06 January 2005

Sterile landscapes vs. Floravista-scapes

Everywhere you drive in Florida you see endless sun-beaten lawns punctuated by a sporadic palm and edged by wall-like hedges and splats of neon-colored Impatiens. Some of these lawns are overgrown and complicated by weeds; others are lush, almost blue-green, perfect, mono-specific expanses of one scientifically created turf cultivar. Amazement arises at the time, cost, water, chemicals, and energy spent to create a perfectly sterile lawn. The scientifically created turf cultivars are products of decades of government-funded and private research. Compared to their predecessors, the latest lawn cultivars may resist weeds or respond better to lawn maintenance practices, however, these scientific inventions consume intensive resources and sometimes harm the environment. Such manicured lawns may only supercede a sterile paved or built surface in environmental benefit measures. What a poor condition with which to compete for a so-called landscape.

Were these lawns part of old Florida, part of the natural Florida heritage? Is this what Florida is supposed to look like?

Floravista-scapes, alternatively, re-create the picturesque landscapes of real Florida. Natural assemblages of fascinating native plant species, organized by architectural elements, such as paths, observation points, water features, recreation areas, seating, grottos, bridges, and arbors, can form a lush, tranquil oasis. Not only an oasis for us, but an oasis for birds, butterflies, and wildlife. Each oasis, or habitat, that a Florivista-scape preserves or creates, cumulatively enriches and preserves Florida's namesake and rich natural heritage.


At 8:42 AM, Blogger Dicerandra T Cowboy said...

I agree totally and have plans on addressing that in my own yard. I have some native trees but can do more.
I feel strongly that as more and more habitat is consumed by bulldozers, what people do in the own yards becomes more important, especially to our dwindling migratory upland bird population. These birds travel thousands of miles from their summer nesting grounds to their wintering grounds to the south, and expend an incredible amount of energy doing so. Here in Florida along the Atlantic Flyway, we have considerable wetlands protection mandates. This protects some species but is exclusionary of others. Unfortunately our critical uplands habitats are currently being hammered by the largest development boom ever seen, and just the few native trees in my yard get quite a few avian visitors feeding every year.


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