The more than 1,000 people who move to Florida each day often bring with them a preconceived notion of landscaping, a vision that combines old tried-and-true gardening practices with a tropical jungle.
Unfortunately, that vision won’t cut it in the Sunshine State.
“What they did before with their yards is not suited to Florida gardening,” said Jane Higgins, treasurer of the Conradina Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society and co-chair of the Landscaping with Florida Natives Tour.
The event, which takes place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 14, offers opportunities for gardeners to learn from fellow dirt diggers. Native plants are the way to go, these folks will tell you.
“Native plants are important to preserve our wildlife, pollinators and local heritage, as well as requiring much less maintenance, water and fertilizer, which benefits our local environment and the Indian River Lagoon,” Higgins added.
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The landscaping tour includes four private homes, one commercial space and two newly constructed local government sites that participants can visit in no particular order. To get gardeners started with natives, a free plant will be given at one of the sites.
Hope and Larry Ascher, whose home is part of this year’s tour, transformed their quarter-acre Indian Harbour Beach lot into a haven for butterflies and other pollinators. The makeover required removing a carpet of St. Augustine grass and adding native trees and shrubs.
“We wanted to provide a safe haven for birds, mammals and pollinators,” Hope Ascher said.
The new yard, the Ascher’s 30th anniversary gift to each other, welcomes birds, butterflies and other neat critters, while freeing the couple from time-consuming gardening chores.
“Although we live in a very traditional beachside neighborhood, we have our own woodland oasis that provides sanctuary to many,” Ascher added.
A visit to the Ascher homestead and the other sites on this year’s Landscaping with Florida Natives Tour should inspire other gardeners to also go native.
If you go
2023 Landscaping with Florida Natives Tour
When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 14
Where: Seven locations, all but one are beachside
Tickets: $10; Add $5 for a printed brochure available at the tour.
On the web: brevardlandscapetour.org
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