Although Jill Staake was raised in a gardening family that grew everything from carrots and corn to marigolds and sunflowers, her own gardening started off slowly. She spent many years in an apartment, gardening only in pots on a balcony. But as soon as she bought a house, Jill knew she wanted to get her hands back into the soil and work with nature to make the yard a wildlife-friendly haven.
Though she lived in northern Ohio until 2005, she eagerly plunged into gardening in the South and found it suited her perfectly. Wildlife, especially birds and butterflies, have always been important to her, so the focus of her own garden is attracting wildlife and sustaining Florida’s native plants and animals.
Writing about nature and gardening not only gives Jill a chance to share her knowledge, it also prompts her to keep learning. She started a blog a few years ago to keep her family up north up to speed on the happenings around her garden, and it has grown to include followers all over the country. When she’s not writing about birding or gardening, you’ll find Jill volunteering at the MOSI BioWorks Butterfly Garden in Tampa, where she’s gained great knowledge on gardening in the Southeast.
Jill at a Glance
Personal website: My Florida Backyard
Lives in: Tampa, Florida
Favorite bird: Roseate spoonbill
Favorite flower: Maypop passionflower
Jill’s backyard wisdom: “My green thumb came only as a result of the mistakes I made while learning to see things from the plant’s point of view.” –H. Fred Dale
Why she loves the Southeast: I love the climate and the nearly year-round growing season. I actually enjoy the hot and humid summers, and, of course, wearing flip-flops when those up north are wearing snow boots!
Favorite things about Birds & Blooms: Money-saving projects and suggestions.
Favorite websites for birding and gardening: Floridata, Dave’s Garden, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation Garden for Wildlife, Tales from the Butterfly Garden and WhatBird.