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garden party sign

Gardeners Just Wanna Have Fun!

Gardeners love to share:  plants, seeds, knowledge, experiences and inspiration!  There are so many ways to share garden fun, and here are just a few:

1)  Throw a “garden” party.  Entertaining can’t get much more casual!  Grab a corner of a shady yard or porch and have everyone bring cuttings, seedlings or seeds from his/her garden to share and propagate.  What to have on hand (or guests to contribute): clean containers, potting mix, trowels, clippers; oh, and of course, snacks/beverages.

Garden party sign

Garden party sign. Photo credit: Molly Griner, UF/IFAS Extension

2)  Exchange a work day with a gardening friend to work in each other’s yard.  Chores go twice as fast, and often seeing your garden space through someone else’s eyes can bring fresh insight to any “problem” areas you might have.  Serve picnic lunch after a good morning’s work and enjoy your accomplishments and each other’s company.

3) Share with neighbors!  Grow native pollinating wildflowers in a space visible to your neighbors.  If they comment on their beauty (and they often will), offer to give them seedlings, cuttings or seeds for their yards. Explain the benefits of such native plantings; introduce them to Florida-Friendly

Coreopsis in bloom

Coreopsis in bloom. Photo credit: UF/IFAS Extension

Landscaping™ concepts.  This is a great way to inspire “green” spaces throughout your neighborhood that benefit our native pollinators.

4) Have a garden-book review party:  Get together any size group of gardeners and have each offer a brief review of a garden book, magazine article, or on-line garden source.  Topics could include design, garden books of fiction or non-fiction, poetry – or a theme such as using native plants in your landscape.  Information sources to get your started:  ifasbooks.ifas.ufl.edu and pineapplepress.com/product-category/gardening.  You can also call or visit your Polk County UF/IFAS Extension Office (863-519-1041).   As always, food and beverages can round out the fun at these gatherings!

Shared landscape between neighbors

Shared landscape between neighbors. Photo credit: Molly Griner, UF/IFAS Extension

5)  Create a “shared” landscape.  If your yard adjoins your neighbor’s yard as an uninterrupted sea of grass, consider creating a “shared” landscape.  Draw up a simple design and each neighbor plants a mirror image of the design on each property.  Depending on the size of the yards, this space could include properly placed trees and low-maintenance shrubs.  This is a great way to reduce turfgrass, and provide interest and privacy.

6)  Visit public gardens or interesting nurseries.  It is always fun and inspirational to visit public gardens and nurseries in our area.  Grab a friend or small group; just leave room in your vehicle for any plants you may “have to” purchase!  You can reflect on what you saw and learned over – that’s right:  a great little lunch spot!

Florida Master Gardener Volunteers at a Conference

Florida Master Gardener Volunteers at a Conference. Photo credit: Anne Yasalonis, UF/IFAS Extension

7) Be a volunteer.   There are almost unlimited opportunities to share your gardening skills and knowledge. Some of the more well-known and structured ways to serve:  through local gardening clubs, volunteering at public school gardens, or becoming a Florida Master Gardener volunteer.  Less structured, but still generous and giving is to share bouquets from your garden with those in nursing homes or who are housebound.  Who doesn’t love a flower and a friend?

Happy Gardening!

 

 

This blog post was written by Master Gardener Molly Griner under supervision of the Master Gardener Coordinator and Residential Horticulture Agent Anne Yasalonis.

For more information, contact UF/IFAS Extension Polk County at (863) 519-1041 or visit us online at http://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/polk.  The Plant Clinic is open Monday-Friday, 9:00 am-4:00 pm to answer your gardening and landscaping questions. Visit us in person, give us a call, or email us at polkmg@ifas.ufl.edu.

The Florida Master Gardener Program is a volunteer-driven program that benefits UF/IFAS Extension and the citizens of Florida.  The program  extends the vision of the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, all the while protecting and sustaining natural resources and environmental systems, enhancing the development of human resources, and improving the quality of human life through the development of knowledge in agricultural, human and natural resources and making that knowledge accessible.

An Equal Opportunity Institution.

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