Marco Island is known for its natural beauty and landscaping.
On February 10th Marco Island homeowners had an opportunity to meet with the experts on Florida-friendly landscaping, and learn how to keep Marco beautiful.
During the two-hour Marco Island Beautification Advisory Committee (BAC) Community Forum visitors received valuable information from the many informational booths, reference materials and speakers.
Douglas Caldwell, University of Florida (on the subject of tree diseases), Marco in Bloom 2015 winners, the Calusa Garden Club, Bio-Green, LCEC, and the Botanical Garden-Butterfly Center were some of the booths at this year’s forum.
Visitors enjoyed the live speaker presentations from Collier Soil & Water Conservation District’s James “Nik” Nikolich on water conservation and irrigation, and insights from Master Gardner Donna Kay, who is also a BAC member. Sierra Club’s Cris Costello discussed the important topic of fertilizer, including environmental impact.
We asked Beautification Committee member Dianna Dohm about theforum’s goals, and she told us, “We are here to educate people, to keep our city beautiful.”
Visitors learned about the following projects to beautify the island:
Marco in Bloom
The city’s Beautification Advisory Committee recognizes individuals, businesses, organizations, institutions and neighborhoods, which make great efforts to beautify the Marco Island community with the annual Marco in Bloom Landscape Awards. The BAC looks at every property to make their determination. Landscape awards nomination forms for 2016 are available at the city’s website: www.cityofmarcoisland.com. Nominations and photographs should be submitted to the committee on or before April 19, 2016.
The city’s Public Works Department works in conjunction with the BAC to encourage Marco Island property owners to make improvements in their street’s cul-de-sacs. If a proposal meets the requirements, the homeowner may receive a gift certificate to Island Garden Center to assist with the cost of the planned landscaping improvements. Prior to undertakingany work in the cul-de-sac, contact the Public Works Department at 239-389-5002.
Visitors received detailed information, including a list of Florida-friendly plant alternatives for grasses, ground covers, shrubs and plants. It was also suggested that homeowners plant butterfly weed/milkweed in their gardens to aid in landscape restoration to manage the dwindling monarch population, pollinators and other wildlife. For more information, visit www.ffl.ifas.ufl.edu to learn nine Florida-friendly principles for homeowners.
Master Gardener Donna Kay informed forum visitors about the free Florida-friendly landscaping workshop she participates in. The workshops are designed to teach homeowners best management practices for healthy landscapes. A home visit may be scheduled with a master gardener, who will assess the landscaping and provide feedback. The next two workshops will be on Wednesday April 6 and Tuesday May 10, from 1-3 pm, and will take place at the Collier County Extension, 14700 Immokalee Road, Naples. Call 239-252-4800 for moreinformation or go to www.fflforhomeowners.eventbrite.com.
A hidden gem, the Calusa Park Butterfly Garden on Winterberry Drive is open for the community to enjoy. Calusa Park is located on land the Mackle brothers deeded, as a green belt, to Marco Island residents. Many organizations have come together in efforts to beautify the garden. The City of Marco Island placed a shell path and transplanted dozens of trees along the pathway. Marco Island’s Calusa Garden Club donated funds to establish the Butterfly Garden on the west end of the park, the Royal Poinciana tree on the east end of the park, and the Calusa Park sign and bench. Volunteers from the BAC, Calusa Garden Club, Island residents and the City of Marco Island staff planted, and continue to maintain these beds and the butterfly garden. The butterfly garden is worth a visit. If you are interested in helping out, call 239-389-5000 to donate a plant or tree.