Continuing on my “I’m so thankful that flowers are blooming” theme of yesterday, I have decided to base this month’s environmental challenge on flowers. Everyone is starting to think about planting their garden. I took a walk through my neighborhood yesterday and the smell of mulch was in the air. The seasonal garden center near my house is open for business. We all get lured into buying the pretty, colorful annuals; but, there are some beautiful native perennials that will return your garden to the way mother nature intended it. It will also save you money, since most natives will spread and come up year after year. I challenge you to use native plants in your garden as you are planting this month.
We are trying to let the shade garden in our backyard revert back to nature. It is my hope to fill it in with natives this season. We bought our house from a master gardener who did not specialize in native gardening, so we have a lot of non-natives in our garden. You saw a few of them in the pictures yesterday, but who doesn’t like some bulbs coming up here and there? We aren’t necessarily eradicating the non-natives because we don’t have any nuisance species, but we aren’t planning on adding any new non-natives.
The most comprehensive native plant database is the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service Plant Database. You can do an advanced search to narrow your selections down to your county. I also like the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center database.
If you live in Virginia, there are some great resources to find native plants for your region.
- Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation: Native Plants for Conservation, Restoration, and Landscaping – Download brochures containing native plants by region.
- Virginia Native Plant Society (VNPS) – Search for your local chapter to find resources for your region. It is on my to-do list to join my local chapter.
If you live on the Virginia Peninsula, there are two native plant sales coming up:
- Virginia Living Museum – April 19 & 26, 9:00am-4:00pm, April 27, 12:00pm-4:00pm
- Jamestown Beach Park – Hosted by the John Clayton Chapter of the VNPS – April 26, 9:00am-2:00pm
Use these resources and begin planning your native garden. You will see butterflies and bees return. If you plant the right plants in the correct lighting and moisture, they are low maintenance. You will have the satisfaction of preserving the environment and ultimately saving time and money.
- Thankful Thursday: I’m Thankful for Spring Flowers
- Anti-Inflammatory Quinoa Salad