Fetterbush (Lyonia lucida)

Flower Friday: Fetterbush

Fetterbush (also known as shiny lyonia) is an erect woody evergreen shrub that produces a plethora of small, fragrant blooms in whitish-pink to pink to red. It occurs naturally in pine and scrubby flatwoods, scrub, dry hammocks, dry prairies, and along swamp and cypress pond margins.

Sex in the garden — just what’s going on out there?

Gardens are such peaceful places: colorful, tranquil, quiet except for the comforting buzz of a bee or the fluttering wings of a bird. Yet they are a hotbed of (we blush) seduction and sex.

“People often look at plants as being boring and passive, and animals as being interesting and active,” says Dr. Craig Huegel, a speaker at the April 27-28 Florida Wildflower Symposium in Orlando. “But plants make the same choices ecologically that animals do, so it makes perfect sense that reproduction in plants isn’t a completely passive thing.”

Clinopodium brownei

Flower Friday: Browne’s savory

Also known as St. John’s mint and Creeping Charlie, Browne’s savory is a long-lived aquatic perennial wildflower with a sprawling growth habit. It is a highly aromatic plant, particularly when its leaves or stems are crushed. It can be used to make a tea or to add mint flavor to a salad or other dish.

Rain lilies (Zephyranthes atamasca

Flower Friday: Rain lily

Rain lily is a short-lived perennial wildflower. Its showy, solitary flowers are white (although sometimes tinged with pink) and, as the name suggests, typically bloom after a rain shower. Flowering can occur in late winter through early summer, but their tendency to bloom around Easter has earned them another common name — Easter lily.

Plant blindness: Have you hugged a wildflower today?

When was the last time you read a bedtime story about Morning glories to your kids? Or bought them a cuddly stuffed plant? If you’re a typical 21st century individual, the answer is “never.” Plant stories and toys aren’t wildly popular because most people today suffer from plant blindness, an inability to notice the myriad plants in our environment.

Dr. Elisabeth Schussler, the Florida Wildflower Symposium keynote speaker, will shed light on this phenomenon, which she discovered during a research project.

Frogfruit (Phyla nodiflora) by Eleanor Dietrich

Flower Friday: Frogfruit

Frogfruit is known by many names: turkey tangle fogfruit, capeweed, matchhead, creeping Charlie… Regardless of what you call it, frogfruit is both a versatile and vital wildflower. This evergreen perennial is low-growing and creeping, often forming dense mats of green foliage.

Wild blue phlox (Phlox divaricata). Photo by Stacey Matrazzo.

Flower Friday: Wild blue phlox

Also known as woodland phlox, wild blue phlox is a delicate perennial wildflower. Its beautiful blooms appear from spring into early summer in slope forests, bluffs and calcareous hammocks. It is limited to four Panhandle counties in Florida, but is widespread throughout the United States. Many pollinators are attracted to the blooms, especially butterflies. Its roots are eaten by rabbits and other small mammals.

FWF member takes action with plant give-away

What’s a wildflower gardener to do with those extra seedlings that pop up? Instead of pulling them like unwanted weeds, FWF member Jim McGinity decided to pay it forward. Using an idea reminiscent of a curbside lemonade stand, he repots the wee seedlings and offers them for free to neighbors and passers-by. Not only that, he uses them as welcome-to-the-neighborhood gifts for new residents. It’s an idea we love: What’s more neighborly than sharing the joy of wildflowers?