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for discerning weeders

Volume 1, Issue 1 2019





When bees arrive uninvited.

Review of a great documentary

Things you learn by attending classes

Dig out those garden gnomes!

DEPARTMENTS 12 Tea Garden—Part 3 15 Camellia 2 President’s Message 3 Agent’s Corner 3 Wildlife Happenings

16 Climbing Pixie 17 Trampweed 18 Olive

4 Bonsai Bits 24 Last Word 21 Caprese Salad 21 Tomato Soup 5 Youth Activities 6 Nursery Updates

21 Tomato Pie 22 Fresh Pear Pie 22 Pea Pickin Cake

22 Southwest Coleslaw 6 Close Neighbors 7 Fabulous Frogs 19 Kilroy Wuz Here!

10 Tools 10 UF Herbarium 11 Curb Appeal 13 Updated Publications

On the Cover - One of our native carnivores of the plant family. Photo courtesy of Ed Fabian

23 Shrimp & Grits 23 Redneck Ratatouille

Help is needed with set up on Friday at 8:00 a.m. as well as on Saturday. Contact Alene if you are able to help

An Okaloosa County Master Gardener Volunteer Publication


Volume 1, Issue 1 2019


by Debbie Sewell

As my time is quickly winding down, I am thinking about my term as president. I’m sure that every president has a different experience, but I suspect that everyone has realized what a fantastic group we have. I’ve made many good friends that I know I could call on if I had a problem. In this day and age, I feel that is a rare thing.

good thing he was at work. By the time he got home, I decided to view it as an opportunity to make changes. In July, we worked on the irrigation system. We had cracked pipes running to the manifold. This is where my husband and I differ After looking at the problem, I get all the parts that I think we might need and return what we don’t use. The key is one trip. My husband likes to get only the part he thinks he needs. UGH! We made about ten trips to the hardware store that weekend! All along, I said we should replace the pump. It was around 19 years old, and honestly, it was just about held together with baling wire and chewing gum for the past couple years. Alex stood firm that we didn’t need a new pump. No one ever listens to me.

Since this is my last article, I would like to thank the board for all the support they have given me throughout the past year. No one ran screaming when I asked for something to be done. There was always someone willing to volunteer to take on these tasks with a smile, even when they wondered how they were going to find the time. Honestly, they volunteered. I didn’t have to twist any arms or turn on the waterworks. I appreciate every one of you. I can’t thank you enough.

So, he replaced the cracked PVC. The pipe glue dried overnight, and we turned the system on the next day after work Zone 1 was good. Zone 2 was good. Then we set it to Zone 3 and water started spraying from the pump. This time a metal pipe split and the pressure regulator cracked. Guess what we installed the next weekend. Unfortunately, the system still wasn’t reliable because the zones didn’t always shift or turn on Half the time, I had to turn on the valves by hand. It was a real chore running out to change zones, and I’ll tell you that I wasn’t about to do that for very long. Another weekend passed; Alex rewired all the solenoids. Finally, success!

Earlier this summer, when it wasn’t horribly hot, and my allergies weren’t too bad, my husband and I spent the weekend weeding and trimming around the yard. My first mistake was not supervising my husband. I worked in the front yard, and he chose to work in the back. There was an area, he said, that really bugged him. I thought he was talking about an overgrown part that we didn’t get to last year and said ok. After we were finished for the weekend, he was whining that I didn’t go back to see what he did. Feeling bad, I wandered back the next day. The first thing I saw was the overgrown area that was still overgrown. Interesting, I thought as I wondered what he had been doing all weekend. Then I turned and saw. He cut everything to the ground on that side of the house! It was all gone, even the weeds. Gone were a couple of nice huge philodendrons, a rose bush, and a small hydrangea. There were some other plants I didn’t care about, too. Let me tell you. It was a

Now that we have a working irrigation system, we have had rain almost every day. I haven’t had to turn it on the system since it was fixed. I guess that’s the way things always seem to work out. Now if there was only some way that I could influence the outside temperatures. Stay cool and hydrated!


From the Editor

Perhaps you’ve noticed that our beloved newsletter, The Compost Pile looks a little different. Many thanks to Kent Beck for his awesome editions and for his continued assistance in publishing this informative and fun magazine.

publishing, we have also gone to a format of 8.5 x 14 for the page size. This allows us to make the pictures larger and the print size larger as well. Face it, none of us like having to get the magnifying lens out to read something. Internally you’ll still find the amazing articles that you’ve become accustomed to. We’re constantly working on ways to make the reading more enjoyable as well as the overall ‘look’ be more appealing. Please send your suggestions as well as articles, photos, and recipes to our editor. We will send out emails reminding you prior to the due date.

We’re calling it a magazine because now we have switched to a quarterly publication. This was done to eliminate the stress on the publishing staff of producing a monthly newsletter. It was also thought we could produce a bigger and better product for your edification and enjoyment.

Plentiful Plantings

Along with the change in the frequency of An Okaloosa County Master Gardener Volunteer Publication


Volume 1, Issue 1 2019


by Larry Williams

Oleander caterpillars, which are active on some oleanders during summer, can provide several gardening lessons.

required to maintain them. This applies to St. Augustinegrass, pecan trees, squash, and oleanders. This is lesson number three.

The adult moth is striking in appearance. The bluish to purplish moth has white dots on its black wings. The moths resemble wasps as they fly in and around oleander shrubs.

Oleander caterpillars can temporarily damage the appearance of oleanders but they cause no long-term damage for the plant. This is lesson number four. The damage is aesthetic. Oleander caterpillars can consume significant quantities of leaves. However, if the plant is otherwise healthy, new leaves will be produced, and the plant will continue to grow. The damage is temporary; there will be no evidence the plant ever had a problem.

Caterpillars are the larval stage of butterflies and moths. To enjoy watching butterflies and moths feeding on the nectar of flowers, some of the caterpillars must survive to become adult butterflies and moths. This is lesson number one.

To spray to not to spray for oleander caterpillars has to do with a person’s tolerance level.

Oleander caterpillars usually only feed on oleander plants. Oleanders are native to areas of Europe and Asia. This is lesson number two. Oleander caterpillars benefit by us planting their food source in Florida.

If you can’t tolerate having oleander caterpillars around and the temporary aesthetic damage they cause, consider the use of Bacillus thuringiensis. It is sold under several brand names and only controls caterpillars, so it is friendlier for the beneficial insects. When using any pesticide always follow the label directions and precautions.

This relationship between pest and plant is referred to as the key plant, key pest, concept. Some other examples include St. Augustinegrass and chinch bugs, gardenias and whiteflies, crape myrtles and crape myrtle aphids, azaleas and azalea caterpillars, camellias and tea scale, roses and black spot, pecans and pecan scab, squash and squash vine borers.

Understanding this concept can help designing a “low maintenance” landscape.


When you plant roses, you plant everything that goes with roses, including the time and money

WILDLIFE HAPPENINGS We’re entering into Fall. Here are some of the activities you may see from our local wildlife. •

Bald eagles return to nesting sites and begin courtship.

