Carol lives along the Manatee River and is proud of her Florida-friendly yard because she uses very little water and does not use fertilizers or pesticides. In fact, her yard was named the “Florida Residential Yard of the Year” in 2006 by the Florida Native Plant Society and is a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat.
“By following the principles of Florida-Friendly Landscaping™, you can have a beautiful, healthy, practical yard. Native plants can be a good choice because they thrive in Florida’s growing conditions.”
In addition to incorporating the nine Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ principles into her own yard, Carol teaches others how to do the same through the master gardener program in Manatee County. Master gardeners earn their titles by completing at least 50 hours of training and serving as volunteers through the University of Florida’s county Extension offices. Teaching comes naturally to this retired education administrator.
“My goal is to help people understand the benefits of having a Florida-friendly yard,” said Carol. “My students get excited when they learn they can improve their lawn, use less water and save time and money.”
One way Carol promotes using less water is by encouraging her students to select the right plant for the right place. Depending on the conditions in your yard, planting drought-tolerant plants and natives could help you save water.
Carol first became interested in native plants when she participated in a University of Florida Extension pilot master wildlife conservationist program. She and her husband then became active with the Florida Native Plant Society and worked with them when planning their own yard.
She also promotes using little or no fertilizers and pesticides, which can pollute our water sources.
While Carol helps Manatee County residents learn what it takes to get their lawns formally recognized by her Extension office as Florida-friendly yards, she encourages people who live in other counties to take advantage of the services offered by their county Extension offices and other government agencies, such as the Southwest Florida Water Management District.
“The Extension offices and the District have so many free resources available. They make it easy to conserve water, protect the environment and save money,” said Carol. “And who isn’t looking for a way to save money right now?”