Creating a Native ID Garden to Teach Sustainable Landscaping Concepts
- native plants,
- plant identification,
- Master Gardeners,
- sustainable landscaping,
Interest in using native plants in urban landscapes has increased in recent years due to growing concerns about overdevelopment and its impacts on wildlife habitat plus plus regulatory action to reduce water use and protect water quality. Improving the sustainability of urban landscapes is also being driven by the need to reduce costs, minimize environmental pollution from fertilizers and pesticides and improve wind tolerance by incorporating more stratification into designs. Native plants vary considerably in their growth habits, size at maturity, aesthetic qualities, cultural requirements and ability to attract pollinators and migratory birds at different times of the year. Such information can be readily obtained via a demonstration garden that trials these plants under local conditions, catalogs their performance, and disseminates the information collected. A native plant garden featuring a mix of mostly native trees, shrubs and groundcovers was designed and created using volunteers and a combination of donated and purchased plants. Maintained largely by volunteers, the garden is used by Extension agents to teach the public about the wide pallet of native species available to create sustainable landscapes in South Florida.