Grosbeaks, warblers, tanagers, orioles, and thrushes begin migrating south.

Cedar waxwings will arrive during November.

Manatees start to gather in freshwater springs especially near power plants.

Black bears are feeding heavily.

Hoary and Red bats will be migrating in November.

Monarch butterfly migration nears its peak during October.

Blue crab “jubilee” begins along panhandle beaches.

An Okaloosa County Master Gardener Volunteer Publication


Volume 1, Issue 1 2019


by Lynn Fabian

Do you like to put some of your best plants in a pot to share with others? Well, you are now officially on the way to working in the realm of “Bonsai.� It is a simple word from the Japanese culture meaning 'a tree in a pot.' The difference is that we work with woody material that is maintained as a miniature version of large, grown trees. There are a few trees that will not work well as bonsai...or at least are hard to work as a tree in a pot. Picture a redwood tree...hmmm...maybe not a good choice or a magnolia in a pot with the large leaves and big flowers. There are many more trees that lend themselves to living in a pot and becoming decent bonsai. It is an engaging area of horticulture that can be practiced long after we need to give up the shovel and the rake. Moving? Take your trees with you. Portable forests are possible as bonsai!

Kingsville boxwood Buxus microphylla var compacta Ed and Lynn

There are many articles about bonsai on the web. Closer at home, there is a bonsai club practicing the art. If you are intrigued with a different take on horticulture, look into bonsai.

Premna microphylla E. Smith developed by JC Smith

Pitcher plants courtesy of Ed Fabian An Okaloosa County Master Gardener Volunteer Publication


The Jokester Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavoring and dish washing liquid made with real lemons?

Volume 1, Issue 1 2019


by Lynda Penry

Shalimar Elementary Talented and Gifted program is a registered 4-H club. The units of study over the past two years included trees and beneficial insects. Incorporated throughout the two years was the development of a pollinator garden on the school grounds for the entire student population to enjoy. The students are periodically assessed to evaluate the knowledge learned. We use different methods to accomplish this. A Venn diagram, their research, posters, and skits are all means to assess the students. Mrs. McSparren, the principal, visits the class and we have the students explain what they have learned. She then communicates to the parents the progress of the students.

Photos by Lynda Penry

CONGRATULATIONS to our newly elected officers. 2019/2020 officers are: President—Scott Berry President Elect—Marg Stewart

Secretary—Karen Kirk-Williams Treasurer—Joe Jones Member-at-Large—Donna Edmiston Past President—Debbie Sewell

Photo by M. Stewart

An Okaloosa County Master Gardener Volunteer Publication


Volume 1, Issue 1 2019

A TRANSFORMATION Have you been to the Annex Nursery lately? Remember that ugly corner at the entrance gate where we stored pots? This is it five years later, thanks to a labor of love by the nursery crew and Ann and Wayne Phillips’ beautiful donation of the birdhouse. The garden is a constant source of food and shelter for wildlife and a great demo garden for the Annex visitors. The project started after we lost our dear Shirley Howell, Master Gardener Volunteer (Class of 2006). Shirley was a dedicated nursery worker and commented almost weekly “That would be a great place for a garden.” Andy kicked the ball

into motion. Lee kept it going with nearly daily hand watering and Stevie plowed through the shell parking lot by hand every Friday. Thanks to all for many hours of hard work, it is a treasure.


by Dave Gordon

As I was recently cleaning up a flower bed, I was pulling up an old piece of tarp. Imagined how surprised I was to find a box turtle and a broad-headed skink living as neighbors. They are certainly plentiful in the surrounding flower beds. Box turtles are frequent visitors to our yard and have a variety of color patterns on their shell. The box turtle has a varied diet consisting of slugs, earthworms, crickets, and other insects. They also like fruit, berries, and the flesh of dead animals.

Hopefully, the eggs will be successful in producing young skinks. Always be on the lookout in your yard for animals seeking a home or using your native plants as a source of nectar.

Photo by Dave Gordon

The broad-headed skink gets its name from the wide jaws, giving the head a triangular appearance. Adult males are brown or olive-brown and have bright orange heads during the mating season in spring. Females have five light stripes running down the back and the tail, similar to the Five-lined Skink. Juveniles are dark brown or black and also striped and have blue tails After taking pictures for the Compost Pile, I gently placed the tarp back over their home. As you can see, the female has laid about a dozen eggs. I was surprised that the female did not move away quickly since most reptiles do not protect their eggs or their young. An Okaloosa County Master Gardener Volunteer Publication


Volume 1, Issue 1 2019

All photos courtesy of Marsha Palmer

An Okaloosa County Master Gardener Volunteer Publication


Volume 1, Issue 1 2019

All photos courtesy of Marsha Palmer

If you want to learn even more about our frogs and toads you can visit: frogs/north.shtml

An Okaloosa County Master Gardener Volunteer Publication


Volume 1, Issue 1 2019


by Deborah Bruning

I was enjoying a second cup of coffee on our patio with dear friends from south Alabama. They had come to enjoy an Emerald Coast Memorial Day weekend with me. Darrell, my husband, was out of town, so we were having a great girls’ weekend. Our conversation was interrupted by my neighbor, Sam (named changed to protect privacy), calling me from his yard. “Hey, Debbie, come over here. I want to show you something,” he said. I walked over to him as he headed to a large tree that borders both yards. He pointed up in the tree and showed me a swarm of bees on a branch about 20 feet above our heads. There were thousands of bees! He shared that the swarm had been much larger the previous day –“about the size of two large Rubbermaid™ tubs.” Sam and his wife were very concerned because she is allergic to bees. We had missed all the previous day’s drama because we were enjoying this wonderful area – going to the beach, floating Turkey Creek, and eating seafood. Since Sam couldn’t get in touch with me, he called a beekeeper. I was very grateful. Just a short while later, the beekeeper arrived with ladder, bee box, and protective gear in tow. I wish I had gotten a card from him. I can’t remember his name, and I can’t ask Sam because he is presently out of the country. However, this beekeeper was incredibly knowledgeable, competent, and efficient. He even shared information while he was working. He told us that although the sight of swarming bees is unnerving, they usually are not dangerous because the bees are focused on finding a new nest, not attacking us humans. After donning his protective clothing, he placed the ladder under the swarm and climbed up on it. He asked us to hand him the bee box and placed it on top of the ladder. Then he repeatedly grabbed a handful of bees and put them in the box. He told us that if he could get the queen in the box, the worker bees would follow. He worked for a while and climbed down the ladder to take a break. After a few minutes, the beekeeper climbed back up the ladder and followed the same procedure, attempting to get the queen in the box. Success! We soon noticed that the swarm was getting smaller and smaller, and most of the bees were in the box! Several neighbors, seeing the commotion, wandered into the backyard to watch. What a spectacle! I was so glad we were able to remove the swarm from the tree humanely and were able to give the bees to our awesome beekeeper so he can do his part to increase the bee population. The coffee had long been forgotten. But the morning’s excitement left us thirsty. We went inside and had a glass of tea and planned our afternoon’s activity. It was going to be hard to top the morning’s adventure!

