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Monday, May 16, 2016

Going North? Four Places to Visit North of Daytona Beach

Submitted by Donna Bollenbach

If you are like me, if you are travelling to Daytona Beach for the FNPS Conference, you may plan to stay a few extra days, or make a few stops on the way there or home. Here are a few parks and preserves, a short distance North of Daytona Beach that you may want to check out. Click on the name of the park for more information and fees.

Tomoka State Park

8 Miles N

Sunset over the Tomoka River. Photo by Donna Bollenbach
Tomoka State Park is only 8 miles north of the Daytona Beach Resort. The 900-acre peninsula offers several short hiking trails, including a mile long paved multi-use trail and a one and a half mile interpretive trail that winds its way through a hardwood hammock.

Legend of Tomokie monument
Photo by Donna Bollenbach
When we camped there one winter, my husband and I really enjoyed exploring the park's lagoons and rivers, and spending evenings watching the sun go down over the river.

A short walk takes you to a legendary 45 foot high concrete monument.  It was made in 1955 by sculptor Frederick Dana Marsh who called it the “Legend of Tomokie.”

According to the park website "the legend has Chief Tomokie taking a “golden cup” and using it to commit the forbidden act of drinking from a sacred spring. as once inhabited by Timucuan Indians. According to the legend this particular spring water had fountain-of-youth-like powers but actually Tomokie had doomed himself and his tribe. Use of the sacred water and theft of the cup was avenged by other natives and specifically by the female warrior Oleeta (center), who in turn was slain by Chief Tomokie’s warriors." 


Bulow Creek State Park

12 miles N

Bulow Creek protects nearly 5,600 acres, more than 1,500 of which are submerged lands. The highlight of Bulow Creek is one of the largest remaining stands of southern live oak forest along Florida's east coast. The reigning tree is the Fairchild Oak, one of the largest live oak trees in the South. 

The Majestic Fairchild Oak. Photo by Donna Bollenbach

As the park website describes it: "For more than 400 years, the Fairchild Oak  has been a silent witness to human activities along Bulow Creek, including the destruction of the neighboring Bulow Plantation during the Second Seminole War in 1836."

Visitors can picnic in a shady pavilion or at a table on the lawn within view of the Fairchild Oak."
or hike the seven mile Bulow Woods Trail to the Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park.


17 miles N

While camping at Tomoka State park, I discovered this piece of paradise on the fringe of Flagler Beach, a breath of fresh  in a busy beach community.  If I were to recommend one place to visit off the beaten path in this part of Florida, this would be it. 

Twilight  at Betty Steflik Memorial Preserve by Donna Bollenbach


Betty Steflik Memorial Preserve protects more than 200 acres of mangrove marsh, mudflats, and coastal uplands. Opened in 1995, the preserve was named in honor of Betty Steflik, a Flagler Beach City Commissioner who dedicated the last 25 years of her life to preserving Flagler County’s fragile coastline and wetlands. 

The preserve has an extensive network of boardwalks that curve through estuarine creeks and out to the Intracoastal Waterway, offering panoramic views and excellent wildlife viewing. A descent off the boardwalk envelopes you in a sun dappled loop trail through a maritime hammock and a coastal scrub.

Intracoastal  from boardwalk by Donna Bollenbach
It offers everything a naturalist would desire: bird watching, pristine coastal plant communities, stunning landscapes and  wildlife views.

Open from dawn until 11:00 pm, the preserve is located in Flagler Beach and lies along the eastern side of the Intracoastal Waterway south of State Road 100.






Washington Oaks Gardens State Park


30 Miles N

 Placed between the Atlantic Ocean and the Matanzas River, this property was once owned by a distant relative of President George Washington. The gardens were established by Louise and Owen Young who purchased the land in 1936 and built a winter retirement home. They named it Washington Oaks and, in 1965, donated most of the property to the State. The gardens make remarkable use of native and exotic species, from azaleas and camellias to the exquisite bird of paradise, sheltered within a picturesque oak hammock. 
The roses come in all colors at the formal gardens. 
Photo by Donna Bollenbach

Although the formal gardens are the centerpiece of this park, Washington Oaks is also famous for the unique shoreline of coquina rock formations that line its Atlantic beach. A number of short trails provide opportunities for hiking and bicycling. 

