By Andreas Butler
For Hometown News
The look of roads and other public property in Daytona Beach could change in the near future.
The city is looking into the use of wildflowers in beautification projects.
They are only being used at a median on Clyde Morris Boulevard, north of Mason Avenue, for now.
"We are experimenting with them only at that place at this moment to start," said James Newman, chairman of the Daytona Beach Beautification and Tree Advisory Board. "We want to see what does well there. If successful, we will get with the city on implementing a program, which will plant them in other medians on our main streets."
The Beautification and Tree Advisory Board works with the city to help with tree growing. It also gives out annual awards.
"We are a citizen's advisory board comprised of volunteers from the six zones inside the city," Mr. Newman said. "We select the beautification awards winners. We award both residential and commercial properties. We encourage property upkeep. We also advise the maintenance department on planting trees and appropriate planting for public property."
Making the city look beautiful is the main purpose for growing the wildflowers.
"It's just the attractiveness of it," Mr. Newman said. "This has been done in other parts of the state as well as in states like Texas, which is really beautiful."
Wildflowers typically are native to a place or habitat. They grow in the wild without having been seeded or planted.
Some of Florida's wildflowers include the Beach Sunflower, Blanket Flower, Lanceleaf Coreopsis and Stokes Aster.
Wildflowers native to Daytona Beach are Dunne Sunflower and Blanket.
"There are over 3,000 wildflowers native to Florida and 100 native to the Daytona area. There is a variety out there that can be used," said Kevin Bagwell, owner of Full Moon Natives Nursery.
Full Moon Natives Nursery is at 1737 Fern Park Drive in Port Orange. It specializes in Florida native and water-wise plants for Volusia and Flagler counties.
"We deal with a lot of flowers, plants and herbs but the main thing is that we are environmentally friendly. We use no chemicals," Mr. Bagwell said.
Using native wildflowers has environmental benefits.
"We want to use native flowers whenever possible because they are low maintenance and provide habitats for animals," Mr. Newman said. "We discourage the use of invasive exotic plants that are bad for the environment, they take over an environment and stop our native plants from growing."
The native wildflowers are accustomed to the area's sandy soil, so they don't need fertilizer to grow, Mr. Bagwell said. "They also live year after year and you don't have to reseed them."
In addition, wildflowers also can help deal with pests and can save money.
"Wildflowers are more cost effective and they are a pollinator for many butterflies and insects," Mr. Bagwell said.
"Most of the wildflowers that we are using are acclimated to our climate and are resistant to our pests. Also, wildflowers are lower maintenance for our city staff to upkeep than grass is," Mr. Newman said.