Pat Cooke

Don’t move firewood

December 30, 2016 - 15:32

UF/IFAS Extension offices and master gardeners frequently receive questions from homeowners about the health and viability of their lawn and landscape plants. By far, the most valuable, long-term investments in the landscape are trees. They provide structure, shade and shelter. Mature trees add resale value to a property too. It is worth taking time to maintain them with proper care.

Butterfly Gardening Tips

July 14, 2016 - 01:54

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.

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.

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