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New location, same native plants available at SCCF Native Landscapes and Garden Center

By Staff | Dec 30, 2015

The SCCF Native Landscapes and Garden Center manager Jenny Evans said they offer 100-150 different native species, which is now located at the Bailey Homestead. BRIAN WIERIMA

Ever since 1977, Sanibel and Captiva residents and guests have had the option of purchasing native plant species from the SCCF Nursery and Garden Center, which was located on Sanibel-Captiva Road.

But as time went on, the nursery started to outgrow its space at the SCCF Nature Center, so four years ago, plans were set in motion to relocate the native plant center to a more spacious and centralized location.

That time has now arrived, as the newly refurbished SCCF Native Landscape and Garden Center is now open at the Bailey Homestead location, which is just off the Shipley Trail.

The new Garden Center features 100 to 150 different native plant species for sale, along with a new “Honey House” shop on the grounds, which has old-time items on hand, dating back to the Sanibel pioneer days.

“We knew there was going to be a public element to this site, and we thought it would be great to incorporate more space to move around and an upgrade to our facilities were also needed,” said SCCF Native Landscapes and Garden Center manager Jenny Evans. “Our focus is on native species and we cover everything from wildflowers to ground covers to shade trees, basically the whole gambit.”

SCCF volunteer Phil Kenney waters some native vegetation at the Native Landscapes and Garden Center. BRIAN WIERIMA

The majority of species are native to Sanibel and Captiva, but the Garden Center also carries plants which are native and grow well in Southwest Florida, which can include some from southern Florida.

The Garden Center also offers planting services and a wildlife house-call program, for those SCCF members who have donated $100 or more in a year. The service is free, where an on-site consultation will be had to answer questions, identify plants on the property and give suggestions.

A written summary is then offered at the end of the consultation.

“Out of that, we offer design and installation services,” Evans said.

She added coco plum plants and palms are the more popular species, simply because they are easy to maintain and install. The Garden Center also grows their own Joe Wood, the official plant of Sanibel, which is not offered at many other garden centers in the state.

The goal of the SCCF’s Garden Center is twofold.

The first is to create space for wildlife to live, whether it being pollinators such as bees or for birds to nest.

The second is water conservation, where it is encouraged to plant species and not need to irrigate longterm.

“Our goal is to not have the owner of the property having to have to run their sprinkler all the time,” Evans said.

The pricing at the SCCF Garden Center is also in line with other independent garden centers in the region.

The Honey House shop is an original building to the Bailey Homestead and was used to store honey.

“The Historical Village and the Island Trading Post both loaned us items to make it look like it used to look when it was used as a honey house,” Evans said. “We do sell honey, as well, which is made out of LaBelle and the hives which are on the SCCF premise.”

The move to the Bailey Homestead should be a boost to the SCCF Garden Center, simply because of more space, but as well as better exposure.

“Location in of itself is more centralized,” Evans said. “It’s a more visible location. Another really important part which was missing at the other location, is we can show people firsthand what a plant looks like in the ground and planted. In the coming years, it will be a useful tool, to tell some what we planted five years ago and show them how it grows.”

The SCCF Native Landscapes and Garden Center hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays, all the way through April.