Spring has finally arrived for most of us. While the stray snow shower may fall on our mountain friends, most of us are thawed out! Spring and early summer bring along the gardening season. A growing trend is landscaping with native plants. This is a trend that’s beneficial not only for our planet. Your wallet, yard, local animals, and the bees all benefit when we choose to garden with local plants.
What are native plants?
It may seem silly to include this section. Stay with me. There’s an important difference here between natives and wild plants. Native plants naturally occur in your area. Typically they’re not considered to be an invasive plant. While there may be a specific plant that grows prolifically in your area, it may not necessarily be considered a native plant.
How native you choose to go in your garden can vary. Some gardeners prefer only local plants to their specific geographical region. Others are ok with those naturally found in the ecosystem but from a different geographical area. While other gardeners aim for a collection from throughout their state. In states with a wide variety of ecosystems, careful consideration should be taken into account when deciding what your goals are.
Do a bit of research before starting a new landscaping project. Make sure you’re wanting to use non-invasive species. If you want to use an invasive plant, such as blackberry, you’ll want to plan your landscaping according to keep it from taking over.
Hint- Come back next month for our Guide to DIY Landscaping with Native Plants
What are the benefits of gardening with native plants?
Choosing to shop local, support farm-to-table food, and use native plants all go together. We can support our local economy, ecosystem, air quality, water usage and more with these choices. Dozens of benefits of “planting local” exist. A few of the benefits include:
- Less water usage– After plants are established they typically require little water other than natural rain and snowfall.
- Most are also be drought tolerant and able to survive much longer (in some cases months to years!)
- Fire resistant– In areas where fires are common, these plants are sometimes fire resistant. These can be used as a barrier around homes and property lines.
- Nourishes the soil– Natives provide valuable nutrients to the soil of the region.
- Deep roots– The roots are already adapted for your soil. They’ll dig in deep and thrive.
- Money savings– Typically these are cheap, or free. You’ll also save money on your water bill!
- Time-saving– You’ll be able to invest much less time in lawn maintenance.
- Provides habitat to animals– Local critters were designed to live in harmony with what grows around them.
- Enhance local scenery– They’re already adapted for your area, they’ll be beautiful in your yard.
- Easy to grow– These babies will thrive with a little bit of support- no green thumb required!
- Helps birds and bugs– Local plants attract local bugs. Local bugs attract and feed local birds.
- You’ll get the added benefit of beautiful birds in your yard too!
- No fertilizer required– in most cases, once a plant is established they’ll take little to no fertilizer.
- Food for bees– Our bee populations are suffering worldwide. Providing bees with a natural food source is incredibly beneficial.
- Air purification– providing cleaner and healthier air for us all to breathe.
- Fewer pests, diseases, and death– you’ll be planting something already used to all that comes its way in your region. They’ll be able to stay strong and resist pests and disease much easier.
- Decreased carbon footprint– The benefits of this are many. We encourage you to learn more about this fascinating aspect.
- Chemical-free gardening– No need for pesticides, fertilizers, or chemicals.
Restore balance- When we put all these benefits together, we restore balance. Provide your local ecosystem with a renewed balance that traditional gardening practices have stolen away. Even a couple of beautiful natives in your front-yard to boost curb appeal can have a huge impact.
Make sure to join us in July for a how-to guide on implementing this in your own garden.