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/ .