Our spring gardening elective team worked wonders in the gardens. They finished out the year by installing the second nativeplant garden in the courtyard outside of the first grade classrooms. This native garden replaced an area where the prior plants were non-nativeplants. Leslie Pierpont, St. Mark's neighbor and grandmother of PreK-II student, Palmer R., and former owner of Native and Uncommon plants, designed the new bed utilizing nativeplants.
Students in this elective course learned about the importance of native plants. Here are some highlights:
Plants are considered native if they were here before the Europeans arrived on the scene.
Nativeplants provide food for birds, bees, and insects.
They provide habitats for birds.
They help conserve water.
Nativeplants don’t need lots of fertilizer, pesticides, and insecticides.
Nativeplants increase biodiversity.
The new plants have lots of berries for birds and will require less upkeep from our maintenance team.
The new bed includes Walter's Viburnum and a Chickasaw Plum. In addition to this new bed, native milkweed plants were added to the bed that was planted during Phase I in December. Both of the beds are mulched with pine straw (which is native and not artificially colored or harvested from wetlands) and infuses soil with valuable nutrients as it decomposes.
Many plants that grow well in Florida are not nativeplants.
Native milkweed dies back around or before Thanksgiving. Tropical milkweeds continue to bloom and look wonderful. The problem? Monarchs aren’t finishing their fall migration because milkweed is available. The solution? Cut back tropical milkweed around Thanksgiving to encourage them to move on.