Native Plant Landscape Tour
By Vicki Jackson
Photo by Vicki Jackson
Last weekend the Pinellas Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS) sponsored their fourth annual native plant landscape tour. On Saturday morning, September 25th, seven residential lots in St. Petersburg were open for visitors. The following day, September 26th, the northern part of Pinellas County was featured, including six homes located in Dunedin, Belleair, Largo, and Seminole.
According to FNPS, such "landscapes have reduced or no lawn, and use less water, fertilizer, and pesticides. Through the use of native plants these landscapes are more wildlife friendly as they provide good natural habitat in the form of food, cover, and nesting habitat".
Whether for personal preference, or to save the environment, time, and money, the public has become increasingly interested in that message. Most visitors came with cameras and notepads, and friendly, knowledgeable volunteers were available to answer any questions.
One of the residences on display was the entire yard of Pat and Bud Rose, in Largo. Fortunate to live on Allen's Creek, their property is a great example of integrating native plants with turf, all grown organically. Here from northern Illinois for six years now, the couple has been adding native plants to their landscape. In addition to accent trees of winged elm, turkey oak, slash pine, and a few palms, abundant wildflowers attract butterflies. It might be noted that one of the most popular features at the home wasn't a plant at all-but the attractive and well used rain barrels throughout the property.
Two admirers were Pete and Michelle Monnin of Ozona. The family recently relocated from Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX, and they wanted to see landscaping that looks good and uses less water. Michelle believes, "It's the right way to go."
Also taking advantage of the tour were first-time visitors Kathy Smith and Renie Vennerbeck of Largo. Smith said her environmental background included the fostering of native oaks, when she worked in San Diego, CA. The friends plan to begin with a low-maintenance front yard with typical Florida plants and groundcovers, and hope to attract wildlife. They expect to accent their property with creations by local artists.
Society president, Alexa Wilcox, was thrilled that in excess of an estimated 400 residents took advantage of this opportunity for enjoyment and education through the countywide tour this year. The next meeting of the FNPS will begin at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 6, at Pinellas County Extension (12520 Ulmerton Rd.) The public is invited to learn more when local author, Craig Huegel, presents "Wildflowers for Wildlife."
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