2-page information sheet on the planting and care of Rudbeckias in the home landscape
With interest mounting in using wildflowers in urban landscapes, there is a huge demand for information for those new to Florida’s native plants. Enter “20 Easy-to-Grow Wildflowers,” a new publication from the Florida Wildflower Foundation. The free 24-page magazine features a selection of 20 “tried and true” species that are easy to grow and maintain.
Ecologists estimate that only 3 to 4 percent of land in the United States has been undisturbed by human activity. That’s why providing habitat — food, shelter and nesting areas for wildlife — within sustainable urban landscapes should be an important goal for everyone.
We can’t create a perfect natural habitat for each species. However, we can make a difference by using Florida’s native wildflowers and plants. Learn how!
The Florida Wildflower Foundation has received a $17,000 grant from Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust for its project, “20 Easy Wildflowers to Grow Now!” It includes a publication, continuing education courses for horticultural professionals, and live social media events.
It’s November, and you might not expect to see any showy bloom of native wildflowers and grasses. But don’t jump too that conclusion too fast, because beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
As summer progresses many of our fall-blooming wildflowers become tall and stately, forming backdrops and filling fence rows as they reach peak bloom from September through December. But this also is when storms increase, bringing intense waves of wind and rain. And there are always those unpredictable hurricanes. Here’s how one wildflower garden survived Hurricane Irma’s big blow and steps you can take to hopefully rescue your own plantings.
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.
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.
Earlier-than-normal blooming of spring wildflowers seems to be occurring more often, but this year stands out because some wildflowers are blooming nearly a month earlier than expected. The influence of this “abnormal” weather will probably be greatest in North Florida. If the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) climate predictions hold true, March will likely be wetter and warmer than normal, which would speed up the time when mid- or late-spring wildflowers bloom, such as Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) and Blanketflower (Gaillardia pulchella).
If you’re looking to dress up your landscape this summer, consider these native species, which adapt readily to home gardens and provide weeks of blooms.
Black-eyed Susan is a bright, cheerful wildflower found throughout Florida. It typically blooms in spring through fall and occurs naturally in flatwoods, sandhills, open disturbed areas and along roadsides. It is pollinated by a variety of insects, and its seeds are eaten by seed-eating birds.
Chris Waltz, volunteer extraordinaire and wildflower-gardening enthusiast, was inspired by people saying they can’t grow natives because they live in an apartment, condo, or other small space. He started thinking: They grow houseplants and annuals; why can’t they grow natives the same way? The result? A “pollinator garden in a pot.”