If you are travelling north along the east coast, this would be a good stop for a picnic lunch. 
Coquina rock formations at Washington Oaks. Photo by Donna Bollenbach

Submitted & Published by Donna Bollenbach

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Cayo Costa: Two Views


An Essay by Devon Higginbotham and A Poem by Donna Bollenbach


Cayo Costa, a Native Journey 

by Devon Higginbotham         


West of Fort Myers, past the shopping malls, gas stations and fast food restaurants, is a place constantly shifting, and yet, frozen in time. Cayo Costa is a barrier island off the coast of southwest Florida, an hour by ferry from the hamlet of Bokeelia, accessible only by boat. It is a state park, one of 161 in our great state, and this one has camping, cabins for rent, miles of empty beaches, hiking trails, plenty of wildlife and native vegetation but no electricity, hot dog stands or hot water. 
This is one place where you don’t want to forget anything. 
Donna Bollenbach
To get there, several concessions offer daily round-trip transport for around $45, camping gear included. We took the Tropic Star ferry, which takes you past Little Bokeelia Island (population, two caretakers). It was previously owned by Charles Burgess, of the dry-cell battery fame (Burgess Battery Company eventually became part of Duracell), though it recently sold to the highest bidder for $14.5 million.
Once on Cayo Costa we were greeted by a lovely New Hampshire couple who weren’t sure if they had discovered paradise or purgatory. They had started a six-week campground host position in March, and the spring weather quickly descended into summer, bringing with it the trifecta of heat, humidity and human blood-suckers. 
The couple operated the shuttle, ferrying camping equipment, coolers, air mattresses, umbrellas, lanterns, and everything essential to surviving — and then some. While some go to Cayo Costa to hunt shells, escape the city or run away from life for a while, our group came to see the native habitat. 
I had been to Cayo Costa 20 years earlier and encountered the removal of the Australian pines that were dominating the island at that time. Although they provided terrific shade, they were an exotic species that crowded native plants, taking over. 
 Donna Bollenbach
It was thrilling to see the transformation of native trees, such as the gumbo limbo and sea grape, growing to 30 feet tall and shading campsites that used to be surrounded by Australian pines. Some massive stumps still remain as stark reminders of their past reign, like footprints from a past empire.

Donna Bollenbach
The exposed west coast is windswept and sparsely populated by sea oats and railroad vine, but as you travel inland, you encounter dense growths of cocoplum, myrsine, wild coffee, wax myrtles, cabbage palms and necklace pods, all growing on the remains of old sand dunes. You can see areas where the waves washed over land in storms, depositing their salt in shallow areas. 
Donna Bollenbach
The prickly pear cacti were in full bloom with their bright yellow blooms covered with beetles seeking pollen. Coral bean were triangular spikes of tubular red blossoms, resembling Asian structures. Moving further east you enter a pinewoods forest with slash pines, oaks and the healthiest poison ivy I have ever encountered. If I were to live on the island, this is where you would find me.
Devon Higginbotham
The island was inhabited long before it became a park. Approximately 20 fishing families lived on Cayo Costa in the early 1900s, where they established a school, post office and grocery store. The old cemetery attests to human settlement and the “Quarantine Trail” gives clues to the islands past life. One grave is marked Captain Peter Nelson, died Sept 7, 1919, age 80 years. “After life’s fitful fever, he sleeps well.” Apparently, he too, was fodder for the mosquitoes, no-see-ums and chiggers.
____________________________________________
Donna Bollenbach












Donna Bollenbach


Cayo Costa, The Native Coast
By Donna Bollenbach

There are no bumper stickers here
with the message “I am a Native.”
Just tangled mangroves, thick,
along the sandy shore.
Cabbage palms, oaks, and pines
recede into coastal strands and
maritime hammocks.

Donna Bollenbach
No tee shirts proclaim “I am not a tourist.”
Just sea grapes, with twisted trunks,
waving plump leaves splotched
in green, yellow, and red,
along the sandy trails.  
Saw palmettos grow thick under
a cover of slash pine.

