Showing posts from October, 2011

An Excellent Day at Longleaf Pine Preserve

October began with great weather for a field trip to Longleaf Pine Preserve.  This is a Volusia County Land Acquisition and Management property and the trip was an event of that department's outreach program.

    Thirty people joined Volusia County naturalist Bonnie Cary for an eco-buggy ride into the preserve.  This included 12 members of the Pawpaw Chapter of FNPS, many of which helped answer native plant and other questions from the public participants.

    Longleaf Pine Preserve  is one of the many properties in the Volusia Conservation corridor that extends through rural parts of the county mostly between the more populated western towns - including Deltona, Orange City and Deland – and the developed coastal towns that include New Smyrna Beach, Port Orange, Daytona Beach and Ormond Beach.  This preserve has been acquired in several purchases made from 2005 trough 2007 through the Volusia Forever program - a county version of the state's Florida Forever - with help fro…

Occupy Your Lawn With Florida-Friendly Plants!

Lu:  We were sitting outside, talking about a picture we had seen on Facebook that was labeled “Occupy the Tundra,” when Forrest said he had thought about making a similar photo for “Occupy North Florida.” My mind started spinning, and I came up with “Occupy Your Lawn with Florida-Friendly Plants.”

When I bought the house, we agreed that the lawn was too big and we wanted to replace it, over time, with mostly native plants. Our primary motivation was that we didn’t want to spend all our free time mowing, but Florida’s water issues were a motivation, too.

Forrest:  We do not water, fertilize, or use pesticides of any sort on the lawn, so in that respect it’s low maintenance. It does require mowing about once a week at the height of our long growing season, however. Each mowing session expends at least three hours of precious leisure time and consumes about 3 gallons of gas. For my time and expense, I would rather have more bang for my buck than a monotonous expanse of green carpet.

Lu: …

Ecosystem Gardening: Blog Action Day on Food 10/16/11

More and more people are growing at least some of their own food. The reasons for this resurgence include food safety issues, lack of money for fresh vegetables, educating the children that carrots grow in the ground (not on the supermarket shelves), and simply the desire to replace an unused and expensive-to-maintain lawn with something more productive.

What is a post on food doing on a native plant society blog?
Native plants play an important role in sustainable edible gardens. Sometimes native plants are the crops such as meadow garlic (“A Native Herb has Earned a Spot Amongst the Mediterranean Species” ), prickly pear ("Edible Native Recovers from the Frost"), and dotted horsemint (“Dotted Horsemint: An Appreciation”), but mostly native plants play a supporting role. An edible garden with all its non-native plants, both the carefully-bred cultivars and ancient heirloom species, does not exist in isolation; it is part of the larger ecosystem—the surrounding landscape and …

Dotted Horsemint: an Appreciation

A short piece about a tall mint…

Dotted horsemint or spotted beebalm (Monarda punctata) is found in all but the southernmost counties in Florida and its range continues northward to include three Canadian provinces, westward to Wisconsin southward to New Mexico and jumps over to California.
(The USDA page.)

The dotted horsemint is an herbaceous perennial that dies back in the winter in north Florida and comes back from the roots. It seeds readily, so once you have some, you can collect the seed in the late fall and sow them into pots or spread on soil that has been raked to loosen the crusty layer.

It occurs along roadsides, on sand dunes, in meadows, in scrub areas, and in butterfly gardens–it is an incredible insect magnet. The height depends on the soil: in a sand dune, it will grow to about a foot tall, but in a garden with rich loamy soil, it can reach to six feet or more. When it grows tall, it tends to lean over, so if you want to maintain a neat look, trim it back in the ear…

What??! Native Plants are Not Pretty...

s When I read last week’s post about Diane Neill's landscape transformation, “Keyhole Garden In –Lawn Out,” I was surprised at the landscape guys’ comments that native plants weren’t pretty ("The doom and gloom guys"), but last weekend I heard a grower say the exact same thing and more.

I was a vendor at the Garden and Home Show in St. Augustine October 1 & 2. While I’m not on an official book tour, it was fairly close to home and I was available with a box of books to sell. The weather was gorgeous and a fair number of folks came out to buy plants, participate in the 4-H activities, and to hear presentations. The Sea Oats FNPS chapter had a table at the entrance to the hall.

It doesn’t take long to set up my book table, so I roamed around the plants offered for sale. Two vendors had asparagus fern (Asparagus spp) to sell, although one guy said that this was a non-invasive form; one vendor was selling the invasive lantana (Lantana camera); and the master gardeners we…

FNPS Annual Report for 2010

Here's your answer to "What does FNPS do anyway?" The 2010 annual report is a thorough look at the activities and the finances all beautifully put together. 

Please let the executive committe know of your chapter's activities this year, so you can be part of the next annual report.