'Demonstration garden' planted in Yulee

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By Lil Spinks, West Nassau Correspondent

Nassau County residents now have their very own "demonstration garden," officially unveiled at a ceremony Wednesday at the Nassau County Extension satellite office in Yulee.

Located outside the Nassau County Government Complex on Nassau Place Road, the garden will help residents learn first-hand about the care and maintenance of landscape plants best suited for the area, said Rebecca L. Jordi, an environmental Horticulture Agent III with the extension service.

The 60- by 70-foot garden was designed by master gardener Anne Mankovich. It features recommended Florida landscape plants including native trees and shrubs, groundcovers, grasses, perennials, and hardy sub-tropicals, vines, shade plants and butterfly and hummingbird attractors.

Under Jordi's guidance, the garden also features a "Butterfly Experience" for primary and elementary school children, with information about the life cycle of butterflies and their importance in the pollination of plants, flowers and trees. It includes a look at Florida's official butterfly, the Zebra butterfly.

In addition, the children will be able to make butterfly art they can take home.

The garden was planted by master gardeners, 4-H youth and volunteers and will be maintained by master gardener volunteers.

It will teach basic principles for successful gardening in Florida, including micro-irrigation, right plant/right place, mulching, recycling, attracting wildlife and integrated pest management.

Jordi hosted Wednesday's event, which was attended by county officials and the public, for Nassau County Extension Director Dr. Mary Williams, who was unable to attend.

She said that throughout the United States the federal government has specified certain universities to do research. In Florida, they are Florida A&M and the University of Florida.

These universities have "loaned" counties employees like herself to establish extension offices. In addition to being a certified arborist, she has also trained about 30 members of the Master Gardening Program.

Jordi said the extension service and 4-H program could not accomplish all that they have without volunteers. This year alone, the master gardeners have contributed over 500 hours to the garden, she said.

Visitors are welcome to visit the garden at any time. It is self-touring, using plant signage. Guided group or school tours can be scheduled by calling the Nassau County Exten-sion Office at 321-5715, or by e-mailing Jordi at rljordi@ufl.edu .

More information about the garden is available through the satellite office in Yulee during regular business hours, 8 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday.

Volunteers are available to answer questions at the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon until 4 p.m.

Story created Dec 03, 2005 - 07:21:12 PST.



Rebecca L. Jordi, environmental Horticulture Agent III with the Nassau County Cooperative Extension Service, explains to county officials and master gardener volunteers a demonstration garden that was dedicated Wednesday in Yulee. Lil Spinks/For the News-Leader