Success Story: FFL Demonstration Garden in Orange County

The Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ demonstration garden showcases pollinator friendly plants with a focus on Florida native plants. It’s located in a prominent location at the Orange County Administration Building in the heart of downtown Orlando, with an estimated one million visitors per year. Butterflies and bees can be seen visiting the flowers and the garden creates a relaxing space to enjoy while getting ideas for your home landscape. This garden helps to raise awareness of our Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ program and the importance of integrating native plants that attract pollinators.

In July 2021, the garden got a makeover with a new and improved landscape design created by Amanda Martin of Grounded Solutions, Inc. The project was funded by a grant from Florida Wildflower Foundation and support from Orange County Government. This garden is managed by the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ program from UF/IFAS Extension Orange County under the leadership of extension agent, Tia Silvasy, and Florida Master Gardener Volunteer, Phyllis Stopford.

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Native plants featured in the garden include firebush and milkweed. Photo: Tia Silvasy, UF/IFAS

Florida native plants installed during the makeover include Firebush (Hamelia patens), Coontie (Zamia pumila), Wild coffee (Psychotria nervosa), Beach Sunflower (Helianthus debilis), Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), Lyre leaved sage (Salvia lyrata), Sage lantana (Lantana involucrata) and at least a dozen other species. The mix of annuals, perennials and shrubs will give the garden some form and structure to look good year-round.

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The garden features a bench where passerby can enjoy the life in the garden. Photo: Tia Silvasy, UF/IFAS

Agent Tia Silvasy was instrumental in forming community partnerships and coordination of media, resulting in this story being picked up by local news channels. The makeover was featured in a Fox News story that reached 1.5 million viewers. Videos were also done by UF/IFAS communications, Amanda Martin and Tia Silvasy that reached over 3,000 people. Orange County Government newsroom wrote two featured stories spurring from the project, one on Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ and the other on our Master Gardener Volunteer Phyllis Stopford.

Master Gardener Volunteers meet monthly to maintain the garden. Photo: Troy Bailey, UF/IFAS

This garden is helping to pioneer environmentally-friendly and sustainable landscaping practices in Central Florida. Orange County Master Gardener Volunteers hold monthly workdays to upkeep the garden. It is open to the public 365 days a year. Stop by and visit next time you are in downtown Orlando. The address is 201 S. Rosalind Ave, Orlando, FL 32801, on the corner of Rosalind and Jackson St.

Want to learn more? Check out horticulture classes offered by UF/IFAS Extension Orange County at Read about Florida-Friendly Landscaping™. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and visit our website.


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Posted: November 2, 2021

Category: , Conservation, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, HOME LANDSCAPES, Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension
Tags: Environmentally Friendly, Florida, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Landscape, Native, Native Plant, Orlando, Plant, Tsilvasy, UF/IFAS Extension Orange County, Wildflower

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