Favorite Links




Florida-friendly Landscaping

  • Polk County Residential Horticulture
    This link takes you to the web site of the Polk County Urban Horticulturist, Dr. David Shibles. David has assembled exceptional material on horticulture in Polk County. Every month he publishes a free newsletter concerning issues appropriate to the season of the year. The past newsletters are on this internet site. You can also have a copy of the current newsletter sent to you each month by calling the office at (863-519-8677) and asking to be put on the subscription list. David also has some informative feature articles and a number of great links. 
  • Polk County Master Gardeners
    Master Gardeners are a group of volunteers with training provided by the University of Florida Cooperative Extension.  Master Gardeners assist the Cooperative Extension through gardening programs and horticultural activities designed to educate the public. The Polk County Master Gardeners' web site contains information on gardening in Polk County and what makes it unique in terms of plant selection and care.  They have links to other web sites, frequently asked questions and many other topics that interest both a new Florida resident and a native Floridian alike.  The Master Gardener class is offered each fall and an application can be obtained by calling (863) 519-8677.  Being a Master Gardener is a great opportunity to volunteer within the community, make new friends and learn about gardening.
  • Florida-friendly Landscaping for Community Associations
    Community associations and property managers can now access information to help them maintain attractive landscapes that use less water, fertilizer and pesticides.  This educational outreach program is available through the Hillsborough and Polk County Extension offices. 
  • University of Florida Plant and Animal Information (EDIS)
    EDIS is the Electronic Data Information Source of UF/IFAS Extension, a collection of information on topics relevant to you: profitable and sustainable agriculture, our environment and natural resources, 4-H and other youth programs, Florida-friendly landscapes, communities that are vibrant and prosperous, and economic well-being and life quality for individuals and families.
  • Floridata
    This not-for-profit site has a lot of very good information in an easy-to-use format. It covers most of the plants you will want to use in your garden, has very good pictures and shows how the plant grows and where to use it. It is a well-designed site with a search capability.
  • USF Florida Plant Atlas
    This site has an atlas of technical information on plants that grow in Florida. It has pictures of many plants and excellent advanced search capability. You must know the scientific name of the plant to access the information. You can often find that scientific name by doing an internet search using the plant's common name.
  • Florida Yards and Neighborhoods
    The University of Florida, Florida Yards and Neighborhoods (FYN) program provides information to homeowners on the use of environmentally friendly lawn and landscaping techniques. Water conservation and the use of water-wise plants are important components of good Florida gardening techniques. The site contains links to the web sites of county FYN programs, PowerPoint presentations and other Florida Friendly landscaping materials.
  • Florida Yards
    The Florida Yards web site contains information to help you design and install Florida-friendly landscaping.  Use the interactive yard to create a landscape for your yard!  Visit the professionals corner to obtain free resources and publications as well as view Florida Yards and Neighborhoods success stories.  A plant list, Florida-friendly yard photos and yard tips are also available on this site.
  • Waterwise Florida Landscapes
    This is an excellent online book on water wise Florida landscaping  from the Florida Water Management Districts. The principles of Xeriscaping/Florida Friendly landscaping are covered at a greater depth than most other sites. It also includes a glossary of terms and a bibliography for in-depth reading.
  • Florida Plants Online -Xeriscape
    This site has some very useful internet links for Xeriscaping in Florida.
  • Low Impact Development Center
    This web site has a lot of information on low impact development projects, research and upcoming workshops.   
  • Living Green
    The University of Florida Living Green web site contains television episodes that can be viewed on your computer screen.  Topics include wildlife, conservation and landscaping.

Top


General Resources

  • Polk County Urban Horticulturist
    The most important link we have is that of our Polk County Urban Horticulturist (Dr. David Shibles) here in Polk County. David has assembled some really exceptional material on horticulture here in Polk County. Every month he publishes a free newsletter concerning issues appropriate to the season of the year. The past newsletters are on this internet site. You can also have a copy of the current newsletter sent to you each month by calling the office (863-519-8677) and asking to be put on the subscription list. David also has some informative feature articles and a number of great links.
  • University of Florida Plant and Animal Information (EDIS)
    Florida has unique plants and plant problems. Many plants that grow in the rest of the country will not grow in Florida. Conversely, many plants grown in central and south Florida do not grow in the rest of the country. The University of Florida has hundreds of excellent articles on landscape and commercial plants. Included in the material is a description of the plants, how they grow best, pests of these plants, and how to eliminate the pests. There are also articles on common insect and animal problems around the house and farm. A search engine can be used to find the information you need.
  • The Cycad Jungle
    This is the web site of a Lakeland nursery that specializes in cycads. We do not endorse or recommend commercial growers/sellers; however, there are some very good technical articles on cycads and how to grow them.
  • Florida Department of Environmental Protection
    The official site of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. 
  • Keep Polk County Beautiful
    Keep Polk County Beautiful contains information on upcoming events and clean-ups in your area.
  • Southwest Florida Water Management District
    Download or place an order for one of the many informative brochures and bulletins that SWFWMD produces, get information on creating rain barrels and keep yourself updated with what is going on in your water management district .
  • Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program
    The Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program develops comprehensive conservation and management plans for  the watershed of the Charlotte Harbor.  In our area, the Peace River is one of the three rivers that feed the harbor.  You can get updated news and information, download grant applications and publications and learn about the watershed that you live in.

Top


Invasive Plants

  • Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants
    This is a great University of Florida site for finding pictures and information on Florida plants, both native and non-native. One limitation of the site is that the native plants are mostly aquatic, while the non-natives are invasive. There are pictures and often a description on how to identify these plants. Plants can be found by common name, scientific name or type (tree, shrub, vine, grass, etc.). There are also line drawings of many plants that can be very useful in identification.
  • Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council
    Exotic non-native invasive plants are a serious problem in Florida. These plants overrun wild areas, crowd-out or destroy native plants, and are sometimes a serious problem in our gardens. The goals of Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council (FPPC) are (1) to build public awareness about the serious threat that invasive plants pose to native ecosystems; (2) to secure funding and support for control and management of exotic plants; and (3) to develop integrated management and control methods to prevent the spread of exotic pest plants throughout the United States. This web site has useful information for those who want to identify plants that are pests as well as what to do about them. Several lists of invasive species are given. Many Category I plants are described, and where possible, the state management plans for control.

Top


Native Plants

  • Florida Native Plant Society
    The purpose of the Florida Native Plant Society is to promote the preservation, conservation, and restoration of the native plants and native plant communities of Florida. If you are interested in Florida native plants this is a good place to start.
  • Native Florida
    A site that is useful for getting information on not only native plants, but also birds and butterflies.
  • Center for Plant Conservation
    The mission of the Center for Plant Conservation (CPC) is to conserve and restore the rare native plants of the United States. This site is useful for anyone interested in the conservation of native plants. The CPC has 34 participating institutions, each of which is the custodian of several rare and endangered plant species. Historic Bok Sanctuary, in Polk County, is one of the participating institutions. It is the primary custodian of 39 endangered plants native to Florida.
  • Association of Florida Native Nurseries
    If you are looking to purchase a native plant for your garden this site can be very useful. 
  • Florida Wildflower Advisory Council
    The Florida Wildflower Advisory Council strives to educate the public on the importance of Florida's wildflowers.  They support not only education, but also research and planting.  Their web site contains wildflower information and photos, grant opportunities and you can purchase the Florida wildflower license plate on the web site. 

Top

Sustainable Living / Organic Gardening

  • University of Florida/IFAS Living Green
    This University of Florida web site provides information on living green in many areas such as water and energy conservation, landscaping, waste minimization and wildlife protection  
  • Council for Sustainable Florida
    The Council for Sustainable Florida promotes sustainable best management practices through collaborative educational efforts throughout Florida. These efforts include convening and working with regional grassroots sustainability organizations and Florida’s colleges and universities.
  • Local Harvest
    Local Harvest is a great resource for finding farmers markets, organic farms and restaurants near your city.  You can click on the interactive map to locate whatever products you are looking for.
  • Green Earth Office Supply
    Purchase biodegradable and compostable kitchen supplies such as napkins, plates and utensils.  Other products such as recycled paper, household and cleaning products are available.
  • Living Green
    This This National Geographic website provides a Green Guide to everyday living. It provides information on products and things you can do to live green. 
  • Florida Organic Growers
    Florida Certified Organic Growers & Consumers is a non-profit organization which provides an Organic Certification Program.  Their mission is to support and promote organic and sustainable agriculture and educate consumers, farmers, future farmers (children & youth), businesses, policy makers and the general public.

Top


Trees

  • The International Society of Arboriculture - Florida chapter
    The International Society of Arboriculture is a professional organization dedicated to continuing education for arborists,  tree-care research and serving tree care consumers around the world. The Florida Chapter of the ISA shares this same dedication, with a further commitment to serving the needs of Florida's professional arborists and tree-care consumers. This site contains excellent information on selecting, purchasing, planting, pruning, insect and disease problems and care of trees in Florida. A list of certified arborists for your area can be found under "Find an Arborist".
  • The Tree Link
    According to this web site, TreeLink's vision is "to provide the best technology resources to grow the movement and discipline of urban and community forestry to the widest audience. We plan to expand the canopy of knowledge about Urban and Community Forestry and reach into widespread community roots with potent, accessible communications resources." This site has some excellent articles on the care and maintenance of trees, links to some great tree databases, other tree links, and information on urban forestry. While not specifically Florida, the information will be useful to anyone interested in urban forestry and those of us who just want to grow and maintain our trees.
  • National Arbor Day Foundation
    The National Arbor Day Foundation web site has a plethora of information on trees.  Their pruning guides is especially helpful.  It is an interactive guide that shows you the correct way to prune a tree.  You can also find information on when Arbor Day is celebrated in your state. 
  • University of Florida Woody Ornamentals
    The University's web site contains plant lists, photographs and information on hundreds of trees and shrubs.  Selection, pruning, planting and maintaining a tree is covered on this web site--it is full of great information!

