Jim and I have transformed several garden spaces before, including a 1/4 acre at our prior home in South Florida. As you can see from the picture below, all the plants except several palm trees in our back garden were unhealthy and overgrown. In our first phase, we replaced the overgrown, unhealthy plants with new plants in the six feet behind our patio.
After one year, the first phase of our Coastal Garden has filled in nicely. We are already seeing more birds, butterflies, and other pollinators in the garden. Planting the right plants, including natives in the right locations will ensure you have a beautiful garden that is easy to maintain and requires less water. When shopping for plants, look for long-lived perennials that will work with the amount of sunlight the area receives throughout the day. Finally, because we’re 1.5 blocks from the ocean, we purchased plants that are salt-spray tolerant.
Most of the plants in our garden produce flowers for butterflies and other pollinators, as well as berries for the birds. Below is a list of the plants we used in our garden:
- Bahama Wild Coffee (Native)
- Jamaican Caper (Native)
- Bahama Firebush
- Marlberry (Native)
- Spiderwort (Native)
- Beach Creeper (Native)
- Horizontal Cocoplum (Native)
- White Begonia odorata alba
- Coontie (Native)
- Red Firespike
We prefer to use plants that require no pesticides and very little fertilizer. I asked our HOA’s property manager to ensure that our garden is not sprayed with pesticides or liquid fertilizers. Pesticides are harmful to wildlife, seep into our waterways and kill seagrass. Seagrass is a food source for Manatees, which are an endangered species in South Florida. Finally, we prefer slow-release granular fertilizers, which provide nutrients to plants over an extended period. This type of fertilizer allows us to use it less frequently – and prevents nutrients from leaving our landscape and entering waterways, contributing to harmful algal blooms and other water quality problems.
In addition to the natives, we planted a few non-native plants, including Flax, Red Firespike, and White Begonia odorata alba. Flax adds interesting variegation to the garden but is susceptible to Rust fungus, which we are treating with an anti-fungal spray. If we don’t see improvement, we will probably replace the Flax with Horizonal Cocoplum. The Red Firespike attracts butterflies all year and hummingbirds during the spring. Finally, we added two White Begonia odorata alba plants because we’ve had them in our last two gardens.
Pictured below are one male and two female Painted Buntings, which visit our garden every Winter thanks to the feeder filled with White Millet. Be sure to clean your feeder before refilling each time to avoid spreading disease to birds that visit it.
We added some functional touches to the garden, including small black granite rocks for a practical path outside of our back patio. We’ve also added rocks around the front foundation, as well as landscape borders to keep mulch inside our landscape beds. Visit your local nursery to find native perennials that are right for your garden.
The pictures below are from the garden in our last home, which you can read more about in the link below: https://majesticmeadows.blog/2018/10/17/a-garden-should-welcome-a-soul/.
Hopefully our garden will inspire you to add native plants to your own garden. Please share this post with friends and be sure to subscribe below to receive additional ideas for your garden and interior spaces:
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