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Throwback Thursday: 7/27/17 – Yard of Fran Robinson


3030 – 18th Street, Vero Beach

We  visited the yard of avid Master Gardener on 7/27/2017, a visit re-scheduled from the usual third Thursday of the month due to thunderstorms.  If the weather allows, we’ll visit again on Thursday, 5/18/2019.

fran robinson

tim glover & live oak

Fran has worked hard to reduce grassed areas with lots of native wildflowers including fast-growing beach dune sunflower (Helianthus debilis) …

… snow squarestem (Melanthera nivea), beloved by pollinators …


… seaside goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens) …

… black eyed susan (Rudbeckia hirsuta) …


A special treat was to see atala butterflies …


Coontie (Zamia floridana), the only cycad native to Florida, is the plant on which this tropical butterfly uses as its larval host plant.  The landscape use of coonties has allowed this striking butterfly to extend its range.

coontie & black. eyed susan

Why Natives?

Botanist Ginny Stibolt spoke about her new book, Climate-Wise Landscaping: Practical Actions for a Sustainable Future at the Vero Beach Book Center on 9-20-2018.  Many Eugenia Chapter members, including Martha Willoughby, Fran Robinson, Jane Schnee, David Martin, Tom Brown, and Janice Broda, enjoyed her talk.

Click here to view Why Natives are Important? which Ginny recommended and which she & Marjorie Shropshire provided to the Florida Native Plant Society for download.



9-20-2018 Virtual Visit to the Yard of Martha & Roger Willoughby

Each time that we visit the yard of our Chapter Treasurer Martha Willoughby, we are inspired by her ever diminishing areas of turf grass, her beautiful beds of native wildflowers, her use of attractive native grasses, her shoreline plantings that protect the Indian River Lagoon, and her ability to select the right plant for the right place.  Martha does not use commercial fertilizers but does “recycle” plant material.  Only the small, functional areas of turf grass are irrigated.

helianthus - salvia - monarda

This functional turf grass area in the back yard is surrounded by a graceful bed of wildflowers, including …

Beach dune sunflower (Helianthus debilis) …

helianthus debilis

Fall-flowering dotted bee balm (Monarda punctata) …

monarda punctata2

and the very red-flowered tropical sage (Salvia coccinea) …

salvia coccinea

Well-placed shrubs include sun-loving necklace pod …

sophora tomentosa3

sophora tomentosa4

sophora tomentosa

…. the white-flowered native lantana commonly known as wild sage (Lantana involcrata) …

lantana involucrata

… Florida privet (Forestiera segregta), which Martha described as the very first plant to recover from the devastation of hurricane Irma …

forestiera segregata

Martha’s yard demonstrates the need to select the right plant for the right place, so that supplemental irrigation, fertilization, and pesticide application are unnecessary to a beautiful and inviting landscape.

9/20/2018: Visit the Yard of Martha & Roger Willoughby

We visited the yard of Martha & Roger Willoughby on 9-16-2014 (when the pictures above were taken) and will again visit on Thursday, 9/20/2018, at 5:30pm.

Beds of wonderful native wildflowers — bee balm (Monarda punctuata), red tropical sage (Salvia coccinea), sunny beach dune sunflower (Helianthus debilis), and blanket flower (Gaillardia pulchella) — are part of their landscape.

Each meeting ends with an auction of native plants donated by members, so please come prepared.

Simpson’s Stopper – Chapter Namesake

Simpson’s stopper (Myrcianthes fragrans) is the Eugenia chapter namesake.  Once upon a time when our Chapter began, its botanical name was Eugenia dicrana.  Botanical names sometimes change.

Nakedwood stopper also is a common name for this plant.  Its bark, shown above and below, often exfoliates (like that of crepe myrtle) …

myrcianthes fragrans for exfoliating trunk copy

Twinberry stopper is yet another common name for this plant since its red fruits, beloved by wildlife, are borne in pairs …

myrcianthes frgarans fruit 2 copy

Indian River County once was home to the National Champion (largest known) Simpson’s stopper when our Chapter was first organized.  The large tree once stood where the Indian River Mall is now located.

Simpson’s stopper is widely available in the nursery trade and makes an excellent landscape plant.  You can see it growing in the wild in hammocks on protected conservation lands.