Northern Parula on Coreopsis by Christina Evans

Attracting Birds with Florida’s Native Wildflowers

Northern Parula on Coreopsis by Christina Evans View brochure Wildflowers for Nectar Hummingbird on Standing cypress (Ipomopsis rubra) by Peg Urban Hummingbirds gather nectar from wildflowers with tubular flowers. Many flowers produce fruit that other birds will eat. Coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) Wild columbine (Aquigelia canadensis) Firebush (Hamelia patens) Cardinalflower (Lobelia cardinalis) Beardtongue (Penstemon species)…

It’s not a garden, it’s a habitat

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!

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Nov. 18 Field trip to Heartwood Preserve

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. 

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.

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Layering is key in Orange County meadow design

Central Florida gardeners will soon a have a new location to see and explore Florida’s native wildflowers and grasses. A no-mow wildflower meadow is being installed at the Orange County UF/IFAS Extension’s Exploration Gardens in Orlando, funded by the Florida Wildflower Foundation’s Viva Florida Landscape Demonstration Garden grant. The meadow will be approximately 2,700 square feet and will include 25 species of Florida native wildflowers and grasses. Eventually, it will connect two sections of a planned native tree walk.

Leavenworth’s Tickseed

Leavenworth’s Tickseed (Coreopsis leavenworthii) Blooms spring-summer; height 1-3 ft. Plant Sept.-mid-Dec. in full sun to light pine shade in slightly moist to moist sandy soil. Sow seeds in: N – September, October C – Late September to mid-November S – Mid-October to mid-December

Lanceleaf Tickseed

Lanceleaf Tickseed (Coreopsis lanceolata) Blooms in spring; height to 1-1½ ft. Plant Sept.-mid-Nov. in full sun to light pine shade in slightly dry to slightly moist well-drained soil. Sow seeds in: N – September, October C – Late September to mid-November

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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.

Swamp tickseed (Coreopsis nudata) by Eleanor Dietrich

Flower Friday: Swamp tickseed

Swamp tickseed (Coreopsis nudata) is a short-lived perennial with charming pink and yellow blooms. It occurs naturally in wet prairies, bogs, seepage slopes, wet flatwoods and roadside ditches. It blooms in spring (typically April and May) and is attractive to bees, although butterflies and other pollinators are known to visit them. Birds eat its seeds. Swamp tickseed is often confused with the non-native Cosmos bipinnatus.

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…