Being Florida-Friendly™

Water, water, everywhere

We are in Florida after all. Who would believe we could run out of water? It seems the sunshine state is practically surrounded by water and inland, the freshwater springs and lakes seem abundant. They are, but the issue isn’t necessarily about quantity but quality. Saltwater intrusion, nutrient loading, and other general pollutants have begun to change our ecosystems. It happened gradually and like the proverbial frog in the pot of water, we may just be realizing the heat has been turned up. The question is what can we do?

Aligator sunning on a grass bank
Keep your yard Florida-Friendly™, for all Floridians! Photo by David Austin

Being Florida-Friendly™

The University of Florida has helped develop something they call Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ (FFL). According to their website, ” Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ means using low-maintenance plants and environmentally sustainable practices. They state, ‘Learn how you can have a beautiful landscape that could save you time, energy, and money while protecting our future”. The University of Florida developed it with the help and input of stakeholders and government agencies. It’s based on nine principles and it’s meant to protect our environment while we create a beautiful place in our yards and neighborhoods.

Part of the bigger picture

What happens in your yard affects the world around you. When we add up all the yards in your neighborhood the effects are magnified. From there it only grows larger. In Central Florida, we live on a sandy hill we fondly call the Ridge. It is officially known as the Lake Wales Ridge and it stretches down the middle of our state from Clermont to just south of Lake Placid. They say that millions of years ago the Ridge was a series of islands. Because of this, a unique ecosystem evolved and many of the plants found here are nowhere else in the world. Our sandy soils also affect how we should garden what we should do to create the least effects on our environment.

Learn for Free!

This month we are offering a free class, Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Talk and Tour. You will learn some tips for managing your yard that will hopefully make that job a lot easier and save you some money. It is in-person at Robbins Nursery South in Sebring. It covers all nine principles of Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ and includes a tour of many Florida-Friendly™ plants and how they can be used in your landscaping. We will be outside under and around their pot pavilion and keeping with Covid guidelines. Register for the Talk and Tour by clicking here

Veiw of a Florida Pond
Florida is full of lakes and ponds. Fertilizers and other pollutants can muddy the waters. Protecting it one yard at a time is part of the solution. Photo by Taylor Davis

Stay in touch!

In Highlands County, our office is at 4509 W George Blvd., Sebring. The Master Gardener Help Desk is open Monday – Friday from 9 AM to 3:30 PM. That’s what’s new from the Hometown Gardener. Like and Follow me on Facebook at Hometown Gardener. Read my other blogs by clicking here. Sign up for our Highlands County Master Gardener Volunteer, “Putting Down Root” Newsletter Here. Join our Facebook groups Highlands County Master Gardeners, Science-Based Florida Gardening Answers, Central Florida Butterfly and Pollinator Club, and Heartland Beekeepers


david austin
Posted: April 30, 2021

Category: Agriculture, Coasts & Marine, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Home Landscapes, Horticulture, Lawn, Pests & Disease, Turf, UF/IFAS Extension, Water
Tags: Agriculture, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Gardening, Highlands County, Highlands Horticulture Digest, Hometown Gardener, Master Gardeners

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