There are no doormats that say “Welcome,”
but the plentiful fruits of the
Donna Bollenbach
golden creeper, coco plums, and
gopher apples blanket the ground.  
They are ripe for sharing.
The wildlife eat their fill,
and scatter seed for next year’s bounty.

The natives don’t make trinkets to sell,
but offer colorful gifts from the sea,
free to guests who stroll the beach.
Whelk, conch, tulip, and olive shells.
Sand dollars, starfish, urchins, and
Donna Bollenbach
the occasional shark’s tooth. 

The natives on this island are colorful:
Inkberry, bright green, with white
fan-like flowers dress the dunes,  
while the prickly pear cactus, spiny,
with showy yellow blossoms
paint the coastal grasslands.
Crimson spikes of coral bean splash
red in the maritime forest., while
lush green robust vines of poison ivy
cloak the trees.

 The natives on this island are
good neighbors.
They feed and shelter their own.
Donna Bollenbach
The gopher tortoise shares
its burrow with snakes, rabbits,
toads, lizards and mice.
The birds find cover in thickets,
while alligators lie lazy on the banks
of the lagoons.  

The natives on this island are content.
They are native born and raised.
They don’t need to wander
to find themselves,
They are already home.  
                                  ###

If you want to make your own journey to Cayo Costa, note this:
Hours: 8 a.m. to sunset, 365 days a year
Accessible only by private boat or ferry. There are several private companies offering ferry service from different locations and at varying times and days.
Cost: $2 admission fee to day trippers. Camping fees for a tent site are $22, and cabins are $40 per night. Boat camping is $20 per vessel per night.Ferry to and from for campers; $45.00
Reserve: ReserveAmerica.com.Reservations can be made up to 11 months in advance.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Biocontrol: A Success Story!


Mexican Petunia is a Category 1 invasive species in Florida. 

by Megan Weeks, Cuplet Fern Chapter of FNPS

Florida’s biodiversity is made remarkable by the plants and animals that depend on one another for survival. This delicate yet imperative relationship maintains a healthy natural environment, where the population of plants and animals are balanced. When new species are introduced, natives can be outsourced and the natural balance risks being disrupted[1]. Biocontrol is one method to help restore a balanced environment.

Exotic species have been introduced to Florida both accidentally and intentionally. Most threatening to the natural balance are plants from tropical and sub-tropical regions which are suited to Florida climate and often “take root” in this foreign land[1]. These non-native species do not serve as a significant food source for Florida organisms and are able to outcompete native plants for resources[1]. When an exotic species that is not affected by predators or pathogens becomes established, then the population will grow uninhibited and can potentially become invasive. Approximately one-third of vegetation found in Florida’s natural lands is exotic, and roughly 11% of those species are considered invasive[2].

The air potato beetle is released into an area overrun
by the invasive vine .
Biologists have long struggled to prevent the exotic populations from encroaching on endemic habitats. Manual methods, such as applying chemicals, hand pulling and burning, may help tame invasive populations but are often not a reliable long term solution[3]. As an alternative, scientists spend years researching predators (insects, pathogens, and fish) to target specific invasive species in a method called Biocontrol. This method relies on the predator to consume or destroy the exotic species, restoring ecological balance[1].

Air Potato Beetle. Photo by Mary Keim

In 1905 Dioscorea bulbifera, the air potato, was introduced to Florida and with no natural predators the exotic vine quickly became a threat to native plants[2]. The infamy of this invasive species grew almost as rapidly as the plant itself and is a major concern for the Department of Agriculture[2]. A biocontrol program was launched to find a predator that would consume or destroy the air potato. Scientists returned to Asia where D. bulbifera is endemic and found a small beetle that could survive by eating the invasive plant[4]. Extensive research was performed to ensure that the beetle would not further disrupt the ecological balance.

In 2012 the air potato leaf beetle was finally released to feast on the air potato. Scientists note that the beetle mostly consumes the soft tissues found on the leaves and growing tips which creates difficult growing circumstances and can hinder the plant’s biological processes[5]. Every year between May and October, during peak air potato growth, new batches of the beetle are released[1].

