Incorporating native plants into your garden not only enhances its beauty but also plays a vital role in supporting local ecosystems and preserving biodiversity. By embracing native plants, you can create a sustainable and vibrant garden that benefits both you and the environment.
WHAT YOU'LL LEARN HERE
It rains hard and often in spring, and then we have big puddles, muddy gardens and soggy lawns. Then midsummer comes and the garden is dry and hot. The plants are gasping for water and the soil is dry and cracked. Sound familiar? This is typical weather in Illinois, and it presents challenges that only native plants can meet.
The native plants in my garden tell me when summer is beginning to turn toward autumn. Culver’s Root (Veronicastrum virginicum) is already blooming in the shady rain garden despite lack of rain. Royal Catchfly (Silene regia) grows tall and delicate in the butterfly garden, a stand-out because its blossom is the only true red among so many softer colors. Soon asters of many varieties will begin to bloom. Native grasses will not be far behind. When they and the goldenrods bloom, we know for sure that autumn is here.
othing beats the light and airy look of tall, distinctive grasses in a landscape arrangement. The fluffy seedheads and slender, attractive stems practically dance in the wind on breezy days, adding texture as well as a structural element to any landscape bed.
Whether you have an area around your home that gets full sun or shade, is wet or dry, there is a native shrub option for you. Native shrubs are touted as easier to care for and provide ecosystems services like flowers for pollinators and berries for bird. When planting native shrubs, plant in groups and water during the establishment period.
Lured by the gorgeous new offerings each season in glossy garden catalogues and magazines, you might be tempted to choose plants not well suited to your area – an expensive and time-consuming error.