with mosquito protection.