Monday, June 8, 2009

All About Hawthorn Hill

Hawthorn Hill is a licensed retail nursery devoted to the propagation of Florida native wildflowers that are either rarely available to homeowners (like the pink dalea - Dalea feayi, above) or simply unavailable up to now. Over the past 20+ years, we have scoured the state for the unusual and the underused, we have collected seed or traded plants with other enthusiasts and we have grown hundreds of species in our native plant landscape in Pinellas County, west-central Florida. Up to now, we have only experimented and evaluated native wildflowers for use in home landscapes. But we are ready to make some of them available to others. Florida is blessed with a great many wildflowers that deserve wider use and better recognition. We hope that you will find something of interest, that you will grow them yourself and that you will then help to spread them elsewhere. Our goal is to get these plants more into mainstream production and then to move on to other species. Hawthorn Hill will remain small, but diversified - and committed to making the best available to others.

Hawthorn Hill is Craig Huegel and Alexa Wilcox-Huegel. Craig is a founding member of the Pinellas Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, the former state Education Chair, and the author of three books on Florida native plants, butterfly gardening, and landscaping for wildlife. He has a Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology and was a faculty member of the Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Department at the University of Florida - one of the founders of the Cooperative Urban Wildlife Extension Program. He has been active statewide in a wide variety of initiatives related to native plants and wildlife and he now is a principle at Ecological Services Associates, LLC - an ecological consulting firm based in Venice Florida. Alexa is past president of the Pinellas Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society and was instrumental in developing the Chapter's CD-Rom educational program: In Harmony With Nature. Together, they lead field trips throughout the state and take time together to explore off the beaten track.

In the months and years ahead, we will be posting descriptions of Florida's best wildflowers - including those that we have for sale in limited numbers at our nursery. If you see something that interests you, please let us know. And, if there is something you wish to see, let us know that too.


  1. Great sight for plant identification. I have enjoyed each and every post and photograph. Craig, it would be good to also categorize or tag each wildflower with a color, so that someone could identify wildflowers after scanning posts quickly if they have a particular color.

    I know it's not a wildflower, but I would like to see horse sugar, Symplocos tinctoria propagated and promoted among natives. Do you know why it's not?

  2. I am desperately trying to find a Chionanthus pygmaea (Pygmy Fringetree) to plant in the Tallahassee Fl region. Any thoughts as to where I might purchase one to help sustain this lovely native?

  3. My friend, Nancy Bissett, at The Natives, Davenport FL, Polk County regularly grows them. She can be found in the locator -

  4. I just bought your latest book.......ground covers.....and love it, BUT have a question re the Hypericum tetrpetalum and wonder if the text and the photo are in error? Lent the book to another 'native nut' so can't cite the pages here.

  5. ABsolutely - the photo captions for the 2 4-petaled species got crossed with the pictures- quite embarrassing. H. tettrapetalum is actually under H. hypericoides and vice versa. Sorry....... Glad you noticed and thanks for your kind words regarding the rest of the book.

  6. I bought flats of Salvia misella and Dyschoriste humistrata at Wilcox but haven't planted them yet. Do you know whether these plants can tolerate the salinity of reclaimed water?

    1. I have not tried either under those conditions, so let me know how it works if you do. Neither is a coastal species, but that does not mean they will perish under reclaimed. I do not irrigate my plants at all. The river sage is extremely drought tolerant, but I have it in part sun. The twinflower is in part sun and in a low spot in my former sandhill - not wet by any means, but stays a bit moister than most of my yard.


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