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September eNews for Broward Native Plants
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Replace the non-native red bromeliad with the native you would like here. Could this be the new look of urban native landscaping?
- landscape design by Raymond Jungles -

Field trip: Grassy Waters Walk With James Lange
 

BROWARD CHAPTER of the
Florida Native Plant Society

Promoting the conservation, preservation, and restoration of the native plants and native plant communities of Broward County
 
Membership & Renewal Online
Broward Chapter site & CALENDAR
Email Us (we read it and respond to it)
Plant List (Inst. for Regional Conservation)
The Broward Chapter on Facebook
Welcome to a NEW SEASON of Broward Chapter events! If you are new to the Chapter, all speaker events take place in Julia Hall, Secret Woods Nature Center, 2701 W. State Rd. 84, Dania Beach, FL 33312, on second Wednesdays at 7 p.m. We look forward to seeing you there. Speaker events, field trips, and many other Broward Chapter events are free and open to the public. Memberships do help pay the costs, give conservation a voice in Broward County, and facilitate action to conserve species and native plant communities. Please join above (Students $15, Individuals $35 or higher for Supporting Memberships) or attend an event.
Email Us (above), if you want to know your Renewal date.

September Events

 
 
Kelli Whitney on Migratory Songbirds
Wednesday, Sep. 14, 7 pm
Photographer, Andy Morffew

Secret Woods, 2701 W. State Rd. 84, Dania Beach, FL 33312

Kelli Whitney, Park Naturalist, Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center, will speak about "Migratory Songbirds: The Importance of South Florida as a Stop-over and Wintering Site" discussing migration, the habitat needs of migrating songbirds, and the importance of native plants as food.
 
Butterfly and Bird Day
Saturday, Sep. 17, 9 am - 4:30 pm
22301 SW 162 AV, Miami, Florida, 33170
(Not Chapter sponsored, but we thought you might want to know.)

Miami Blue Chapter, North American Butterfly Association, Tropical Audubon Society and Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation & Open Spaces are sponsoring "Butterfly and Bird Day" at Castellow Hammock Preserve & Nature Center. Free admission. Come to the events you like or come all day. Details at miamiblue.org.
Walks: Early birding walk with TAS at 7:30. Bring binoculars! Hammock walks 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. (path is rough; sturdy shoes advised). 
Ongoing activities include children’s activities, information tables, plant vendors (cash or check) and holding area; book sales; butterfly spotting. A food truck will be available. 
Programs: 
9:30 - Miami’s Backyard Birds - Brian Raposa, TAS 
11:00 - Attracting Hummingbirds and Butterflies in Tropical Florida - Roger Hammer, naturalist, author, botanist, photographer 
12:30 - How Butterflies Work – and How They Survive - Rick Cech, natural history author and photographer 
2:00 - Birding and Endangered Butterflies of Biscayne National Park - Elsa Alvear, Biscayne National Park 
3:00 - The History of Natural History: A Participant’s Perspective” - Rick Cech in memory of Elane Nuehring
 
Walk Grassy Waters Preserve
     with James Lange

Saturday, Sep. 24, 9 am
8264 Northlake Blvd, West Palm Beach, FL  33412
 
Grassy Waters Preserve, City of West Palm Beach

Meet in the parking lot at the boardwalk entrance at 9 a.m. (address above or 26.8088500, -80.1697500). From central Fort Lauderdale the drive is about an hour via the Turnpike; allow a little extra. James Lange, is a Researcher and Field Biologist at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and a delightful leader. He is specializing in conservation ecology, impacts of sea level rise on plant communities of south Florida, restoration ecology, field botany, and GIS mapping of rare plants and habitats. James will take us on the Cypress board walk (about a mile round trip) so we can learn plants and enjoy this wonderful northern Everglades area. Here is a link showing the Grassy Waters Preserve trails. If there is time and James and others want more (leader's call), we can do a optional second trail in Grassy Preserve, the Apoxee Trail. "A short asphalt paved ADA trail branches off into a natural substrate trail consisting of sand and boardwalks. The trail winds through restored wetland hammock and pine flatwoods. Heavy rains can cause trail flooding. Muddy conditions can be expected." The entrance to Apoxee Trail is 3125 Jog Rd., West Palm Beach, FL 33411 (26.727568, -80.150958), one mile north of Okeechobee Blvd. We'll give you directions from the Cypress Boardwalk. Cypress Boardwalk is Easy. The optional Apoxee Trail may have some muddy places or off trail so we'll give that a Moderate a rating. Don't miss this opportunity to see the very special Grassy Waters Preserve with a great guide, James Lange. Click on the Coontie Calendar (below) for suggestions on what to bring for your health and comfort on Chapter walks.
Check our Calendar at coontie.org for any schedule updates.
Styles of Native Landscaping:
A Time for Innovation

