Article by UF/IFAS Extension Broward County Urban Horticulture Agent Lorna Bravo
What motivates people to adopt and model sustainable landscape practices in their urban landscapes?
Meet Broward County Master Gardener Volunteer Keith London. Keith graduated from the UF/IFAS Extension Broward County Master Gardener Volunteer program class of 2000
In 2022, Keith became a Broward County Water Ambassador. This program cultivates community change in urban environments, and participants become stewards of our local natural resources such as water.https://youtu.be/aHNLW-1M2cg. Science tells us that residents often use more water than needed in home landscapes, though using Florida native plants and following Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ principles can help.
In 2023, the University of Florida UF/IFAS Extension Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ program in Broward County recognized Keith with the Florida-Friendly Landscape Gold level recognition. The landscape contains a variety of Florida-Friendly edible plants attracting many different species of animals, such as attracting many different species of animals, such as squirrels, native snakes, geckos, bees, birds, and butterflies, creating a refuge for critters in need of shade, rest, food, and water.
My Slice of Paradise Landscape
“As a Master Gardener, I am committed to promoting sustainable gardening practices and creating landscapes that benefit both the environment and the community. Pursuing the Florida Friendly Yard Gold recognition naturally extends my dedication to responsible gardening.”
Did you say this landscape has no in-ground irrigation system? What is the secret?
The landscape has no in-ground irrigation, only watering manually as needed and collecting rainwater. This landscape has over 100 bromeliad varieties that come in various shapes and sizes and work in many light conditions, so you’re bound to find a variety that can work for you in this garden. Bromeliads stand out for their bold, often colorful leaves and the exotic flower spikes that many produce. Bromeliads are members of the pineapple family Bromeliaceae. They are perennial herbs that lack woody stems and typically grow on other plants or substrates.
Did you know that Florida is home to 16 native species of bromeliads and two natural hybrids, all of which are epiphytes?
“Through the FFL recognition process, I will be able to showcase my expertise in selecting native and drought-tolerant plants, minimizing fertilizer and pesticide use, and conserving water resources.”
Right Plant, Right Place
“I love Bromiliades because they are one of the perfect plants for South Florida; with the extreme weather we have been experiencing over the last few years and the potential for more extreme weather, Bromeliads are ideally suited for severe rain or periods of little to no precipitation. Bromeliads come in every color of the rainbow; whether you like plants that give off a flower spike (inflorescence) or enjoy colorful leaves, Bromeliads are the perfect plant for your garden.”
Giving Back & Inspire Others
“By achieving this recognition, I will contribute to the health and beauty of my yard and serve as a role model and educator for others in my community interested in creating eco-friendly landscapes. Ultimately, my pursuit of the Florida Friendly Yard Gold recognition is driven by a desire to positively impact the world around me. By creating a beautiful and sustainable yard, I hope to inspire others to follow in my footsteps and contribute to a healthier, happier planet.”
What is the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program?
The Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ (FFL) program operates under the UF/IFAS Center for Landscape Conservation & Ecology (CLCE). It is supported by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). The Florida Friendly Landscaping program is an educational outreach program informing homeowners and professionals how to be more environmentally friendly with their landscape care practices. The Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program’s mission is to educate Floridians about science-based, environmentally friendly landscaping practices. It encourages them to conserve and protect our water resources by applying its nine principles. Recognizing the home landscape as part of a more extensive natural system will help us make sound decisions in creating Florida-Friendly yards. It helps protect Florida’s natural environment for future generations.
What are the 9 Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program Guiding Principles?
The FFL program has nine guiding principles. The Landscapes must Comply with all existing codes, laws, ordinances, and HOA rules and recognizes yards with two-level recognitions (Silver & Gold). The Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ (FFL) Program recognizes landscapes that use sustainable landscaping practices. Florida-Friendly landscapes minimize potable water use for irrigation, avoid the runoff of excess fertilizers and pesticides from the landscape, and provide habitats for wildlife.
What do Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ yards look like?
They can take any form, from more traditional to more natural. How the landscape is designed and maintained ultimately determines if it’s Florida-Friendly.
Are you interested in introducing the nine Florida-Friendly landscaping principles in your landscape?
Watch Keith’s video. He has an excellent message for us.
What does it take to have your Broward yard Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ recognized?
To have your landscape recognized as a Florida-Friendly landscape in Broward County, you must follow the steps below:
1. Take the FFL Pledge
- FFL Pledge – Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program – University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences – UF/IFAS (ufl.edu)
2. Download the checklist from the website:
3. Use the checklist to evaluate your landscape and make necessary changes.
4. If you need help making your landscape more Florida-Friendly, contact our Broward County Extension office. Contact UF/IFAS Extension Broward County – UF/IFAS Extension (ufl.edu) and visit our FFL at Resources – UF/IFAS Extension (ufl.edu).
- South Florida Plant Guidelines: ENH1178/EP439: Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Pattern Book: Sample plant lists and designs for four Florida regions: USDA Hardiness Zones 10A, 10B, and 11, South Florida (ufl.edu)
- Download the Guide to Plant Selection and Landscape Design: untitled (ufl.edu)
- These and other FFL state office publications are available online at: https://ffl.ifas.ufl.edu/resources/publications/.
- Guidelines for Hiring a Florida-Friendly Landscape professional: Hire Florida-Friendly – Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program – University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences – UF/IFAS (ufl.edu)
5. When your landscape is ready, please contact UF/IFAS Extension Broward County office to schedule a site evaluation. You can email Lorna Bravo at firstname.lastname@example.org or Marcy Lambert @ email@example.com
6. An Extension agent or appointed Broward County Water Ambassador representatives will visit your landscape and review the checklist to determine if your landscape is Florida-Friendly.
- Bromeliads – University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (ufl.edu)
- CIR 1466/UW205: Florida’s Native Bromeliads (ufl.edu)
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