Master Gardeners receive UF/IFAS Extension Award of Excellence

UF/IFAS Extension awarded Pinellas County Master Gardeners the 2021 Award of Excellence for Beautification and Enhancement in recognition of their volunteer garden project at Folly Farm Nature Preserve in Safety Harbor.

This award is annually presented to the Master Gardener volunteers in the state who have made the best effort to beautify and enhance their community through new plantings while modeling UF/IFAS recommendations for watering, fertilizing and maintenance.

Folly Farm Nature Preserve is an 8½ acre, partially wooded park that was gifted to the City of Safety Harbor in 2011 for the preservation of green space. Nine volunteer Master Gardeners began their garden project in a deteriorated section of the park in 2019: Leslie Zambito, Gary Sawtelle, Janet DeLiso, Sandy Huff, Carol Zieres, Anna Marchand, Barbara Berman, Elsa Soto and Angela Strain.

Without the use of herbicides or pesticides, they have now created five gardens showcasing Florida native and friendly plants with an emphasis on butterflies and pollinators. To educate and inspire visitors of all ages, they also added signage, gnome houses, wind sculptures, seating and the “Wind Phone” for departed friends.

The project features community partnerships with UF/IFAS Extension Pinellas County, Safety Harbor Garden Club, City of Safety Harbor, Florida Wildflower Foundation, Wilcox Nursery and George Weiss.

To learn more about Pinellas County Master Gardeners, visit