A periodic newsletter from your friends at Florida Native Plants
Nursery & Landscaping 730 Myakka Road, Sarasota FL 34240 
www.floridanativeplants.com  (941) 322-1915
Storm-hardy Gardening - Summer 2012
Volume 2 - Summer 2012, Article 1 - STORM-HARDY
In this issue: STORM-HARDY - Go with the Flow - Planting for a Flood Our FNPS Landscaping Award
| Florida-friendly Lawn Alternatives | Our LOGO Shirts Are In! | 12 Must Have Native Flood-hardy Plants

The How-tos of Natural Florida Landscaping


Go with the Flow
Information taken from the original article, Rethinking the Wet, by Laurel Schiller and Dan Walton

When a storm dumps torrents of rain, your yard may fill up. Except for right along the coast, this part of Florida was once pine flatwoods characterized by sandy soil with a hardpan layer 1 to 3 feet below the surface. It’s highly impervious to water so soil can become saturated in summer.

Runoff from adjacent properties can add to your problems. The County may have set higher elevations for houses after your home was built. Wet areas are created in new developments and where older homes have been torn down and replaced by larger ones on higher ground.

First inclination is to get the water out of there by draining and ditching, or filling in or mounding low spots. That doesn’t work very well. Berms, swales and retention ponds to redirect and/or hold storm water create additional concerns and may require a permit.

What to do? Instead of “How do I keep the water out of my yard?’ Think, “How do I work with the water?” Go with the flow.

Look around your property for areas that are saturated or flooded during heavy rain. Inspect the vegetation. You may be experiencing what's known as leaf spot, fungal growth, root rot, or branch dieback on plants not adapted to saturated soils. Incorporate plants that are adapted to periodic flooding, but can also tolerate the dry conditions that may exist for much of the year.

Think of wet ground as an alternative in your homescape, doing so will increase your plant diversity and add interest to your yard. Think of low areas as natural rain gardens, an inexpensive and environmentally-sensitive option, instead of building berms and swales to redirect water, which can be costly.

Native plants such as Fakahatchee grass, blue-flag iris, mimosa, golden canna lilies, scarlet hibiscus, coreopsis, mistflowers, yellow tops, spiderwort, blue-eyed grass and various cordgrasses should do well. Bald cypress, maples, and sweet gum and along the coast, buttonwood, both silver and green, are trees which do well in wet areas. Shrubs such as wax myrtle, Florida privet, coastal willow, Walter's viburnum, buttonbush and elderberry will create a different aesthetic and draw birds that frequent fresh water wetlands. These plants are particularly useful since they have adapted to the wet/dry conditions that occur in our area. Native clump grasses or low-growing mimosa will survive inundation for a few days at a time.

Most yards drain within a few days after the storm has passed. If your yard is wet, try to enjoy it. Don't try to alter your growing place, instead alter your plant composition and welcome dragonflies.

photos: Fran Palmeri, www.franpalmeri.com

Further reading:
- Florida Native Plants Nursery's original article
"Rethinking the Wet" by Laurel Schiller and Dan Walton
- Southwest Florida Water Management District's brochure
"What's the Difference? - Landscaping in Eastern Sarasota"
- Sarasota Bay Estuary Program's brochure Rain Gardens and Bioswales
- Author Ginny Stibolt's chapter on 
Rain Gardens, Bioswales, and Bog Gardens from her book Sustainable Gardening for Florida also see her website for additional resources.

Have a comment or question about this newsletter article? We would love to hear from you. Send us an email: flooded@floridanativeplants.com

Florida Native Plants Wins Top Award

We received the 2012 Florida Native Plant Society top award for ecosystem restoration for our Back Dune Restoration Project at the White Sands Cabana Club in Sarasota.

An award panel composed of landscape experts from across the state decided on the winner. Each judge independently awards points to entries. Points are then tallied and the winner is picked. The three-year project restored one of the last, large back dune ecosystems on Siesta Key, whose crystal white sandy beaches have been designated the Number #1 Beach in the USA by Doctor Beach. It was a twelve-year cooperative effort of private/public entities according to Van Carlise, President of White Sands. Laurel Schiller, Co-owner of the Nursery and a Conservation Biologist, designed the project. "A project of this scope takes patience, perseverance, and leadership," she said. “People with a vision must be willing to focus on an eventual outcome which benefits them and the environment. Then funding is put in place to achieve these goals."

Attention Readers! Pictures of this landscape will be published in our next newsletter due out in the fall.

We'll Help You Reduce Your Thirsty and Hungry Lawn

And replace it with Florida-friendly alternatives. Plant more wildflower meadows. Much of our area was once pine prairie. Native grasses and reseeding wildflowers are a natural alternative to lawn care. 

Also visit us to see our native and Florida-friendly groundcovers such as Sunshine Mimosa (pictured above), Perennial Peanut (pictured below), Frog Fruit, Jasmine Minima, Florida Peperomia, and Prostrate Petunia.

12 Must Have Native Plants that Don't Mind Wet Feet

You're in-the-know about natives with our new logo shirts.

We teamed up with local artist Shorobii to bring you limited edition Florida Native Plants Nursery logo shirts. Printed on organic cotton shirts with natural inks, we have five different front styles (native plant names) in a range of colors and sizes for both men, women and kids.  - $20.

Blue Flag Iris

Sunshine Mimosa
Walter's Viburnum

Scarlet Hibiscus

Muhly Grass

Blue-eyed Grass


Tropical Sage

Climbing Aster

Dwarf Fakahatchee Grass

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