Horticulture Blog

Archive - November 2012

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Learning how to use productive plants to enhance your home, sustain birds, and preserve biodiversity

Wed, Nov 21, 2012 at 08:55:16 AM

On December 8th (1:30 pm) & 9th (1:00 pm) Doug Tallamy, author of "Bringing Nature Home: Using Native Plants to Sustain Wildlife in our Gardens" will be speaking at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden's Butterfly Days.  His talks will be in the Garden House.  I know many people are interested in attracting birds, butterflies and other wildlife into their gardens. I read his book a couple years ago, and am delighted he will be here.  Jennifer Davit, former FTBG Conservatory Manager, has heard Doug speak in Chicago and highly recommends him as a dynamic speaker on a very important topic. 

Because our gardens and managed landscapes are large parts of the ecosystems that sustain bird populations, we must keep them in working order. To do that we can no longer view plants only as ornaments but must consider all of their roles when selecting them for our gardens. Tallamy will discuss the important roles native plants play in maintaining food webs vital to birds in our landscapes, emphasize the benefits of designing gardens with these roles in mind, and explore the consequences of failing to do so. Landscaping in this crowded world carries both moral and ecological responsibilities that we can no longer ignore.

Successful butterfly gardens provide both nectar sources for adult butterflies and host plants for the larval stages of butterflies. It often comes as a surprise that many butterfly host plants are native woody plant species not typically used in butterfly gardens.  Tallamy will discuss these principles as well as the fascinating butterfly behavior you will enjoy if you provide the proper host plants in your garden



Exciting News

Mon, Nov 19, 2012 at 07:03:34 AM

Just a sampling of the amazing Chapungu stone sculptures in the lowlands


I must admit that this is my favorite time of year, both here at Fairchild and South Florida in general.  Days are cooler, the garden is gorgeous and the days of heat and humidity are in the past.  This summer has been a whirlwind of activity in the horticulture department.  All the planting inside and outside of  the Clinton Family Conservatory (Wings of the Tropics) has been finished and now butterflies from Costa Rica and Asia are being released into the conservatory.

I've been a lover of insects all my life and the Wings of the Tropics exhibit is becoming so incredibly wonderful with exotic butterflies fluttering among the beautiful flowering nectar plants.  The blue Morpho butterflies are one of my favorites. 

As a member of the hort staff, I've been fortunate to be able to watch the release into the Wings of the Tropics Conservatory of some of the amazing butterflies from Costa Rica and Asia.  Butterflies of many different colors, shapes and sizes are now calling 'Wings of the Tropics' their home.

Last week I witnessed the release of three pairs of hummingbirds into 'Wings'.  So amazing!  The birds immediately flew to flowers and began sipping nectar.  They were raised in captivity in Arizona, so they are quite tame and hovered quite close to people.  We hope that the hummingbirds will begin nesting in 'Wings'  this January to produce a new generation of birds for the conservatory.

The grand opening of the Science Village complex will be on December 1.  See www.fairchildgarden.org for further details.