Home' Island Sun : ISN 092515 Contents ISLAND SUN - SEPTEMBER 25, 2015
by Gerri Reaves
Are you spending too much time
pushing your lawnmower around?
Has the romance of the perfect
lawn completely lost its appeal, given
the labor and expense required?
Would you like to see more butterflies
and birds in your yard, and do you worry
that the lawn chemicals you apply harm
wildlife and water quality?
Reducing the turf-grass area of your
yard and going “Florida-friendly” might
be for you.
Start with a plan that takes into
account the size of your yard and how
you want it to function after the conver-
sion – for example, as a playground or as
an area that is left to the birds and bees.
Decide whether you want to simply
reduce the square footage of grass or
banish it all together.
As for the layout, one choice is rows
of plantings, higher to lower in attractive
color contrasts. Low-growing wildflowers
might have as a backdrop taller ferns,
cycads or ornamental grasses.
Plant wildflowers such as blue mist-
flower (Conoclinium coelestinum) and
bright-red tropical sage (Salvia coccinea),
or scarlet milkweed, just to name several,
that have the advantage of self-seeding.
If keeping the lawn more or less like
a lawn, ornamental peanut (Arachis
glabrata) or sunshine mimosa (Mimosa
strigillosa) might be just the groundcover.
They can be walked on and even mowed,
but unlike standard turf grass, they pro-
duce colorful flowers and require little
Vines, too, can be a turf-grass alter-
native for a non-foot-traffic area. Native
vines such as coral honeysuckle (Lonicera
sempervirens), corkystem passionvine
(Passiflora suberosa) and Virginia creep-
er (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) thrive
horizontally as well as vertically.
Install plants that will remain approxi-
mately the height desired, thus eliminat-
ing much time-consuming trimming and
shearing in the future.
Be sure to apply mulch plentifully to
preserve ground moisture and prevent
undesirable weeds from encroaching.
The Florida Yards and Neighborhoods
Program of the Lee County Extension
shtml) and native-plant nurseries can pro-
vide step-by-step advice on how to limit
your time behind a lawnmower and cre-
ate a more wildlife-friendly yard.
No yard is maintenance-free, but de-
prioritizing turf grass can reward you with
more time to enjoy that yard.
Plant Smart explores the diverse
flora of South Florida.
Ferns and wildflowers fill space that will not need mowing
photos by Gerri Reaves
Sprawling vines such as coral honeysuckle
can be used as groundcover
Ornamental peanut has become a popu-
lar local groundcover
Pretty muhly grass needs no mowing
City Of Sanibel Vegetation Committee
Guided Native Vegetation Tours
The City of Sanibel Vegetation
Committee is offering guided
native vegetation and landscap-
ing tours of city hall grounds, planted
exclusively with native plants.
Upcoming tours will be held on:
Saturday, October 17
Wednesday, November 18
Wednesday, December 9
Wednesday, January 13
Saturday, January 23
Wednesday, February 10
Saturday, February 27
Wednesday, March 9
Saturday, March 26
Wednesday, April 13
Saturday, April 23
The guided tours begin at 10 a.m.
Walk the grounds for ideas on planting native vegetation that requires no fertilizer.
See how you can plant a garden that reseeds itself with very little maintenance, is good
for the environment and will attract birds and butterflies.
Vegetation committee members will provide information on proper planting and
care of native vegetation. The City of Sanibel encourages planting of vegetation that
is indigenous to the area as it requires very little maintenance, no fertilizer, and no
Registration is not required. Attendees meet at the main entrance to city hall, 800
Dunlop Road, in front of the main staircase. For more information, call 472-3700.
The Natural Resources Department section of the city’s website – www.mysani-
bel.com – offers information and photos of native plants, a listing of licensed
contractors, Sanibel’s vegetation standards and codes, and the Environmental
Reference Handbook prepared by the city’s vegetation committee. The vegetation
committee also offers free native plant tours of the grounds at city hall at 10 a.m.
on the second Wednesday and fourth Saturday of the month from November to
April. For more information, contact the Sanibel Natural Resources Department
From page 7
the risk of osteoporosis. Register for a wellness package which includes four vascular
tests and osteoporosis screening from $149 ($139 with member discount). All five
screenings take 60 to 90 minutes to complete. In order to register and to receive a
$10 discount off any package priced above $129, call 1-888-653-6441 or visit www.
Tables For Arts And Crafts Fair
space for rent to
any local Sanibel
crafters that might
want to display
and sell their crafts
this fall. This year,
the Fall Arts and
Crafts Fair will be
held on Saturday,
November 7. Table
rental fee is $30.
Limited table space
is available and
tables should be
reserved prior to
This season, The
will be embarking
on a campaign to improve the facility and its historical house. Call if you would like to
get involved with the campaign.
Teresa Riska-Hall, executive director said, “It will take many hands and hearts to
complete this labor of love. Please get involved.”
Community House Fall Arts and Crafts Fair
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