Happy fall, gardeners!
This month in The Neighborhood Gardener:
Voodoo Lily – With Halloween soon upon us, creepy plants come to mind. In years past, we’ve discussed ghost plants and bat flowers; this year we draw your attention to the voodoo lily. These plants are often first noticed for their aroma—stench, really. Some species in this genus (Amorphophallus) are called corpse flower for the terrible smell they use to attract flies, their pollinator partners. But if you are interested in adding this interesting specimen to your landscape, fear not—they only really smell around sunrise or sunset. Scare up more about voodoo lily in this piece by Ralph Mitchell, UF/IFAS Charlotte County Extension Director.
(Photo of voodoo lily, Amorphophallus bulbifer, by John Ruter, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org)
Firewise Landscaping – Wildfire is a risk in Florida any time of year, but dry periods make fires even more likely, especially in wooded or rural areas. Don’t wait for this winter dry season to make sure your landscape is safe. Firewise landscaping incorporates fire safety into landscape design to help ensure your home is safe even if the flames come close. Learn steps you can take to create a safe landscape that is still beautiful and Florida-Friendly.
Minimize Gardening Trial and Error with FFL — One of the toughest parts of gardening is when a plant doesn’t thrive the way you had hoped. Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Principle #1: Right Plant, Right Place is a great start for minimizing garden trial and error. Knowing the specifics of both your location and what kind of plants will thrive in those conditions is the first step to a successful landscaping plan. We start you out with some questions you should be asking about your landscape and potential plants.
Wendy’s Wanderings — Many gardeners are concerned about pollinator protection in their garden. In fact, a recent survey of Master Gardener Volunteers showed that 84% were interested in learning more on bees and plants that support pollinators in the landscape. We need bees, be it honey bees, bumble bees, mason bees, or the host of many native bees. They pollinate our plants and crops and support life. Is what we do in our home landscape that important to their survival? It most certainly is. There are some steps you can take that will help support bee populations in your area.
Plant of the Month: Desert Rose — This flowering succulent will add a fabulous flash of color to a container, with dozens of trumpet-shaped flowers in shades of pink, rose, or white. Desert rose makes a dramatic specimen for a deck or patio but since it’s sensitive to temperatures below 40 degrees, it’s usually grown in containers that can be brought inside for winter. South Florida gardeners can grow this as a small shrub. Like many succulents, desert rose needs conditions that are bright, warm, and dry.
October in Your Garden — The time for planting cool-season vegetables has arrived. Crops like broccoli, carrots, collards, lettuces, radishes, and spinach can be started throughout the state this month. The season has also changed for herb plantings: dill, fennel, parsley, and cilantro do well in the milder temperatures we may be seeing.
Read the full October issue.
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Header top photo: swamp sunflower, UF/IFAS