An idea for all that basil

July 22, 2016 - 10:18

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.

Why can't I get rid of these @#$* fleas!?

July 22, 2016 - 10:12

by Jaci Dible, Hernando County Master Gardener and Retired Veterinarian

Photograph of dog by Stuart Richards

Summertime, and the insects are thriving. With all the other pests in our gardens to fight off, the fact that our pets are scratching may not grab our full attention. Fleas and ticks are out there too, and like the other insects we battle; we need to understand their life cycle in order to make use of integrated pest management successfully.

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

June 28, 2016 - 17:14

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

Plant tropical sage for butterflies

June 28, 2016 - 17:09

by Pat Cooke, UF/IFAS Hernando County Master Gardener

Photography by Carl E. Lewis

If you want to bring butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden, there are a number of plants you can add to your landscape. But one that requires the least attention is Tropical Sage, Salvia coccina. It is in the same family as the annual salvias that are so popular for their intense color. But annual salvia only lasts for one season. Tropical sage is a Florida native perennial. Once established, it requires little care, is drought tolerant, and is a magnet for a variety of nectar loving wildlife.

Florida Friendly Plant of the Week: Adam's Needle (Yucca filamentosa)

June 20, 2016 - 21:17

by LILLY BROWNING, Hernando County Florida Friendly Landscaping Program Coordinator

Adam’s needle, or Yucca filamentosa, is a native agave plant that is in bloom all over the county at this time of year. Usually pretty easy to overlook, it shoots up a long stock with amazing, white bell-like flowers. They can be seen in undeveloped areas.

The leaves grow no taller than 1-3 feet, but the flower spikes shoots up 6-15 feet. The leaves appear as if they’ve been shaved, due to the curved, filamentous threads of leaf tissue on the margins.

Florida Friendly Plant of the Week: Milkweed

June 13, 2016 - 13:24

by LILLY BROWNING, Hernando County Florida Friendly Landscaping Program Coordinator

Milkweed, or any species of Asclepias, has been in the news and filling up social media a lot in recent years. The Monarch Butterfly uses varieties of Milkweed exclusively as their host plant.

A decrease in the Monarch population has many people concerned. It has been suggested that improved weed control among American crop growers, which increases their yield, and provides more food at lower prices for us, the consumers, has brought about a crisis in the Milkweed world.

Blackberries are Ripe for the Picking

June 10, 2016 - 11:56

All images were taken at Bramble Creek Farms.

U-pick fruit is as fresh as you can get and it tastes better than anything you will get in a supermarket or ever from a fruit stand. Recently, James Saffell, referred to his evening pick at Bramble Creek Farms; “It’s like blackberry heaven,” as he popped one of the tasty fruits in his mouth.

As area children finish the school year, blackberries are plentiful for those seeking a healthy snack with fresh, sweet flavor. Making a visit to a local farm to pick blackberries is a great way to kick off the summer!

Florida-Friendly Plant of the Week: Southern Red Cedar

June 09, 2016 - 20:39

Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program Coordinator, Hernando County Utilities Department

Southern Red Cedar, Juniperus silicicola, is an impressive native evergreen tree that stands out in the landscape. These fast growing trees makes good windbreaks, as they grow 30-45 feet tall and 20-30 feet wide. They prefer dry soil and have a high drought tolerance. They are happy in bright sun to partial shade. They have a high salt tolerance. In sandhill topography, they are often the only bright green plant to see in the dead of winter. They provide food, cover and nesting sites for birds.