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The Neighborhood Gardener – April 2012

This month in The Neighborhood Gardener:

Volunteers at EpcotEpcot International Garden and Flower Festival — Each spring, Master Gardeners and county agents take part in the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, a 75-day event that brings together plants, people, and music to create an entertaining and educational experience for gardeners and non-gardeners alike. The Epcot horticulture staff installs rows and rows of bedding plants around the lakes in Future World, creating a huge carpet of color that’s hard to miss. The park staff also installs specialty gardens like a butterfly garden, a water-wise garden, and an English tea garden, plus more than 100 custom topiaries featuring many Disney characters.

hot_pepperPlant of the Month: Hot Peppers — Hot peppers will keep producing even when the temperatures and humidity climb, making them a great vegetable for Florida gardens. For best success, choose varieties that are known to do well in Florida and that are resistant to diseases. Like most vegetables, hot peppers need full sun in order to produce a good harvest. Even if you don’t want to eat them, hot peppers can still be fun to grow. Their colorful fruits can be red, purple, yellow, or orange, and they easily add interest to landscape beds and containers.

April in Your Garden – Apply fertilizer to your lawn after new growth has started. Choose a fertilizer (not a “weed and feed”) with little or no phosphorus unless a soil test indicates the need for it. A fertilizer with controlled-release nitrogen yields longer-lasting results. Check for thrips if leaves and/or flowers of gardenias and roses are damaged.

Orchid thripFriend or Foe? Foe: Thrips — Thrips are very small, yellow, black or brown slender insects. They use a “punch and suck” method to damage flowers and ornamental plants. Infested leaves dry out and sometimes have a silver-flecked appearance. Flower buds fail to open or the flowers are deformed. Thrips are at their peak in the spring.

Read the full April issue.

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