Native Plant Landscaping Tour Inspires Gardeners

Rebecca Heidenreich and Jamie Snider represent a new generation of gardeners eager to go native with their plants.

The two young mothers will open their native plant gardens to visitors to the 13th Annual Landscaping Tour with Florida Natives hosted by the local Conradina Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society.

“We are very excited about the two young women on the tour getting involved with native plants for their children and the environment,” said chapter spokesperson Jane Higgins.

Ticket holders can visit the featured locations at their own pace from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, October 15.

This year’s tour includes six homes, a large commercial space, a public space and a Brevard County Environmentally Threatened Lands site for visitors to learn what homeowners and public spaces have done using plants natives in different situations.

Native plants are important for preserving our wildlife, pollinators, and local heritage, while requiring far less maintenance, water, and fertilizer, which benefits our local environment and the Indian River Lagoon.

“My grandmother instilled in me a love of gardening at a very young age,” Heidenreich said.

“I got into native Florida gardening when I took a local herbalism class and the teacher, a fifth-generation Florida girl, strongly encouraged native plants,” she said. .

“It pains me so much when we buy plants from foreign countries to replace native plants that are beautiful, functional and wonderful in their own right! So here I am, three years, over 140 native species later, loving it more every day I love all the life it brings to my yard!

Snider, born and raised in Palm Bay, never thought much about native plants growing up. A Marine for five years, she spent the next 15 as a Marine’s wife, living in barracks, basic housing, or rentals where gardening wasn’t much of an prospect.

“I’ve tried container vegetable gardening and failed miserably every time,” she said.

When Snider and her family returned home to Palm Bay, she was not thrilled with the overgrown shrubs and king palms in her yard, and nearly tore them all up, replacing them with pretty plants found at any nursery.

“What I didn’t know when I started planting was that pretty plants were really not going to do anything for the butterflies I wanted to attract to my garden,” she said.

Snider began researching native plants and, after another gardening program, became almost 100% native.

Like potato chips, native plants can be addictive, as Snider acknowledges.

“I’m addicted to host plants – food for caterpillars to turn into butterflies,” she said.

“I have plants to feed and shelter the birds. I have flowering plants that provide nectar or pollen to different pollinators. I nibble the yard a little at a time creating as much habitat in my yard as possible, but I still have room for the kids to play.

With inspiration and information gathered on a native plant tour, gardeners can follow Heidenreich and Snider’s lead and soon be playing among butterflies and birds, no matter what age the gardener is.

Buy tickets on Eventbrite at 2022 Landscaping with Florida Natives Tour Tickets, Sat, 15 Oct 2022 at 9:00 AM | Eventbrite. The tour brochure and plant lists will be emailed within 24-48 hours.

Terri S. Tomasini