An Okaloosa County Master Gardener Volunteer Publication

Ed. Note: Should you encounter a swarm of honeybees, remain calm and unless they are in an area that will cause an issue, leave them alone. They will soon move to another location. If you need to have them removed, call the Extension Office. They maintain a list of beekeepers who will come and help. 9

Volume 1, Issue 1 2019

A LESSON IN LOPPING I just invested in a good set of loppers since my old bypass loppers were getting decrepit. In the process I finally learned what those terms “anvil” and “bypass” mean as relates to loppers or shears, so if you’ve always wondered about that and why you might want to own both, here goes: Anvil blades when engaged, meet each other in the middle in a crushing action, although of course they definitely cut too. Bypass blades, when engaged, are designed for one blade to pass over the other in a slicing action. This photo is of pruning shears but is a clear illustration of the difference between bypass blades (left) and anvil blades (right).

by Karen Harper arm length (which you will never have) to get that elusive crepe myrtle branch or what have you. My old loppers are adjustable, but the mechanism to lengthen/shorten them is pretty cumbersome. My new loppers are the Troy-built brand and were not cheap at about $55, but I had the opportunity to try them out yesterday, and I was very impressed with their cutting ability and the very simple length adjustment. I was able to lengthen and shorten them while standing on a ladder without feeling like I was about to tip over. There’s a lot to be said for that when you reach your golden years! And while I’ve never owned anvil loppers, I can now understand the point of having them for heavy-duty jobs so I will be investing in those as well. This article sums up the comparison between the two styles and why/where you would use either type: https:// Happy lopping!

Why would you ever want to crush a branch with anvil clippers, you ask? Well, pound for pound, anvil blades exert a greater force than bypass blades and are useful for cutting out dead limbs or limbs that you don’t give a hoot about (let’s say the tree/plant is being removed in pieces). Bypass blades, on the other hand, with their smooth, slicing action are what you need for clean removal of live limbs, branches, stems, etc. when you want the plant to survive your pruning efforts. My other must-have criteria for loppers is telescoping (adjustable) handles. For the size-challenged among us, there is nothing more useful than being able to extend those loppers when you are up on a ladder, and you just need a teeeenny bit more

PLANT ID Herbarium specimen sheet, Sedum. Images by Florida Museum & University of Florida Herbarium

The University of Florida/IFAS maintains an herbarium in Gainesville FL. As a service to the public, the herbarium provides plant identification at the request of a Florida Extension Office.

If you have a plant that no one in your Extension Office can identify, you may send a sample of the plant through your Extension Office to the herbarium using IFAS Form 3100/03-2008 (Request for Plant Information), available through EDIS at http:// Instructions on collecting a plant sample is at Results should be expected within a week of the herbarium receiving the sample. Mr. Marc Frank maintains the plant collection at the University and performs much of the plant identification function. An Okaloosa County Master Gardener Volunteer Publication


Volume 1, Issue 1 2019

CURB APPEAL What is curb appeal, and why should I care? Imagine driving home from a vacation. Or maybe you’ve just had a grueling day at work. All you want to do is get home But how do you feel when you look at your house?

Do you remember why you bought it? Or does the sight of it fill you with dread? Whether you’re getting your house ready to sell or if you plan on staying for decades, you can’t forget about your home’s curb appeal. Curb appeal is defined as the attractiveness of the exterior of a residential or commercial property, as viewed from the street.

Curb appeal doesn’t just keep you in love with your home. It can also increase the value of your property. A well-landscaped home has a significant price advantage over a home with no landscaping. This advantage ranges from 5.5 percent to 12.7 percent depending on the type of landscaping and the home’s original value. That translates into an extra $16,500 to $38,100 in value on a $300,000 home. Homes with curb appeal are easy to spot as you pass them by you may remark “what a pretty home that one is.” The same however is true of a lack of curb appeal or when you think “what a mess or eyesore that place is.” While everyone has a preference for what they may like or dislike in the overall look of a residence, most people can agree on some items that make for excellent curb appeal. General components of

by Carol Strom good curb appeal include a home with a neatly cut yard, shrubs and, trees that are well placed and not overgrown, driveways, and sidewalks that are clean and safe to walk on. Clean homes have neatly painted woodwork or siding free of mold and mildew come across as well-loved and cared for places. This type of curb appeal helps not only in the selling of a property but also with keeping the value of your home up. Homes lose value when they become dirty, and in disrepair, the yard is a bed of weeds and gardens are overgrown. A home with or without curb appeal can directly affect not only the property owner but also the neighborhood. While one house on a street that lacks curb appeal may not have much effect o the rest of the road, it can hurt the homes directly next to or across from it. People wonder what is going on with it and if it is a sign that the neighborhood is deteriorating. Homebuyers do not want to live next to it. Here are a few inexpensive things you can do to help your home’s curb/garden appeal: •

Keep the lawn mowed!

Trim shrubs in front of windows so they don’t block them.

Keep weeds to a minimum

Add a couple of planters with pretty but hardy plants by the front door.

And of course, put the right plant in the right place when adding to your flower beds and gardens.


by Ed Smith

My attraction to this film was caused by the catchy title for it, which instigates the idea that how we live now greatly determines the environmental conditions of the future. From the opening scenes, I was hooked by the expertise of the cinematic crew with their use of lighting, composition, and subjects as varied as butterflies to whales.

proof that evolution ceased with humans. We are the only species capable of destroying or saving life as we know it.

Jeff Bridges, as the narrator, provides important information without the use of complicated charts and formulas as are so often used in this type of program. He uses what I refer to as the “soft sell” approach by showing scenes of the results of human impact on various segments of our ecology. Prominent scientist and wellknown individuals are included to provide reflections on the environmental challenges we are confronted with.

I found this documentary on Amazon Prime, but it is available from several other sources. It is well worth your time.

Listen for the final quote of the movie. It is by the very famous Teilhard de Chardin, author of Phenomenon of Man. It very well may be our answer.

I do not wish to give my opinions as to the various areas of discussion but wish all of you would watch, listen, and analyze. Here are some points that deserve your attention and not in order of importance. We are not separate from the web of life. Every species is unique, but all life is interconnected. The noosphere is dramatically small. Non-biodegradable material is only made by humans. Understanding the difference between want and need. Infinite growth and finite resources are not compatible. Society is built on designed obsolescence. No An Okaloosa County Master Gardener Volunteer Publication


Volume 1, Issue 1 2019


Your tea garden most certainly welcomed the days we had significant rainfall. When this occurs, keep an eye on your Camellia sinensis for signs of fungal problems. A copper-based fungicide will be your best bet in these situations. This time we'll cover a few 'tea' herbs that perhaps, you hadn't thought of. Basil, yes, it's great in cooking but tea? Of course! This tender annual comes in a variety of colors and flavors. Sweet basil leaves have a spicy clove flavor (and is said to promote digestion). The flowers are flavorful and may also be added. Some of the newer scented basils include cinnamon, anise, and lemon all of which combine the basil flavor with a hint of the spice that they are named for. If you started basil from seed around the middle of August, it will tolerate our early fall weather fairly well. It won’t survive any frost though.

Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is a hardy plant and will tolerate colder temperatures. The main contribution is a lovely yellow/gold color the petals will add to your teas. Aloysia triphylla or lemon verbena is a must-have. The strong lemon scent is found in the leaves, and it holds well even when dried. Remove the growing tips regularly to keep this herb smaller and spreading.

by Marg Stewart Lastly Monarda didyma--bergamot. Soothing coughs, stomach problems, and nausea since the Native Americans in Oswego taught the colonists how to make this pungent, minty tea. It does require a longer brewing time, and most folks require a sweetener (honey) to go with it. This is one of the few tea herbs that is susceptible to powdery mildew. Keep the patch thinned to allow for good air circulation and if you do get powdery mildew, it's said that a strong solution of chamomile tea, sprayed on the leaves of infected plants will control the problem. In the alternative, plant a mildew-resistant cultivar. There is no limit to what you can plant in your tea garden. You should be careful to avoid comfrey, wormwood, pennyroyal, tansy, and sassafras. While these plants are edible and are used in many preparations, they can be toxic when too much is prepared or prepared the wrong way. Be safe and don’t grow these plants for ingesting—grow them because you enjoy looking at them. Another consideration to remember is that those people who are allergic to asters, chrysanthemums, ragweed, or yarrow can react adversely to chamomile. As with anything new, if you aren’t sure about being allergic test first before you ingest a bunch of the new herb. Better safe than sorry. Note: As with all herbal preparations, medicinal use has not been approved by the FDA, and no herbal preparation should be used in place of medication prescribed for you by your doctor. Herbal supplements are not regulated, and care should be exercised when purchasing. Only purchase those products from reputable sources. Always check with your doctor before taking any herbal supplements and make sure to provide a complete list of herbal supplements you are taking to your medical provider.

The Jokester Hard work pays off in the future; laziness pays off now.

An Okaloosa County Master Gardener Volunteer Publication


Volume 1, Issue 1 2019

UPDATED PUBLICATIONS Interesting links: BBC News Science & Environment https:// utm_source=emailsynd&utm_medium=social New and Updated Publications: Bioluminescence nat/2019/08/16/bioluminescence-light-showbeneath-the-sea/ Migration nat/2019/08/16/migration-adaptation-andmitigation/ Cultivar diversity in muscadine http:// cultivar-diversity-can-extend-muscadineharvest-season/ Old citrus pests phag/2019/08/09/old-citrus-pests-making-acomeback-in-florida/ Torpedograss phag/2019/08/02/torpedograss-slowlyattacking-the-panhandle/ Values and Ecosystem Services of Gainesville’s Urban Forest Managing Plant Pests with Soaps http:// Database on Trait-Based Selection of Stormwater Pond Plants Design and Construction of a Constant Head Infiltrometer BioBlitzes: Citizen Science for Biodiversity in Florida Lethal Bronzing Disease (LBD) https:// Florida Blueberry Leaf Disease Guide http://

Butterfly Pea Flower Extract and Its Use as a pH -Dependent Natural Colorant http:// Children’s Citrus Activity Diaprepres Root Weevil Citrus County Wildlife of Florida Fact Sheets Bobcat Burrowing Owl Coyote Feral Swine Gopher Tortoise Nine-banded Armadillo Northern Bobwhite Quail Northern Crested Caracara White-Tailed Deer Key Plant, Key Pests: Here are the Nine plants in the series Juniper Azalea Baldcypress Camellia Chinese Elm Crapemyrtle Chinese Fringe Holly Pine Species The University of Florida’s Plant Diagnostic Center has a new website: https://

Among its target audiences are members of the public seeking help for their plants, whether that involves disease, pest, or weed identification; soil and water quality testing; or resources and suggested management methods for a known problem. Carrie Harmon, director of the Plant Diagnostic Center, says the website is laid out to direct users to the information they need to submit a digital sample, or, as she recommends, to find their local Extension office. You can read the full article at UF/IFAS News:…/new-diagnosticswebsite-plant-…/

The Jokester The easiest way to find something lost is to buy a replacement.

An Okaloosa County Master Gardener Volunteer Publication


Volume 1, Issue 1 2019

MY BONSAI JOURNEY When Lee Vanderpool offered to teach a bonsai class, I decided to participate with the thought I will never grow bonsai, but have a great appreciation of the art. I had also come to realize there was a lot to learn from the growth of a tree in a tiny pot. It was like the beginning of Master Gardener Volunteer classes, new terms, and a fire hose of information coming at you. I have come to realize that BGs (bonsai gardeners) are smart and very patient. I may never have a tree worthy of showing, but I can see that I am about to learn a lot about roots, trunks, leaves, and canopies that will also prove useful in my landscape. If you are researching a garden growth problem, try a few bonsai sites on your issue, you will be amazed. Also, as father time marches on, I know that the time will come when I can not haul big pots and do a lot of the ninja gardening I do now. First, take away: Tools Clean and sharp tools at all times are the norm in this group, for a good reason. After Ed and Lynn Fabian gave their tool cleaning and sharpening class, I became obsessed. My not so clean or sharp bucket of tools is now hanging on racks, sharpened and shiny with a fully stocked cleaning station. The rust cleaning method came from Ed Smith, and it works. Cleaning rusty tools: Wash tool with water removing as much debris as possible. Fill a plastic container deep enough to submerge the metal part of the tools with plain white vinegar. Let it sit for 12 hours or up to 3 days. Note: I had some discoloring of plastic handles; I will not submerge them again. Remove tool and scrub with a 3M-style pad followed by a brass-bristled brush if needed. Rinse your container, fill with water and a couple of tablespoons of baking soda and stir. Soak your tools again about 15-20 minutes to neutralize the acidity. Scrub with 0000 steel wool. Dry the tool with a soft clean rag then wipe it down with an alcohol-soaked cloth to wick away any moisture. Finish with a light coat of vegetable or 3-IN-One Oil again, using a soft clean rag. Sharpening Your Pruners: Sharp garden pruners and loppers have several advantages over dull ones. The most significant advantage is to the health of your plants. Sharp tools cut cleanly, minimizing the plant’s healing An Okaloosa County Master Gardener Volunteer Publication

by Alene Ogle time. Sharpening also protects your investment—for both the tools and the plants. Bypass Pruners: Bypass hand pruners are used primarily for green or live wood not more than one-half inch in diameter. Bypass loppers are used for the same purpose not to exceed one and one-half inches in diameter. For pruners or loppers, use a flat-file or a hone. Holding the pruner or lopper handle that the blade is attached to in one hand, and standing under bright light, rotate the blade up slowly, starting with the flat backside of the pruner blade parallel to the floor. As you rotate the blade up slowly, look for a reflection of light back up to your eye from the cutting bevel, and stop where the reflection is the brightest. You now will have the cutting bevel level. Hold the file or hone level and stroke into the cutting edge from the heel of the blade to the tip in one smooth stroke. This method ensures you will both accurately match the original bevel angle and, since you are stroking into the cutting edge, you will not roll up a burr on the backside of the blade. Note: On bypass pruners, you will only sharpen the one cutting side of the blade. Anvil Pruners: Anvil hand pruners are used primarily on dead wood not more than one-half inch in diameter. Anvil loppers have the same use, not to exceed one and one-half inches. You will sharpen both sides of the cutting blade, do not sharpen the anvil side. For anvil pruners and loppers, hold the pruning tool with one hand with the cutting edge of the blade facing away from you. Use the same method described above to level the bevel and hold the file or hone parallel to the floor. Stroke away from the cutting edge from heel to tip, ensuring that you remove an even amount of material from the entire bevel edge. Because you are stroking off or away from the bevel, you will likely roll up a burr on the opposite side, but that’s okay. Now rotate the pruners so that the cutting edge is facing you. Level the bevel again, and you will see that now you will be stroking into the cutting edge and will, therefore, remove any burr you just created. One important difference to remember between sharpening anvil and bypass blades is removing an even amount of material from the anvil blade. Since it closes down on an anvil and doesn’t bypass it, any excess material you Continued on next page 14

