Dr. Walter K. Taylor, University of Central Florida professor emeritus of biology, has received the Florida Wildflower Foundation’s T. Elizabeth Pate Coreopsis Award for his lifetime of contributions to La Florida, “land of flowers.”
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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.”
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.
Many of Florida’s spring native wildflowers have large, showy flowers –– such as Iris and Purple thistle. But some common ones may be underappreciated because their flowers are small, near the ground, or just positioned on the stem where they may be hard to see. However, they are quite beautiful when viewed close up.
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?
The Monarch butterfly’s demise has captured America’s attention. You can help by using native milkweed species in your landscape. Find out what you need to know to help save Monarchs.
Non-profit executive directors tend to be exceptional people, but Lisa Roberts’ level of service has been extraordinary. This month we celebrate a decade of accomplishments under her watch. We also express our appreciation for her skill, poise and style. We are honored to have Lisa as the face of the Foundation.
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.
The Florida Wildflower Foundation provides scholarships for master’s students studying wildflowers within the University of Florida’s Plant Restoration and Conservation Horticulture Consortium of the Department of Environmental Horticulture in Gainesville. Scholarship students are advised by Dr. Hector Perez, associate professor. Luis Andres Ochoa studies Sand flax (Linum arenicola), a perennial with a small yellow flower and grasslike leaves endemic to South Florida and listed as an endangered species.
Thanks to a $7,000 grant from Duke Energy, Central Florida students soon will be learning about the natural world through Wild About Wildflowers! Activity Kits. Through the kits, more than 3,000 third- and fourth-graders will learn about native wildflowers, their ecosystems, and their environmental significance while achieving Florida education standards.
Heartwood Preserve is the first conservation cemetery within a nature preserve in the Tampa Bay area. Join us on this unique opportunity to learn about the efforts to conserve and permanently protect this endangered natural habitat through environmentally friendly burial options. Visit longleaf pine flatwoods and cypress wetlands. Learn the land’s history and management, the importance of fire ecology and the process of conservation burial.
Trying to identify that wildflower you found in your yard or on a field trip? The USF Atlas of Florida Plants is a terrific source of native wildflower and plant information where you can dig into a treasure of images and specimens, and it’s just a few mouse clicks away.