Let’s Get Native!

Posted by Jamie Conley on Thursday, May 20th, 2021 at 11:50am.

Native Gardening & Butterflies

30A local Native Landscape Professional - Jen Jones shares advice on why creating a landscape plan that incorporates native plants is a win-win!

As a local landscaper/gardener, I often get asked “What are the best and lowest maintenance plants to use in my yard?” My answer is always the same; "It is best to leave what is here naturally, if not, then look at the natural area surrounding you and mimic it, that is what works here." I am talking about native trees, shrubs, palmettos, ornamental grasses, perennials and wildflowers that have traits which are uniquely adapted to our local climate, geological, hydrological and biological conditions.  We have sand not soil, salty air, high heat and humidity, floods, droughts, strong wind and the occasional tropical storm or hurricane.  Native plant species are always your best bet to handle that array of environmental influences we experience here in NW Florida. Most importantly, native plants are just simply beautiful! Native plants and flowers are what create the unique ecosystem we have in South Walton.  It’s one of the reasons we are drawn here to call 30A home or our vacation paradise getaway.  So, why make it look like somewhere else? You say that you just have to have those Raised Bed Gardens at Davis Properties in Seagrove Beach FLcolorful plants that entice you at the nursery? Me too!  The best way to indulge in these beauties is to incorporate them into your native landscape with small garden areas, raised beds or planters.  These planned garden “pockets” will satisfy your color craving and preserve the natural area too.  It’s a win-win!

Native plant varieties not only require less maintenance as far as water, fertilizer and pesticides but also promote biodiversity and stewardship of our native wildlife, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and insects, especially bees, not to mention our favorite migrating hummingbirds and butterflies! Our native plants, including the “weedy” wildflowers are some of the most important, nutrient dense, nectar and host plants we can provide for our migrating birds, bees and butterflies. Have you ever noticed the timing of the densest wildflower bloom is when you see the most bees, butterflies and hummingbirds flying about? This is not a coincidence!  Nature “magically” knows to bloom right at the migration times just as plants also produce berries when the birds need the extra nutrition for winter. Providing a wide range of native trees and plants with varying flower bloom times, berries, sheltering shrubs and thickets, contributes to life-saving food and shelter for so many of our special critters that we all love and enjoy seeing out in our yards, so what better reason is there than that to go native?

30A Florida Native Plants and Flowers

Jen Jones is a long time 30A Local and owner of "NATURE OF THE BEACH" specializing in wildlife gardens, container and specialty gardens.  Interested in learning more about incorporating native plantings in your garden and yard? Get in touch with Jen by phone: 850.635.1892 or email natureofthebeach@gmail.com

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