There are two projects happening here in Campbellton that have me turning to the subject of native plants. When we are discussing native plants what we are referring to is plants that have evolved here, in North America, over many years.
These plants have adapted to environmental changes where they are growing and have been part of the evolving local ecosystem for many, many generations. These plants have adapted to the rainfall patterns; to the myriad of other creatures that have evolved with them, pollinating them, feeding on their nectar; to the area's soils and climate; to the whole web of connections that nature provides.
This is why native plants will require little attention from you, they are hardwired to thrive.
One project is Bee City Campbellton. The purposes of Bee City Campbellton is first: to encourage people not to use pesticides or purchase plants that have been treated with pesticides. The second purpose is to inform people about native plants that attract pollinators such as the honey bee, the bumblebee and the blue mason bee.
The second project is the Heritage Garden at the Galerie Restigouche. The Gallery will be planting, on June 11, a vegetable garden using seeds that would or could have been historically grown in this area.
If you are planning to create a native plant garden, you will need to know what plants are native to your region. I always recommend that people visit their local public library as the library can be a source of much information. If you have a native plant society or a naturalist society in town, then contact them.
There are some very sound reasons for selecting native plants for your garden, for me the environmental reasons carry the most weight but ease of care follows as a close second.
The environmental reasons are strong motivators for selecting native plants, with a native plant garden you will:
· increase biodiversity;
· provide habitat for a wide variety of creatures such as birds and butterflies;
· provide a home for many native plants that are becoming increasingly rare in the wild;
· conserve water;
· and eliminate the need for chemical inputs such as pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers.
The other important reasons for using native plants are the practical and aesthetic benefits of native plant gardening: less work and lots of beauty!
Once you get started you will soon discover that native plant gardens almost look after themselves. Remember the plants look after themselves in Nature and do not have a gardener to feed and water them.
However, the best guarantee of gardening success is taking time to stroll through your garden. Enjoying the sights, sounds and smells, with an eye open to spotting the unusual, unexpected or unanticipated. This investment of time can head off possible plant catastrophes.
Next week, we will look at invasive species and the difference between plants that present a threat to the garden and ecosystem and those that enhance our gardening success. So, until next week, happy gardening.