Top


Turf

  • University of Florida Turf Web site
    Key information on growing turf grasses in Florida is collected by the University of Florida at this site. For the homeowner, the material covers the following topics (plus others): selection of turf grass, maintenance, good cultural practices, fertilization, and insect and weed management. Most of the information is also available at the EDIS site but the information is easier to find here.

Top

Water Gardening

  • International Water lily and Water Gardening Society
    The International Water Lily and Water Gardening Society promotes knowledge, leadership, and standards of excellence in water gardening and related aquatic plant areas. The Society is a non-profit organization of multinational membership dedicated to the furtherance of all aspects of water gardens and their associated plants. As an organization, they support and promote education, research, and conservation in these areas. The section titled "Gateway to Water Gardening" contains an excellent introduction to water gardening and aquatic plants. Besides introductory material, advanced material on such topics and the cultivation of many specific plants is also available along with beautiful images of many flowers.

Top


Water Issues

  • Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD)
    The purpose of the Southwest Florida Water Management District is to manage the water and water-related resources within its boundaries. The District mission is to maintain the balance between the water needs of current and future users, as well as to protect and maintain natural systems. This district contains Polk and surrounding counties. This is their official site with their official information.
  • Lakes Education/Action Drive
    Lakes Education/Action Drive (LE/AD) is a non-profit corporation organized for the purpose of educating the citizens of Polk County about our lakes and helping us to realize the tremendous benefits our lakes provide. This is an important site for people living on one of our lakes or who are concerned about the quality of our lakes.  
  • City of Lakeland Lakes and Stormwater Division
    Adopt-A-Lake is a way you can volunteer to help keep Lakeland's lakes clean! On the city's web site you will find information on how to volunteer with Adopt-A-Lake.  The web site also provides information on aquatic plants, stormwater and lake projects and rules and regulations you may need to know before undertaking a lakefront project of your own. 
  • National Groundwater Association 
    This is the official web site of the National Groundwater Association.  The site provides information for teachers, notices of upcoming events and links to state groundwater associations. 
  • Florida Groundwater Association
    In Florida, the Florida Groundwater Association provides information to those interested in Florida's groundwater systems.  
  • Florida Lakewatch
    The University of Florida Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences coordinates Florida Lakewatch, a program that has been in existence since 1986.  Florida Lakewatch is an organization works directly with citizens who live on (or use) lakes, rivers or waterways and are willing to participate in a long-term monitoring effort. The web site contains valuable information such as a newsletter, brochures and lists upcoming meetings. 
  • Find Your Watershed
    The Environmental Protection Agency has created an interactive map for you to click anywhere in the United States to find what watershed you live in.  We all live in a watershed!
  • Polk County Water Atlas
    The Polk County Water Atlas lets you search all of the county's water bodies.  You can find out valuable information about the health of our lakes and what is being done to protect them.  
  • Mister Landscaper
    Mister landscaper is a micro-irrigation system that promotes water conservation.  Designed and assembled in Polk County, this system is easy for anyone to install in their landscape beds.  Micro-irrigation is a great way to conserve water by preventing water loss through evaporation by delivering water to the root system of the plants. 

Top

Wildlife & Insects

  • Florida Wildlife Extension
    Part of the mission of the Florida Cooperative Extension Service is to disseminate and provide access to science-based information that will contribute to the solution of natural resource problems of concern to the people of Florida. Wildlife Extension specialists in the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation serve, advise, and develop educational programs for Florida citizens in conjunction with county extension agents and other state, county, and local organizations interested in wildlife issues. Programs are oriented toward the use, conservation, management, and appreciation of wildlife resources. Extension specialists, county agents, trained volunteers, and professional wildlife biologists from various organizations conduct wildlife extension programs on site, through the internet and other long distance education technologies, as well as printed publications, and other media outlets. 
  • Your Florida Backyard
    Your Florida Backyard contains information on butterflies, birds, native plants and anything else you may find in your backyard!  Lots of plant lists and photographs are on the web site. 
  • The Nature Conservancy
    The mission of the Nature Conservancy is to "preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive".  
  • Project WILD  
    Project WILD is a K-12 education program that focuses on wildlife.  Resources, workshops and materials are available for anyone who works with children.
  • Featured Creatures of the University of Florida
    Featured Creatures provides in-depth profiles of insects, nematodes, arachnids and other organisms. The site is a cooperative venture of the University of Florida's Entomology and Nematology Department and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Division of Plant Industry.   

Top