Editor’s Note: This column was written by Nancy Jones and first appeared in The Star. 

Water’s Edge RV Park is a new development across the street from the Raw Bar in Indian Pass, Fla.

In order to create the park and build Indian Pass General Store the site incurred significant tree loss leaving a once wooded area bare.

After Hurricane Michael, the site was further scoured and remaining vegetation was damaged. The owners wished to make improvements to the property and we worked together to make a plan.

First, our county’s Extension Agent Ray Bodrey made a visit to the site and offered suggestions. He thought that the existing retention ponds would make wonderful rain gardens. He suggested planting water loving native plants into these low lying areas to beautify and also help clean the water runoff they are designed to hold and filter.

So, plantings of loosestrife, cardinal flower, swamp milkweed and rush were added along with some pine straw and bark nuggets to help make the scoured ponds look appealing.

Also, one of the store’s managers, Mimi Minnick worked to add more Florida Natives to create a pollinator garden under the Water’s Edge sign.

These plants were purchased to help support the Port St. Joe Garden Club’s plant sale and include: brown eyed Susan’s, coreopsis and red salvia. All these plants love sun and dryer conditions and provide an important source of nectar for honey bees, butterflies and other pollinator insects.

At the back of the site along the marsh line were added native magnolia trees and wax myrtles to provide screening for nearby neighbors and provide a soft, ecological transition to the marsh. The addition of milkweed to the site supports the at risk monarch butterflies.

The owners registered the park with Monarch Watch, an important conservation organization and now the park is an official Monarch Waystation.

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