Harvey’s eco-garden options array of blossoms, butterflies, bees, bugs

By Lee Wardlaw

ORANGE PARK – Frances Harvey is an eco-gardener with a person big system.

Harvey, who has lived in Orange Park for 15 many years, was very first determined to commence a back garden following having a workshop over 10 years back from Horticulture Agent and Master Gardener Wayne Hobbs at the UF/IFAS Clay County Extension place of work.

Since laying the framework for her back garden in 2012, Harvey now has accumulated a list of 35 plant species, with a seemingly in no way-ending list of shrubs and greens, which include the Florida state wildflower, Coreopsis, seaside sunflowers, milkweed, Arizona Sunlight, Aztec Grass, Muhly Grass, Mondo Grass, Wild Verbena, Japanese Blueberry, quite a few types of Salvia, Tickseed, Hibiscus, Purple Fountain Grass and more.

The backyard offers some of Harvey’s veggies, with vegetation these types of as bananas and yuccas. But that’s just the beginning of the majestic powers of the 50 %-acre in the center of town.

The plants appeal to an array of animals, and all included engage in a vital job in heading on to aid the setting, which includes at any time-vital insect species, an array of colorful dragonflies, lovely ladybugs and, most importantly, pollinators this kind of as the Monarch and Zebra Longwing butterflies, along with a lengthy-ranging wide range of bees.

There also are a collection of other popular birds, animals and reptiles that routinely the backyard garden these kinds of as bluebirds, cardinals, crows, mockingbirds and the majestic swallow-tailed kite, alongside with other regional critters like frogs, squirrels, owls and hawks.

All crops involved not only play a part in serving to ever-significant pollinators as the honeybee prosper, but that’s just the beginning of the magic that a thoroughly-taken care of front lawn or backyard can provide, no matter how modest the space. Harvey’s entire parcel is .23 acres, with her front garden back garden only accounting for 10% of the full acreage.

“You can help you save cash. My h2o bill is pretty, very small. I really don’t have to have a lawn assistance for my entrance lawn, and that functions for a great deal of people,” she stated.

But that is not all: establishing a backyard garden can even enhance the worth of your home, she mentioned.

“It can improve your curb appeal,” Harvey stated.

Her gardens have strengthened spouse and children bonds, which can undoubtedly be achieved in an space that receives far more than 270 days of sunshine yearly.

“Just start out compact with a butterfly backyard garden. You can start off compact. It is an prospect,” she said.

To get started your back garden, you can get quick-to-comply with directions from the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Method at the Extension Place of work, which delivers an great resource on how to start off cultivating eco-pleasant plants that go on to defend the surroundings. Clay County residents can find out far more by next this backlink: https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/miami-dade/landscapes–gardening/florida-yards-and-neighborhoods-fyn/.

Hobbs’ lecture surely went on to inspire Harvey, but her biggest improve came when she adopted the exercise of all-natural landscaping – a school of assumed that has been championed by Doug Tallamy, an American entomologist, ecologist and conservationist author.

Hobbs co-established Homegrown Nationwide Park, a nonprofit with a grassroots mission of regenerating biodiversity and ecosystem purpose simply because each human being on this earth requires assorted and highly successful ecosystems to survive.

The organization’s contact to motion is to catalyze a collective energy of specific owners, residence entrepreneurs, land administrators, farmers and any one with soil to begin a new habitat by planting indigenous crops and eradicating invasive vegetation. Intending to plant 20 million native seedlings, it is the premier cooperative conservation project ever conceived or tried.

Harvey’s backyard participates in the nonprofit’s phone to action, and she referred to as on all other county inhabitants to do the exact.

“There’s 60 million acres of backyards in the (United States), and substantially of that is unused,” she claimed.

She not only hopes that Clay inhabitants will assist her in doing the nonprofit’s mission but also envisions the county as a prospective hub for the gardening earth in the condition of Florida.

“I would like to see Clay County develop into the yard capital of Florida. I have grown pineapples, blueberries and asparagus. It relies upon on the soil, but this could be a place of satisfaction for our county,” she claimed. “You’re executing fantastic for the ecosystem. It’s for the manatees, monarchs, and bumblebees, and you can get the youngsters included and absent from the electronics.”

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