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August plant clinic and pollinator’s paradise seminar

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The plant clinic will be held Friday, August 10 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. Then on Wednesday, August 15 at 10 a.m., join us for a seminar titled Pollinator’s Paradise.

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If you need help diagnosing a lawn, landscape or garden problem and/or are interested in learning about pollinators and how to attract them to your garden, we have two upcoming events for you.

The plant clinic will be held Friday, August 10 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon at the Okaloosa County Extension Annex located at 127 NW Hollywood Blvd. in Fort Walton Beach.

The plant clinic provides a place to bring samples of lawn, landscape and garden plants for diagnosis, including weeds and insects for identification.

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To participate, bring a fresh sample of the weed, plant, insect, etc., to the clinic. This may include a plant stem with several leaves, a 4-inch square of grass with roots attached, etc.

You also may bring a sample of soil for pH testing. Use a clean shovel, trowel or soil probe to collect a representative sample by taking thin slices or cores of soil to a depth of six to eight inches from ten different spots throughout the plant bed, lawn or garden. Thoroughly mix all the small soil slices/cores together in a clean bucket. Place one to two cups of this mixture in a closable plastic bag or small throwaway plastic container and bring to the clinic for testing. Attach a slip of paper with your name, phone number and where the sample was taken (e.g. lawn, vegetable garden, flowerbed, etc.).

Then on Wednesday, August 15 at 10 a.m., join us for a seminar titled Pollinator’s Paradise. Dave Gordon, UF/IFAS Extension Master Gardener and retired science teacher will focus on plants and methods to attract butterflies, bees and birds to your home landscape during his hour-long presentation. Dave is a talented teacher and a fifth-generation native of Okaloosa County with much experience with this topic.

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Bees, butterflies and other insects play important roles as pollinators in our environment. In Florida, it’s estimated that over 300 bee species help pollinate many of our fruits, vegetables and native plants. There has been concern about the health and numbers of pollinators in recent years. Planting a small area around your home can provide a place for pollinators to help pollinate your fruit and vegetable plants.

There is no cost to attend this seminar but space is limited. Please call (850) 689-5850 to reserve your seat.

There will be a plant sale, including some of the plants Dave will cover, following the presentation just for seminar participants. Plants include three species of sunflower, gaillardia, yellow wing stem, twin flower, two species of milkweed, passionflower vine, Joe Pye weed, climbing aster plus other Florida natives and Florida-friendly plants. Master Gardeners will be available in the nursery to answer questions and assist you.

Larry Williams is the Extension horticulture agent with the Okaloosa County Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida. Contact Larry at 689-5850 or email lwilliams@myokaloosa.com.

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