For Susan Lerner, president of the Palm Beach County Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, there’s more power in native flowers. Her organization is having its annual Native Plant Garden Tour Oct. 2, which she hopes will inspire residents to see the value in native plants, flowers and trees.
From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., tour participants can visit six gardens featuring flora and fauna native to the Sunshine State. The Wilson garden in Delray Beach and the Casamento, Martin, Tramell, Balosie and Furman gardens in Boca Raton will be part of the tour.
“Florida native plants create sustainable landscapes,” Lerner said. “Our mission is to promote preservation, conservation and restoration. Without native plants, you lose the natural food chain and things start to deteriorate. In this age of droughts, bees dying and global warming, I want the Palm Beach County Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society to be a steward for saving the planet.”
One of the challenges Lerner said native plants have faced is the desire for people who move here to have something familiar planted from where they used to live.
“People come to Florida and often want plants that are grown in other places,” she said. “They want something very colorful and that feels tropical, but isn’t from here and this does absolutely nothing to help our local species of butterflies and other animals.”
For the tour, Lerner said a docent will be present at each garden to answer questions and assist tour participants with tips and advice on how to plant native plants and trees at their own homes.
“The tour will be a great way for people to educate themselves on native species,” she said.
This year, for the first time, the chapter is also having a photo contest.
“Submission and contest details will be available at every garden,” Lerner said. “The first prize winner will also receive a free one-year membership in FNPS and the winning photograph will be displayed as ‘Image of the Month’ at the entrance to the Palm Beach Photographic Centre Museum in downtown West Palm Beach.”
Judy Tramell will be exhibiting the garden at her Boca Raton home.
“I have Gumbo Limbo, mahogany, firebush and wild coffee among the more than 70 varieties of native flowers and trees in our garden,” she said.
Tramell was inspired several years ago to transform her yard after attending a lecture by Doug Tallamy at an FNPS annual conference.
“I’ve always understood how we’ve disrupted our natural environment and I wanted to do more in my own yard to protect native plants for bees and other species,” she said.
Admission is $10 and free for children age 13 and under. The tour is self-guided and may begin at any of the six homes listed on the tour website, Palmbeach.fnpschapters.org/2016gardentour. Call 561-247-3677.