MELBOURNE, Fla., Oct. 15, 2020 /PRNewsCentre/ — Isabella A. Guttuso, native of Delray Beach, Florida, and a University of Florida (UF) graduate student enrolled in the landscape architecture program at the UF College of Design, Construction and Planning in Gainesville, is the latest winner of the annual Real Florida Landscapes Design Challenge sponsored by the Native Plant Horticulture Foundation in partnership with FANN, a trade association representing native plant and sustainable landscape businesses throughout Florida. This competition invites participants to design a 100% Florida native landscape for a courtyard entry to a 1920s era office building in Melbourne FL, the headquarters of the Native Plant Horticulture Foundation.
Guttuso’s design was selected by a team of fourteen judges, including landscape architects and experienced native landscape installers from throughout Florida. Judges gave Guttuso’s design high marks for the creative, culturally and regionally appropriate selection of native plants that complement the building site’s Mediterranean architecture. One judge commented that "It’s an outstanding selection of Florida natives that function visually in a manner similar to species used in Spanish gardens yet appropriate for Florida’s central east coast." Designs were evaluated for aesthetics, wildlife support and overall sustainability.
Guttuso says that she began to love her home state only when she moved away to Gainesville for school and began exploring the abundant and more easily accessed natural areas. She enjoys seeing how native plants grow naturally in the wild and pulling that knowledge back into her design work. When asked how future landscape architects can advance the use of native plants, Guttuso replied "We need to sell the beauty and resiliency of Real Florida. It’s an ‘easy out’ to use known [planting] palettes that keep getting repeated. I want to know, be conscientious of and include native plants that work and support the ecosystem."
Guttuso, a 23-year old professional photographer now pursuing a master’s degree in landscape architecture, hopes to apply her interests in ecology, urban agriculture, historical preservation and ethnobotany in her future career as a landscape architect. Guttuso is the latest in a series of UF students whose design work has garnered recognition in the annual design challenge.
The Native Plant Horticulture Foundation is a charitable nonprofit dedicated to recruiting and educating the next generation of native plant professionals and expanding the supply of native plants.
SOURCE: Native Plant Horticulture Foundation