Water-Saving Tips Make Holidays Bright

News Release

With the arrival of the holiday season, the Southwest Florida Water Management District has many gift and decorating ideas that can save and protect water resources and create new holiday traditions.

Here are some gift ideas:

* Rain barrels are a great way to conserve water and an inexpensive gift when you pick one up at a local extension office.

* Compost bins provide nutrients for a garden and keep food scraps out of the garbage disposal. A garbage disposal uses up to 4 gallons of water per minute.

* Raised garden beds make great gifts for gardeners and they control water use and reduce the need for pesticides, which means less runoff into water resources.

* Gift certificates are available at most local extension offices for free or inexpensive classes to make rain barrels, compost bins and other items.

* Give plants that are water efficient and require little maintenance in Florida landscapes. Give an entire plant or just a seedling planted in a biodegradable eggshell or toilet paper roll.

Be water-wise also when selecting holiday decorations. Here are some suggestions:

* Add some color to your holiday decorating with red salvia splendens. The plant requires little maintenance once placed in your garden after the holidays.

* Use items found around your yard and home to decorate. Palm fronds, magnolia leaves, pinecones and citrus fruit make great ingredients for centerpieces.

* Rosemary is easy to grow and makes a nice choice for holiday greenery and fills the home with a sweet fragrance.

And for year-round Florida-friendly tips, visit "WaterMatters.org/Yards":http://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/yards/.