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relaxing purple flowers and statue in the garden

A Garden is a Place of Hope

Red pentas and amaryllis

Red Pentas and Amaryllis in bloom. Photo credit: Molly Griner, UF/IFAS Extension

A recent ad from a gardening catalog stated that “Gardening is not Cancelled”. What an inspiring thought! These days are hard, with health and economic fears, and it can seem at times there is nowhere to hide, but there is a case to be made that our gardens can provide a place of hope, anticipation and even joy. During this time of social distancing, our gardens may be just the place to be!

It is often said that gardeners are the great optimists and it seems true that the act of gardening–being part of the earth and experiencing nature–can offer a respite from the onslaught of discouraging news.

Today, all around us are signs of spring. The beauty of trees with their new soft -green leaves, as well as fresh buds and blooms remind us of hope and new life. Butterflies and other pollinators are returning. Migrating birds fly through, as resident birds are nesting. And…. gardeners everywhere are planning new beds of whatever it is that brings them joy!

Some gardeners plant and nurture Florida’s native plants, eagerly welcoming little wildflower seedlings that pop up in our gardens. Some nurture tropical gardens; others create formal gardens of evergreens. Many gardeners grow edibles – vegetables, herbs and fruits, anticipating delicious summer meals. Many Florida gardeners have learned to practice earth-friendly gardening practices through the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ program of the University of Florida/IFAS.

Florida-Friendly Landscape

Florida-Friendly Landscape. Photo credit: Molly Griner, UF/iFAS Extension

Did you know?

Gardening….
* provides a sense of peace through a connection to nature.
* provides a sense of fresh energy and vitality that enhances your well-being.
* provides physiologic changes, such as decreased blood pressure and reduced cognitive
fatigue.
* fosters a peaceful environment conducive to meditation, quiet contemplation or prayer.

Whatever YOUR type of gardening may be, the resources of the University of Florida/IFAS research and knowledge can help you with any gardening questions you may have. While our public events have been cancelled temporarily, we are here to help! Contact us by phone:
863-519-1041, or email: polkmg@ifas.ufl.edu. We will get back to you so you can worry less and enjoy your garden more. Click her for updates on our office protocol and events:

This blog post was written by Master Gardener Volunteer Molly Griner under supervision of the Master Gardener Volunteer 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.

Fringetree in bloom

Native fringetree in bloom. Photo credit: Molly Griner, UF/IFAS Extension

If you are not in Polk County, Contact your local UF/IFAS Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Plant Clinic.

The Florida Master Gardener Volunteer 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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