by Richard Brownscombe

In October the Florida Native Plant Society may finally publish the long-awaited Native Landscaping brochure, a big map-like fold-out with 63 recommended species on one side and tips for gardening success on the other. We hope it plays a role in increasing the popularity of native landscaping. Native landscapes must be a part of the effort to move quickly toward a sustainable society. Native landscaping is something anyone can do immediately without waiting for political or governmental change. Broward County and many local cities encourage it. The act of creating sustainable gardens is itself educational and immediately beneficial to wildlife and the planet.
 
Native landscaping (mostly) on Lincoln Road - Raymond Jungles
We have accomplished other big social changes surprisingly quickly. Fresh locally grown and organic foods are much more available reflecting the public demand for a healthier diet. Local breweries, once a thing of the past, are springing up like hop sprouts. Craft beer sales now challenge the big names in total revenue.

We do change and we must. The examples of fresh vegetables and craft beer teach us something about supply, marketing, popular demand, and the evolution of taste. Public preference for sustainable landscaping and local plants may change quickly as climate change drives public concern for the many ways we are harming the environment. We are not yet ready to meet the demand for information and native plants once the public has awakened to the importance and beauty of sustainable landscaping.

Native landscaping is the easiest and most prudent approach to sustainable landscaping. Florida Friendly is good, but a half-step because it doesn't fully address the needs of indigenous and migrating wildlife. We are only beginning to understand the complex and millennia-old interactions among microbes, fungi, insects, plants, and wildlife. We will learn more, but there isn't time. The wildlife of this place, Broward and South Florida, needs the native species for food, shelter, and successful reproduction.

Native landscapes provide needed shelter and food for wildlife because we have left so little natural land for them. Our gardens become corridors that reconnect our existing, now-isolated, natural areas. Enthusiast gardeners can increase the number of living rare plants. All of us contribute to the natural food supply for birds, pollinators, and butterflies. We know about butterflies, but many insects are highly specialized to specific plant species. Birds are specialized about the insects they feed to their young. There are about 200 native bee species in South Florida and many of them are also species specialists. Without understanding everything, the more native species we use in landscaping, the more helpful we become to the ecosystem.
 
Urban oasis - Raymond Jungles
Native landscaping is a great symbol of the paradigm shift that is required of humanity to literally save the planet. It is now obvious that we must consider not only human needs, but the needs of the other species and the earth's environment as a whole. The mantra for our times is: share the planet with nature. Native landscaping is a doable and pleasant demonstration of our own and our community's commitment to the health of the environment.

There are currently two barriers to the widespread adoption of native landscaping. First, the public doesn't yet understand that native gardens can be developed as sustainable gardens that are beautiful to live with. We have too few great examples of innovative native landscaping to inspire the public imagination. We don't all need to create great landscaping, but some of us need to do it to inspire others.

The second barrier is supply. With the current relatively low demand, native nurseries can't stock the wide variety of species that would be ideal to have available locally. Happily, growers and retailers report a gradual increase. Some native landscapers and growers are busy and doing well.

There may also be problems with how we market native landscaping to the public. We have looked to the example of conventional landscaping and said that we need to get our plants into the big box nurseries. I don't think so. Instead we need to embrace our local nurseries and growers in all their diversity. This is where the example the craft brewery comes into play. Craft breweries market their difference from big corporate beer. Those differences are local, natural ingredients, a wide variety of flavors (species), and a unique brewery identity ranging from urban to rural and ultra modern to old fashioned. The public embraces local, small, unique, and many flavors as desirable. Craft beer sales now rival corporate beer sales for total revenue.
 
