Create Wildlife Habitat in Your Landscape

Master gardener volunteer, Bea Walker, will conduct a presentation on how to create a wildlife habitat in your landscape.

-Learn how to attract butterflies and birds and other desirable wildlife to your gardens.
-Learn the four key requirements to create a wildlife-friendly environment; recommended plantings will be discussed and photos of two local gardens will be featured.
-Learn about the resources and programs available to support your efforts.

Class is free and open to the public. For more information, see the Extension website at http://nassau.ifas. ufl.edu/horticulture/landmatters/landmatters.html, or call the Extension office at 530-6351.

Landscape Matters
Wednesday, September 7, 10 a.m.
Yulee Extension Office, 86026 Pages Diary Road

Troubleshooting Lawn Problems

On June 20 at 10:00 am, Master Gardener Nelson Peterson will conduct a Landscape Matters class on troubleshooting problems that are obstacles to a healthy lawn. The session will take place at the UF/IFAS Nassau County Yulee Extension office, on Pages Dairy Road.

Nelson will discuss varieties of turf and considerations in selecting the best grass for your landscape and lawn maintenance practices. Also discussed will be the weeds that appear in our turf and proper response and treatment. Class is free and open to the public.

For more information, see the Extension website at: http://nassau.ifas.ufl.edu/horticulture/landmatters/landmatters.html, or call the Extension office at 530-6350. Master Gardeners are on office duty Fridays, from 10 am until 2 pm at 530-6350. Press ‘1’ for the Yulee office.

Outdoor Lighting Ideas For Your Backyard

Outdoor Lighting Ideas For Your BackyardMaking your backyard space bright and inviting can be achieved by using pole lighting. Once relegated to curbside appeal of the front yard, lighting poles utilized in a back yard can also create magic behind your home as well. With the right type of lighting, you can achieve a dramatic outdoor room that can be enjoyed throughout the year.

Lighting Poles

A lighting pole is a light fixture, usually constructed of weather resistant materials, mostly aluminum or steel and is constructed to resist elements. The pole can either house the wiring and controls that lead to the light fixture that it supports or serve as a base for a self-contained unit such as a solar, candle or other type of self-powered light.

Lighting poles can either attach to an existing structure with mounting brackets or be freestanding. An outdoor lighting pole can make a dramatic statement about your home or business as well as illuminating an area for visibility and safety.

lamp-post-cropWith Outdoor lighting poles and fixtures are becoming less expensive, create a vintage, gaslight look with a post light or hanging lantern that hails back to a bygone era. This French outdoor accent light is both beautiful and functional. Fulham ballasts are used for light fixtures to provide simple and hassle free process.

When decorating an outdoor space, choosing the right type of lighting poles can be important. This Asian or Craftsman style lantern is beautiful in nearly any type of landscaping project and gives off an aura of mystery.

The warm glow evocative of the desert is especially alluring when coupling a Moorish lamp that has been electrified and suspended as part of a lighting pole. The cut-outs in the lamp cast beautiful patterns on walls and around green spaces.

You can construct your own lighting poles and string cafe or even Christmas lighting to light up your patio, deck or garden space by using lighting poles constructed of electrical conduit, conduit pipe straps and end caps. (http://brightjuly.blogspot.com/2012/09/diy-outdoor-string-lights.html) You can even use wooden poles to hold the conduit straps and hold your lighting in place. You can anchor these by attaching them to your deck or putting them in the ground or large planter pots.

These are just a few different choices in using lighting poles to give patio entertaining its own special glow.

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Making the Perfect Landscape Bed

flower-bedHave you ever thought about making the perfect landscape bed in your yard? You may have noticed that Amelia Island, Florida, sports some of the prettiest lawns around. Lawns that incorporate palm trees, brick pavers, sophisticated sprinkler systems, beautiful plants and more. It has never ceased to amaze me how someone’s landscape can transform a common everyday house into a something that is worthy of being in Better Homes and Gardens.

