Well, hard as it is for me to believe, this article begins my fourth year as a writer here at Beautiful Wildlife Garden. Every Friday since October 8, 2010…156 articles to bed. So here begins article 157. Whatever will I write about?
Maybe it’s time to take a look back at how my property has evolved, as have I. I purchased my Florida property back in 2005 and moved there in January 2006.
The property was clear-cut except for a few pine trees prior to my purchase. When I moved here I knew nothing about native plants and I started my gardening venture by purchasing plants that I was familiar with and liked from the local big box stores. Needless to say, most of my choices were from the perspective of a gardener of the northeast and most were failures. Oh, there is the queen and sago palms, the Bottlebrush tree and a few others that I wouldn’t choose at this point of my gardening knowledge, but they serve as the “before I knew” elements in showing how things have come about.
I also received numerous castoffs from a good friend who worked rejuvenating landscape designs. All of the freebees were exotics and while many were not invasive, some were. I still have a few Pyracanthas and an Indian Hawthorne or two that the insects and wildlife tend to ignore. I did, however, remove and destroyed the Nandina…a category I invasive on the FLEPPC list. In the meantime, the others will stay as they do hold memories and do fill in some bare spots.
Now, I have done a complete turnaround in how I garden. Moving forward, I have made a conscious effort to plant only vegetation native to Florida or as a food garden…cash crops, so to speak. I’ve let countless areas on the property restore to what naturally occurs in this pine flatwoods ecosystem and if you have read any of my stuff over the past three years, you know that the results are a rewarding habitat for the native fauna.
So, I bring you the before and the current. With the ever-evolving changes, there won’t ever be an “after”.
2006: enter the front gate
2013 the house is well hidden:
2007 the front yard:
2013 Wax Myrtles are allowed to grow, a sycamore and others were added:
2006 from the kitchen door:
2013, A parking pad/patio and a few plants added:
2013, a look down that driveway:
2006, the pond was a blank slate:
2013, natural restoration surrounds a pathway and new beauty:
2006 looking southwest:
2013 (note how fast an oak tree grew from a bird planted acorn):
2006 looking northwest over adjacent properties:
2013, a fence to separate the back and front and allowing some retoration provides a little more privacy:
2006, Looking from the house toward the back:
2013 shows a little more color and depth:
I would like to thank all of you for your thoughtful comments and conversation starters. I’ve learned so much from you, which makes you all a part of my new and improved beautiful wildlife garden.
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