By Ginny Stibolt, author of Adventures of a Transplanted Gardener

The University Press of Florida is having a holiday sale, so if you are a Florida resident with neighbors who are new to the state or friends who are new to gardening, my newest gardening book may be the perfect gift. I wrote it with newbie Florida gardeners in mind.

My husband and I moved to northeast Florida from Maryland in June 2004. I had looked forward to spending more time gardening, but despite my lifelong experience as a gardener and my advanced degree in botany, I was flummoxed by Florida gardening. My goal for Adventures of a Transplanted Gardener was to provide a quicker path for people new to Florida gardening to become successful by using my own experiences as examples. I wanted these hard-learned lessons to feel like practical advice from an old gardening friend. I’ve arranged the topics in this book beginning with an introduction to the state and its native areas, followed by reasons and resources for planting natives to help your yard become part of the “Real Florida.” After that, I’ve ordered the topics from the easiest and most popular, like pollinator gardens, and then on to the more complex, like composting and stormwater management.

Here’s a sneak peek: To provide the best environment for pollinators, it’s a good idea to have something in your garden that blooms through the winter, because during those warm periods in the winter pollinators may come out of dormancy. Spanish needles (Bidens alba), a weedy plant native to all of Florida, produces flowers all winter long, even in North Florida. It’s probably growing on your property already. I’ve removed bunches of it when it crowds out my crops, but I always leave some in the back corners for pollinators. The two pollinators shown in this image are polka-dotted wasp moths (Syntomeida epilais), a beautiful, day-flying moth that looks like a wasp. See my article “An Exception to the Rules” on these interesting Florida insects.

I also cover growing vegetables, offering some broad advice such as how Floridians can grow our cool-weather crops right through the winter. I also cover a few crops that are unusual or ones that grow well in Florida’s climate. Meadow garlic (Allium canadense) is an herb that’s native from Central Florida to Canada. It grows naturally in swales and low spots in the landscape. I suggest that people may wish to add it to their herb gardens. See my article “A Native Herb Has Earned an Honored Place Amongst the Mediterranean Species” on this native herb.

A Florida Gothic! My husband Dean Avery and I had some fun with the author photo for this book. It seemed fitting that both of us should be in this photo since Dean has been a crucial partner in many of the adventures around our North Florida yard.

Gardening in Florida is a wonderful year-round adventure, and as new Florida gardeners will find out, the seasons are different here. I hope that this book will provide enough helpful advice that readers can adjust to Florida gardening much more quickly. I know that I find peace while working with nature in our Florida yard, and I wish the same for you.

Ginny Stibolt, a freelance writer, botanist, and experienced gardener, is the author of Sustainable Gardening for Florida and The Art of Maintaining a Florida Native Landscape and coauthor of A Step-by-Step Guide to a Florida Native Yard and Organic Methods for Vegetable Gardening in Florida.

Use code XM22 for discount prices and $2 shipping on Ginny Stibolt’s books from University Press of Florida. Sale ends December 16, 2022.

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