Wednesday, August 17, 2016, 7:00 PM
Presented by Wally Wilder
Wally Wilder, a self-educated horticulturalist, will present "Wild Orchids of Florida" at the Suncoast Native Plant Society monthly meeting in August. Wilder will discuss his wild orchid adventures and share more than 60 photographs of orchids, ranging from common varieties, such as the SNPS logo orchid, Encyclia tampensis, to those that are more rare, including one he discovered in the Ocala National Forest last year.
Florida is home to 110 native orchid species, and Wilder seen 80 or 90 of them. He is highly regarded as a leading expert on orchids by horticulturalists throughout the world.
Wally became interested in orchids when he went rambling in the woods where he was raised in Apopka, Florida. Discovering unusual plants – especially orchids – “gave me something to look at instead of just walking,” he said. He recalls discovering his first orchid in the mid-1970s, and he hasn't stopped.
In Florida, Wilder has worked with Fakahatchee Strand Preserve in its efforts to restore native orchid species. He also providing equipment to the Soroa Botanical Gardens in Cuba to enable them to grow ochids from seed.
The Suncoast Native Plant Society meets every third Wednesday at 7 pm at the Hillsborough County Extension, 5339 County Rd 579, Seffner. (813) 679-5597. Free. Light refreshments. A plant auction follows the presentation. For more information visit suncoast.fnpschapters.org.
The Suncoast Native Plant Society has adopted the native plant garden at the new home of the Plant City Community Garden and Teaching Garden. This is an amazing place with so much potential for the community both as a botanical showcase and educational center for sustainable food and landscaping.
This month’s fieldtrip will be a tour of the Gardens. Due to the summer heat, we will meet at the Gardens at 9 am, and plan to be there only 1 hour, then we will head over to the Corner Store for “brunch.” The Corner Store offers a variety of fresh, healthy food and many vegetarian options.
Presently the site consists of a variety of “gardens” representing native and non-native flora, as well as a common area where individuals grow their own food. There is also a large green house and outside meeting space. This combination of resources will provide the public the opportunity to see the plants, to learn about the benefits of eco-friendly landscaping and how to grow their own food. They would even be invited to become active participants by purchasing their own garden plot, or through workshops and hands-on activities on the native landscaping.
SNPS members Gar and Eileen Reed have been maintaining the garden since we adopted it earlier this year, but we want to get more members involved so we can expand the native areas. Personally, I believe this site could be the first true “Botanical Garden” in Hillsborough County, and surpass other botanical gardens as an educational hub for environmental education.
Karen Elizabeth of the Plant City Community Gardens, will also be on hand to give a short talk on the food and garden plots. Community Gardens share many of the core values of the native plant society, such as encouraging diversity, protecting the environment, and strengthening the community by creating a green economy. Furthermore, they “prioritize the use of Florida native plants for ornamental plantings as the best plant material for conserving Florida’s unique ecosystem.”