The Native Garden is a wild area defined by woodchipped pathways and densely planted perennial shrubs, trees and palms. Corky stem (Passionflora suberosa) attracts plenty of Florida’s state butterfly, the Zebra Longwing (Heliconius charitonius). Natives are best for attracting wildlife, especially in urban environments like ours – also for water conservation as they require minimal, depending on our natural wet and dry seasons.
Nearby plantings of Firebush (Hamelia patens), Locust Berry (Byrsonima lucida), Cocoplum (Chrysobalanus icaco) and many others provide food for birds and nectar for butterflies. This area closest resembles a hardwood hammock in wild South Florida. We recently received a grant from the Miami Beach City Sustainability department for a Pine Rockland Demonstration garden in the area between the Japanese and Native, which will be complete in May 2018.
This garden showcases flora that might not necessarily have showy flowers or foliage, but are paramount to ecosystem health. For example, the Coontie cycad (Zamia pumila) is a low growing, flowerless plant often confused as a fern or palm, but is actually more closely related to coniferous trees. It is the only cycad native to Florida and the host plant for the Atala butterfly (Eumaeus atala).
Other signature plantings include Lignum-vitae (Guaiacum sanctum), and Live oak (Quercus virginiana), with epiphytic plants growing amongst the branches such as native tillandsia, orchids, and cacti.