Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Green-eyes: beautiful and resilient Florida wildflowers

Florida greeneyes bloom nearly year-round and attract
many types of pollinators. Notice how showy the
disk florets are with their extra-long stamens
and their folded-down top edges. 

The greeneyes (Berlandiera spp.) are in the daisy family (Asteraceae) and have the typical flower head arrangement of this family with fertile central disk florets that produce the seeds surrounded by sterile showy ray florets that look and act like petals. They are perennials with a long tap root.

In the case of greeneyes, the flower heads consist of about eight bright yellow ray florets, each with a notched tip, surrounding a head of greenish-yellow tubular disk florets, which is, of course,  why they are called greeneyes. When disk florets open, they reveal maroon anthers and a long yellow stigma, and they smell like chocolate. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

The hand of the gardener in native landscapes

Plant more natives!

In 2013, a volunteer beautyberry shrub near the edge of the
lawn is surrounded by several water oaks.

Ecologists and environmental organizations have been urging people to plant more native plants, to build bird-friendly and pollinator-friendly habitat, and to do this by removing at least some of their lawn.

One prime example is Doug Tallamy's HomeGrown National Park where you can register your yard to be part of of this park by replacing at least half of the lawn with native plants.

This is great and I hope that millions of homeowners and other property managers take this step to build native habitat, but there are some important steps to take, especially in urban and suburban areas, to increase the acceptability of these native landscapes. Our yards and our community landscapes, even if they have a good portion of native plants are not wild spaces and will need some regular care. (Actually, I wrote a book on this topic. See below.)