Convert your yard to a Florida-Friendly one

Don’t kill yourself any longer

Is taking care of your yard hard on your pocketbook and your back? Has it become something out of an Alfred Hitcok film?  Are you frustrated with your plants not doing well? Someone may have told you, “That’s just Florida!”? Don’t fear, you don’t have a brown thumb; you just need a nudge in the right direction. Keep reading and we’ll tell you how.

Colorado’s way

In the 70’s the folks in Colorado decided they needed to come up with a set of guidelines that people could follow to have a well-maintained landscape that used very little water. They named it Xeriscaping. The prefix Xeri- is from the Greek word dry and scaping a play-off of the word landscaping. Basically, it meant landscaping with less water. It is still used today, but it didn’t translate into something that fit Florida’s environment. Florida had special needs and needed its own guidelines.

A better way for Florida’s yards

Finding a special need, the University of Florida (UF) partnered with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) to develop the nine principles of Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ (FFL). From the onset of the program in 1993, FDEP has helped fund it with the assistance of the EPA under Section 319h of the Clean Water Act.

A native firebush with tubular orange flowers stands out next to the powder blue flowers of a blue daze plant.Firebush is a Florida native while Blue Daze is locally-adapted. Both are considered Florida-Friendly.
A native firebush with orange flowers contrasts nicely next to the powder blue flowers of a Blue daze plant. Firebush is a Florida native while Blue Daze is locally-adapted. Both are considered Florida-Friendly. photo by David Austin

Making your job easier

What this means for the homeowner is there is a template in place for you to have an aesthetically pleasing, easily maintained landscape. One that is more friendly on your back and Florida’s environment. Being Florida-Friendly doesn’t mean you have to give up beauty to have the colorful and pleasing yard you’ve always wanted. The 9 Principals of Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ were designed to lessen the time that you take to care for your yard and limit the resources to do the job.

Learn from the experts at UF/IFAS

On April 20th from 10 am until 12 pm join me, and the Highlands County Master Gardener Volunteers at Robbins Nursery South in Sebring for my annual Florida-Friendly Talk and Tour. I’ll explain the 9 principles of FFL and afterward, we will tour the nursery looking at and discussing FFL plants. You’ll learn to garden the Florida-Friendly way and turn your yard into that haven for you and your family that you always wanted. The class is free, but please register on Eventbrite by clicking here,  so we bring enough handouts for everyone. You can also register by calling the Extension office at (863) 402-6540 to register .

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david austin
Posted: April 10, 2023

Category: Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Home Landscapes, Horticulture, Pests & Disease, UF/IFAS Extension
Tags: Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Gardening, Highlands County, Highlands Horticulture Digest, Hometown Gardener, Master Gardener Volunteers, UF/IFAS Extension

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