Central Florida gardeners will soon a have a new location to see and explore Florida’s native wildflowers and grasses. A no-mow wildflower meadow is being installed at the Orange County UF/IFAS Extension’s Exploration Gardens in Orlando, funded by the Florida Wildflower Foundation’s Viva Florida Landscape Demonstration Garden grant. The meadow will be approximately 2,700 square feet and will include 25 species of Florida native wildflowers and grasses. Eventually, it will connect two sections of a planned native tree walk.
Eleanor Dietrich stepped down July 28 from her post as the the Florida Wildflower Foundation’s Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)/Panhandle Wildflower Alliance (PWA) liaison. Liz Sparks, a veteran of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and state Department of Environmental Protection, will take over Dietrich’s responsibilities.
With a $21,000 grant to the University of Florida’s Museum of Natural History, the Florida Wildflower Foundation is supporting a unique research project that will train prison inmates to test and document propagation techniques for milkweed, the only host plant for Monarch butterflies. The grant is made possible by sales of the State Wildflower license plate.
A visit to Cape Coral’s Rotary Park Environmental Center includes a new opportunity to become acquainted with some of Florida’s beautiful native wildflowers. With funds from the Florida Wildflower Foundation’s Viva Florida Landscape Demonstration Garden grant program, a native wildflower garden has been planted near the park’s education center.
As anyone who has started a small wildflower meadow at home probably knows, weeds can make or break successful wildflower establishment. That’s why the Florida Wildflower Foundation has joined with Lake County on a research project at PEAR Park in Tavares that will experiment with various weed control methods.
Many areas are very dry now, especially in Central and South Florida. When traveling in West Central Florida in mid-May, I saw very few wildflowers blooming, even in normally moist areas, many of which had dried up. The good news is that the NOAA Climate Prediction Center is forecasting that drought conditions should be alleviated by the end of August in all but east Central Florida, and even in that part of the state drought conditions should improve.