Volume 1, Issue 1 2019

JOURNEY cont’d. remove from one section of the blade as compared to another will leave you with a gap between the bevel edge and the anvil, and that will result in incomplete cuts. This means if you do five strokes on one side, do five on the other. To finish up, apply a small amount of lubricant to both sides of the blades and/or anvil and any

moving parts. This serves two purposes; it keeps the joint lubricated and helps prevent the accumulation of dirt, sap, and grime. You can also protect wooden-handled tools with linseed oil or a coat of varnish, and be sure to store your tools in a dry place.


by Lee Vanderpool

Previously we discussed obtaining a camellia plant, preparing it for planting and actually planting it into a pot or into the landscape. What happens now? The first thing to remember is that camellias do not like to be dry for long periods. For the first few weeks after planting, depending upon how much rain you get, keep your camellia plant well watered. As soon as you see new foliage being generated by the plant, cut back on the watering to once or twice a week. New foliage, usually pink or red on pink or red flowered plants and green on white flowered plants, means that new roots are forming and that the camellia is in the process of sending its feeder roots into the soil surrounding the planting site. If in a pot, you must keep providing water on a regular basis since there is no room for feeder roots to extend where moisture may be available. Do not fertilize your camellia plant for the first couple of weeks. Basically, there are no active feeder roots to take up the fertilizer and it may actually harm the plant rather than help it. When the first new foliage emerges, apply a small amount of granular fertilizer or water with half-strength liquid fertilizer. After the initial fertilization, camellias require light feedings twice a year, once immediately after flowering, usually about April, and again just before first frost, around the middle to the end of October. Additional fertilizer may prompt the plant to create new foliage instead of making flower buds. Plants in pots must be fertilized more often since they do not have room to forage for food. Your camellia should not require pruning during the first couple of years. When branches begin to extend during the third year, they may be trimmed back to begin to create a nice shape in the landscape. Long branches, branches growing into the interior of the plant and crossing branches should be removed. Encourage branches growing to the outside of the plant. If your camellia plant gets out of control or if you do not like its shape, it may be cut back to any point and will regrow from that point. Next time, we will discuss several methods of camellia propagation.

An Okaloosa County Master Gardener Volunteer Publication


Volume 1, Issue 1 2019

A SHOWSTOPPER—CLIMBING PINKIE If you’d like to try something eye-catching in your landscape, consider adding a climbing rose, which can be much easier and lower maintenance than you think. One of the easiest is ‘Climbing Pinkie,’ a small nearly thornless Polyantha rose introduced in 1952. Pinkie’s most appealing quality, other than being highly resistant to fungal diseases and pests, is their almost year-round bloom. From spring till frost, they have at least a sprinkling of medium pink, semi-double bloom clusters, produced in waves that continue almost nonstop without the need to deadhead spent blooms. As with most repeat blooming roses, they have a heavy flush of blooms in the spring and fall, but these plants are rarely without blooms in my yard. They are only slightly fragrant, but their outstanding performance more than makes up for this. Growing roses without any kind of pesticide spraying or systemics, which I haven’t used in 27 years, may seem unusual, especially considering that everything in my yard is irrigated with an overhead watering system, which normally encourages black spot and Cercospora on roses. The older varieties of roses I grow are very resilient and hardy enough to be grown on their own roots, rather than grafted like most modern roses; and, while they may still have some leaf spot, it is rarely a serious problem.

by Karen Kirk-Williams

first flush of blooms in the spring so that the new growth, which comes up from the base, is vigorous and productive. This works well, but it isn’t necessary to give them a hard prune every year. If not cut back, there may be some tip dieback on the lateral canes (short canes growing outward from the main stem).

Rosarians recommend a monthly feeding and often rotate between granular applications to the soil, and foliar feedings with a liquid rose food. I don’t fertilize as often as rosarians recommend but always use a quality organic rose food that has macro and micro-nutrients. Roses respond quickly to these feedings with more vigorous growth and flowering, but OGR and antique roses will perform surprisingly well regardless. In 2008, the University of Florida began a trial of twelve shrub rose varieties. Their list of recommended roses for North Florida includes the modern Red Single, Pink Double, and Red Double ‘Knock Out’ rose. They also recommend ‘Louis Philippe,’ ‘Mutabilis,’ ‘Spice’ and ‘Mrs. B.R. Cant’, which are all antique or old garden roses grown on their own roots. These roses perform well and should not require spraying. Currently, the UF trials do not include any climbing roses, so I’m hoping they will consider adding some in the future. In my yard, climbing

Because they are almost thornless, ‘Climbing Pinkie’ is ideal for training on columns, trellises, or arbors. They typically grow 8-10’ high and 37’ wide but are very adaptable. Unlike shrub roses whose genetics determine their predictable growth habit, climbing roses, even of the same variety, can appear dramatically different in the garden depending on how the gardener chooses to grow them. They can be trained to climb into trees, or grown as a hedge or groundcover where they grow wider than tall. One of the easiest ways to grow them is to allow them to run along the top of a fence. Roses don’t have hold fasts so they must be tied to a support if grown vertically but they need almost no training to run along the top of a fence or along the ground. A word of caution: Do not weave rose canes through a trellis or fence. Attach them to the outside of the structure with soft, flexible ties so that old canes can be removed every few years to rejuvenate the rose since roses flower best on newer canes. I’ve had ‘Climbing Pinkies’ in my backyard on the bay for 15 years, growing on an arbor where high winds and salt spray are the norm. Roses are relatively salt and drought tolerant, although they bloom best with one inch of water per week. They prefer at least six hours of sun but can tolerate some afternoon shade, and perform best in fertile, well-drained soil that has been amended for organic matter. Shade decreases flowering and increases the likelihood of fungal disease.

roses have performed better than shrub roses so I now have 17 climbing roses of 10 different varieties and much prefer them to the smaller roses. ‘Climbing Pinkie’ is among my favorites, despite its lack of intense fragrance. Continued on next page

Unlike most climbing roses, rosarians suggest cutting this small climber back hard after their An Okaloosa County Master Gardener Volunteer Publication


Volume 1, Issue 1 2019

PINKIE cont’d. You might have to go online to find OGR and antique roses, but they are worth the effort. They are not readily available at garden centers, not because they are inferior, but primarily because shoppers are not familiar with them and because patented man-made cultivars offer the highest profits in the nursery trade and come with an established network of placement and marketing.

near Gainesville, Florida (; Antique Rose Emporium in Brenham, Texas (; and Petals from the Past, off I-65 south of Birmingham, Alabama ( Other sources are available but be aware that it is best to order from reputable rose growers with similar growing conditions to ours in Zone 8. Most won’t ship during the heat of the summer.

