As a Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ coordinator in Sumter County, Jim develops programs that promote Florida-Friendly Landscaping™. To help get the word out, he teaches at workshops for residents, landscape professionals, garden clubs, homeowners associations, young people, professional organizations and community groups.
“As a horticulturalist and plant enthusiast, I enjoy teaching people how to keep their yards healthy and beautiful using Florida-Friendly Landscaping™,” said Jim, who also teaches continuing education classes to master gardeners.
“People are surprised to learn that their lawns can survive with less water, even during dry weather.”
Jim, a central Florida native, graduated from the University of Florida and was the lead gardener for The Breakers in Palm Beach before accepting his current position.
“Being a Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ coordinator really fits in with what I value,” said Jim. “I want to protect and conserve Florida’s natural resources so the next generation can enjoy the same things I enjoyed growing up.”
Jim says that many of the landscaping problems he sees as a Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ coordinator are caused by overwatering, which is why he believes it is so important to teach people that they should water only on an as-needed basis.
“It’s very important that people learn to recognize the signs that their yards need watering,” said Jim. “Watch for grass blades that have a blue-gray color and are folded in half lengthwise. Walk across your yard and see if your footprints remain. If you don’t see those signs, your yard doesn’t need water. It just makes sense to save water if you can.”
A teaching tool Jim is proud of is the demonstration garden at the Oxford Community Building where he teaches classes.
“It is a great example of a beautiful landscape that survives on rainfall only,” said Jim. “We partnered with the Sumter County Native Plant Society to create the Oxford Community Building’s demonstration garden, which is Florida-friendly and totally irrigation-free.”
Sumter County residents with Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ questions or other gardening questions can call Jim at (352) 750-9854 on the first Wednesday of every month from 4:05 to 5 p.m. during his radio program on WVLG, 640 AM.