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discerning weeders

A Newsletter of the Okaloosa County Master Gardeners Association –– February 2011

Happy Valentine’s Day Language of Flowers Ahhh! Love is in the least I THINK it is. If it wasn’t too cold to take a deep breath and feel the promise of spring. Buds must be swelling but it is still too cold to go out and notice these little things. Just take it on faith that it is happening, or soon will. In the 1600's, a language of flowers developed in Constantinople and in the poetry of Persia. Charles II introduced the Persian poetry to Europe, and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu brought the flower language from Turkey to England in 1716. It spread to France and became a handbook of 800 floral messages known as the Book Le Language des Fleurs. Lovers exchanged messages as they gave each other selected flowers or bouquets. A full red rose meant beauty. Red and white mean unity. Crocus said "abuse not", while a white rosebud warns that one is too young for love. Yellow roses were for jealousy, yellow iris for passion, filbert for reconciliation and ivy for marriage.

Okaloosa County Master Gardeners

Lynn Fabian Some of the flower associations make sense. Rue means’ll rue the day. The sunflower stood for pure and lofty thoughts; what flower stands taller? The violet for faithfulness and modesty (depends on the color!). A shrinking violet may be modest, but she doesn’t get to have much fun. Better to be viscaria and get those invitations to dance. Lavender sounds like the Gemini of flowers; it stands for devotion and distrust...Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in flowers. Fennel will give you strength and Forget-me-not means true love. The Poppy stands for oblivion, pleasure, dreams and success...just pick your color. Carnations can mean everything from yes to no, again just pick the right color.


So with this language of flowers in mind, I wish you Daisies and

and Broom and the Bells of Ireland. Good luck on finding this one in Ireland. It is native to the eastern Mediterranean and Ireland is in the name because of the green calyxes.

Fennel, Celandine and Canterbury Bells, for the translation.

Photo Credits: Daisy, -IMG_0513.jpg; Fennel, reach/plant_id/vegetables/fennel.shtml; Canterbury Bells,; Buttercups, Conrad, Jim. Last updated Sat Aug 22 17:22:39 2009 . Page title: Buttercups. Retrieved from The Backyard Nature Website at; Bells of Ireland, -annual-molucella-laevis.html.

Buttercups (this one sounds comes up as a weed in spring)

If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft, And of thy meager store Two loaves alone to thee are left, Sell one, and with the dole Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul. Sheikh Muslih-uddin Saadi Shirazi, The Gulistan of Saadi, Â 1270

Okaloosa County Master Gardeners


Book Review

Klare Fox

The Southern Gardener's Book of Lists Compiled by Lois Trigg Chaplin How are all those New Year's lists of resolutions, to-dos or not-to-dos coming along? If you'd rather not talk about it, this month's book contains lists that will actually be of benefit to you! The Southern Gardener's Book of Lists will become your go-to guide for "ending costly plant choice mistakes." Purely practical, the book does not contain the lovely color photos of plants and gardens that we all love. However, with over 200 lists of plants for every conceivable planting situation, it could become your favorite resource.

Compiled by former Southern Living Gardening Editor, Lois Trigg Chaplin, the lists are supplemented with tips and advice from her personal network of horticulturists, nurserymen and garden designers across the South. While reminding us that "the real expert on your yard is you", Chaplin goes on to share extensive lists of trees, perennials, annuals, vines, shrubs and groundcovers for any location. Of particular interest to us in the Panhandle are her lists for plants that thrive in poor, sandy soil and those that flourish at the beach. Faye Todd has graciously loaned her copy of this book to the Crestview Extension Office Library where it will serve as an excellent reference tool for Master Gardeners as they help homeowners decide on the right plant for the right place. It is also available at your favorite online book outlets. ISBN-13 978-0-87833-844 3

In all planing you make a list and you set priorities. Alan Lakein

Š Okaloosa County Master Gardeners


A Walk on the Wildside

Although it may not seem like it right now, February brings us early signs of Spring. Here are some interesting wildlife happenings for this month: Birds Early purple martin scouts will start to appear in Florida this month. Now is the time to raise bird houses or gourds. Ospreys will begin nesting in north Florida near the end of the month. North Florida woodcocks begin Osprey Courtesy NASA courtship behavior. Listen at dusk for their "peenting" in open fields. Pileated Woodpeckers begin their mating season and will start announcing territories by drumming on various objects including houses and telephone poles. Others who are beginning their nesting season include: Little Blue and Tri-colored Herons, Wood and Mottled Ducks, and Snail Kites. Purple Finches and Pine Siskins will leave our feeders and begin their migration back to northern nesting areas.

