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FNPS Mission: To preserve, conserve, and restore native plants and native plant communities.
Learn more by visiting the FNPS website • Check our calendar for upcoming events sponsored by the Pinellas, Nature Coast, and Suncoast Chapters • Not a member yet? Join today!

Thank you to Debora Moran for this month's feature article and please welcome our new Newsletter Editor Lara Wojahn!
Event Updates

Please check our Facebook Group and website calendar for the most up-to-date information.
  • Wednesday, 9/2 Edible Native Plants and How to Prepare Them (zoom presentation - details below) 
  • Tuesday, 9/8 Moccasin Lake Butterfly Garden Volunteer Opportunity 8:00 - 10:00 am
  • Saturday, 9/19 Moccasin Lake Butterfly Garden Volunteer Opportunity 8:00 - 10:00 am
  • Saturday, 9/19 Cancelled - Members Only Landscape Tour 
Wed., September 2nd, 6:30 pm
Zoom Video Meeting and Presentation

Edible Native Plants and How to Prepare Them
Vote On Proposed Bylaw Changes
In 2020 the Board of the Pinellas Chapter spent time reviewing the bylaws and making recommended changes. We have emailed all members the proposed revisions and asked that you review the changes and comment.

We will hold a vote at the beginning of the September monthly chapter meeting using the Zoom polling feature. Voting will take place between 6:25 and 6:35. At 6:35 the voting will close.

If you have any questions about the proposed changes, or wish to cast your vote via email, please let me know at You must be a current member to vote. View the proposed bylaws here.

Florida has some incredible wild edibles! Greens for salad or the pot, nuts and berries, edible flowers, roots and shoots. Davis Byrkit of Wilcox Nursery & Landscape will give a program on Florida native plants that are edible.

Davis is the Office Manager at Wilcox Nursery, and has been working in the field of Native plants for over 6 years. Aside from expertise in that field, he has been experimenting with Native plants and their culinary uses, and how those plants can provide for not just wildlife, but also for your dinner table!

Use this link to join the meeting on September 2nd at 6:30 pm.

Meeting ID: 846 0805 0654
Passcode: 723520

One tap mobile
+19292056099,,84608050654#,,,,,,0#,,723520# US (New York)

Questions? Email

Tuesday, Sept. 8th, 8:00 - 10:00 am
Saturday, Sept. 19th, 8:00 - 10:00 am

Butterfly Garden Maintenance

Landscape designer Nicole Jones will be leading a team of volunteers in maintaining the Butterfly Garden at Moccasin Lake. This is a great opportunity to learn more about which plants attract and host our local butterflies, what conditions they grow in and how to prune them.

Please bring hand tools, work gloves and drinking water. The chapter will provide trash bags. with your cellphone number for last minute changes.


Native Plants Steal the Spotlight At the New St. Pete Pier

New Growth at the St. Pete Pier
by Debora Moran

If you would like to visit an outstanding native plant garden, look no further than the recently opened St. Pete Pier. The original site of a deteriorating concrete structure with a few surviving palm trees, the pier has been revitalized to include a marina, restaurants and stores, outdoor art, play areas for children, and the Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center. Of special interest for any plant enthusiast, however, are the extensive and innovatively designed garden areas showcasing many of our native plant species.

The new pier was a multi-year project with several firms from New York City, Tampa, and St. Petersburg collaborating on the engineering and overall design, and with project oversight from the City of St. Petersburg. As plans moved ahead, two local firms were chosen to complete and implement the landscape and planting plans.

Kimley-Horn and Associates of St. Petersburg designed the plantings for the pier approach, a 23-acre area that includes the Family Park and Playground, a large pond, and multiple locations adjacent to visitor parking. While plant choices were, by necessity, driven by what was available locally, the focus was on choosing hardy and beautiful Florida-friendly plants with the inclusion of as many native species as possible.

Jennifer Daoulas, Landscape Architect at Kimley-Horn, says, “Because it is a city garden, plants had to require little maintenance, have low water requirements, and be able to handle salt spray.” Native plant gardeners will recognize many of their favorites, including oaks (Quercus species), pines (Pinus species), coontie (Zamia integrifolia), Fakahatchee grass (Tripsacum dactyloides), beach sunflower (Helianthus debilis), and firebush (Hamelia patens)—to name a few. The taller plants provide shade and a pleasing backdrop, while the shorter selections add color and interest.

The pond and “bioswale” areas, which help to collect water and control erosion, needed plants that were also capable of tolerating wet feet. Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum), red maple (Acer rubrum), sand cordgrass (Spartina bakeri), and a beautiful scarlet marsh hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus) were among the native plants enlisted for the job.

