Florida – The Land of Flowers
Ponce de Leon named Florida in 1512. “La Florida,” he called this land, Spanish for flowery, covered with flowers, or abounding in flowers. Yet our landscapes of today are mostly green masses of foreign lawns, shrubs and trees. It brings to mind the song “Where have all the flowers gone”?
Foreign Designs and Bad Development Practices
Foreign designs and bad development practices have covered our native wildflowers and environments with foreign (exotic) lawns, shrubs and trees. These non-Florida landscapes are causing air, noise and water pollution and hurting our health. Our main source of drinking water is being exhausted. Native plants and animals are going extinct.
Create an Environmentally-Friendly Landscape
For a healthier landscape that will support our native plants and animals and reduce pollution, use the tips below to create an environmentally-friendly landscape.
- First, figure out your site conditions (dry, wet, seasonally wet; sun, part sun, shade; alkaline or acidic soil; available space, etc).
- Use native plants that match your site conditions. Visit the Florida Native Plant Society website to find landscape plants, or visit the National Wildlife Federation to see which plants provide the most food for birds and other animals.
- Plant a wildflower meadow. This provides lots of food for many birds, pollinators and animals. Wildflowers don’t need fertilizer, pesticides or extra water. Other resources.
- Remove all invasive species such as Brazilian pepper, carrotwood, Australian pine, Lantana camara, Mexican petunia, etc.
- Replace foreign (exotic) plants with native plants.
- Stop or greatly reduce spraying pesticides, especially insecticides, in your landscape.
- Replace bird feeders with plants that support caterpillars.
- Add a birdbath or pond.
- Ask nurseries and big box stores to supply Florida native plants.
- Keep cats indoors.
- Talk to your government representatives about preserving and increasing natural areas and providing wildlife corridors. Ask them to change landscape codes to require mostly native plants and allow for wildflower meadows. Ask them to plant wildflower meadows instead of lawns at government buildings.
- If you need help with your landscape, contact your local UF/IFAS Extension Service Lawn and Garden website or Florida-friendly Landscaping website for information and answers to your landscaping questions.