There are many luxury gated communities in South Florida but what makes one stand out from another? An attractive entrance and guardhouse area are important but what the residents and guests see after that can make an even larger impression. Valencia Isles, located in Boynton Beach, wanted to dress up some of their common areas so that the residents in the 796 single family luxury homes would be wowed as they entered the property. The common areas by the lake were previously open grassy areas pierced by tall Coconut Palms. The Home Owners Association, Property Management Team, Board, and residents desired strong focal points and high impact color instead of the monotonous green. The team at Botanical Visions headed up by Pamela Crawford, Landscape Architect, designed and installed over 500 brightly colored Bromeliads for eye catching color as well as for their unique texture. Multi-colored Crotons were selected to compliment the colorful and spiky foliage of the Bromeliads. Surrounding the new beds, we planted a band of Duranta 'Gold Mound' to be kept low for a golden border where brightly colored annuals could peak out from behind them. The first rotation for the winter was Dragonwing Begonias followed by Lipstick Pentas [...]

My butterfly gardening mistakes began when I was seven years old growing up in Virginia. I found a caterpillar and put him into a jar, poked some holes in the lid, added some leaves from a Maple Tree, and waited for the magic to happen. Mistake 1: He was the type of caterpillar to turn into a moth, not a butterfly. Mistake 2: Caterpillars have very specific food needs and maple leaves were not in his diet. Mistake 3: He would have been better off left outside rather than dying in a jar. Since then, I learned which caterpillars turn into butterflies and what they need to eat. I also learned which plants feed the butterflies because they need food too. In order to attract the most butterflies, it's best to have nectar plants for the adults as well as larval food for the caterpillars. When we have clients in South Florida who request Butterfly Gardens, we usually incorporate the following plants for nectar sources. Pentas- if you can find the old fashioned types that grow large, they work the best Lantana Duranta repens (Golden Dewdrop) Firebush Porterweed For caterpillar food, we install the following plants, depending on which butterfly species we are [...]