Growing your garden in the wake of Hurricane Ian

Reporter: Elizabeth Biro Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

If you want to save time and money on your landscaping, native plants are a great tool and way to go.

Many of us are working hard to bring our lawns back to life after Hurricane Ian and amid the recent dry weather.

“What do I do now I’ve lost a majority of my landscape,” Barbara Horvath, a City of Sanibel vegetation committee volunteer, said.

To keep your lawn beautiful, Horvath thinks native plants can be very helpful.

“Because once they’re established, you don’t have to be concerned with fertilization, they can take drought, so that is less work for you,” Horvath said.

Veronica Runge’s favorite is the Jamaica Caper. The conservation officer describes its Starburst-like flowers as beautiful. They also attract more beautiful creatures to your home.

“It provides a great hedge, lots of flowers, so it’s great for pollinators. And then the seed pods are great for a lot of birds that benefit from that type of food,” Runge said.

For that reason, Runge also recommends Cat’s Claw.

“You want to make sure you have a very diverse system to fulfill all the ecosystem services that you might have on your property while giving you that beautiful aesthetic,” Runge said. “A lot of these species would provide fruit for specific birds that have very intricate bills. And then the fruit also encourages insect-eating birds to come also.”

Plant life to help your yard. CREDIT: WINK News

And don’t pull the plug too early on your plants.

“We have to be patient I was concerned that I had lost one of my native trees and just two days ago I went out looked, and I actually have some green buds starting,” Horvath said.

“Work with the landscape you have, because the tree that that’s already there might be decades old, and it’s going to provide the most habitat for wildlife and the shade,” Runge said.

But if you do have to start over, coming at it from a variety standpoint is a great place to branch out from.

“When you replant back you want 75% native 25% ornamental or exotic, and it keeps a nice balance,” Horvath said.

Balance, beauty, and a barrier to help protect our natural habitats.

Click here for more information on what plants to use, how they benefit, and how to care for them.

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