The Native Plant Garden
When we are discussing native plants what we are referring to is plants that have evolved here, in North America, over thousands of years.
These plants have adapted to the environment where they are growing and have been part of the evolving local ecosystem for many, many generations; they are adapted to the rainfall patterns; to the myriad of other creatures that have evolved with them, pollinating them, feeding on their nectar; to the area's soils and climate; to the whole web of connections that nature provides.
This is why native plants will require little attention from you, they are hardwired to thrive.
If you are planning to create a native plant garden, you will need to know what plants are native to your region. I always recommend that people visit their local public library as the library can be a source of much information. If you have a native plant society in town, then contact them.
There are some very sound reasons for selecting native plants for your garden, for me the environmental reasons carry the most weight but ease of care follows as a close second.
The environmental reasons are strong motivators for selecting native plants, with a native plant garden you will:
- increase biodiversity;
- provide habitat for a wide variety of creatures such as birds and butterflies;
- provide a home for many native plants that are becoming increasingly rare in the wild;
- conserve water;
- and eliminate the need for chemical inputs such as pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers.
The other important reasons for using native plants are the practical and aesthetic benefits of native plant gardening: less work and lots of beauty!
Once you get started you will soon discover that native plant gardens almost look after themselves. Remember the plants look after themselves in Nature and do not have a gardener to feed and water them.
- Getting Started in Native Plant Gardening
Survey your garden to determine the environmental conditions (soil type, moisture, sun and shade, elevation) in your garden. This is particularly important when planting native species because many have specific requirements. Map existing structures