Larva of the Air Potato Leaf Beetle eating air potato leaves.
Photo by Donna Bollenbach 
The air potato leaf beetle is very selective in its diet and only consumes D. bulbifera even excluding all other species of Dioscorea[3]. Research done by the University of Florida has found that beetle establishment in release sites has led to “reduced height of vines, decreased bulbil production, and most importantly, an increase in native vegetation”[3].

Seminole county is one of the release sites for this remarkable and successful form of biocontrol. Through this biocontrol program, professionals were able to contribute to the restoration of Florida’s ecological balance. The air potato leaf beetle is an investment for our future and a vital part of the preservation and conservation of our natural lands. To find out more about the amazing air potato leaf beetle check out the USDAs website: bcrcl.ifas. ufl.edu/airpotatofiles/aboutairpotatoprogram.shtml

[1] plants.ifas.ufl.edu/manage/control-methods/biological-control/
[2 www.fleppc.org/Manage_Plans/AirpotatoManagementPlan_Final.pdf 
[3]plants.ifas.ufl.edu/plant-directory/dioscorea-bulbifera/ 
[4] bcrcl.ifas.ufl.edu/airpotatofiles/aboutairpotatoprogram.shtml 
[5] entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/BENEFICIAL/BEETLES/air_potato_leaf_beetle.htm

______________________________________________________________________________
This blog was reprinted with permission from the Frond Forum, the newsletter of the Cuplet Fern Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society. If your chapter publishes informative articles that you would like to share, please send them to me for review. I am especially interested in getting plant profiles and "What's in Bloom?" from different areas of the state.

Donna Bollenbach, Social Media Director/FNPS

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Where Have All the Pygmy Pipes Gone?

By Carmel van Hoek

I haven’t heard any mention of pygmy pipes in quite a while, and the last collections, according to the USF Plant Atlas, were made in 2012 in Pasco and St. Johns Counties. I wonder if these little endemic, state endangered obscurities are taking another sabbatical as they have sometimes done since the late 1800’s when they were first discovered.

Photograph by Betty Wargo. Courtesy of The Atlas of Florida Plants
Photograph by Rita Lassiter
. Courtesy of 
The Atlas of Florida Plants
In December of 1884, in east Florida near St. Augustine, Mary C. Reynolds found several small plants that obviously lacked chlorophyll as they displayed no hint of green. They looked somewhat like Indian Pipes, Monotropa uniflora, except that these plants were smaller, some barely visible above the leaf litter. And they were suffused with colors of pink and pale lavender instead of being ghostly white. Instead of a single flower atop the stem as in Indian Pipes, these stems held a cluster of flowers.
Photo by Rita Lassiter
Courtesy of The Atlas of Florida Plants
Mary made a collection of the different-looking species and had them seen by Dr. Asa Gray, a well-known botanist of that period. Dr. Gray recognized the plants as a new species thought to be related to other achlorophyllous herbs of Ericaceae or Heath Family. His description of the species was subsequently published as Monotropsis reynoldsiae, named in honor of the collector. This first ever collected specimen of pygmy pipes is vouchered at the Smithsonian Institute and can be viewed online. 

I assume that as the Florida weather began to warm from winter into late spring Mary Reynolds’ little plants gradually disappeared, never to be seen again...Until December of 1977, that is, 93 years later! 

Botanist Rita Lassiter was the first one to rediscover pigmy pipes in a hardwood hammock in Hernando County, and it created quite a stir in botanical circles. Frequent sightings were reported during the winters of 1977-79, all in Hernando County, and several collections were made for further study of the fungus on which the plant feeds as well as of the plant itself. Gradually the range of Pygmy pipes has spread as collections have since been made in Pasco, Marion, Volusia and St. Johns Counties.

Photo by John Kunzer
Courtesy of The Atlas of Florida Plants
Monotropsis reynoldsiae is found usually in rich woods of oak hammocks and flowering dogwoods. They have been found as early in the year as November until late February. Its stems can be 1.5 to almost 5” long, and some of their length can be buried in leaf litter. A thick cluster of flowers, pale pink and white-mottled, top the stem, nodding bell-like at first and later straightening in age. Be looking for them until spring. 

For more information on Montoropsis reymoldsiae, visit the species page on the USF Atlas of Florida Plants. 

