I moved into my home with its perfectly manicured yard 19 years ago and nearly immediately began letting nature take its course. No more fertilizer, forget about keeping up with those darn sprinklers, and mowing the lawn was soon unnecessary. Mine has been a gradual transition to a native landscape. The 20+ splendid plus scrub oaks in my yard were quite helpful in my quest, limiting sunlight and providing a thick groundcover of oak leaves in many areas.
I expressed my interest in incorporating more native plants to my friend Cammie Donaldson (Florida Association of Native Nurseries) who pointed me to Maple Street Natives. Sharon, Brent, and now Drew, have been so helpful over the years, taking the time to listen to my unique needs and wishes, and always offering suggestions. It’s such an enjoyable escape just to meander about the lush nursery! One of my first and annually repeated requests is for a tree that will survive indoors for the month of December and hold up ornaments. Nearly all of my native Christmas trees survived the transition and now dot my property.
Over the years I’ve acquired over 70 species, sadly I’ve lost a few specimens. At first I didn’t understand how much/how long the plant needed water to get established. Another challenge along the transition has been keeping the weeds at bay while letting the many new native species I had planted over the years thrive. Sure, weeds are always fighting me, but some areas with torpedo and Bermuda grasses have been especially tough to control. Slowly I’ve incorporated sections of ground cover to address these most difficult sections.
Playing in my yard is my pastime. Slow-going for sure, but therapeutic and extremely rewarding. Come visit during the yard tour and guess which was my first Christmas tree! One hint: The hurricane it survived gave it unique character.