Free seminar in Fort Myers: Gardening for Wildlife

  • August 30, 2014 · 9:30 AM
  • This location is shown only to members

Among the many pleasures we derive from our gardens, one of the most enjoyable is how they attract beautiful birds, butterflies and many other wild creatures to our property, where we can admire them up close. This greatly increases our enjoyment, making us feel much closer to nature. We also feel good about providing homes, foods and nesting sites for our local wildlife, to counter the continual erosion of their natural habitats.

At this seminar, we'll learn how to attract more of the animals we'd like to see by adding appropriate plants and other features to our gardens. Our instructor will be John Sibley, who frequently gives talks about gardening for wildlife to other groups. John is a Master Gardener, and is very active in several environmentally focused organizations, especially as host for the National Wildlife Federation's Backyard Wildlife Habitat program.

During this presentation, John will show us dozens of live plants, all native to Florida and ideally suited for this semi-tropical environment. We'll learn which plants attract which butterflies, birds, raccoons, opossums, tortoises and other interesting creatures. We'll ask questions and get informative answers, both during and after the talk.

This program will take place in the All Native Garden Center, which John founded 14 years ago, specializing in native Florida drought-tolerant plants. The seminar will be conducted in the air-conditioned conference room, pictured here. After the discussion we can move into one of the adjoining tents for our club's traditional snack-and-chat session, sharing the foods and drinks that members bring to these events. In another tent we'll set up our usual free plant-exchange table. Members who bring their excess plants for the table can take home other plants for their own gardens.

The program will end with John giving us a guided tour around the garden center to show us the wide variety of plants that will thrive in our gardens. Note that the All Native Garden Center is the latest of 16 local nurseries and other businesses that give our members discounts on all purchases at all times. This would be a good time to stock up on native Florida plants at bargain prices. Seven knowledgeable employees will answer your questions, and can help you place the heavier plants in your car. Details of the discounts are on our club's web site, accessed by clicking on this green link for our list of Sponsors.

To let other club members and our host know if you will or won't attend this seminar, just scroll up to the RSVP link near the upper right corner of the screen, and click either Yes or No. Visitors are always welcome at these free events, so you can invite interested friends and neighbors to come along. If you do, please include the number when you submit your RSVP. There's plenty of space on the newly surfaced parking lot, so there's no need to carpool--unless you prefer company during the drive. For a preview of the plants you'll see here, visit the web site of the All Native Garden Center.

The talk starts at 9:30, so do arrive on time to avoid missing part of the seminar. You can stay later than 11:30 if you have more questions about gardening for wildlife, because John is an acknowledged expert. He was also the native plant expert for the "Florida Landscape" documentary produced by WGCU. He serves on the board of the local chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, the Association of Florida Native Nurseries, the Lee County Overall Extension Service Advisory Board, and the Lee County Roadway Advisory Committee. Come to this seminar to meet him, and to meet some of the many new members who recently joined the club.

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  • Martha

    Very informative. Love that the plants for sale are growing on the grounds so you can see them in their mature form. Staff knowledgeable and work with you to select the right plants for the area you're planting.

    August 31

  • Lynn D.

    We enjoyed learning about the native plants that draw butterflies and birds. We bought a bunch of plants to attract and sustain them. John's presentation was good and the questions from the participants filled in the gaps.

    August 30, 2014

  • Keith B.

    Enjoyed it. Learned a lot.

    August 30, 2014

  • Sandra M. Troy P.

    Sooooo much wonderful information delivered with humor!

    1 · August 30, 2014

  • Linda

    Lots of great info on native plants good for birds, bees, butterflies and humans.

    1 · August 30, 2014

  • Marlene R.

    I would absolutely go to this if I could. I know John and he is really knowledgeable. PLUS, he is fun. So, this presentation will not only teach you a lot about inviting wildlife into your yard, but you'll have a lot of fun, too.

    August 29, 2014

  • Linda

    I bought this plant (profile pic) for $2 at a garage sale. The guy told me it's a hibiscus. It doesn't look like any hibiscus I've ever seen. Does anyone know what it is??? Thanks, Linda

    August 25, 2014

    • Nicole

      Cranberry hibiscus, edible :)

      August 25, 2014

    • Linda

      Nicole, thank you! I've got another (profile pic)...Any idea? The guy told me, but I don't remember.

      August 25, 2014

  • Jo

    I am bummed to miss this one. I add my voice to doing this one again for those who can't make this one.

    August 24, 2014

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