Showing posts from June, 2010

Rescuing Rain Lilies

As gardeners, aren't we all tempted by beautiful plants that occur along the roadsides and in other public places? If we only take a few, it won't make much difference, right? Wrong! Even if it weren't illegal, it is selfish to remove plants from roadsides where we all can enjoy them to the seclusion of your own yard. These days, many of the roadside wildflowers are planted by the Department of Transportation. We certainly should not be taking these plants, whether they were planted by Mother Nature or purchased with our taxes. But under certain circumstances you can get a permit to do so. A road near my house is due to be widened from two lanes to four. When the road construction begins, a sizable population of beautiful native rain lilies ( Zephyranthes atamasca ) in a ditch next to this road would be buried. This native rain lily occurs from north central Florida through the panhandle and is threatened in the state. It's classified as facultative wetland plant tha

The Cullowhee Conference: Native Plants in the Landscape

The Cullowhee Conference: Native Plants in the Landscape  will take place in Western North Carolina on July 27-31, 2010.  July 9th is the deadline for registration.    conference website The purpose of the Cullowhee Conference is to increase interest in and knowledge of propagating and preserving native southeastern plant species in the landscape. Past participants of the conference have included landscape architects, commercial nursery operators, garden club members, botanists, and horticulturists from state highway departments, universities, native plant societies, botanical gardens, and arboretums. Both professionals and laypersons will gain valuable knowledge from the informative fieldtrips, lectures and workshops. Featured Keynote Speaker: Peter H. Raven is one of the world's leading botanists and advocates of conservation and biodiversity. For three decades, he has headed the Missouri Botanical Garden, an institution he nurtured into a world-class center for botanical res

Are You Growing Native Plants?

Are you growing native plants? Designing landscapes or that include native plants? Installing or maintaining native landscapes? Restoring natural areas? Getting more inquiries about natives from your customers? Join the leaders in the Florida native plant industry - the Association of Florida Native Nurseries (http:/ / , the nation's largest and oldest native nursery association. But realize -- we're not just nurseries anymore --our  members also include landscape architects, designers, contractors and environmental consultants who specialize in using Florida native plants. We've always been the leading source for native plants, but we now also routinely receive requests for LAs, designers, contractors and consultants who know natives and like to use them. We need you, and we can feed you referrals . And if your firm offers another product or service allied with sustainable landscaping, we'd love to hear about it. Membership benefits including listin

Protecting Florida Wildflowers Video

Our friends over at Florida Wildflower Foundation produced this great video.  It is particularly good if you're working to identify more of Florida's beautiful wildflowers.  Enjoy!

The Truth About Butterfly Gardening: Part Two

Okay folks, hold onto your hats.  A reality which may shock many of you is that weedy lawns support a greater diversity of butterflies than most standard butterfly gardens. (I am sorry, but it is true.) Sure they aren’t the flashy “macros,” but weedy lots are well known for being great places to see the smaller, sometimes rarer, butterflies such as skippers, hairstreaks, sulphurs, whites, and blues. The photo here shows a common checkered skipper nectaring on Spanish needles, a common lawn plant. My own lawn (which I now call an Urban Meadow) contains a diverse weed assemblage that supports up to 36 butterfly species.  Even St. Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secondatum) supports six different species of butterflies (uh oh) including Sachems, Carolina Satyrs, Clouded skippers, Eufala skippers, Southern broken dashes, Fiery skippers, and Whirlabouts.  The non-native Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon) also hosts six species of butterflies including Sachems, Obscure skippers, Baracoa skip

The Truth About Butterfly Gardening: Part One

Butterfly gardens have continued to gain popularity over the last several years.  Even home owners who are less inclined towards the use of native plants lighten up about having butterflies in their yards.  And yet, the many butterfly gardens we see: consist of the same species end up looking ratty are filled with native plants outside their range contain non-native nectar and host sources  Well, let’s evaluate the positives and negatives of butterfly gardens. A good thing about butterfly gardens is that, if done correctly, they provide open habitat for butterflies as well as some other insects.  They can also be formal and filled with showy flowers, at least in the beginning.  Butterfly gardens do attract the larger butterflies, and are certainly a better alternative to landscapes which do not attract any insect life.  They are also very approachable and easy to install, making them especially good for schools, libraries, and other public areas.  Butterfly gardens help reduce

Let your county know it’s a wildflower world

Want your county to buy into the valuable economic and ecological impacts of preserving native roadside wildflowers? The Florida Wildflower Foundation has just the thing for you, thanks to FWF Chair Jeff Caster and wildflower enthusiast Eleanor Dietrich, Tallahassee of FNPS’ Magnolia Chapter. The two have developed a “kit” that can be used to persuade your county government to support the growth of native wildflowers. The simple kit includes a fill-in-the-blank county resolution that pledges support for roadside management, including reduced mowing, that promotes the growth and reseeding of naturally occurring wildflowers. An accompanying PowerPoint presentation explains the historical, cultural and ecological importance of Florida’s flowers. Notes embedded in the presentation prompt the presenter to engage the audience and add county-specific information and photos. The presentation and resolution were developed during recent efforts in Wakulla and Gadsden counties to allow wi

What I learned on my Summer Vacation by Sid Taylor

Congratulations to the dedicated members of the Magnolia Chapter who managed to host an event that exceeded the high expectations for this historic event! Sid Taylor, a Hernando Chapter member, recorded some of things that she wanted to remember from his experience at the conference. If you, like poor, poor, pitiful me, had to miss the conference this year you will enjoy his little list. Thanks for sharing, Sid, and NOW, let's hear from you, Readers! What did you like, love, learn from from this year's conference?? Take a leap and post your comment below. It's easy! If you don't have a Google Account, blog or url, you can choose the "Anonymous" selection and post using that option. And if you want to include your name, great! Just put your name at the bottom of the comment. This kind of sharing is what's fun about the blog world. Join the conversation! sue dingwell Bullets of knowledge from our Mentors @ FNPS Conf., Tallahassee, May 20-23-2010 or W