What makes native plants important?
Native plants have evolved with insects, birds, and other wildlife to provide the perfect food, shelter, and habitat. Lawns have replaced over 40 million acres of native plants, and do not contribute to the life of native insects, birds, & wildlife. Adding native plants to your yard and garden helps ensure wildlife has the food and habitat they need to survive.
Where can you see it at the Gardens?
Native plants are integrated into the Gardens in many areas, including both the established gardens and they can be found in the more wild spaces of the Gardens. Look for some specific native garden examples near the gazebo.
Near the Gazebo you’ll notice:
- many intentionally planted native plants, as well as preserving already present native plants
- removal of invasive plants or ornamental plants (many ornamentals have been saved and moved to more manicured garden spaces)
To try native gardening at home, try some of the steps below:
- Observe your site – is it sunny or shady? wet or dry?
- Identify the plants you already have. Are they native or non-native?
- Add native plants to the ones you might already have. You can do this slowly, even 3-5 plants per year makes a big difference for wildlife.
- Reduce your lawn. Use leaves and natural mulch in planting areas.
- Use natural items for borders instead of plastic or metal edging.
- Avoid using herbicides, insecticides, and pesticides.
- Leave leaves and small brush piles for wildlife to use.
Resources to help you on your native gardening journey:
Check out the Gardens’ Landscape Consulting option. Marissa Ashbeck, our Horticulturist is available to help you with your gardening journey!
- Birdscaping in the Midwest by Mariette Nowak
- Nature’s Best Hope by Douglas W. Tallamy