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Apr 14, 2021

Mantis is a master at stealth and camoflauge

More than one Santa Rosa County homeowner or gardener has noticed the sudden appearance of a hungry pest species eyeing the menu choices at every residence.

Fortunately, nature has a way of equalizing all situations when left to its own devices. With the increase of the plant-eaters comes those insects which restrain their population explosions.


Apr 7, 2021

Les Harrison: Doveweed makes homeowners fight for their lawns

There are many mysteries and riddles which defy understanding, even today.

One of those is the common names applied to objects or tangible things, especially some plant species found in the local environment.


Apr 1, 2021

Muscadines continue their journey up and over anything within their grasp

The climb to the top is always a challenge, but it is the goal of many.

The route is never a straight line or simple.


Mar 24, 2021

Cedar apple rust disease has a slimy appearance

Slimy is not a term applied to anything in a positive light. In the pantheon of pejoratives, it is only slightly better than being identified as totally disgusting.

When applied to people it serves as a verbal warning that something bad is likely to occur. It is indicative of deceitful and dishonest qualities that are covered by a slick exterior.


Mar 17, 2021

Snakes roused into action during warm afternoons

On the still days after late winter cold fronts pass through north Florida, the silence beyond suburbia can be thunderous.

Only the occasional puff of wind in the pines and the crunch of dried leaves underfoot shatters the quiet.


Mar 11, 2021

Slugs in search of meals and mates

The lengthening days and cold fronts with lessening intensity are speeding up the activity of many plants, animals and fungi as spring approaches.

During this period of mostly moderate temperatures, the installation of ornamental plants and vegetable gardens is a popular activity. Garden centers are offering a variety of tender starter plants which are easily transplanted.


Mar 4, 2021

Red maple serves as season-change messenger

The subdued browns, greens and grays of the forest are beginning to return to the brilliant pallet familiar to residents who venture beyond their front door. In the last days of February, the slow progression of woodland colors is shifting as spring approaches.

Many plants, trees and fungi are not reflecting the awareness of the coming warm days.


Feb 24, 2021

Cherry laurel good indicator of warm weather ahead

As February closes in on March, some are asking the age old question: “Is spring here?”

A few moderately warm days will stimulate interest in the topic for a variety of reasons.


Feb 16, 2021

Reptiles and amphibians rarely seen but are still around in winter months

The covers feel really great on cold February mornings, especially when it is time to get up and go.

Warm and secure, there is the impulse to remain in bed for an extended time and delay the thermal shock of the world beyond blankets and quilts. Most residents of the area however must rise and, hopefully, shine.


Feb 9, 2021

The thistle’s awakening has begun

The botanical pause of winter is monotonous in its consistency. Each day, with very few exceptions, is just like the one before it with plants in suspended animation.

February brings the first inkling of the burst of activity coming to Santa Rosa County which will soon arrive with vigorous growth and riotous color. One herald for the landscape’s eruption is the awakening of thistles, native weeds entwined with many cultures reaching into antiquity.

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