Tri-colored Heron

Linda Meyers

Mammals Eastern Moles are breeding this month in tunnels under our lawns. Striped Skunks begin their breeding season. Pocket Gophers begin their spring breeding season.

Reptiles Alligator snapping turtleswill start mating this month, with nesting activity throughout the spring. Photo Fiona Sunquist Š

Gopher tortoises are seldom seen outside burrows.

Fishing Crappie and Striped bass are spawning Large schools of Spanish mackerel roam Florida Bay.

Plants Trilliums and dogtooth violets bloom in Panhandle Ravines. http://www, Photo Credits: Osprey: from Tri-colored Heron: Alligator Snapping Turtle: rtle.php

Swallow-tailed kites begin returning to Florida from South America.

Š Okaloosa County Master Gardeners


Coming Events

–MG General Meeting Wednesday, February 2, 9:00a

AWARDS PROGRAM Remember to bring a dish for the pot luck luncheon –EcoNomic Living Expo, Feb 5, 10:00a to 3:00p – Nursery workday Fridays, 10:00 a.m. ‘til finished. Contact Andy and bring a sack lunch. –February Board Meeting TBA Feb 16th, 9:30a (E-mail events to Editor/Compost Pile)

Presidentʼs Message

We’re off to a good start in 2011. The January meeting was interesting and informative, and we all thank Ed and Lynn for the great Bonsai presentation. If anyone has ideas for speakers at our meetings this year, let Marg Stewart know. We aren’t necessarily restricting the topics to horticultural themes, so think outside the box. One of the better ones last year was about wildlife rescue. Everyone is now aware that our budget is unusually tight this year, primarily because of the fact that we did not hold a plant sale in 2010 and have no major fundraisers scheduled as yet

© Okaloosa County Master Gardeners

Bill Buckellew

for 2011. If you have ideas for augmenting our bank account, let any Board member know about them. No proposal is unworthy of consideration. For our new members: Those of you who missed the December and/or January meetings missed a lot. I urge you to strive to attend the Membership meetings. The education, information, fellowship, and food make them very worthwhile. Besides, you need the hours to complete your internship, and the meetings are a pleasant way to accrue them. Until next time, check the website for upcoming events, and let’s go for maximum participation from all members. ––Bill


Last Word Thanks to Linda Meyers for her contributions this month. I look forward to working with her on The Compost Pile. For all you aspiring writers out there, there is always room for an article in the newsletter. If you are not sure of a topic, ask me and when I quit turning cartwheels we can talk about it. Truly, we need more input to the newsletter. If you are having trouble with the Volunteer Hours web site, please let Larry or Sandie O. know so they can help you resolve any problems. The hours are very important to you and to the MG program.

Lynn Fabian Next Wednesday is the annual awards program. Larry searches through the reports we all turn in (and the hours we record) and recognizes those MGs who have excelled. Of course, there will be a pot luck luncheon after the business meeting and as we all know, MGs excel at pot luck dishes. Ed and I will miss the awards program and the dinner. Raise a plate for us, taste some chocolate and generally enjoy yourselves. See you in March. ––Lynn

About Us

The Compost Pile is a publication of the Okaloosa County Master Gardeners Association.

Okaloosa County Master Gardeners Association is a volunteer organization sponsored by Okaloosa County Extension and the University of Florida IFAS.

The Foundation for the Gator equal opportunity institution. Lynn Fabian, Editor Ed Fabian, First Reader Marg Stewart, Web Site Coordinator

© Okaloosa County Master Gardeners


February, 2011  

Ahhh! Love is in the least I THINK it is. If it wasn't too cold to take a deep breath and feel the promise of spring. Buds must...