Specialty nurseries that sell and ship antique and old garden roses include Angel Gardens


by Lee Vanderpool

Wild bergamot is a member of the Lamiaceae or mint family, closely related to the common garden mints. It is native to almost all of North America and is a perennial plant in most areas. It blooms with beautiful pink or lavender flowers from July to September and needs to be planted in full sun to reach its maximum potential as a landscape plant. It will survive in partial shade but its beauty is diminished. It is very drought tolerant but some water during dry periods may be required. The fragrant flowers attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. The plant slowly forms a small colony but is not invasive. It does self-seed. This plant is currently available at the Master Gardener Volunteer Teaching Nursery.


by Marg Stewart

Perhaps you noticed a few lawns and roadside areas earlier in the season that appeared to have snow on them. Upon closer inspection, you would have discovered that it wasn’t snow but rather Facilis retusa, or annual trampweed. This pesky weed is an invasive winter annual. I hadn't noticed it before. That is, I hadn't noticed it until my neighbor got a good crop of it and the lawn guy mowed...just as it was ready to let loose its fluffy seeds. I have it in a few areas.

condition of the lawn itself. A healthy lawn will out-compete this weed. Monitor rainfall and keep the lawn irrigated will decrease drought stress. I would add that cleaning off your mower will help should you have the misfortune of having to mow through the 'snow' drifts. A bagger attachment would help control some of the weeds; just don't forget to clean out the bagger! For small infestations, you can spot this weed fairly easily and yank it out--hopefully BEFORE it has a chance to set seeds.

In researching this weed, I found out that it has been in South Carolina for a long time and has been reported more frequently throughout Georgia and northern Florida. This noxious plant is highly competitive and will colonize any bare space in drought-stressed areas and adores low-fertility lawns and roadsides. A member of the Aster family, it is a low-growing, broadleaf weed with narrow, alternate foliage. The upper surface of the leaves is a dull green, and the lower surface has white tufts of long hairs. Its freely-branching stems have a prostrate and spreading habit. The seeds resemble dandelion tufts only thicker.

Once annual trampweed makes its fluffy white seed heads, it is too late to use a pre-emergent. You have to wait until October/November with the night temperatures drop to 55-60 degrees F. for at least a few consecutive nights. Should your lawn be near a bumper crop like mine was, be prepared to treat preemptively.

There isn't a whole lot of information on the control of this particular weed in turfgrass and you usually don't find it listed on herbicide labels. Cultural control is your best defense with this fluffy invader. Improving the growing An Okaloosa County Master Gardener Volunteer Publication


Volume 1, Issue 1 2019

OLIVES IN FLORIDA? Imagine a terraced orchard somewhere in a villa in Tuscany, dotted with ancient, gnarled olive trees laden with olives and basking in the dry, Mediterranean climate. That’s where you grow olives, right? Well, as it turns out, those gnarly little trees are a bit more adaptable than you’d think and they are growing right here in Florida. In fact, there’s one growing in my Shalimar garden in a container! The Florida Olive Council was established to promote olive production in Florida with the hope that olives could help fill the void left in Florida agriculture as citrus production declines due to HLB (citrus greening) and other diseases. Currently half of the acreage devoted to citrus in Florida is fallow and olive culture is providing incentive to many growers hoping to turn olives into a viable cash crop. In order to be productive, olives in general require more chill hours than what occurs in most of Florida. The search is on for low-chill varieties of olives that can thrive and produce in southern Florida where citrus has been such an essential crop: sandbox/wp-content/ uploads/2018/07/2018-Spring.pdf.

With olive culture being a new endeavor in Florida, growers are still finding their way to the best growing practices, through research and trial. So, if you have an olive tree and haven’t had a clue how to care for it, you’re really not to blame-many have been in the dark. Here is a 2017 article from IFAS that has a lot of good information: I’ll summarize briefly: olives like sandy, welldrained soils with low fertility. They may be susceptible to scale, caterpillars and grasshoppers. They don’t do well with excessive water or winter temps below 12F degrees. Hmmm, it sounds like these people may have visited some of our yards, doesn’t it? Here’s a fun fact from the article: The olive tree never bears fruit twice in the same place on a stem. This means you must prune to encourage new growth. It’s an alternate-year-bearing species, so fruiting is typically heavy every other year. In the off years, prune during flowering to remove An Okaloosa County Master Gardener Volunteer Publication

by Karen Harper the non-flowering branches. This is good to know. Mine has never been pruned in its life so now I know where to start. Olives may or may not be self-fertile. Mine has produced olives all on its own so it must be self-fertile… but then the article says that plants may be self-fertile in the regions where they were selected and developed and then become self-infertile when grown in another region of the world, so who knows? It sounds like your best bet is to grow at least “two distinct cultivars” close to each other for cross-pollination if you hope to get olives from your tree(s). This gives me a valid excuse to buy another tree which is always useful in case the resident husband should actually notice that there’s a new tree out there in the yard. Here is an IFAS article on olive nutrition: ag405 To summarize: easy on the N, more P and K. Get a soil test before you do anything…and read the article! Here’s one on olive pest management: in1046 If want to try your hand at growing olives, here are a few sources for buying olive trees: (Note: of these, the only ones I have personal experience with are Stark Bros, Wilson Bros and Willis Orchards. They are reputable companies offering good stock) Arbequina-Olive-Tree.html arbequinaolivetree By the way, you can’t eat olives right off the tree unless you enjoy yucky-tasting stuff. They contain a very bitter compound called oleuropein. Olives are generally cured in a salt solution before eating. They can be cured over a long period in pure water, but that process can take several months. Continued on next page 18

Volume 1, Issue 1 2019

OLIVE cont’d. Another interesting olive fact- the *average* life expectancy of an olive tree is 500 years. Some have lived much longer, including this awesome tree on the island of Crete: y8xf8ewe My olive tree. Her name is Olivia (of course) and she’s a very tenacious survivor. Olivia was given to me by a friend more than 10 years ago and she has spent most of her life in a too-small container, being moved from forgotten corner to forgotten corner of my garden. It spite of that neglect, she has bloomed and borne olives from time to time. It wasn’t until this year that I finally began to appreciate Olivia and upgraded her situation a bit. She’s now in a larger container poolside and is about to be moved to her permanent 25-gallon container. She also gets watered now and then. She has responded to the increased attention by adding about 3’ to her height just over the summer and turning into a stately, lovely wispy green-gray focal point. And with what I have learned from writing this article, I feel fairly sure she will be blooming and bearing olives regularly from now on. And if not, she is a very pretty addition to the landscape and with a life expectancy of 500 years, I suppose I’d better make provisions for her in my will. I assure you that any tree that performs under the sad conditions to which Olivia has been subjected, is one that you can probably grow with ease in your own garden!

