Fall color, Florida style

Fall color hard to find in Florida? Not if you travel along rural roads. Now is the time to be looking for wildflowers throughout the state. Fall wildflowers are in full bloom, with the best places to find them being open areas without homes or businesses. Those areas, including woodland edges, provide the bright light that many species of native wildflowers thrive in. And rural areas are better than urban environments for two reasons – more natural stands of wildflowers, and expectations for manicured landscapes are lower.

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Wildflower surveys

Building on the success of the recent St. Johns River to the Sea Loop wildflower surveys, and in an effort to expand the number of wildflower routes for Florida’s quincentennial celebration in 2013, the Florida Wildflower Foundation has funded research to develop wildflower routes in three other regions of the state.

In the wild: Threatened gopher tortoise lives among wildflowers

While the threatened tortoise is famous for bunking 400 animals at various turns and times of year in his burrow, his boon to native plant survival is also real. Hearing biologists and land managers in our gopher tortoise advisory group and hosting torts on my own land, I’m convinced that the oral health, beauty and variety in our pinelands tie to whether Gopherus polyphemus lives or dies.