Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Going native... at first.

Gardening and landscaping is one of my favorite hobbies; I relish in the satisfaction I get from putting my hands in the dirt and watching plants grow and thrive under my care.  However, when my wife and I moved into a new home in April 2009, we tried very hard (at least initially) to landscape exclusively with native plants. We found a good reference book of Florida native plants, but we often didn’t have good pictures of what we were purchasing.  In the time since, we have experimented a lot (with mixed results), so I wanted to share the insights I’ve gained from using the mix of plants I’ve adopted (both native and non-native).  My general feeling is that some plants (despite being native) are really very delicate and often difficult to cultivate; this was surprising in that you would expect “native” plants to thrive in their “native” conditions.  This is true for some of the more common native plants (live oaks, cocoplum, various palm varieties), but I found this to be less so for some of the less common stock.  Going native is definitely more challenging, as it requires finding a good native plant nursery in order to procure many of the varieties you seek.  They also tend to be more expensive and my success with them has been hit or miss. Some have indeed come around after they have taken root, but I find that they take longer to take root than many of the more common varieties you see in most nurseries today.

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