Recently, I was giving some insider tips on how to make any yard look great while spending a minimal amount of money just by adding beds to your lawn. Beds are areas that are placed strategically in and around the lawn where the grass has been replaced with mulch or pine straw. In addition to mulch and straw, flowers and plants are arranged as well as palm trees and sago palms. Beds are set with architectural shapes and sizes to accent the area they are placed in and the yard they are dressing.

Building a bed can be fun and easy if you follow these steps. First, identify the section of yard you want to place a bed and how you think it should look remembering shapes that are oblong in design looks the best. Now take an empty water hose and outline the bed rearranging the hose to make the perfect shape. Once you are happy with the shape use an edger with a good blade to permanently mark the bed. Now using a weed killer like Round Up begin spraying the entire area of the new bed to killing existing grass and weeds. Within a few days the grass should be completely dead and ready to be removed. Now add your choice of plants or flowers spacing them just like you want. Next it is time to add the mulch. You will want to use a liberal amount throughout the entire bed paying close attention to the plants and flowers assuring they get an ample amount also. Once all this is done take a minute to admire your creation that is sure to make all your neighbors jealous.

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The Beauty of Spring Time

Spring is a beautiful time to live in Fernandina Beach, Florida. Spring and fall are the two seasons that most of us look forward to here on Amelia Island. Now is the time to walk around your yard and enjoy the spectacular abilities of Mother Nature. Everything in your landscape should be showing signs of new growth and spring rejuvenation. Take the time to investigate all your plants and grass areas for new growth before you make the decision to trim or replace.

I have noticed that most of the typical perennials like lantana and hibiscus are starting to show major signs of life with tender new growth. The Crape Myrtles are abundant with new leaves, and the palms are starting to rebound. Impatiens are poking their heads out of the ground, and the elephant ears and other plants are showing that it takes more than a little bit of cold weather to faze them.

Our tomato plants and peppers are growing like crazy and the melon seeds we planted are ready to be thinned out. A great little tip I learned for your garden is to save any banana peels you have and use them as a fertilizer for your veggies (we froze them and used our food processor to grind them up and then we sprinkled them around the plants) – it is working incredibly!!!

Even your grass should be showing signs of greening up and major growth. The recent six inches of rain we received at our house on Amelia Island helped everything thrive. So walk your yard and see the beauty of it all. Mother Nature is incredible and we should all enjoy her majestic beauty.

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Amelia Island Spring Landscaping Tips

You cannot predict anything when it comes to Mother Nature, but you can reasonably assume that we won’t have any more freezes here in Northeast Florida. This means that it is time to get out in your yard and get dirty! Lots of things are happening in your landscape right now and you need to start doing the things that are needed to prepare your property for the growing season.

You can now comfortably trim back all cold damaged plants to maximize their growth potential in the coming weeks. Cut back all freeze damaged plants until you find green wood inside. Cut a small amount at a time so you don’t trim more than is needed. If you see new growth on plants like Hibiscus and Lantana trim back to this point. Trim all dead fronds off of your non cold hardy palms and see if the center of the palm (called the heart) is still green. If it is – then it probably survived the winter weather. You should see signs of your perennials, like Impatiens and Heather, starting to come back from the roots or bottom of the plant. Wait a little while before spending money to replace them until you see what comes back.

It is also time to fertilize your grass areas with a weed and feed or regular fertilizer. Use a weed and feed if you have a problem with weeds, as most Northeast Florida lawns do. If you are one of the lucky ones that does not have weeds in your lawn than use a High Quality Fertilizer with the numbers 16-4-8 for most St. Augustine varieties of grass. In my opinion, the actual fertilizer in regular fertilizers is much better than what you find in weed and feeds, but you must look at your lawn and determine which is best for your situation. Make sure that the fertilizer you use has a high percentage of slow release nitrogen so it will continue to feed your lawn for an extended period of time. If you are not sure, than don’t hesitate to ask a professional which is the right type.

You will find excitement when you walk your yard on a regular basis this time of the year and see how springtime makes everything appear greener and sparkle back to life!

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