This summer, the SCCF Native Landscapes & Garden Center gave a landscaping facelift to the entry area of the Sanibel Sea School’s main building with a diversity of drought-tolerant species. They also require less maintenance, are slower growing, and are more appropriately sized for the space.
The rich array benefits wildlife, too. Bahama cassia (Senna mexicana var. chapmanii) is a larval host plant for sulphur butterflies while bay cedar (Suriana maritima) is a larval host plant for the mallow scrub-hairstreak butterfly (Strymon istapa). Bay cedar was also chosen because it is most often found on beach dunes. The fruits of the green thatch palm (Thrinax radiata) are attractive to birds, while coontie (Zamia integrifolia) is a tough, small shrub used to cover the ground and deter weeds.
This new landscape design also increases student safety by providing better visibility from the steps to the parking lots. In addition, a large swath of the invasive Mahoe was removed at the back of Sanibel Sea School’s campus and replaced with a variety of native plantings that, over time, will create shade and a living classroom for students to study native Florida plants and the wildlife habitats they create.