The Latest

Going Native!

June 16, 2016 - Latest, Naturalist's Notes

After a cool spring and several weeks of rain, the sun has finally returned, bringing with it the promise of summer flowers!

Whether you have a large backyard garden or just a few potted plants, the choices you make on what types of flowers to buy and where you get them from can play an important role in the lives of our local pollinators!

Native plants, or those that are found naturally in our area and have not been introduced, are a great choice for gardens big and small. Because they are adapted for our local climate, they generally require less water and are more resistant to pests and potential disease. As long as you plant them according to their soil and sunlight needs, native plants generally do not need much else!

While many tropical and exotic plants often steal the spotlight, natives can provide just as many beautiful blooms.

And by choosing to stick with native plants, you reduce the chance of introducing or spreading invasive species. Invasive plants can have negative affects on the health of our local ecosystem, and many of these aggressive species such as English ivy, multi flora rose, and oriental bittersweet, were accidentally introduced when added to our gardens for their visual appeal.

Aside from the low maintenance benefits and beautiful blooms, natives provide habitat and food for our local pollinators.

Bees and butterflies rely on native flowers throughout the warmer seasons, not only for their nectar, but also in some cases for their young! Butterflies need certain native host plants for their larva to eat, so adding native plants to your garden can help the next generation of these winged beauties.

If you decide to add a few native plants to your garden, the best place to find them is from a local nursery.

In order to ensure the safety of not only pollinators, but also other wildlife, it is best to purchase plants from places that use organic or very minimal treatment practices, since the harsh chemicals in pesticides and fertilizers can cause more harm than good.

A few good local options include:

Herring Run

Willow Oak Farms

Sylva Native Nursery

Mid Atlantic Natives