Success story: Native Plant Garden at Lettuce Lake Park Provides for Wildlife

We did it! Thank you to the Florida Master Gardener Program Volunteers, Suncoast Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society and Hillsborough County Park staff who came out on June 28th to plant 60 native plants of 20 different species. Our native plant garden enhancement was funded by the Viva Florida grant by the Florida Wildflower Foundation. Native plants bring life to the garden and this garden at Lettuce Lake Conservation Park is teeming with birds, butterflies, pollinators and hummingbirds. 

Lettuce Lake Park Native Plant Garden. Photo: Tia Silvasy, UF/IFAS

The main garden area is on the north side of the nature center near the boardwalk entrance to the Hillsborough River. The site receives part sun and is occasionally moist. Thanks to previous work led by Tina Patterson of the Suncoast Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, the site is already well-established with a variety of native plants and interpretive signage showing the ecological benefits of each plant species.

Volunteers from UF/IFAS Extension Master Gardener Program and Suncoast Chapter of the Native Plant Society did a great job! Photo: Tia Silvasy, UF/IFAS

The plant list includes: Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica), needle palm (Rhapidophyllum hystrix), coontie (Zamia integrifolia), necklacepod (Sophora tomentosa), beautyberry (Callicarpa americana), flatwoods plum (Prunus umbellata), Narrowleaf silkgrass (Pityopsis graminifolia), Wand goldenrod (Solidago stricta), Pinebarren goldenrod (Solidago fistulosa), Tickseed (Coreopsis lanceolata), black eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), aquatic milkweed (Asclepias perennis), wild petunia (Ruellia caroliniensis), rosinweed (Silphium astericus), Atlantic St John’s wort (Hypericul tenuifolium), blue porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaiciensis), red salvia (Salvia coccinea), and beach dune sunflower (Helianthus debilis). 

The Black-eyed Susan’s helped to add color to the garden. Photo: Tia Silvasy, UF/IFAS

Stop by the Joel E. Jackson Nature Center at Lettuce Lake Conservation Park to check out our native plant garden and join us for our monthly workday the 4th Tuesday of the month at 8am and our guided native plant walks on the first Saturday of the month starting in Sept. at 9am.

Thanks to the 25 volunteers we were done by 10am!

Resources for Native Plants

Real Florida Gardeners Guide lists native nurseries

Guide for Choosing Native Plants by Florida Wildflower Foundation


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Posted: July 5, 2023

Category: , Conservation, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Home Landscapes, Horticulture, Natural Resources, UF/IFAS Extension, Wildlife
Tags: Butterfly, Central Florida, Conservation, Florida, Florida-friendly Landscaping, Hillsborough County, Landscaping, Master Gardener, Native Plant, Tampa Bay, Tsilvasy, Ufifas Extension, Wildflowers

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