New Year, New Native Plant Gardening Adventures!

As we consider our resolutions for the new year, there are so many ways we can protect and preserve natural Florida through our own landscape and gardening practices. Here we provide just a handful of possibilities and resources as well as some inspiration from a Florida native plant gardening community who shared their 2023 resolutions with us!

Green anole (Anolis carolinensis) in the garden. Photo by Emily Bell

New to native plants?

If you are just getting started with native plants and supporting wildlife in your landscape, even the smallest steps can have big results!

  1. Make a plan!
    • Get to know the native plant communities in your area and identify the characteristics of your own landscape to decide what plants will work best. Learn more.
    • Consider the aesthetic goals for your garden and the amount of time and effort you are reasonably able to invest. Being realistic about these factors will set you up for more fun and less failure and frustration.
    • Have fun! Native plant gardening is about moving beyond the confines of conventional landscaping and inviting nature and joy into your landscape. We recommend Benjamin Vogt’s A New Garden Ethic and Douglas Tallamy’s Bringing Nature Home as inspirational reading to help you on this journey!
  2. Incorporate five or more new native plant species in your landscape. Here are some resources to get you started:
  3. Learn about the invasive plants in your area and begin removing them from your own landscape if present. Here are some resource to get you started:

For the more experienced native plant gardeners, let’s keep it growing!

One of the most exciting things about native plant gardening is that there is truly always more to discover!

  1. Get to the know the wildlife that calls your garden home and help document species diversity.
  2. Expand your plantings through propagation. Collect seed from your home landscape and let your botanical riches multiply! Resources:
  3. Spread the word by sharing your native plant journey with your neighbors and community.
    • Incorporating signage from The Florida Association of Native Nurseries, Xerces Society, or getting a wildlife habitat certification from the National Wildlife Federation is a great way to generate interest and spread the message in your community.
    • Invite friends and neighbors to tour your garden and experience the beautiful blooms and wildlife.
    • Share your gardening efforts and native plant information on social media to inform and inspire others!

Get INSPIRED! We asked members of the Florida Native Gardening community on Facebook what their 2023 gardening resolutions were and were blown away by the responses:

  • My goal is to add more plants that offer food and shelter as my other plants die; and to have better stormwater management utilizing native plants. ~Allison
  • My goal is to increase native butterfly host plants. ~Joyce
  • I would like to propagate more from seed, set up a nice seed tray and potting station (to keep things tidy in the yard), and create a group to encourage like-minded people in my area to plant native. ~Nai
  • My goal is to spread the word by putting together a PowerPoint presentation to help homeowners design native gardens. ~Lois
  • My goal is to fill in beds with more plants. I have several areas that look fine if they are weeded and pine-strawed, but I want a more longterm sustainable landscape. ~Janet
  • My goal is to formalize my garden diary into an electronic format. As a budding data analyst, I’m contemplating making a Microsoft Power Apps and Power BI project out of my own garden data. ~Ann-Marie
  • My resolution is to spend more time getting rid of Torpedo Grass. ~Chad
  • My goal is to start from seeds. ~Melissa
  • I definitely plan to increase native plantings in my yard all through next year, especially flowering ones to support bees, butterflies and birds! ~Peggy
  • My goal is to try to document more, to research more and to share more. ~Trudy
  • I am always changing my front yard as I learn what works and what looks good, I always try to inspire neighbors by using as many natives as possible and showing off how beautiful it can be each season! My goal is to continue this and keep replacing each non-native with native plants until it’s 99% native. ~Rebecca
  • Get out more to learn from the greatest landscape architect out there — Mother Nature. Do you remember seeing beautyberry growing? Where? What grew with it? ~Marlene
  • I intend to promote and educate about native plants with signage — I bought a few garden placards — and will give away free plants thru next door. (My plants have birthed so many seedlings that I’m happy to give out.) The goal is to make it easy (free plants!) and observable (my yard is differently attractive). ~Fran