About Me

About Miss Smarty Plants

First of all, thank you for visiting Miss Smarty Plants! If you love gardening, plants and trying new outdoor projects then you have come to the right place! I am a professional horticulturist and enjoy teaching others about my passion.  There are some really easy tips and tricks for growing a beautiful garden and landscape and I try to share them with my garden blog readers here.

My name is Keri and I am a native Iowan now living in Orlando, Florida.  I haven’t left my farm life too far behind and most afternoons I can often be found working in my own yard with our two pugs and three chickens following behind (or just trying to get them back in their pen!). If you are new to Florida from other parts of the country I hope that you will find some good information here for adjusting to the very unique gardening environment.

I have lived in Florida for over eight years and have become a strong advocate for the horticulture and landscaping industry. My experience includes working in horticulture for one of Orlando’s largest theme parks and also as an educator for the University of Florida IFAS Extension. I earned my undergraduate degree from the University of Northern Iowa and am a graduate of the Longwood Graduate Program in Public Horticulture at the University of Delaware.

I am a regular contributor to several local publication including Orlando Home+Garden, the Conway News and Florida Gardening magazine. I’ve appeared on Central Florida Gardening TV and regularly join the Better Lawns and Gardens radio program.

If you enjoy reading this MissSmartyPlants please leave me a comment on here or on Twitter (@KeriByrum)

Happy Gardening!

 

You can email me directly HERE or follow me on Pinterest.

 

 

Speaking Engagements

I love speaking to groups about gardening and plants. If you are looking for a speaker please feel free to contact me.

The following topics are already complete and will make a lively presentation for your organization or group.  Topics focus on Florida-friendly landscaping principles and the homeowner.  Most presentations can be modified to be 30-90 minutes in length.  If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

Flowers for Spring and Summer- Learn about the flowers and plants that will make your gardens and landscape come alive with color all summer long!  Knowing the right plants for our tough summer environments can make your yard, porch, or balcony the envy of your neighbors.

Flowers for Fall and Winter- Florida’s “cool” season opens up a world of possibilities for adding color to your home landscape! Learn about the best time for planting, plant selection, and how to design for the most impact.

Butterfly Gardening- Learn how to start your own butterfly garden from the ground up.  We will cover:  how to identify and attract local butterflies, learn about the best plants suited to our area, specific nectar and larval host plants for butterflies in Florida.

Creating a Tropical Shade Garden- Trees offer a welcome relief from Florida’s intense sun, but there is certainly an art to gardening in shade. Carefully designing where and when shade occurs is a first step and by focusing on plant selection and placement, this session will cover how to use color effectively in deep shade to make those darker areas come alive with color.

Amazing World of Succulents –Succulents and cacti are a great way to add low maintenance plants to your landscape. Join us as we discuss the plants, designs, care and propagation that will make succulents a major part of your garden.

Grocery Store Gardening- You will look at a trip to the store in an entirely new way after this!  Learn about all of the plants that are perfect for your garden from the aisles of your neighborhood store.  This talk will have you looking at your produce, spices and cooking supplies in a new light! (30 minute)

Grow Your Own Herbs- Fresh and savory herbs can be yours with a little bit of care and instruction.  This program focuses on the best herbs for central Florida, growing methods and harvesting process to save you money in the kitchen this season.

MicroIrrigation 101- Take the mystery out of this easy and efficient method by learning about how to easily retrofit an existing irrigation system, create your own from scratch, and modify for pots and hanging baskets.  Microirrigation will be a snap and save you water and money this season.

Fruit Trees for Florida- Growing your own fruit has never been easier.  Choosing the right plants and varieties is the primary step in successfully harvesting your first crop and this presentation will teach about the newest varieties for victory.  Get ready to start planting!

Aroids in the Landscape- From the largest elephant ears to the smallest floating plants, this interesting plant family deserves another look!  We will cover common aroids for the landscape, care and design for the home.

Yard Trouble Solutions- Many common questions have easy answers.  The most frequently asked landscaping questions and problems will be addressed and answered, with pointers for a sharp looking landscape that will impress the neighbors. Don’t miss this informative program!

Plant Propagation 101- This talk focuses on simple ways that homeowners can propagate their own plants to save money in their landscaping.  Best methods for starting seeds, cuttings, air layering and division of will be discussed.

Basic Palm Care- Nothing says Florida more than palm trees, but proper care is important in getting these landscape staples to look their best.  This presentation will cover pruning, planting, nutrient deficiencies, and choosing the type of palm that will do best in Central Florida.

Creating Succulent Topiaries- This demonstration shows the process of creating a beautiful succulent topiary.  A combination of presentation and display will go from the process of selecting a frame, to planting, to maintaining your living creation.

Live Wreath Class and Workshop- Live plants add an amazing touch to home holiday decor!  Join Assistant Director Keri Byrum as she discusses the qualities of tillandsias and mosses in creating a living wreath.  Participants will assemble and take home their own unique wreaths as part of the program.

Edible Landscaping- Incorporating edible plants into your landscape can be a great way to save money and enjoy the freshest food.  Learn about the simple ways to include edible plants into your yard and for a functional and beautiful landscape.

Succulent Terrarium Workshop- Growing succulents indoors can be tricky, but by focusing on the best plants for low light conditions beautiful plants can be grown. Join Keri Byrum as she discusses plant selection and care of these terrific plants. Participants will assemble and take home their own succulent terrarium as part of the program.

Crazy Over Caladiums- Caladiums are a plant you can fall in love with!  Join Keri Byrum to learn about selection and care of this easy and beautiful landscape plant. The aroid family is a diverse group and from the largest elephant ears to the smallest floating plants, and this plant family deserves another look! Learn about many common aroids for the landscape, care and uses for the home.

Want to know what your group is signing up for? Here is a clip on Retrofitting Your Irrigation that might be helpful available HERE.

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