Get the Dirt

Great information on native plants, growing vegetables and attracting butterflies for the florida gardener.

So you have a little plot of earth and maybe you want to cultivate something. But what? And where do you turn for information? Check out this collection of books to help you navigate what to plant, when and where. 

1-Native Wildflowers and Other
Ground Covers for Florida Landscapes 

By Craig N. Huegel
Published in 2012, this book is a wealth of information, with sections devoted to ferns, grasses, and wildflowers, plus landscape maintenance and where to get plants. It’s also illustrated with color photographs, which is useful for identification. Huegel, an ecologist, is co-founder of the Urban Wildlife Program at the University of Florida.

2-Florida’s Edible Wild Plants: A Guide to Collecting and Cooking
By Peggy Sias Lantz
A Florida Master Naturalist, Lantz gives tips on how to locate, identify, and prepare delicious, edible plants that may be growing in your own yard. Easy to read and illustrated with sketches and photographs. There’s even a cookbook section with almost 25 pages of recipes. 

3-Attracting Hummingbirds and Butterflies in Tropical Florida: A Companion for Gardeners
By Roger L. Hammer
An author and naturalist, Hammer outlines the best gardening techniques to draw butterflies and hummingbirds to your yard. Although the book focuses on tropical South Florida, many of Hammer’s suggestions can be applied to Central Florida, as long as you provide your garden with frost protection in the winter months.

4-Native Florida Plants for Shady Landscapes
By Craig N. Huegel
Huegel’s most recent book addresses the challenges and advantages of having a shady landscape. Chapters cover shade-loving understory trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants. The author also discusses expanding garden possibilities, such as creating small wetlands, using pots, and incorporating pathways and sitting areas.

5-The New Southern Living Garden Book
Edited by Steve Bender
At 768 pages, this is a comprehensive reference book for any Southern gardener. Filled with pages of beautiful color photos, the book covers annuals, perennials, trees, vines, grasses, ground covers and more. There’s an A to Z section on plants, plus tips on how to amend your soil, pruning, lawn-scaping, growing herbs and gardening checklists for each season.

6-Florida Fruit & Vegetable Gardening/Plant, Grow, and Harvest the Best Edibles
By Robert Bowden
Executive director of Harry P. Leu Gardens in Orlando, Bowden weighs in on basics, such as site placement, to more complex issues, like germinating seeds. Easy to follow, this hands-on book provides valuable information and growing tips on everything from beans to watermelon. Plus, there are sections on growing  fruits, handling pests, and more. 

-You’ll find most of these books and others at Bookmark It at East End Market, Orlando.

Categories: Advice, Gardening