KILROY WAS HERE! Who is Kilroy? I don’t know. Adolph Hitler thought that he was a spy. Joseph Stalin thought that Kilroy was the commander of a secret military force. There are many theories as to who he is, or who he was, but he was a constant companion and morale builder of US Forces during World War II. “Kilroy was here” appeared in the most unsuspecting places all over the European theater where GIs were involved. We have recently celebrated the anniversary of D-Day and recognized many of our World War II veterans. Why not “Kilroy was here”?

by Lockey Buhrow here” in an inconspicuous area. Long live “Kilroy was here”!!!

Kilroy wuz in Lockey’s yard to celebrate!

Kilroy was depicted as a baldheaded man with a prominent nose and fingers gripping a brick wall. The most common version of where “Kilroy was here” originated was that the inspector for an equipment company used this slogan to ensure the shippers that the item was ready to be shipped. Other countries have had similar figures. Australia’s “FOO Was Here” originated during World War I. The figure “Chad” was popular in the United Kingdom. Other names for this character included Some, Clem and Jeep. Earlier sources claim to have seen “Kilroy Was Here” depicted as early as 1937. The World War II memorial in Washington, DC depicts “Kilroy was An Okaloosa County Master Gardener Volunteer Publication


Volume 1, Issue 1 2019

YARD ART IN HOUSE CONTEST Yard Art is your imagination using flowers, shrubs and whimsical objects of shape and color to add interest and pleasure to the landscape. Paint a picture, have a theme or just do your thing. “Those who are supposed to get it will”. (Joel Hodgson creator of Mystery Sciences Theater) Awards: 1st place – cash 2nd place - cash Most Unique - gardening book “Bottle Trees” by Felder Rushing Entries are to be submitted to Lockey Buhrow at before the October 31 deadline.

An Okaloosa County Master Gardener Volunteer Publication


Volume 1, Issue 1 2019

WHAT’S COOKIN? Each month we will be featuring recipes supplied by our Master Gardener Volunteers. Anyone who has partaken of the refreshments at our meetings, award ceremony and other such events know that our group has some fantastic chefs!


TOMATO SOUP—Lockey Buhrow Ida Saxton McKinley’s cold tomato soup from the Congressional Club’s cookbook Ingredients 4 cups canned tomatoes, drained 2 celery stalks, sliced 1 bay leaf 2 tbs. minute tapioca 1/4 tsp. ground ginger 1/8 tsp. allspice Salt to taste Sour cream and cucumbers to garnish Directions

Boil the tomatoes with the celery, onion, and bay leaf for 1/2 hour. Strain and return to a boil. Add the tapioca and cook until clear. Add the seasoning and chill. To serve, garnish each serving with a slice of cucumber and dollop of sour cream.

TOMATO PIE—Lynda Penry Recipe courtesy Paula Deen Caprese salad is a simple salad of tomatoes and mozzarella. It originates from the island of Capri in Italy and its colors of red, white and green are those of the Italian flag. Viva Italia!! This is our favorite summer salad. During tomato season this in on the table weekly. It uses fresh tomatoes and basil from the garden and is very adaptable to taste and quantity desired. Luscious red tomatoes arranged very simply with slices of fresh mozzarella and topped with a vinaigrette dressing, it makes one of the prettiest things you can eat. And it’s delicious!

Ingredients For the salad: 2 lbs. of good-sized ripe tomatoes, cut into ¼” slices 1 lb. of fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced ¼” thick* Fresh basil, washed and cut into thin strips For the dressing: 1 tbsp olive oil 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar 1 tsp minced garlic ¼ tsp dry mustard 1/8 tsp sugar Directions:

Ingredients Four tomatoes, peeled and sliced 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped 1/2 cup chopped green onion 1 prebaked deep-dish pie shell (9-inch) 1 cup grated mozzarella 1 cup grated cheddar cheese 1 cup mayonnaise Salt and pepper Directions Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the tomatoes in a colander in the sink in one layer. Sprinkle with salt and allow to drain for 10 minutes. Layer the tomato slices, basil, and onion in pie shell. Season with salt and pepper. Combine the grated cheeses and mayonnaise. Spread mixture on top of the tomatoes. Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. To serve, cut into slice and serve warm.

Arrange the tomato and cheese slices alternately on a serving platter. Sprinkle the basil on top. Whisk the dressing ingredients until wellblended, pour over the salad. Serve and enjoy! *Check in the deli section for fresh mozzarella. An Okaloosa County Master Gardener Volunteer Publication


Volume 1, Issue 1 2019

WHAT’S COOKIN? cont’d. FRESH PEAR PIE—Lee Vanderpool

cooking spray.


For the cake, combine cake mix, butter, 1/2 cup juice from the mandarin oranges, eggs, and vanilla. Beat for 3-4 minutes on medium-high.

1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup white sugar 4 tbs. cornstarch 1/4 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. ground ginger 1/2 tsp. nutmeg 3/4 tsp. cinnamon 1/2 tsp. vanilla 2 tbs. lemon juice 8 medium sized pears, peeled, cored and sliced 3 tbs. butter, cut up cinnamon sugar 2—9-inch pie crests Directions Combine first seven ingredients. In a second bowl, toss pears and lemon juice together. Stir pears into dry mix, combining well. Add vanilla. Pour mixture in unbaked pie shell and dot fruit with cut up butter. Cover with second pie crust and seal well. Brush top with water and sprinkle cinnamon sugar to taste. Bake at 425 degrees F. for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F. and bake another 45-50 minutes or until top crust is brown. Note: I use commercial pie crests but since I do not like thick crusts, I roll each crust to about 3/4 their packaged thickness. This makes for a flakier baked crust.

PEA PICKIN CAKE—Alene Ogle From my dear, sweet friend, Jean Gilmore, 43 years ago. Ingredients For the cake 1 box yellow cake mix 1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup) softened 1 (14 oz.) can mandarin oranges, drained 1/2 cup reserved juice (save a few oranges to garnish) 4 large eggs 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Add drained oranges and stir until combined.

Pour batter into baking dish and bake for about 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. Once the cake is cool, blend juice from drained pineapples with the vanilla pudding mix. Stir in powdered sugar, then mix in whipped topping. Finally, stir in drained pineapple. Spread frosting on cooled cake and top with slices of mandarin oranges to garnish.

SOUTHWEST COLESLAW—Marg Stewart Ingredients 2 cups coleslaw mix 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved and quartered 1 cup corn 1 cup mixed bell peppers, diced 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated 1/2 cup ranch dressing 2 tbs. lime juice 1 tsp. lime zest 1 tsp. chili powder 1 tsp. cumin fresh cilantro, finely chopped Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste Avocados, diced Directions In a medium bowl, whisk together ranch dressing, lime juice, zest, chili powder, and cumin until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place coleslaw mix in a large bowl and top with tomatoes, corn, bell peppers, and cheddar cheese. Pour dressing over coleslaw and veggies and toss together to combine. Top with fresh cilantro and let chill 15-20 minutes before serving. Prior to serving add diced avocados.

