Earth Watch: Planting native

- "Without these plants and without gardens and habitats, we wouldn't have the amazing diversity that we have here in Florida," said Eco florist at the Florida Native Plant Nursery and Landscaping Annie Schiller.

Gardening is a way of life for Laurel and Annie Schiller. The Florida Native Plant Nursery has been in their family for over 30 years.

"It is my mission. That is my passion," said Laurel Schiller Co-Owner of Florida Native Plant Nursery and Landscaping.

"Most people over care. They over water, they over fertilize. The plants live out their life in a stress situation," she said.

Everything is grown without chemicals and pesticides at the nursery.

"The native plants are the plants that originated here in Florida. Once the plants are in the ground, amazingly enough, they are adapted to the nutrient poor sands that we have,"  explained Laurel Schiller.

Planting the right plant in the right place is key.

"Sunny plants in the sun,  wetland plants in the wetland.  They will thrive on their own," said Schiller.

They'll attract butterflies and birds.

"One of my favorite wildflowers is Bidens. It's one of our best pollinators for all sorts of butterflies,'' said Annie Schiller

Wildflowers flourish all over the nursery.

"What some people might see as a weed, I see as beautiful and valuable. I'm trying to change those perspectives for people," she said.

Annie Schiller makes eco-friendly wildflower arrangements for weddings and special events with Williams Wildflowers.

"It helps to bring wildflowers to a younger crowd. It's nice to know that what I'm cutting has been grown organically. What I'm putting on tables in front of people is organic and natural . They can plant these flowers in their garden after their event," said Annie Schiller.

The bouquets can last in a vase for about 3 days.

"It's a lot of work, but it is very rewarding. I love that they represent a sense of place," she explained.

Brightening someone's day with a little help from Mother Nature.

"What we plant matters. Our gardens matter," said Laurel Schiller.

In 2016 the Florida Native Plant Nursery received a Green Arrow Award. The nursery was named the greenest retail business in Manatee and Sarasota county.

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