Carmel van Hoek is a member of the Suncoast Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society and recipient of the the FNPS Mentor Award in 2015. 




~~~
Posted by Donna Bollenbach

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

CENTRAL FLORIDA NATIVE AND WILDLIFE FRIENDLY YARDS TOUR


Produced and Submitted by Mark Kateli, Tarflower Chapter


This was yet another great year with the "sister society" collaboration for the Central Florida Native and Wildlife Friendly Yards Tour

Florida Native Plant Society Tarflower and Cuplet Fern chapters, and the Orange Audubon Society,
host this event annually. It's a great exercise to help strengthen our bond around a common mission. This year, we had well over 100 attendees. 

A special thanks to noted environmental journalist Kevin Spear that published an article in the Orlando Sentinel that promulgated the event to people outside our usual sphere of influence.
Being Tarflower chapter Treasurer, I firmly believe that as we prosper, so will our neighboring chapters. 

I look forward to hearing from chapters that border Orange County- Lake, Osceola, Brevard, Volusia, and Polk chapter Treasurers- for more collaborative ideas that amplify attention to Central Florida and it's unique native plants.



Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Rain gardens for Florida

 
Florida's 5-month wet season produces
50% to 70% of annual rainfall. (Data from NOAA)
by Ginny Stibolt

Too much rain or not enough


Florida's 5-month wet season (aka hurricane season), from June through October, accounts for almost 2/3 of our rainfall. In general, the more southern counties experience the more dramatic differences between their wet and dry seasons. In contrast, New York City's rainfall is more evenly distributed from about 3.5" to 4.5" each month.

Our weird patterns of rainfall help make the case for using Florida's native plants in our landscapes. Also we receive huge amounts of rain all at once on a regular basis. In most cases, all that excess water is rushed from our properties out to the streets where our stormwater then ends up in the nearest waterway. At that point it's no longer just water, but it will have collected pollutants from our landscapes and the streets. This is called nonpoint source pollution, which is not regulated and not monitored.

Nonpoint source pollution (NPS)


In addition to rainfall, over-irrigation is a common cause of NPS in Florida.
Rainbows of pollution headed toward the nearest
body of water.
Some people think that NPS is the most significant cause of water quality deterioration because it cannot be monitored effectively. This may be true, but I think that we can make a difference by sequestering as much rain water as possible through the use of rain barrels, cisterns, and rain gardens. We can reach out to others to help them do the same.

The EPA webpages on NPS include definitions, solutions, success stories, outreach tools, information about grants, and events. One of the solutions that homeowners and communities can implement is rain gardens.

Rain gardens


The downspout delivered water to the lawn, which became
a muddy, soggy mess throughout the wet season.
Because of Florida's long dry season, the selection of plants that can withstand both flooding and drought are quite limited. For instance, suggested rain garden plants for the Mid-Atlantic states and northward, often include the cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis), but it won't work for Florida's rain gardens, even though it's native down through Central Florida, because it is not drought-tolerant.

Rain gardens can be small like this downspout garden, which was expanded over a few years. First, I took out a few feet of lawn and created a small dry well by digging an 18" cube under where the tray dumps the water and filling it with coarse gravel topped in with some fake river rock  I planted some blue eyed grass, soft rush, and some ferns in the area. A couple of years later I expanded it by digging a good sized swale beyond the original dry well and overflow drainage through a French drain to a larger dry well near our front pond.. You can see details of this effort in this series of posts.
After a couple of expansions, this downspout rain gardens
 can handle any amount of rain.

Rain gardens can be large community projects which are designed to absorb all the runoff from parking lots or roads. The Lasalle Bioswale Project in Jacksonville is a good example of how various members of the community came together to build a highly visible rain garden to handle the stormwater runoff beautifully.


A likely spot for some rain garden plants to better absorb the parking lot runoff. At this point the lawn maintenance is skinning the roots of the trees, but groupings of good rain garden plants such as rushes, sedges, shrubs would do a better job of absorbing the water. 

