Are you looking for a unique way to explore the natural beauty of Central Florida? If so, you may want to consider taking a tour of the many gardens and landscapes featuring native plants. From arid gardens to perennial test gardens, there are plenty of opportunities to learn about the diverse range of plants that thrive in this region. The Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS) is a great resource for finding upcoming garden tours and other events. Many of their chapters sponsor visits to local gardens, and they often offer at least one garden tour as part of their annual conference.
These tours are a great way to see what FNPS members are doing to create nature-friendly landscapes. To find out about upcoming tours, keep an eye on the FNPS calendar, as well as the websites and social media accounts of local chapters. You can also check out some of the most popular gardens in Central Florida, such as the Arid Garden and the Perennial Test Garden. The Arid Garden is home to a wide variety of drought-tolerant plants, including acacias, agaves, aloes, bromeliads, cacti, flowering trees, palm trees, succulents, and yuccas.
Meanwhile, the Perennial Test Garden is full of temperate and tropical perennials from around the world that have been evaluated for suitability as landscape plants in Florida. Jonnie Spitler is a great example of someone who has used native plants to transform their landscape. When they moved to their home in Land O' Lakes, their yard lacked native plants and wildlife. After joining the Nature Coast Chapter of FNPS, however, Spitler began to make changes.
They planted poisonous fleas on the edge of their front yard – a plant that some people see as a weed while others see it as a wildflower – and added other native plants to attract bees, butterflies, birds, and other creatures. The Exploration Gardens at Leu Gardens in Orlando are another great place to explore native plants in Central Florida. The total exhibition contains more than 150 different vines, many with striking flowers that are suitable for Central Florida's climate. You'll find tropical and subtropical plants such as aroids, bananas, birds of paradise, traveler's trees, bromeliads, calatheas, tropical conifers, crotons, gingers, heliconias, palm trees, tea plants, ferns, tree ferns, flowering trees, banyan trees, vines and more. The Fruit Tree Garden is also worth checking out. It features many fruit trees that are sensitive to wet feet or grow in soil that is too wet – something that can be an issue in Central Florida due to poor drainage in some areas.
Finally, don't miss the Cycad Collection which showcases more than 50 species suitable for cultivation in Central Florida. If you're looking for an interesting way to explore Central Florida's natural beauty while learning about native plants and wildlife conservation efforts in the area – then be sure to check out some of these amazing gardens!.