Showing posts from August, 2010

Sources for Native Plants

I am frequently asked, “Where can I get native plants?” As a result, I thought it might be helpful to provide some basic information, pointers, and advice on the different sources of native plants--something that might be especially helpful to beginning native plant gardeners. Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS) Local Chapters: Presently, there are 35 FNPS chapters scattered throughout Florida and most chapters engage in some form of activity whereby members can obtain native plants. The Palm Beach County Chapter , for example, has monthly plant raffles, an annual auction, and a vendor's table at the John D. MacArthur Beach State Park Earth Day celebration known as NatureScaping. Some chapters go beyond merely hosting a vendor's table and, as one example, the Paynes Prairie Chapter sponsors a very popular native plant sale every spring and autumn . Silphium asteriscus seedlings were unexpectedly obtained during a native garden tour sponsored by the Palm Beach County Chap

Cocoplum's Are Bursting Out All Over

Cocoplums, Chrysoblanus icaco, in my yard are more heavily laden with fruit than I have ever seen them. These shiny shrubs flower and fruit "intermittently all year," says the literature, which makes it a surprise when they do. The fruit is edible for both wildlife and people; it's slightly sweet with a hard shell surrounding the nut. This feature actually qualifies it as a 'drupe.' You can make jelly from the drupes using any standard recipe from your good old standard cookbook. However, I must say,  I think if you are going to the bother of it, you would get more flavor and nutritional benefit from blueberries. However, you can do it. The little flowers are delicate and give off a delicate fragrance as well. Here are some tightly closed buds and a few opened flowers. They smell great!! No icon for that, darn.    In the next two frames, you see the progression: buds, flowers and the newly formed fruit, first green, then red.

The new issue of the Sabal Minor

Here is the link to the August/September issue of the FNPS Sabal minor. Enjoy!

Invasive vs. aggressive… Part 1

A pine forest in my neighborhood suffered a hot fire that killed most of the pines when an abandoned building caught fire. The palmettos sprouted first after the fire, but the next plant in evidence was a carpet of Chinese tallow tree seedlings. Now three years later they are the dominant tree in this new growth. The Chinese tallow or popcorn tree ( Sapium sebiferum ) was imported in the 1700s by Ben Franklin himself. It is a nice-looking tree with its heart-shaped leaves and reliable fall color even here in Florida.  Of course, birds just love the seeds and spread them far and wide. Now it's on Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council's ( ) most invasive list for all of Florida.  So we all need to get rid of it and object when we see stores selling it. Even if a plant is not aggressive on your property that doesn't mean that it's not invasive and the reverse is also true. Here in Florida heavenly bamboo ( Nandina domestica ) is also on the  most inva

GoodSearch Makes GoodSense!

It has come to our attention - please insert your own picture here of portentous figure banging shovel on desktop - that there are still people out there who don’t use GoodSearch! Good grief! You were shopping online anyway, right? You know that your donation to FNPS will be cost-free to you, right? You want to help FNPS educate the public, conserve and protect land, help our legislators craft wise laws, right? OK. No more excuses. It’s so easy. I did a series of little mini-tests this morning. Because I am first among the guilty. Here is what I found. My testing this morning included one PC and one Mac. On each of these, I discovered that after I had clicked the GoodSearch button on the FNPS homepage , the next time I entered GoodSearch in the address bar, the preference for FNPS as the charity of choice was persistent. It showed up automatically without my having to enter it again. This is important to me, one less thing to do.  (Now there's a link here on the blog as well.)

Coonties: Captivating Cycads

These perky natives have numerous and endearing charms. Authors and growers disagree about the proper Latin name, but they are in complete agreement that more people should use more coonties in their landscapes. What's to like? Coonties are spritely and graceful in their form,  tough as the dickens, bright green all year, and host plant for the beautiful blue atala hairstreak butterfly. In fact, coonties are the only larval food for atalas. You can use them as specimen or accent plants, mass them together for ground cover, or use them in a line as a border. And to top that off, they have an interesting sex life. A subject we hardly ever get to talk about around here. More on that later. See more in Roger Hammer's 1995 Palmetto article, The Coontie and the Atala Hairstreak . Slow growers, coonties are more expensive to buy than some other natives by relative size, but don't let that put you off. They are well worth the investment. They can be planted in full sun o

The Garden Professors on Maintaining Native Plantings

Last month on the Garden Professors Blog, Linda Chalker-Scott pleaded with people who are planting native plants to give them the care they need to become established. We talked about it here .  This time Bert Cregg shows what happens when a native habitat is not given enough initial maintenance: Restoration ecologists--you need us! Part 2 . "There seems to be a pervasive notion that if we plant natives all we have to do is stick them in the ground and walk away. They’re native, right? Don’t need irrigation; don’t need fertilizer; all that good jazz. Well, often there is lot more to it than that. ..." While this is not Florida flora, it's still a good lesson.  Just substitute your own weed species that might spoil the effect. Ginny Stibolt

Is Your Landscape Project Ready for Prime Time?

If you've been working on including more native plants in your landscaping project, here are two ways to gain recognition: (The beautiful photos are some of the 2010 award winning landscapes.) 1) Apply by August 30th to be part of AFNN's Florida-wide media campaign. In partnership with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), the Association of Florida Native Nurseries (AFNN) is launching the Plant Real Florida statewide media campaign promoting the use of Florida native plants in residential landscaping. FDACS will produce a 30-second televised public service announcement that will run statewide on cable television from March through December 2011. Viewers will be directed to a new AFNN-sponsored website that enables homeowners to locate a variety of local resources, including AFNN native nurseries, landscape specialists, FNPS chapters and other Real Florida Gardener resources. AFNN is particularly interested in landscaping that echoes or mimi

Congratulations to our Contest Winner!

Barbara Jackson, you told us of the many ways you are sharing native plant information with a wide audience, and we applaud your outreach efforts! Gil Nelson's new book, Best Native Plants for Southern Gardens , is yours. Thanks to the University of Florida Press for their donation of the book. Keep up the good work, Barbara, and congratulations. Thanks to all of you who took the time to post comments for this contest, we hope you will try again when the next one comes around. We sincerely apologize for the difficulties some of you encountered when trying to enter your comments. We have removed the entire "captcha" function, and hope that will simplify the process. Keep the comments coming and let us know what you want to read about. Got questions? We love to find answers! sue dingwell

Survey for those who did NOT FNPS's statewide conference

If you did NOT attend this year's conference in Tallahassee, FNPS would like to know why. Please help us out by taking a few minutes to answer a quick 4-question survey: Survey will run through August 16. Thank you. If you want a taste of what you missed, see our older posts in May for our live blogs from the conference and also see some of the followup posts in June.