THE BUTTERFLY GARDENER
e drove through the gated entry,
passing one nice home after another,
all on oversized lots with
monotonous, mostly turf-intensive landscapes
with a tropicals planted for color.
Certainly not the worst we’ve seen in Palm
Beach County, and at the back of the neighborhood,
mature South Florida Slash Pines
were still standing. So we kept the faith. We
were, after all, on a Florida Native Plant Society
landscape tour and destined to see a
Real Florida landscape any minute.
At our destination, we were excited to see
a long line of parked cars. We got even more
excited talking to folks arriving to take the
tour – many In their 30s and 40s, and representing
the diversity found in South
Florida’s human population. One Hispanic
couple really surprised us, revealing that
they maintain separate homes because they
have different habits, including landscape
styles. “I do what I want to mine yard,”
said the husband, “and thank goodness for
that,” the wife responded. The two did agree
on one thing: the native Sunshine Mimosa
was a nice groundcover. “I can put it where
the grass doesn’t grow,” the wife said. “Yes,”
said the husband.
We walked with them to the table at the
driveway and handed in our tickets. Susan
Lerner, the president of the Palm Beach
County Chapter of the Florida Native Plant
Society (FNPS), introduced us to her team
of volunteers, including Master Gardeners
and others from FNPS, the local Audubon
Society chapter and the local chapter of
NABA, the North American Butterfly Association.
Gardeners and nature lovers excitedly
explained both the plants and the
critters that attendees were seeing, pointing
Buffie Judd, Butterfly Gardener, has transformed
her lifeless turfgrass yard into a Real Florida haven
for wildlife, including dozens of different butterfly
and bird species.
A beautiful silvery hedge of Sea Lavender, Heliotropium gnaphalodes, in front of a mixed privacy screen planting of shrubs and small trees. Buffie’s yard has
several mature South Florida Slash Pines, Pinus elliottii var. densa, but she has planted a young one, center right, because there’s always room for one more.
20 | GUIDE FOR REAL FLORIDA GARDENERS FALL 2018 FANN/Florida Association of Native Nurseries