A great article by Donna Shelly for the South Miami Town Center magazine, now called SOMi…. Look for a copy around town.
Contact Donna for freelance writing @ email@example.com
Going “green” to reduce greenhouse gasses, shrink the size of our carbon footprint and wean ourselves off an insatiable thirst for petroleum involves a wide variety of potential solutions. In some cases, the remedies are complicated and costly; in others, they are straight-forward and downright economical.
We would like to share some of those environmentally-responsible practices with you through a series of columns over the next year. We hope to inspire you to adopt new habits and make informed choices for a healthier planet. And we want to hear from you. Tell us your success stories and share your greening tips with us and the readers of SoMi Mag.
The choices you make regarding what you plant in your backyard or on your balcony can have a profound impact on the environment. That is especially true in our neck of the woods where certain exotic plants, freed from the ravages of frost, went from being pretty to being a pest. In some cases these species were brought here decades ago to dress-up the native scrub, sand and palmetto landscape. The list of invasive-exotic flora is quite extensive in Florida. In SoMi, we fight two of the State’s most noxious plants: rosary pea vine (Abrus precatorius), with enough poison in one pea to kill a human and Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius), a particularly adaptive member of the sumac family that thrives in all eco-systems from hammock to mangrove swamp.
Selecting appropriate landscape materials can save water, reduce the need for pesticide and fertilizers, and make gardening a whole lot easier for you. Not bad when you think of it—cheaper, less work, and good for the environment.
To start “Going Native,” we recommend some websites that are packed with great information about native, non-native and invasive plant life, xeriscaping, integrated pest management, composting, capturing rain water for irrigation, and more. (Narrative wc = 309)
www.floridaplants.com Is chock full of information. Warning! You could spend hours here.
www.ifas.ufl.edu This is the University of Florida’s site with particulars about plants that help you make an informed decision before venturing out to your local plant nursery.
www.floridanativeplants.com Florida Native Plants descriptions and prices
www.floridagardener.com Listing and links for many Florida Native Plant providers
www.afnn.org Association of Florida Native Nurseries
www.fnps.org The Florida Native Plant Society
www.nsis.org Your Florida Backyard with a lot of information about all aspects of gardening in Florida, including how to attract butterflies.
www.compostinfor.com Florida’s Online Composting Center
www.miamidade.gov/conservation/rain_barrel.asp Rain barrel workshop information
www.davesgarden.com Make your own rain barrel, with pictures to help you along.
Where are the real green homes? Today’s homes, even when designed to be “green” are much larger than earlier homes and have a much smaller household. Even with efficiency improvements, they are much more wasteful and generate more emissions than the smaller homes of the 50s.