Saturday, September 17, 2016

Landlord of my Landscape

I was just now thinking about heading out into my landscape to do some work, and I realized I prefer to call what I have a landscape rather than a garden. To me, the word garden implies a heavy human hand, order, and too many non native plants. However, a landscape, to me, sounds more alive, carefree, with less human involvement. I think of myself as a landlord, doing just enough to keep the housing sound, clean and ready for new tenants. I want to remember to allow space for play, moving about, hiding and having "kids".


I also need to be sure there are sources of water, kept clean and shallow.


And I can still create a living landscape pleasing to the human eye...


So, what I am proposing is that we all become responsible landlords for the incredible wildlife just outside our own back doors. Bugs of all kinds, native frogs, toads, lizards and birds are all waiting for their neighborhood to open up for their use, and every one of can help.

Remember, don't be too neat! Leaf litter is broken down by arthropods into usable ingredients for plants to grow and be healthy.

Always provide several wide, shallow water sources. Clean out the containers and add fresh water every several days and mosquitoes will not be a problem.

Add as many native plants as you can, making sure to put the right plant in the right place based on size, light, and soil conditions.

And NEVER use pesticides!!!! Let there be life! When you have a landscape that is balanced and varied, where life is welcome, there is no need.

Man made fertilizers should also be off limits. When you use the right native plant for your soil conditions, all you need is mulch if that. Do NOT use any amendments. If there is a need for extra nutrients, start a compost pile/bin! Or, you can use worm castings, that's it!

Say NO to man made chemicals, and say YES to life!

Now, let's all work together and create livable, healthy landscapes all over the world.



Thursday, September 15, 2016

Feed The Birds...Naturally!

One of the very best things you can do to help wildlife in your own landscape is to provide berrying native plants. Here in Florida, one of the best is wild coffee. Loves shade, gets about 6 feet tall by 4 feet wide max, works as a hedge, and in spring is full of white flowers prized by native and honey bees, then in fall these bright red berries for birds.

Also for the birds: simpson stopper, beauty berry and firebush.




Monday, July 11, 2016

Back Ten Feet at Home

I recently took a yard tour of my own place so I could share some of the wonderful native plants who support wildlife in my garden. Early in the video the audio drops off for about 20 seconds then comes back so stay with it. No idea where that technical difficulty comes from!


Saturday, July 2, 2016

Not So Tidy!

Sometimes, because we tend to be neatness freaks, we can get a little too tidy in our gardens. Allowing plants to seed and grow where they will, leaving a few sandy open spaces, and letting some detritus and dirt accumulate in small patches is a good thing. After all,most of us want to help the wild insects, and small suburban animals who visit our home landscapes.

When I moved in to the house I rent, I noticed there were large shells all over the garden areas. I turned them so they could collect water and provide a watering place for little creatures. Because they are porous, the water only stands for a day or two. I don't remove the leaves and soil that gathers there, they are mini ecosystems.


Also, by allowing plants to grow where they will, I get a "cottage" style garden that resembles a natural meadow.  Here I just discovered some purslane growing near the road along with a blue curl. How wonderful!



Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Florida Native Garden Blog

http://thefloridanativegarden.blogspot.com/?m=1



My good FB friend, Ryan Robert Inskeep has taken the plunge and created a website and Facebook page. Ryan really knows his native Florida plants, how and where they grow, and how important it is to not use pesticides or fertilizers in our gardens, even in south Florida. I hope all of you will check out his blogs, and visit him at his FB page as well. He has THE best pictures!!!!
https://www.facebook.com/thefloridanativegarden/?fref=ts

Saturday, May 28, 2016

In Celebration of Blanket Flower

Blanket flower is native from south Florida up through the great plains states and into Canada. Drought tolerant, can handle tough soils, readily reseeds.
Awesome plant for any pollinator, bees especially love it!








Wednesday, May 18, 2016

BTF Project at Cedar Point


Last Saturday, Jane Wallace from the Mangrove Chapter of FNPS (Florida Native Plant Society) invited me to lunch at the New Faul Inn with one caveat: to create an all Florida native grasses planting plan for an area near the visitor center at Cedar Point Environmental Center in Charlotte County. We would meet with other crazy "old" ladies for some fun and decision making.

Planting won't happen until the summer rains can hopefully guarantee irrigation. I say hopefully as the annual Florida summer rains have not been consistent for many years.  Just one more reason to go native wherever you live and to utilize those native plants that are the most resilient to tough conditions.

As you can see from the photo below, this is a disturbed area next to a building, mostly full sun all day.  The area needs to be mulched, but NO fertilizers or pesticides will be used! The grasses chosen are native to Charlotte County per Wunderlin, or are threatened or endangered in the state of Florida (dwarf fakahatchee grass). Signs will be added so visitors will know which grass is which and a little bit about that particular species. Our goal is two-fold:create an appealing landscape around the new stairs and educate visitors on the beauty and benefit of utilizing NATIVE grasses in their own landscapes. (The fountain grasses available at big box stores are not native and are invasive in the state of Florida.)


The native bunch grasses we have chosen are available through local native plant nurseries, and have proven themselves able to handle living within human landscapes.  The grasses also create color so are planted in swaths with that color in mind.




To join other crazy native plant people, be sure to check out the Mangrove Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, www.mangrove.fnpschapters.org  or visit Cedar Point Environmental Center http://www.charlottecountyfl.com/CommunityServices/NaturalResources/EnvironmentalLands/EnvironmentalParks/CedarPoint/ .