Wildflower garden in bloom

When wildflowers blow in the wind

As summer progresses many of our fall-blooming wildflowers become tall and stately, forming backdrops and filling fence rows as they reach peak bloom from September through December. But this also is when storms increase, bringing intense waves of wind and rain. And there are always those unpredictable hurricanes. Here’s how one wildflower garden survived Hurricane Irma’s big blow and steps you can take to hopefully rescue your own plantings.

Rotary Park wildflower garden sign

Cape Coral garden showcases waves of native color

A visit to Cape Coral’s Rotary Park Environmental Center includes a new opportunity to become acquainted with some of Florida’s beautiful native wildflowers. With funds from the Florida Wildflower Foundation’s Viva Florida Landscape Demonstration Garden grant program, a native wildflower garden has been planted near the park’s education center.

Skyflower, Hydrolea corymbosa

Bloom Report: For sizzling summer wildflowers, head to the wetlands

Many areas are very dry now, especially in Central and South Florida. When traveling in West Central Florida in mid-May, I saw very few wildflowers blooming, even in normally moist areas, many of which had dried up. The good news is that the NOAA Climate Prediction Center is forecasting that drought conditions should be alleviated by the end of August in all but east Central Florida, and even in that part of the state drought conditions should improve.

Blanketflower

Blanketflower (Gaillardia pulchella) Blooms spring-fall; height 1-2 ft. Plant Sept-mid-Dec. in full sun to light shade in dry, Sow seeds in: N – September, October C – Late September to mid-November S – Mid-October to mid-December

Native Roadside Wildflowers in Rural Areas: Developing Best Management Practices for Establishment of Plantings by Seed and Enhancement of Naturally-Occurring Populations

The main goal of this study was to determine the effects of competition and mowing on native wildflower establishment on road-side right-of-ways (ROWs) dominated by bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum). The species were Flordia ecotypes of Coreopsis lanceolata, C. leavenworthii, Gaillardia puchella, and Ipomopsis rubra. Bahiagrass competition was the main factor limiting establishment of wildflowers under simulated…

Sweat bee on blue-eyed grass

Bloom Report: 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).

Shop

Browse the Flower Shop Support native wildflowers while you shop. All sales help to protect, connect and expand Florida’s native wildflower habitat. Native Plants for Florida Gardens (232 pages; Pineapple Press) Florida is home to thousands of native plants that evolved to thrive in its range of climate regions. Native Plants for Florida Gardens profiles…

Common eastern bumble bee on Thistle flower

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.”

Grow Wildflowers

See how Resources Plant sources Start with 20 Easy Wildflowers With interest mounting in using wildflowers in urban landscapes, there is a huge demand for information for those new to Florida’s native plants. Enter “20 Easy-to-Grow Wildflowers.” The 24-page magazine features a selection of 20 “tried and true” wildflowers that are easy to grow and…

Ironweed seedheads

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.