With such descriptive names as blanketflower, southern beeblossom, meadow beauty and blazing star, a new demonstration wildflower garden at UCF’s Public History Center will be unveiled as part of the center’s MayFest on Saturday, May 2.
Visitors to the history center in Sanford will be able to enjoy a stroll among more than two dozen of Florida’s native wildflowers and participate in the sights, sounds and historical traditions of other spring activities.
A ribbon-cutting to the garden will be at 10:30 a.m. Other MayFest activities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. include open-air painting, live dulcimer music, a Maypole dance performance, butterfly gardening demonstrations, plant clinic and historical scavenger hunt.
The addition of the wildflower display to the center’s demonstration garden was made possible by a $3,000 grant from the Florida Wildflower Foundation’s Viva Florida! grant program. The project aims to showcase the beauty and variety of Florida’s first flowers and demonstrate their use in landscapes. The new garden is designed to have flowers bloom throughout the year as much as possible.
“Native Americans used wildflowers in ceremonies and for clothing dyes, decoration, food and medicines,” said Lisa Roberts, executive director of the foundation. “When settlers came to Florida, Native Americans shared their knowledge of wildflowers’ uses.”
Today, wildflowers help support wildlife and maintain the biodiversity of native, natural Florida.
“Wildflowers are particularly important because they provide vital habitat for the pollinators that put one-third of the food we eat on our tables,” Roberts said. “With the steady vanishing of habitat, wildflowers are becoming important additions to our urban landscapes.”
She said the foundation selected UCF’s Public History Center for the grant because “it is highly visible and has the potential to reach thousands of schoolchildren and adults who visit the museum.”
The Public History Center, 301 W. 7th St., is an interpretive center and hands-on history museum in a former 1902 school building that also features an original classroom, pioneer exhibit with a log cabin and tools, a Native American exhibit, and other displays. A donation of $5 per person is suggested for MayFest.