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Award-winning roadside wildflowers

In a first for Florida, a project to manage naturally occurring wildflowers – versus displays that have been planted – has been recognized for its success. The Florida Federation of Garden Clubs recently gave a “Paths of Sunshine” award to Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District 5 for successfully protecting and nurturing a natural wildflower display along a stretch of State Road 520 in east Orange County.

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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).

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Common eastern bumble bee (Bombus impatiens) on purple thistle (Cirsium horridulum) Photo by Mary Keim

Know your native pollinators: Bumble bees

Bumble bees are very efficient pollinators because they “buzz pollinate.” The bee grabs onto a flower and vibrates its flight muscles but not its wings. This causes the flower to release its pollen. It also creates an audible buzz at the frequency of a middle C note. The genus name Bombus comes from the Greek bombos, which means “buzzing sound.”

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Welcome Baker’s tickseed

Welcome Baker’s tickseed, a new Florida wildflower species! by Claudia Larsen. Photo by Dr. Edward Schilling, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Follow this plant’s journey from discovery to naming Recently discovered in North Florida’s Jackson County, Coreopsis bakeri has gone undetected for years because of its resemblance to our common…

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Upcoming events

March 24 Florida Wildflower and Garden Festival

Join us — rain or shine — for the Florida Wildflower and Garden Festival, Saturday, March 24, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. This free, family-friendly event offers speakers, demonstrations, plant and gardening supply vendors, a Kids Art Zone, music and more.

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springsfest logo

March 3 2018 Florida SpringsFest

Join us on Saturday, March 3, at Silver Springs State Park for the 2018 Florida SpringsFest. Come learn from the experts about the history and science of springs. Enjoy live music, art, movies and games throughout the day. Participate in programs and presentations from state park rangers and other environmental experts. Specials guests will be on hand including live mermaids and an appearance by Rico Browning, the original “Creature from the Black Lagoon.”

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tiger creek preserve

Feb. 25 Field trip to Tiger Creek Preserve

Join us on Feb. 25 as we explore some of Tiger Creek Preserve’s 5,000 acres. The 2.5-mile hike will traverse the preserve’s hilly terrain through flatwoods, creek bluffs and sandhill. A footbridge and boardwalk will take us across Tiger Creek, and we’ll cross a sandhill ridge with expansive views through the longleaf pines.

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Click here to see a full list of events including past events.

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Dr. Walter Taylor

Dr. Walter Taylor presents at the 2014 Florida Wildflower Symposium.