Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Native Plants of Pennsylvania

I am late in the season to be doing this post so I apologize for past-their-prime flowers that look like this:

Bee Balm.  It looked impressive before but...well...those days are over.  Next year.

Chris is very adamant that we only plant native plants.  I agree, but would still love some peonies.  These flowers are all from our yard.  The only non-native plants that we've sown are the garden vegetables, Lantana camara, and some tulip bulbs I did early on.  Otherwise...welcome to our prairie.

Black-eyed Susans are some of the easiest plants to get to thrive in southeast PA.  This is one of the benefits of growing native plants.  They are perfectly suited to the soil type and moisture levels of your environment.  You do not have to spend extra resources (time, energy, money, water) getting them to reach their full potential.

Think these are both varieties of aster?  One might be wild geranium (only because I think I planted it somewhere?).  Aster is more of a ground cover, and comes in a variety of colors.

Non-native plants like Lantana camara can even start to take over!  If they somehow show up again next year, we will be overrun.  They sure are gorgeous, though.  Chris tries to claim these are annuals, but I believe he is incorrect.  This is an example of not believing nurseries!  These were in a section labeled native but most certainly are NOT.  Big mistake on my part.

Cone flowers also are exuberant multipliers, and are the rabbits of the plant world.  They also are TALL.  Be careful where you plant them.

This is the bees' FAVORITE.  We have swarms that feast in our bed.  This is Anise Hyssop, and once again, beautiful, but tall.  And not one to plant if you're scared of bees!

Why do you want to plant native plants?  Why WOULDN'T you?
-  Low maintenance -
You don't need to adjust soil, water frequently, fertilize or do any finicky tending.  These plants were MADE to grow right where you are!

- Supports the local ecosystem -
Many people have the mistaken impression that insects are just like us and can adapt what they eat to what is available.  Not true!  With more manicured lawns and foreign plants showing up every day, nature's bounty isn't quite so bountiful to these small but IMPORTANT links in the food chain.  Support your bees, butterflies, and other creepy crawlies, and you're supporting other plant growth, and other, larger animals and birds

- Suppresses non-native "pests" -
How many people enjoy stink bugs?  Kudzu?  Any of the other invasive species?  Do your part to try and make the native culture thrive!

- Cost -
Not only the energy and water costs are reduced, but you can probably get some native plants for free from a neighbor who has had great success!  Once the plants start multiplying, it's easy to share!

- Beauty -
Obviously, I'm a fan of the peony, but these flowers have their own appeal!  There is no reason to think that if you plant native, you are limited to some dull grasses.  Check and see what's local to your area!

1 comment:

  1. You have a good variety and I love your "local only" philosophy - smart!