Showing posts from April, 2010

Diluting Florida's Water Protection

The Florida Legislature is now winding up its business, and one item of concern to environmentalists is House Bill 1445 . It aims to make an end-run around the dozens of local governments that have enacted ordinances to restrict the sale and/or use of commercial fertilizer for residential applications. One would like to think that these cities and counties passed their laws out of altruistic concern for the environment. And it may be so, but they've definitely been motivated by pressure from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, though its attention to the quality of Florida's waters is somewhat belated. (Illustration: Map of Florida impaired waters )

Everybody Loves Controversy!

Thanks to all of you who took me up on the invitation to respond by email to the conversation about ghost orchids on 4/24. I am going to publish an excerpt of some the responses here in the next couple days. Still some arguments still being developed!  If you have an opinion, let's hear it!! Happy gardening till then. SPD

Ghost Orchid Controversy

Controversy flared up last week down Palm Beach County way, when a local FNPS (Florida Native Plant Society )  chapter auctioned off one the rare ghost orchids, Dendrophylax lindenii. You may remember this one from the movie, adapted from Susan Orleans' book, and with the same title, The Orchid Thief. Here's what happened. An irate email was sent to the Webmaster, expressing the opinion that the chapter was at fault both for selling this endangered plant, and for possibly encouraging poaching. This is a valid concern, of course. No one wants more people out in the Fakahatchee Strand or Corkscrew Swamp, the only places where the orchid exists now, trying to bring home a specimen for their yard.                                                                                photo by niseidobelle Thankfully this orchid had not been taken from the wild, but purchased from an orchid grower, Oak Hill Gardens . And, as the Webmaster pointed out in his reply, many natives common

A Native Herb Has Earned an Honored Place Amongst the Mediterranean Species

I found some meadow garlic ( Allium canadense ) growing in a low spot in my yard. I dug it up and planted it next to my rosemary bush in the herb garden. Over the years, I've found more and have planted the little bulblets that it produces each year and now there's a good stand in the garden. We have a few native alliums here in Florida. The one I have is the most widespread according to Wunderlin, R. P., and B. F. Hansen. 2008. Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants ( ). It occurs from the panhandle down to central Florida. The Mobile meadow garlic ( A. canadense var. mobilense ) is located only in the panhandle counties and has mostly pinker flowers with all flowers in each flower head--no bulblets. The striped garlic ( A. cuthbertii ) is rare in Florida and occurs only in the eastern-most counties in northeast Florida. It also has only flowers in its flower heads and its petals are narrower and often have a pink stripe down the middle. Unlike the