BIRDS, BATS, BEES, AND BUTTERFLIES; OH MY!
Birds, bats, bees, and butterflies, and other small insects and animals are responsible for sustaining our native ecosystems and natural resources by aiding plants to reproduce. Pollinating animals and insects travel from plant to plant collecting and carrying pollen to the reproductive plant to create a variety of benefits including :
Some vital pollinators you will see in the City of Coral Gables are many species of bees, and native butterflies such as the Monarch Butterfly, and the endangered Atala Butterfly. In the City of Coral Gables, the staff from the Landscape Services Division of Public Works has implemented pollinator areas in a variety of sites such as parks, roadside plantings, and at historical sites!
Some of these sites citywide that are easily accessible; that you can see these pollinators in action, would be at Merrick House, Robert J. Fewell Park, Miracle Mile, and of course at the Coral Gables Public Library Pollinator Garden (Thank you Ladies of the Coral Gables Garden Club!). Other sites to see if you happen to decide to take a meandering walk, would be the five new neighborhood parks such as Catalonia Park and Majorca Park; the absolutely beautiful seven historic entrances with fountains and vine pergolas, the native area on Country Club Prado and 8th Street; and the bat houses located on the east side of the Boy Scout Hut on the historic Granada Golf Course.
If you look around the city, you can witness some natural beauty in the form of flowering trees such as; the pink flowers of the Cassia Bakeriana, the beautiful yellow flowers of the Cassia Fistula and the Bulnesia arborea (Verawood), and the red and yellow flowers of the Royal Poinciana (Delonix regia) trees. Some examples of the plants you will be seeing at these sites would be Coontie (Zamia pumila), Lantana (Lantana involucrata & depressa), Simpson Stopper (Myrcianthes fragrans), and Fakahatchee Grass (Tripsacum dactyloides). You can also see some original Miami-Dade County native species such as Miami-Dade County Slash Pine (Pinus elliottii var. densa) and the Florida Thatch Palm (Thrinax radiata). These plant species are also available at your local native plant nurseries and are very easy to plant and maintain to start your very own pollinator gardens! To find a nursery near you please visit www.plantrealflorida.org
Southern Live Oaks (Quercus virginiana) take up about 25% of our urban tree canopy here at the City of Coral Gables. Live Oaks provide significant food and cover for wildlife including being the host plant for the Red-banded Hairstreak butterfly (Calycopis cecrops) and other species of butterflies and bugs, as well as the Oak’s acorns being food for squirrels, and nesting trees for owls and other birds. Have you seen any wildlife hanging in and around our oaks?