Tag Archives: Gardening

Gardening | Spring greening

By Master Gardener Lesley Arrandale
mail@floridanewsline.com

There has been much discussion — both here and worldwide — about the effects of neonicotinoid chemicals (neonics) on bees and their colonies, and now more studies have shown that these effects are wide-ranging and very damaging. According to the European Food Safety Authority (https://tinyurl.com/yao3ynk6), not only are honey bees being harmed, but native bees are suffering too, which is problematic as they also play an important role in crop production. (There have been proposals in Europe for a total field ban of the three most damaging neonics: clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam, which are already subject to restrictions.) Because they are persistent in soil for some years, neonics can be taken up by other plants well after the initially treated crop was harvested, and their effects on bees is therefore not limited to a one-time application.

Gardening | Spring is in the air

By Master Gardener Lesley Arrandale
mail@floridanewsline.com

As January came to a close, the weather was fairly seasonal, but we had two really cold spells. With luck and some protection many of your plants will have survived — even if their tops are looking bedraggled — so don’t give up on them and don’t prune them before they begin to flush out in spring. Clean up dead foliage of bulbs and gingers if you like, but leave any material that comes from below ground or from the neck of bulbs; we need to prevent water getting down into those bulbs and rhizomes, which would promote rot.

Gardening | Winter in Florida

By Lesley Arrandale
mail@floridanewsline.com

After a mild start to the season, 2018 has brought us the coldest winter snap since 1989, including flurries of snow just a few miles west and north of Duval County. While our climate is not tropical, many of the plants that grace our landscapes are from more southerly areas and will have really suffered unless well protected.

Gardening | Weather and the winter garden

By Lesley Arrandale, Master Gardener
mail@floridanewsline.com

As we all know, recovery from natural disasters is a slow process. Jacksonville was hard hit by Hurricane Irma, and we are still recovering. There are even some ongoing consequences from Matthew for some of our neighbors. As I write in early December, hundreds of thousands of people in California have fled from rapidly moving wildfires whipped up by strong Santa Ana winds, which are expected to continue for some days. These events are a powerful reminder for us all, that we are vulnerable to forces outside our control. In Florida, too, we have to beware of fire, and we know now just how devastating it is when our St Johns River floods so badly.

Gardening | Planting for beneficial insects

By Lesley Arrandale
mail@floridanewsline.com

With the mild — actually exceptionally warm! — temperatures we’ve been experiencing, we can continue planting some hardy perennials and bulbs in December, as well as shrubs and trees. Bear in mind, though, that we are now in a dry season, and be prepared to water newly installed plants to get them well established.