Booth Design Group of St. Petersburg co-led the planting design of the pier head, which includes the Cultural Grove and the Coastal Thicket, in partnership with New York landscape architect Ken Smith of Ken Smith Workshop. Jamie Beatty, Principal at Booth Design says, “We wanted plants that were low maintenance with good salt and wind tolerance. Native plants were the obvious choice.” In preparation for the planting plan, Booth Design staff traveled to Weedon Island to study coastal native species, visited several native plant nurseries, and collaborated with the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida to gather advice on plant requirements and soil amendments.

The Cultural Grove is a 10,500-square-foot garden that helps to transition visitors from the recreational areas to the over-the-water portion of the pier. It includes oaks (Quercus species), cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto), Spanish bayonet (Yucca aloifolia), blanket flower (Gaillardia pulchella), and several native grasses, which provide relief from the expanse of concrete and will ultimately cast welcome shade.

The Coastal Thicket is the dramatic, 23,000-square-foot, over-the-water deck section running along the north side of the pier. Beatty explains that its layout involved a unique challenge because plantings needed to fit into the 20-foot grid spaces between the support pilings for the old pier but still appear natural. The result is a series of lush gardens connected by a zigzag boardwalk that immerses visitors in the coastal landscape and showcases a palette of native trees, shrubs, and grasses. Among them are buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus), necklace pod (Sophora tomentosa var. truncata), cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto), muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris), wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera), seaside goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens), and silver saw palmetto (Serenoa repens).

At the St. Pete Pier, no railings obstruct the view of the gardens, and plants are situated at a level where they can easily be seen and touched. Beatty says, “We wanted to provide an opportunity for visitors to interact with the plants.” Education is a key emphasis of all the gardens, and signage identifies individual species so visitors can gather ideas for inclusion in their own landscapes.

Sharon Heal-Eichler, Professional Landscape Architect for the City of St. Petersburg, sums up the project, “The goal was to create safe, sustainable, durable, and cost-efficient public spaces at the St. Pete Pier. Florida native plants were the right choice to achieve that goal.”

For more information or to plan your visit, go to the St. Pete Pier website:

Debora Moran has a Bachelor of Technology in Plant Science from the State University of New York at Cobleskill and was a Senior Extension Educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Schenectady County, New York. She has written for Fine Gardening magazine and Green Scene, the journal of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

Local Conservation Concerns

This new feature of our monthly newsletter will highlight local conservation issues and opportunities for our members to influence decision making by our local, state and federal governments. If you have items you would like to include, email them to with the Subject Line: Conservation Concerns.
44 Acres of Woodlands In Dunedin Under Contract For Development
  • 16 acres of sand pine rosemary scrub, 99 percent of which in Pinellas County has been lost to development, according to a habitat assessment of the property.
  • 3 acres of an even rarer ecosystem, elevated rosemary bald, sit in the center of the scrub, the last of its kind in the county, according to research conducted by the University of Florida in 2013.
  • Ranked No. 1 on a list of 60 properties Pinellas County hoped to acquire for preservation, but Director of Parks and Conservation Resources Paul Cozzie said appraisal prices topping $11 million prevented the county from buying it.
  • Recent public backlash to sale has prompted renewed discussions with the county about acquisition.
  • For more information see recent TBT article and visit our Facebook Group for discussion and how you can get involved.

Thank You To Our Business Members

Bartlett Law Offices

City of St. Pete Beach

Vision Ace Hardware - Oldsmar

Hort & Soul Landscape Design

Rebecca Wellborn, Realtor, Coastal Properties Group

Wilcox Nursery & Landscape

Pinellas Chapter Florida Native Plant Society
2020 Officers, Directors and Committee Chairs

President - Michael Coleman
Vice President - Stefan Babjack
Secretary - Susan Taylor
Treasurer - Rebecca Wellborn
Past President - Jan Allyn
Director - Belinda Lambert
Director / Membership Chair - Bonnie Carine
Director / Programs Chair - Pam Schrader
Director / Events & Volunteer Chair - Nicole Jones
Director / Communications Chair - Robin Peacock

Florida Native Plant Society Mission

The Mission of the Florida Native Plant Society is to promote the preservation, conservation, and restoration of the native plants and native plant communities of Florida.

The Society fulfills this mission through:
  • Support for conservation land acquisition
  • Land management that enhances habitat suitability for native plants
  • Education
  • Public policies that protect our native flora, especially rare species
  • Research on native plant species
  • Encouragement of local landscaping practices and policies that preserve Florida's native plant heritage
Join/Renew Membership
Pinellas Chapter Website
Copyright © 2020 Pinellas Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, All rights reserved.

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