Silent Native Wholesale Nursery, John Lawson
Native landscaping should eschew its similarity to conventional landscaping and embrace its difference. The brand of native landscaping should be that plants are locally sourced and of this place as much as possible. As the public becomes more sophisticated, the premium plants will not be cultivars or those over-selected for attributes people prefer.

Premium native plants with be those with provenance from local sources and propagated from seed or multiple-sourced cuttings. What the most crazed restoration botanist now craves is the pinnacle of the natural brand in native landscaping. Whatever can be honestly sold as a "true Broward native" will be favored. It is the equivalent of the locally grown heirloom tomato or the beer crafted in your own neighborhood from 100% natural ingredients. Native landscaping has a truth and superiority in it, and is exactly the right thing for a planet in trouble.

Let us consider some current and future native landscaping styles that might inspire the public to go native.

THIS-FOR-THAT CONVENTIONAL LANDSCAPING
As we strive to bring native landscaping to more people, it is common to hear talk about native alternatives for conventional exotic landscape species. Cocoplum and Stoppers can be pruned to box hedges. Dune Sunflower and Beach Verbena provide a low mound of color. While some native species are up to the task, it's a tough assignment to find local native species that live up to the profuse and dense blooming of hybrid plants. The variety of color and performance of big box plants satisfy the conventional landscape.
 
Simpson Stopper in a conventional landscape
If a goal of native landscaping is sustainability, then substituting this native for that exotic is a beginning, but not enough. The practice of long-term irrigation, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides needs to be discontinued. Garden design and pruning routines need to begin to consider the needs of wildlife for shelter, nesting, fruit, and seed.

We don't need to criticize the aesthetic or virtue of neighbors who are replacing exotic species with natives, we should celebrate their discovery. Nevertheless, by example and through more inspired native landscape design, we should more and more begin to distinguish the art of native landscaping as a different approach with different gardening methods and a different look. Funky Buddha brew does not owe its success to the emulation of the Miller product, but to being different.

WILDLY NATIVE LANDSCAPING
Another approach to native landscaping is to grow an island of nature in the city or the lawn-desert of the suburb. Advocates of bringing nature home are our champions and dissidents. They are ready to fight the home owner association and the commissioners. We love them; we understand them; we are these advocates. Yet most wildly unkempt yards are not as beautiful as nature. They worry neighbors; they don't inspire them. Large natural areas and parks are different. With sufficient upkeep natural lands are the gems of urban areas. Natural areas give us solace and provide for wildlife. But individual lots planted with native species and left to go wild are not beautiful to most people. Wild yards are sustainable and they serve wildlife well, but they are unlikely to ever be popular in densely urban places.
 
More Raymond Jungles, some native, some not, a little wild, but not
Again, we don't need to criticize the aesthetic of friends who have gone wild, because we, more than most, understand their virtue and see the value of land that serves wildlife. Nevertheless, we are striving for native designs that also look beautiful. We need more great and innovative gardeners, each with a very different aesthetic, to awaken the public imagination. Great small breweries, amazing vegetarian restaurants, and now wonderful native landscapes can help us evolve the vision of a sustainable society.

There is synergy in the fact that we can provide such a good solution for the land and at the same time enrich our own place and experience. Natural landscapes are dynamic and interesting. They bring beautiful birds and butterflies to us. They evolve from one year to the next. They are a source of education for our children and solace for harried city dwellers. We don't have to sacrifice anything to achieve something very good for the environment. We just have to use our imagination to see native landscaping in a different way. 

MODERN NATIVE LANDSCAPING
A Jungles rooftop probably with Bay Cedar & Beach Creeper in sun and wind

We don't see a lot of great all-native landscaping locally. It is hard to find illustrative photos. We cropped some to exclude the most prominent exotic species. One photo has no natives at all (the balcony garden), but only because no one has experimented with the native species that would thrive and look handsome there.

Get acquainted with RegionalConservation.org to know if a species is locally native and find out what it needs in the way of light, soil moisture and soil. The Institute for Regional Conservation (IRC), Native For Your Neighborhood database (click on the icon from the IRC homepage), shows photos of the species, the native range, its requirements, and its mature size so you can match the place you intend to plant it. Right plant, right place. The home page of Coontie.org also has a list "Landscape and Enthusiast Plants Native to Broward" grouped by light and moisture, e.g., Sun and Drier Soils, and in order by plant height, tall to short. It is huge pallet of 386 species that should make any landscaper drool.

