Native plants are only those found in a specific region that began growing there naturally, without being introduced either directly or indirectly. These regions can be small as a locality, or as large as several states. They will thrive in the soils, moisture and weather of the region. That means less supplemental watering and a decrease in pest problems. Innate plants help the environment the most when planted in places that match their growing requirements. They are the foundation of most food webs and provide vital habitat for wildlife, including critical pollinators like the Monarch butterfly. Native gardening and landscaping in your yard will add beauty to your home and improve the environment and ecosystems.
Domestic plants also assist in managing rain water runoff and maintain healthy soil as their root systems are deep and keep soil from being compacted. When choosing ornamental plants, it's easy to forget how important native plants are. They are essential to the web of life that includes birds and other wildlife, beneficial insects, and important microorganisms living in native soils. They can provide natural beauty, cost-effective landscaping alternatives, environmental services, and habitat for wildlife. A plant species is actually native to the ecoregion where it has evolved in concert with soils, climate, fauna and other members of the plant community.
Non-native plants have the potential to become invasive and harm the environment. Invasive plants are non-native plants that cause economic harm, environmental harm, and/or harm human health. Non-native invasive plants lack natural predators and often have traits such as high seed production and aggressive growth. Invasive species out-compete native plants and negatively affect native wildlife, plant communities, and ecosystems.
Today, there is a growing interest in preserving native landscapes as “Green Space” in residential communities, giving them a park-like ambiance, but also providing space for birds and other wildlife. A casual stroll through a woodland setting, teeming with ever-changing flora and fauna, is a relaxing and peaceful diversion from our daily lives. Native plants support native insects like butterflies, moths, and bees in ways that non-native plants cannot – through the food chain. Native insects, in turn, help bring in more native birds, lizards, toads and turtles. A native plant community in a residential landscape will likely be composed of some existing plants, such as already-present native canopy trees, and will need to be managed for invasive plants that come in via wind and wildlife. To enhance the diversity stripped away by development, add regionally appropriate native plants like shrubs and perennials.
Whether you are designing a new landscape or renovating your existing landscape, there is a wide array of native plants for every location and each landscape situation. By planting native plants, you not only will be perpetuating ecological diversity and providing wildlife habitat, you will be leaving a living legacy to your children and future generations.
Most plants need pollination to reproduce and grow fruit. Without pollinators, we would have little to no fruit, fewer vegetables and many plant species would not survive. Insect predators and parasites, known as natural enemies, help control pest populations in crops and gardens. This biological control and pollination are ecosystem services from native plants. Native plants are pre-adapted to local conditions and naturally support native bees and other beneficial species. A good landscaper will include native plants so that your garden will thrive for years.
We want beautiful gardens all year long, from early spring up until the first frost. How do we do that? There is a science behind it all.
Gardening can be considered both as an art, concerned with arranging plants harmoniously in their surroundings, and as a science, encompassing the principles and techniques of plant cultivation. Because plants are often grown in conditions very different from those of their natural environment, it is necessary to apply cultivation techniques stemming from plant physiology, chemistry, and botany, that are modified and applied by the experience of the planter.
The gardener attends to a number of basic processes: combating weeds and pests; using space for enough growth between plants; feeding, watering, and pruning; and conditioning the soil. The gardener also assesses and accommodates the temperature, wind, rainfall, sunlight, and shade found within the garden boundaries. A major part of the fascination of gardening is that in problems and potential, no one garden is quite like another.
The gardener needs to assess by watching to see when the garden gets sunlight (morning, noon or late afternoon) and how long the sun lasts over the specific plot of land chosen for the garden. This will help determine which plants will thrive the best.
The soil needs to be tested to see if it is too acidic. The proper nutrients need to be added, so each plant grows to it's full potential.
Designing a year-round garden includes choosing appropriate plants for your region. Depending on where you live, you can use any combination of perennials, annuals and container plantings for these all-season flower gardens. Foliage is a must to fill in and create interest. It is best to choose at least two types of plants that will flower together during each season.
If you would like to enjoy year-round color in your flower beds, you have to go to the garden center in spring with one concept foremost in your mind: continuous sequence of bloom. Simply picking out plants that bear great-looking flowers in late spring will not get the job done. They look wonderful at the time, but you must think ahead to when they will not be in bloom.
There needs to be plants that flower both before and after each other, to keep the interest and color flowing. Foliage plants help here, too, as mentioned above. You also must add some evergreens to your landscaping to have visual interest in your yard 365 days a year.
Planting trees and shrubs, especially flowering ones are a great idea to achieve year round cover. They offer interest through their form and foliage as well as through their flowers. Any gardener seeking great color needs perennial flowers, shrubs, grasses and annual flowers.
Owner of PS Garden Whisperers.