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The Neighborhood Gardener January 2021

In January’s issue of the Neighborhood Gardener, Wendy shares her new year’s gardening resolutions. This issue also includes information about removing problematic vines, sources for seeds, and more. And, we’re excited to continue the Florida MGV Book Club this month with Composting for a New Generation by Michelle Balz. You can access the full newsletter, here, or read on for a synopsis of each article.

The Neighborhood Gardener is the monthly e-newsletter from the University of Florida Master Gardener Volunteer Program and the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program. Through it we’ll share information on state happenings and useful resources. Click here to sign up to receive the newsletter the second Friday of each month.

Removing Problematic Vines

What are a gardener’s options when it’s too late for “right plant, right place?” In dealing with any hard-to-remove plant, it’s helpful to know a little about plant physiology, the study of the functions of a plant’s tissues and organs. This article examines a plant’s “sources and sinks” to help you remove the most obnoxious vines from your landscape.

Seed Sources

Seeds from the Leon County Public Library's seed library.One of the most frequently posted questions on the Master Gardener Volunteer (MGV) Program’s social media pages is “where can I get the seeds?” Finding a particular seed can start to feel like treasure hunting, especially for rare and local varieties. To get you started on the hunt we have a list of sources for you, including catalogues, swaps, and even libraries!

Wendy’s Wanderings

Wendy Wilber, Florida Master Gardener Volunteer Program State CoordinatorWelcome 2021, we have been waiting for you. With the new year comes new year’s resolutions. I like new year’s resolutions, but according to a recent study, only around 12% of people who make them felt that they were successful in achieving their goals. But there is good news too; those folks who do set new year’s resolutions are 10 times more likely to really change their behavior compared to people who do not make these yearly goals. I’ve got a life hack for you — if your goals are gardening goals, it is a little easier to keep those resolutions.

Florida MGV Book Club

Book Cover: Composting for a New Generation by Michelle BalzWe’re excited for another year of reading and growing together with the Florida MGV Book Club. This winter we’re digging into the science of decomposition and learning all we can about soil health. Our first title of the new year is “Composting for a New Generation.” At the end of the season, author Michelle Balz and Florida MVG Coordinator Wendy Wilber will host a live book club meeting. It’s not too late to start reading!

Plant of the Month: Plumbago

P. auriculata is the classic blue plumbago; it's non-native, but Florida-Friendly. Credit: UF/IFAS

With clusters of cool blue or white flowers, plumbago is a favorite among traditional garden selections. Most are familiar with the classic blue plumbago, but there is a white-flowering native species as well, found in USDA hardiness zones 9B to 11. As a bonus, native plumbago is a host for the larvae of the cassius blue butterfly. Both species of plumbago generally look best when planted in full sun and well-drained soil.

January in Your Garden 

Celebrate Florida Arbor Day (the third Friday of January) by planting a tree in your yard or community. Consider a hurricane-resistant tree, such as live oak or cabbage palm. Prune non-spring flowering shrubs and trees this month to improve form. Gardeners in North and Central Florida should be prepared to protect landscape plants from frost.
For more month-by-month gardening tips, check out the Florida Gardening Calendar. Three different editions of the calendar provide specific tips for each of Florida’s gardening regions–NorthCentral, and South.