As many folks are ready to pick out a Christmas tree, it's also the start of picking out all sorts of plants to help deck the halls for the holidays.
The Southwest Florida Water Management has shared a few tips to save water with some smart planting and gift ideas:
- Rain barrels are a great way to conserve water and an inexpensive gift when you pick one up at the University Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences extension office, 1303 17th St. West,
- Compost bins provide nutrients for a garden and keep food scraps out of the garbage disposal. A garbage disposal uses up to 4 gallons of water per minute.
- Raised garden beds make great gifts for gardeners and they control water use and reduce the need for pesticides, which means less runoff into water resources.
- Gift certificates are available at most local extension offices for free or inexpensive classes to make rain barrels, compost bins and other items.
- Give plants that are water efficient and require little maintenance in Florida landscapes. Give an entire plant or just a seedling planted in a biodegradable eggshell or toilet paper roll.
Be water-wise also when selecting holiday decorations. Here are some suggestions:
- Decorate with red salvia splendens instead of poinsettias. The plant requires less maintenance once placed in your garden after the holidays.
- Use items found around your yard and home to decorate. Palm fronds, magnolia leaves, pinecones and citrus fruit make great ingredients for centerpieces.
- Rosemary is easy to grow and makes a nice choice for holiday greenery and fills the home with a sweet fragrance.
And for year-round Florida-friendly tips, visit WaterMatters.org/Yards/.