Going Native: Part 2

By: Gabrielle Phillips

Benefits of adding more native plants to your garden.

Climate change, it is a hot topic.  Some say if we don’t do anything to remedy the issue the earth is going to kick us off into outer space and we will be sucked into a black hole. I am not actually sure if anyone said this nor do I believe that will happen but, I do believe we can cultivate a better relationship with our planet. And guess what? It is so simple to do, and you can start your fresh, new, harmonized, and balanced relationship with the earth by adding more native plants to your green space.

“Beautyberry Bush” by Donald Lee Pardue

What is a native plant? Well, first, you may already have many growing in your yard. A native plant is a plant that grows naturally in a specific area, and to be more specific it is a plant that has been growing and thriving in that area before European colonist had even thought about arriving to the United States. Because native plants have been living here for so long, they have adapted to the environment and the growing conditions here. Once they have established themselves in your garden, they are easy and quick to grow, they tend to live much longer than non-native plants, and they tend to be much hardier.

“Andropogon virginicus” by Macleay Grass Man

Native plants seem to be very resistant to pest and diseases, which would keep any sort of pesticide use in your yard to a minimum. Not only are they resistant to pest but they also attract the wildlife you may be wanting to view in your garden. Since these native plants are familiar with the area, they know the seasons well. Native plants are equipped with nectar, fruits, and seeds that local and migrating wildlife love. Having more native plants in your garden may attract beautiful butterflies and vibrant songbirds for your viewing pleasure.

“Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa)” by rkramer62

Native plants are also all-stars at keeping soil in place due to their deep, strong roots. These roots systems and the lush foliage these plants have allow the plant to slow rain and runoff water from entering local waterways and minimize any other runoff issues. The roots can hold a lot of moisture and the leaves and flowers of the plant displace the rain as it falls to allow the soil more time to absorb it.

“Iris cristata (Dwarf Crested Iris), Peebles, OH” by Doug McGrady

Not only are native plants better for the environment and wildlife they are better for your health and wellness too. As stated earlier, native plants reduce the amount of chemicals needed in your yard. Many landscaped spaces can be filled with pesticides and herbicides that may be harmful to you, your family, and your pets. According to the Audubon society “The traditional suburban lawn, on average, has 10x more chemical pesticides per acre than farmland.” That is a lot! When you choose to plant natives in your garden you are helping wildlife, the environment, yourself, your family, and your community. What a simple way to create a more harmonized and balance relationship with our earth.

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