For the topping 1 (4 oz.) box vanilla instant pudding mix 1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple (reserve juice) 1/2 cup powdered sugar 4 ounces Cool Whip (half a regular tub) Directions Preheat oven to 35 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish or 2 round cake pans with non-stick An Okaloosa County Master Gardener Volunteer Publication


Volume 1, Issue 1 2019






Stewart courtesy of Paula Mullins

6-7 slices bacon 1 cup chopped onion 1-2 tbs. garlic 36 medium shrimp, peeled 1 tbs. Tony Chachere’s Cajun Seasoning 2 cups milk 1 1/4 cups water 1/2 cup butter Dash salt 1 cup quick-cooking grits 4 oz. (or more) gouda cheese 1/2 cup sliced green onions Directions For the shrimp Cook bacon until crispy. Remove bacon leaving bacon fat in skillet. Set bacon aside to cool In a skillet with bacon fat, add onion and garlic and sauté until tender. Add butter, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add shrimp, sprinkle with Tony Chachere’s, stir, and cook 3 minutes, turning once. Add crumbled bacon. Remove from heat, cover and keep warm. For the grits Bring milk, water, and salt to a boil. Reduce heat and add grits and cook until thick and bubbly stirring constantly. (I use microwave by cooking at 1-minute intervals, stirring after each.) After grits are done, add cheese and stir until cheese melts.

Ingredients 1 24 oz. jar spaghetti sauce 1 onion, diced 3 tbs. garlic, minced 1 tbs. extra virgin olive oil 2 tsp. fresh thyme 1 small eggplant, sliced thin 2 zucchini, sliced thin 1 yellow squash, sliced thin 1 pgs. Fresh mushrooms, sliced 2 tomatoes, sliced thin Salt and pepper to taste 1 cup Monterey jack cheese Directions Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Put spaghetti sauce, onions, garlic, and thyme in the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Stir to mix. Arrange eggplant, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, and tomatoes like laid-over dominoes around the dish in the sauce. Drizzle olive oil lightly over the veggies and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Lay a piece of parchment paper, cut to size of the casserole dish over veggies. Bake 45 minutes. Remove parchment paper and add Monterey jack cheese over veggies. Return to oven and bake for 10 more minutes.

Spoon grits onto plates, top with shrimp mixture and add green onions for garnish.

An Okaloosa County Master Gardener Volunteer Publication


Volume 1, Issue 1 2019


by Marg Stewart

I was enjoying the fact that we FINALLY got some rain and grumbling at the same time because the rain made one particularly stubborn patch of weeds in my lawn grow three feet overnight. Seriously, these things have resisted all efforts of eradication. While I was sitting there trying to kill them with dirty looks, (hey I've tried everything else) I gazed about the neighborhood. What a study in contrasts! In the effort to preserve dignity and to protect the names of the guilty--we shall refer to them as Neighbor 1 (N1) and Neighbor 2 (N2). Observe now N1. This is a lawn to be envious of. Green and pristine, not a weed in sight. There are no butterflies or birds either. N1 has two lawnmowers. One riding and one push-type. Also, in the armory is a mechanical edger, two weed whackers, clippers, various sprayers and who knows what else. General Patton would be proud of the movement of all this equipment in and out of the garage. N1 is most definitely a devout lawn person. I came home late one night and realized the whole street was lit up. Since this is an oddity, I paid close attention as I turned the corner and observed N1 had set up large tripods with high-intensity lights. At 9:00 pm N1 was out there pulling weeds! Now that is dedication, or maybe a bit of turf insanity...the jury is still out. N2 doesn't mow; they hire someone to come in every two weeks. There is a lawnmower in the huge shed they installed; it's just never used. The previous owners never really took care of the lawn. When trouble popped up their solution was to purchase pieces of sod and put that down over the problem areas. N2 has the irrigation system set to start at 10:00 pm because "the grass will burn up if it is wet when the sun comes up." Yes, I’ve been a good neighbor and done my MG duty in providing the science based information. However, you know when some folks have an idea in their heads and that the way they are doing something is the way their daddy and their grandfather did it...short of the good Lord coming down and speaking from a burning bush you aren’t going to change their minds. N2 complained of thin spots in the lawn (frankly there's very little 'lawn' there), so the solution was to purchase at least four different bags of grass seed and a brand-new spreader. ALL of that was put down on the lawn during this last hot streak. Fertilizer and pre-emergent have also been applied. It's not a happy lawn at all. So there you have it. One lawn is gorgeous, but it takes a lot of work and a lot of time to achieve that state. I’m sure that it costs a pretty penny as well. The other lawn...some days it just doesn't pay to chew through the restraints.

An Okaloosa County Master Gardener Volunteer Publication

I'll stick to my middle ground. A little work to keep things under control and the water bill lower. My lawn is okay. It has its share of weeds and a few bare spots. There's a lovely patch of dollar weed right where the downspout drains. From the street, it looks lush and green, and unless I move the downspout, that's about all that will grow there. Live and let live. There are birds, butterflies and bees to enjoy out there. Prior to mowing I always have some pretty little flowers scattered about for color. If all else fails, I’ll just tell folks that I’m naturalizing. I’ve limbed up the Loropetalum into its tree form so other than trimming limbs that decide to whack me in the noggin when I’m mowing, they take less time. I was gifted elderberry (yes, I wanted it) and that is growing nicely in the open area, an open area I achieved by chopping down a Ligustrum. The remaining sister shrub is also limbed up and I actually like it better being in a tree form. Of course, the Elaeagnus requires a ladder when that needs trimming. Right plant, right place. It’s serving as a sound break for the generator so I deal with it. Works well for the purpose and it’s rather cathartic when you get to employ a chain saw for trimming. I figured out that I can get done all the trimming, weed-whacking, and mowing for the front yard in two hours. That includes putting everything away and blowing the evidence off the driveway and walk. It’s pretty, I don’t get nasty letters from the HOA and still time for a cat nap.

Plentiful Plantings


Volume 1, Issue 1 2019

The Foundation for the Gator Nation..... An equal opportunity institution.

Mission To assist Extension Agents in providing research-based horticultural education to Florida residents.

Vision To be the most trusted resource for horticultural education in Florida.

The Compost Pile is a quarterly publication created by the Okaloosa County Master Gardener Volunteers.

Marg Stewart—Editor Karen Harper, Debbie Sewell, Kent Beck—Co-Editors

Profile for Okaloosa County Master Gardeners

The Compost Pile July/August 2019  

Learn about bonsai. Frustrated by garden tools that aren't at their best? Learn how to take care of them. What to do to keep your camellias...

The Compost Pile July/August 2019  

Learn about bonsai. Frustrated by garden tools that aren't at their best? Learn how to take care of them. What to do to keep your camellias...

Profile for ocmga