Seaside, FL is well known for being the birthplace for the New Urbanist Movement, it’s iconic architecture and all of its white picket fences but it has also always been completely landscaped with native plants, a more economical and sustainable landscape choice.
30 years ago when visionary developer, Robert Davis, began to develop the 80 acres of coastal scrub land he inherited from his grandfather, it made financial sense to him to landscape Seaside with native plants which are plants that are naturally indigenous to the area. He made the “scruffy look” a charming virtue in contrast to the manicured look of Florida’s subdivisions, by explaining to buyers the reduced maintenance costs of natives needing no irrigation and very little attention. In those days this philosophy didn’t even have a name. Today we call it Xeriscaping.
All of our homes and the environment can benefit from Robert’s trail blazing decision. When deciding which plants to use in your landscape simply head to your local garden center and ask to see the plants that are native to your zone. Another great resource online is WildOnes.org for native plants and natural landscapes.
When planning your landscape, consider using native plants first. Make Earth Day, every day and let’s heal the Earth one yard at a time.
References from my library:
For more information on Seaside, FL, check out the comprehensive book, Visions of Seaside by Dhiru A. Thadani. And, a GREAT book on getting started using native plants in your landscape, including lists of native plants for regional habitats, Bringing Nature Home by Douglas Tallamy.