Ocala Area – Florida-Friendly Landscaping
The United States is made up of a wide variety of climates and terrains. When you move from one area of the country to another, you may find that what grew in your yard before is not going to work now. If you are an avid gardener, you will likely enjoy the challenge of designing a landscape with a new collection of plants. But if you are always on the go (as are many residents of On Top of the World Communities) or if you would rather be doing anything else than yard work, you too can rest easy. With knowledge of the local plants, you can create a simple yet attractive landscape that makes you and Mother Nature happy.
According to Southern Living, Ocala/Marion County lies within the Coastal South climate zone and Zone 9 of the American Horticultural Society’s Plant Heat Zone. With relatively few days below freezing in the winter, plenty of sunshine year round and a good dose of rain in the summer, there are a myriad of plants that can be grown in this area.
The South is certainly known for its camellias, azaleas, magnolias, crepe myrtles, hydrangea and gardenias, and Ocala is no exception. The colorful and fragrant blooms of these southern standards enhance the garden outside and make for a beautiful bouquet of cut flowers indoors. For tips on growing these varieties, visit the Southern Living web site.
When you live at On Top of the World Communities, your landscape can feature all the colors of the rainbow: red amaryllis, pink zinnia, orange impatiens, yellow lantana, green echeveria, blue hydrangea and purple pansies, just to name a few. But flowers are not the only plants that can add color to your garden. Trees and shrubs with fruits, berries or colorful foliage add visual interest as well.
To attract wildlife to your yard (the good kind, that is…), consider planting a butterfly garden or adding plants that draw birds. With some attention given to the plants they prefer, you can create a haven for them in your garden. For butterflies, choose plants that provide food and shelter for the larvae as well as the adults. Caterpillars are partial to butterfly weed, snapdragon, sunflowers, pentas, and hibiscus among others. Adult butterflies looking for nectar will enjoy butterfly weed, snapdragon and pentas as well. However, for variety you can also add lantana, lilies and verbena. Hummingbirds are also looking for nectar. To make your garden a paradise for hummingbirds add plants such as morning glory vine, iris, firebush, aloe, bottlebrush and honeysuckle. Songbirds looking for berries and a place for nesting will delight in the following: American elderberry and firethorn bushes, honeysuckle vine and trees such as magnolia, maple, sweet gum and oak. And, of course, all will appreciate a water source.
On Top of the World Communities is a Florida-friendly landscaped community. It is important to us that we take care of our environment by using native plants and water conserving techniques in our landscape designs, whether for the individual yards of homeowners or in the common areas of the community. In addition, the Landscape Superintendent of On Top of the World publishes a monthly column in the resident newspaper educating homeowners on various topics related to lawn care, fertilization, irrigation, flowering plants and more. The Florida Yards & Neighborhoods web site also provides a wealth of information for the Florida gardener, including a lengthy list of links to relevant resources.