Thursday, May 5, 2011

Going native

Lately I’ve been on a “native plants” kick. My interest in sustainable agriculture and supporting local ecosystems and wildlife has led me down a number of fascinating paths, not the least of which has been gardening with native flowers, shrubs, and trees. Unfortunately, when most people think of “native” plants, they conjure up images of messy wildflower meadows and fields. However, all it really entails is using flowers that are native to your region and support the local wildlife (bees, birds, butterflies, etc.) Many of these native plants are drought tolerant, cold hardy, and bloom reliably throughout the spring, summer, and into the fall, and they can blend well with your existing plants.

Here are a number of excellent websites dealing with gardening with native plants:

NATIVE PLANTS AND WILDLIFE GARDENS

LADYBIRD JOHNSON WILDFLOWER CENTER

RESTORING THE LANDSCAPE

ECOSYSTEM GARDENING

USDA PLANTS DATABASE

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