It’s not a garden, it’s a habitat

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!

Wildflowers bloom earlier than normal

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).

Lyreleaf sage (Salvia lyrata)

Flower Friday:Lyreleaf sage

Lyreleaf sage is an attractive perennial that produces leafless spikes of lavender to bluish, tubular flowers. Bees are its predominant pollinator, but it also attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. It typically flowers in late winter through late spring along woodland edges, in open areas and in disturbed sites.

fall-stature-larsen

Advice on fall garden maintenance and seed collecting

‘Tis the season for seed collecting. As you return to the garden after the last two months of unbearable heat, biting bugs and sweat, you’ll probably encounter a lot of overgrown stems. Cut those back to their base to freshen up the plant for winter. Trailing species, such as beach sunflower and Gaillardia, can also be whacked into submission and will probably bloom again by late November.

chris-waltz

Member profile: Chris Waltz

There’s a good chance that if you’ve been to any Florida Wildflower Foundation events, you may have run into this member. Most recently, he could be found with 25 other wildflower enthusiasts at the Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area, soaking up some plant identification and lore on a walk led by author and FWF board member Dr. Walter K. Taylor.

FWF member Chris Waltz is known to many in native plant circles because of the supporting role he plays in conferences and other events. Here is what Chris has to say about his involvement with the Florida Wildflower Foundation.

Toadflax (Linaria canadensis). Photo by Stacey Matrazzo

Flower Friday: Blue toadflax

Also known as Canadian toadflax, blue toadflax is an annual (or occasionally biennial) wildflower that forms a delicate sea of lavender when in bloom. It is common along roadsides, in pastures and in other disturbed areas and is sometimes confused with lyreleaf sage (Salvia lyrata) because of its similar growth habit and bloom color, and because they often grow together.

salvia_coccinea-dietrich

Flower Friday: Tropical sage

Known by many names — scarlet sage, tropical sage, red salvia, blood sage — this versatile perennial wildflower is a steadfast addition to any wildflower garden. Its flower is one that no pollinator can resist, but it is particularly attractive to bees, large butterflies and hummingbirds. It typically blooms in summer and fall, but can bloom year-round in many parts of the state.