Mary is the Residential Horticulture Agent and Master Gardener Volunteer Coordinator for UF/IFAS Extension in Santa Rosa County.  She earned a B.S. and M.S. in environmental horticulture at the University of Florida. She and her volunteers provide research-based solutions for residents with their lawns, landscapes, and gardens. Mary also oversees the educational programs, horticulture, butterflies, and volunteers at the Panhandle Butterfly House & Nature Center that has just relocated to Milton and should reopen in 2021.

Mary Salinas at the US Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. Photo credit: Allison Ngom.

Ever since she can remember, Mary has loved plants and nurturing them. She learned how from her mother and grandmother growing up with good rich soils in Michigan.  A relocation to Tampa in 1991 meant learning a whole new way to garden – new plants, new soils, and new timetables. Nearly eight years ago she moved north to Santa Rosa County to take her current position and, again, had to tweak her garden skills.

Between she and her husband they have 6 children and 4 grandchildren and are hoping for more grandchildren real soon. Family and faith are a priority. At home, Mary loves to try new crops and varieties in her vegetable garden and is passionate about growing perennials, especially native milkweeds, and watching new generations of monarch butterflies take flight. And she is fascinated with huge container gardens. Gardening is not the only activity in her life; Mary loves to kayak, cruise in the pontoon boat, hike, and volunteer as a guardian ad litem for children in foster care.

Mary Salinas
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