A fundamental difference between conventional landscaping and sustainable native landscaping is choosing a species that will eventually (after it becomes well established) thrive where you planted it without regular irrigation or chemical fertilizer. Ensure that the native species you choose has the space to grow to maturity without regular pruning so that it can flower and fruit freely. Pruning into geometric shapes usually reduces a plant's value to wildlife. If you want to keep a plant low, find a species that is short at maturity. Conventional landscaping tends to rely on irrigation, fertilizer, pesticides, and significant mowing, shearing, or pruning to achieve the desired landscape. These maintenance activities come at a cost to the environment.
 
Balcony garden could have scrub species or other
These fundamental principles change the look of landscaping. There are so many native species (and most of them new to the public) that it is pretty easy to find native plants to make a landscape beautiful, interesting, and dramatic.

A good resource is Craig Huegel who loves to grow native plants and has been experimenting with them in his own yard for decades. Search his Hawthorn Hill blog for his valuable comments on growing species that most people haven't tried.

OLD FLORIDA NATIVE LANDSCAPING
Any community can develop inspired native landscapes to accommodate the architectural styles and preferences of the community. A native herb garden, native species of historic significance, wetland species, coastal species, and themes that artists may yet dream will spawn entirely new ideas about native landscaping. It is innovation and beauty that will capture the public interest. Amendment 2 (land and water conservation) and now Amendment 1 (the solar tax break) demonstrate the public readiness for environmental solutions.

EPIPHYTIC LANDSCAPING
A screen of Tillandsia - Bok Gardens

South Florida is special for its epiphytes. Tillandsias, orchids, and tree-growing ferns provide special landscape opportunities. Epiphytes can be featured on walls, hanging from architectural ledges or encouraged on low Live Oak limbs and shrubs. Some epiphytes grow alternatively on the ground and might do well along walkway edges or on pedestrian bridges. Others make easy house plants or might be hung almost anywhere in humid air and light. Many epiphytic ferns require even moisture and humidity, but do well and look beautiful in outdoor shaded architecture. The Perez Museum has a number of native species in its dramatic hanging columns.

AQUATIC NATIVE LANDSCAPING
Most developed areas are drained to protect our homes and businesses from flood and mosquitos so most urban lots have no open water. Many indigenous species thrive in seasonal inundated (think rain garden), wet soils, ponds or canal banks. Water features are among the most appealing of landscape elements. Wildlife enjoys them, too. The challenge for native landscaping is to develop water features that minimize water use and ensure that mosquito larvae can't survive. The hardy mosquito fish is one solution. Freshwater ponds may benefit from solar-driven recirculation. Evaporation area may need to be reduced with floating plants or shade. These ideas need to be refined to achieve water features that are both beautiful and sustainable.

Donna's Garden Gate Nursery at Sears in Pompano Beach stands out for innovation in the use of local native aquatic and wet-soil species in wonderful small to medium sized container gardens. You may need to consult RegionalConservation.org to confirm which species are locally native. Some water gardens are mixed with exotic species. As public interest and demand for native species grows, all-native water gardens may be featured to respond to that interest. Donna's love of the native species is evident throughout the nursery. Find this and other Broward native nurseries on the Coontie.org homepage.
 
Commercial properties can create signature native landscapes - Raymond Jungles

Some of us have only one or two potted native plants. Others are bringing natives into conventionally landscaped yards. Some are working to wean gardens of irrigation and stop the use of chemical fertilizer and pesticides. Still others have taken on the all-native challenge. Each in our own way we are contributing to a growing body of knowledge and experience. This will be valuable information when a much wider public enthusiasm for native landscaping is kindled. Supporting and promoting our local and unique native nurseries will help them grow to be ready and as popular and enjoyed as craft beer. Well, perhaps.
The Broward Chapter is on Facebook. Like us. Participate in the conversation.
Photo above is by Mary Keim
Speaker events are on 2nd Wednesdays at 7 pm at the Secret Woods.
Field Trips are usually on a following weekend but they vary,
so always check the Calendar and check again for last minute trip updates.
Visit Coontie.org for a wealth of information about local plants.
Copyright © 2016 Broward Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, All rights reserved.


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