Last Updated on May 23, 2018 by Caroline Warwick
Nestled underneath the oak trees in Deland, Florida you will find Dottie and Kevin Hanna cultivating local Florida grown plants at Twinflower Nursery.
Their property and home, once a fernery, has evolved to become a nursery specializing in cultivating Florida-native plants such as native milkweeds (Asclepias tuberosa, perennis and incarnata), Coral Honeysuckle (Loncinera sempervirins) and Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifoli), and includes some exotics, such as the cardboard plant (Zamia furfuracea).
Working with Florida-native plants presents unique challenges to Hanna, who has turned to the earth for solutions.
“We’ve found that often times Florida native plants can sometimes have a lower survival rate once replanted with traditional fertilizers,” Hanna said. “Producing our own fertilizer using worms became the natural choice when establishing plants.”
Vermiculture, or the production of compost using various species of earthworms, is a popular practice for many home-gardeners, farmers and plant producers. Hanna and her husband compost their own soil using various species of earthworms on-property.
“Working with earthworms is a challenging but rewarding experience,” Hanna said. “We place all of our fruit and vegetable scraps as well as egg shells in the compost bin with the earthworms. We harvest the worm castings twice a year.”
In addition to producing their own fertilizer, Twinflower also composts manure from neighborhood livestock and leaves into the soil.
“Everything you need to produce plants is provided for us naturally,” Hanna said. “We try to do as much the original or ‘organic’ way as possible. Maintaining environmental stability and growing plants that have a purpose is our mission.”
The nursery, which began selling plants in 2015, travels across Central Florida to special events, festivals and markets selling their Florida-native plants.
“Our plants enable our customers to replace their landscapes with plants that offer food and shelter to Florida wildlife while requiring less maintenance and are still aesthetically pleasing,” Hanna said.
For more information on Twinflower Nursery, please visit them on Facebook.