Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Florida Friendly Landscape in downtown Orlando? Believe it!

Orange County Mayor Richard T. Crotty and the Board of Commissioners recently presided over the opening of the Florida Friendly Landscaping Demonstration Garden, installed at the Administration Building on the corner of Jackson Street and South Rosalind Avenue in downtown Orlando.

At the ribbon cutting ceremony, Crotty thanked Lake Eola Charter School students, Watershed Action Volunteers, Orange County Master Gardeners and Florida Native Plant Society Tarflower Chapter members, all of whom assisted Orange County staff members in planting the garden.

The garden provides inspiration to add beauty to our landscapes in a way that conserves water and energy, prevents pollution, preserves Florida’s native plants, and provides wildlife habitat, demonstrating a more practical and beneficial way to landscape.It includes:

• A variety of drought-tolerant native and non-invasive cultivated plants that provide a colorful Florida landscape.

• Plant choices that require minimal water, little fertilizer, and no pesticides.

• A walkway of recycled tires, which allows for groundwater recharge and reduces stormwater runoff.

• Low-impact drip irrigation, used to establish the plantings, that will provide supplemental water during extreme drought conditions.

As our state faces climate change and future water shortages, we all need to find ways to reduce fuel and water consumption.

The garden was made possible in part by the Florida Wildflower Foundation through funds provided by Florida State Wildflower license tag sales, Masuen Consulting LLC, Dobson’s Woods and Water Inc., Rain Bird Corp. and Flexi-PAVE of Central Florida LLC.

For more information on the garden, contact the Environmental Protection Division at (407) 836-1400 or orangetogreen@ocfl.net. For more information on Florida Friendly Landscaping, visit www.floridayards.org or contact the Orange County Cooperative Extension, 6021 South Conway Road, Orlando; (407) 254-9200.

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