White-topped sedge (Rhynchospora colorata) is a beautiful addition to rain gardens.

The 2016 FNPS conference


The 2016 FNPS conference will be in Daytona Beach.
I will be giving a presentation on rain gardens at the FNPS conference in Daytona Beach on Saturday May 21. I will provide details on siting and sizing rain gardens, a plant list for Florida rain gardens, and ideas for community rain garden projects.

After my talk I'll walk through the native plant vendors to talk in more detail about good rain garden plants and rain garden designs.

In addition, University Press of Florida will be a vendor for the conference and I'll be signing books during the lunch breaks on Friday and Saturday. I've dedicated whole chapters to rain gardens and rain barrels in "Sustainable Gardening for Florida," which include even more details and ideas for sequestering rain water on your property.

We all live in a watershed!


Ginny Stibolt





Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Is the Florida Native Plant Society Conference for Me?

Submitted by Sande Habali, Pawpaw Chapter


Many new members ask themselves this same question and many other questions like it. I know because I used to ask them myself.  Maybe you’ve wondered about the conference as I did.

There are many people in my group who know so much about plants. They are “experts” and I’m not.

 Visit the Park of Honor 755 Olive Street,  South Daytona. The Pawpaw 
Chapter maintains a section in exchange for a meeting place at the 
nearby Piggotte Community Center. Just enter the park, 
turn right and look for the pollinators!
While it is true the Florida Native Plant Society is a scientific based organization (and aren’t we glad it is?), the rest of us get the benefits of all the science based information out there. With the help of FNPS, we can make decisions about our yards, our neighborhoods, and our general community based of facts.  The conference is the best place to learn from the real experts!

It is a huge time commitment and I have other obligations.
This was also part of my hesitation to attend a conference. So, I started in small bits. I attended one conference for a day and was hooked with all the excitement of learning so many new things all at one time. On other occasions, I was only able to attend one field trip per conference, rather than two.  This year the basic field trips are free. Each trip is included in a day’s conference fee.  The field trips are unique to the area, but you learn so much about our state by just being there!

Do I really want to attend the socials?

Some people think skipping the socials is a way to cut down on the cost of the weekend. But, in reality, the socials are a way to “unpack your brain” after a day filled with information and meet new, like-minded folks from around the state.  Also, the socials provide a way to showcase the area of the convention. In Daytona Beach’s case, we get to enjoy the beautiful beach atmosphere at two of our venues. The Saturday venue features our newest attraction: The Cici and Hayatt Brown Museum of Art, adjacent to the Museum of Arts and Sciences.  The MOAS tells us this collection is the largest collection of Florida-based art in the world.  All this is included in the cost of the social! 

The Cici Brown Museum of Art is located in a natural habitat and has recently been landscaped with many native plants. The Tuscawilla Preserve is open to the public and features boardwalks and nature trails. You may want to arrive a bit early to enjoy this beautiful area. (Art featured below building, From left to right: Louis Comfort Tiffany; Natural Limestone Bridge at Arch Creek, Miami, 1920Emmett John Fritz; Keys Shrimper, J. Ralph Wilcox; South Beach Street, Daytona)

The cost of the conference seems high.

This is a big factor for many folks and takes a bit to get over. But, think about how good and refreshed you feel just spending the day on a chapter field trip, or maybe after hearing an inspirational speaker at a meeting; and that is how you will feel after an entire weekend (or day).  You get value for the event because you are learning from the best.  You can off-set ½ of a daily fee by volunteering at the conference for ½ a day. Contact sadehab@aol.com for more information on this. Volunteer spaces are filling up quickly, so act soon!

So, is the Florida Native Plant Society Conference for me?
These Suncoast Members said "Yes" to the Conference in 2014
 and have returned year after year. 

The answer is, “yes!”  Now I look forward to this special weekend every May. I return to my Chapter with new enthusiasm, new knowledge, new friends, and new commitments and maybe a few new plants I didn’t know I “needed.” It is like a mini-vacation! And also feel good about knowing money goes back into the FNPS mission for Conservation, Preservation, and Restoration.  

