By Tamas Mondovics

The portion of Lithia Pinecrest Rd. between Bryant Rd. and Lithia Estates Dr. is just one of a number of select rural sites that will soon feature native wildflowers beautifying county roadways.

The road beautification is part of a pilot wildflower planting program partially funded by a Florida Wildflower Foundation grant, which has been started by Hillsborough County Public Works.

 According to County Spokesperson Andrea Roshaven, roadside signs identifying the new wildflower planting areas are currently being installed at the first four 600-1,000 sq. ft. wildflower sites that include C.R. 39, between Tipton Rd. and Old Hopewell Rd.; Progress Blvd./Madison Ave., between U.S. Hwy 41 and Madison Industrial Ln. and E. Fletcher Ave., between Telecom Dr. and Lettuce Lake Pkwy.

“Hillsborough County staff and horticulturalists with the University of Florida Cooperative Extension used soil and site evaluations to select the locations,” Roshaven said. 

The recommended wildflower types used on the Lithia Pinecrest location are Gaillardia as well as Beach Sunflower, while C.R. 39 and Progress Village will receive a variety mix and Tickseed. The Fletcher site will feature Gaillardia and Black Eyed Susans.

Roshaven said that site preparations are scheduled to begin this month. The wildflower planting program was approved as part of a Board of County Commissioners resolution last year to encourage the conservation of native wildflowers on state and county roads and support roadside maintenance.

“We are investing $500 in wildflower seed at the test locations, which will then continue to be maintained by the county,” Roshaven said.

The idea was first brought before the BOCC about a year ago by Commissioner Al Higginbotham, which the board unanimously approved through a resolution in May last year.

“The board hoped to encourage the conservation of native wildflowers on state and county roads,” Roshaven said adding the resolution directed county staff to apply for grants from the Florida Wildflower Foundation and work with other interested groups to accomplish the goals of the program.

All the planting is expected to be completed by early July with additional sites to be planted in the fall. More information about the wildflower program is available at index.aspx?nid=605.

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