Zebra longwing butterflies (Heliconius charitonia) are found throughout the state, but this common Florida butterfly is anything but ordinary! Their elongated wings make them easy to distinguish from other Florida natives, but their unique attributes don’t stop there.
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,” a new publication from the Florida Wildflower Foundation. The free 24-page magazine features a selection of 20 “tried and true” species that are easy to grow and maintain.
The Florida Wildflower Foundation has received a $17,000 grant from Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust for its project, “20 Easy Wildflowers to Grow Now!” It includes a publication, continuing education courses for horticultural professionals, and live social media events.
It’s November, and you might not expect to see any showy bloom of native wildflowers and grasses. But don’t jump too that conclusion too fast, because beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Spring and fall wildflowers can be spectacular with a plethora of yellow and purple flowers, but summer seems to offer a wider diversity of colorful, showy wildflowers along roadsides.
There’s a good chance that if you’ve been to any Florida Wildflower Foundation events, you may have run into this member. Most recently, he could be found with 25 other wildflower enthusiasts at the Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area, soaking up some plant identification and lore on a walk led by author and FWF board member Dr. Walter K. Taylor.
FWF member Chris Waltz is known to many in native plant circles because of the supporting role he plays in conferences and other events. Here is what Chris has to say about his involvement with the Florida Wildflower Foundation.
‘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.
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).
More than 38,000 visitors have had the opportunity to become better acquainted with the beauty and benefit of Florida’s native wildflowers since the establishment of a wildflower demonstration garden at the Pinellas County UF/IFAS Extension in Largo. The garden was funded by a $3,000 grant from the Florida Wildflower Foundation.
Recent research found that Gaillardia pulchella is not a native Florida species, but rather an introduced species. The news sparked many different reactions across the state. Experts weigh in on what this means for Florida gardeners.
October brings dappled moonlight to a wildflower garden, leading one gardener to thoughts of ghosts and maybe even goblins.
Get to know Florida Wildflower Foundation member Jeff Weber. Jeff is dedicated to protecting and restoring Florida’s natural ecology in his free time and in his as an environmental specialist with Sarasota County Parks. He regularly attends Foundation field trips and events to connect with others who share a passion for wild Florida. As a homeowner, Jeff does his part to plant as much native vegetation as he can!