SCCF’s Native Landscapes & Garden Center had a successful re-opening on Jan. 24, welcoming dozens of customers and educating people about the importance of planting native.
Also at the Garden Center were free mangrove seedlings and pots, which SCCF Coastal Watch’s Adopt-A-Mangrove program invites local community members to take and nurture at their homes. The adopted plants will eventually be returned to SCCF and planted at one of SCCF’s many shoreline restoration sites this year.
“We’re thrilled to be welcoming the public back to our garden center,” said Adult Education Director Jenny Evans. “With so many landscapes cleared from Hurricane Ian, now is the right time to educate people about the importance of native plants.”
Because native plants are adapted to the local environment, they provide more value to local wildlife, including insects, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals.
“Their nectar and seeds provide food, and their leaves provide shelter,” Evans said. “Native plants also tend to require less water, pesticides, and herbicides, and their deep root systems help slow down runoff, absorb stormwater, and compete against invasive plants.”
For Sanibel resident Carol Fey, the decision to plant native was easy.
“We have a huge property that’s now essentially a blank canvas after the hurricane. We used to have grass and it wasn’t working, so we’re planning to plant all native groundcover,” Fey said. “It’s the right thing to do for the environment.”
The Native Landscapes & Garden Center is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. It’s located on the historic Bailey Homestead Preserve at 1300 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL.