Frugal gardeners are always looking for ways to make their yards attractive, while holding costs down. Re-introducing native plantings to your property will do just that.
Native plants are those that were growing in any area before humans introduced plants from distant lands. In my Zone 7 garden located in the Pacific Northwest, they include things like Evergreen trees, salal, maples, columbine, ferns, bleeding heart, Oregon grape, honeysuckle, rhododendrons & huckleberries.
There are many advantages to going native:
- Native plants, once established, can survive the winter’s cold and the summer’s heat while requiring no watering or fertilizing. This saves on your energy bill as well as cuts the time you need to spend maintaining the garden (thinking on a global scale, if we all did this, the need to produce chemical fertilizers would be curtailed too).
- Native plants tend to stay where you put them. Simple but oh, what a nice trait. They rarely become invasive, unlike some plants we use from other areas. Just think of the time & energy this could be saving?
- Typically, native plants are pest & disease resistant. Starting to see a trend here? There will be no need to purchase products to aim at the crawly things!
- Landscaping with native plants improves the environment by returning the area to a healthy ecosystem. Growing native will do the best job of providing food & shelter for a wider variety of native wild animals and birds, plus you’ll get free entertainment in your own back yard.
To find information on Native Plants for your region or zone, check with local garden clubs, county extension services or the New England Wildflower Society (US & Canada). They provide extensive lists of resources including each states Native Plant Society contact information, specific plants for all the regions, as well as planting information and activities.
Steph Coelho is a freelance writer gardening in zone 5b. She is a certified Square Foot Gardener and has taught various garden-related workshops. When she’s not digging in the dirt or writing, she’s cooking up fresh produce, running, or listening to her favorite podcasts.
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