Sign up today and see if you don’t feel the same way! Oh. And by the way… I am still no expert, but I am a life-long learner!

Daytona Beach Resort and Conference Center
The conference offers you a great rate to stay at the Daytona Beach Resort and Conference Center, so you can consider
your time there like a "mini-vacation."

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Find your "AWESOME" on a Conference Landscape Tour



Submitted by Sonya Guidry

The Pawpaw Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society recently held a South Volusia Landscape Tour that included many of the native landscapes  that will be featured on FNPS Conference Fieldtrip "K" Landscape Bus Tour on Thursday, May 19th. They ended their yard tours at the Marine Discovery Center, the location for the Kayak (paddle) - Lagoon Restoration Tour , FNPS Conference Fieldtrip"I"on Thursday, May 19th. 

Here is a glimpse of some of the  tour's native yards, and the Marine Discovery Center...


Renee Luedke's Port Orange home.  

Surprise, her front yard has no grass to mow! 

Elizabeth ponders the diversity of plants in Renee's front yard.


Most of the 16 tour visitors are gathered around Renee
as she talks about her landscape. 


 Mike visiting from the UK notes Renee's creative bird feeders...
including the log filled with peanut butter suet.


Elizabeth Flynn will be the leader of May 19, Landscape Bus Tour at the FNPS Conference.
 (I see a smile is as bright as the Beach Sunflowers in Renee's yard.)
She will make sure all on the tour have a great time.

Ray and Sonya Jarrett 's Landscape Carved Out of Nature

What a surprising number of diverse tropical species, such as the Strangler Fig intentionally set loose on the laurel oaks, Florida Orchid, Jamaican Caper, and subtropical species
...as Pinkster Azalea and Sassafrass!  


"It was remarkable to see the variety of plants and trees at the home of Ray Jarrett. He discussed his yard, along with the his journey of planting these trees, and how they grew over the past 15 years of his development of his home landscape. It was a real education in plants."  Carol Marie Vlack, Pawpaw member and tour participant. 

Rare this far north are Florida Orchids...
usually found in the Fakahatchee Strand


Mike from the UK, who gave a talk to the
Pawpaw Chapter on Florida's Wild Orchids last year,
was pleased to see the Florida Orchids.

Ray, Sonya and their little sunflower, Sasha,
with Elizabeth Flynn and Dot Backes 

Doug Hunt's New Smyrna Beach Native Homescape

Doug Hunt's gardening skills made us all envious as we made our final landscape stop for the half day Pawpaw Chapter tour.  He has  a wide variety of tropicals, which includes a newly installed TALL Gumbo Limbo Tree. How surprising to also see crop of jonquils 
in this New Smyrna Beach homescape!

The view of Doug Hunt's yard before everyone arrived.


"The company was genial, the rain held off, and the tour locations were diverse and all interesting to observe. However, it was  the extensive number of native plants and how they worked as a beautiful home landscape that made it  a fantastic learning experience." Carol Marie Vlack, Pawpaw member and tour participant.



 The view of Doug's front yard loaded with happy landscape explorers :
Carol Marie, Warren, Renee, Amelia, Renee,
Mike and Carol Parsons (from the UK). 

No doubt Mike and Carol Parsons find a Florida Native Garden Tour...quite different from one in the UK!

Are those hanging pots really an Orchid garden?
 Bill Kiel and Kim Johnson find a shady place
to just sit and admire the scenery.



Marine Discovery Center, New Smyrna Beach


The Pawpaw Chapter Landscape Tour ended at the Marine Discovery Center (MDC) where where a a butterfly garden was recently installed  by the NSB Men's Garden Club. They also visited a huge lagoon restoration area, where Warren Reynolds will lead a Marine Discovery Center Kayak (paddle) - Lagoon Restoration Tour , FNPS Conference Fieldtrip"I"on Thursday, May 19th.
 



Mike Parsons in foreground and Carolyn Kiel in the back ground inspecting the future kayak launch area at the lagoon restoration area. 
Warren Reynolds, Kayak Tour Guide for the Marine Discovery Center, 
talks about the MDC and the Lagoon Restoration Project. 
Warren will lead the conference kayak (I) fieldtrip at MDC on Thursday, May 19th. 


Newly installed Butterfly Garden at MDC  
So, how did the participants feel about the day? 


For me it was TOTALLY AWESOME.
Carol Marie Vlack

Don't miss out on the awesome...visit the 2016 FNPS Conference fieldtrip pages and make your field trip choices. Some fieldtrips will fill fast, so be ready to reserve when registration opens.