Native Plants 101

In our effort to embrace a more environmental partnership with nature and cultivate a better stewardship of our habitat, a growing number of us have taken to include native plants in our gardens.  Local nurseries have also devoted a few aisle to these plants to accommodate the growing interest.  Do you recognize some of them in your garden?

Here are a few that we commonly see in gardens these days which are worth mentioning:

  • Bee balm
  • Black-eyed  Susan
  • Bleeding heart
  • Butterfly weed
  • Canada anemone
  • Cardinal flower
  • Evening primrose
  • Foxglove
  • Goldenrod (stiff, zigzag, grass leaved) – a common mistake that most people make is to think that the goldenrod causes hay fever.  The real culprit is the ragweed.
  • Jack in the pulpit
  • Jacob’s ladder
  • Lance leaved coreopsis
  • Milkweed (Swamp)
  • New England aster
  • Nodding wild onion
  • Obedient plant
  • Purple coneflower
  • Solomon seal
  • Spiderwort
  • Spotted Joe-Pye weed
  • Trout lily
  • Trillium
  • Virginia bluebells
  • Virginia creeper
  • Wild bergamot, columbine, geranium, ginger
  • Wood sorrel

The list can be quite extensive and it seems that some people are unaware that they have at least one or two of them growing in their garden.  My garden has a few of them and yes, there might be some that I have yet to identify.  So, if you’re interested in adding some of these beauties to your garden, have a head start by browsing through some good books or the internet and learn which ones are suited to your yard.  There’s a variety of sun or shade loving native plants to choose from for your location.

In rural and agricultural areas, some of the more invasive native plants are considered ‘weeds’; and unfortunately, a few urban municipalities have adopted this same guideline to support their determination of ‘weeds’.  It has been reported that one native plant, the milkweed, have all but disappear in farming communities.  If we too ban them from our gardens, we’re ensuring the potential demise of monarch butterflies in our local landscape.

Most of these native plants are hosts and food for butterflies, bees, hummingbirds and even birds for seeds.  Needless to say….. if we eliminate native plants from our surroundings and habitat, we also eliminate the animals and insects that have co-existed and evolved alongside them all these years.

It’s time we look at our natural environment with a new set of ‘eyes’….. there’s a lot more at stake here than just what’s visible to our naked eyes.

 

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