Gardening | 12 April 2016Reasons to Use Native Plants in Your Garden Share article facebook twitter google pinterest Did you know that you can transform your landscape with beautiful native plants? From less maintenance to preserving the natural heritage of an area, Grow Native shares the top reasons you should use native plants in your yard. Don’t forget to enter our National Gardening Week giveaway for a chance to win your choice of 5 of our gardening books! Check out the full list of books here. a Rafflecopter giveaway Reasons to Use Native Plants There are many reasons to use native plants, some more tangible than others. For many gardeners, the initial attraction comes from native plants’ reputation of being lower maintenance than a manicured lawn and exotic shrubs. For the most part this is true—provided native plants are given landscape situations that match their cultural requirements. Because they have evolved and adapted to their surroundings, native plants tend to be tolerant of tough conditions such as drought and poor soil. Native plants are better adapted to local climatic conditions and better able to resist the effects of native insects and diseases. Their reduced maintenance results in less dependence on fossil fuels and reduced noise pollution from lawn mowers and other types of equipment. One very important benefit of using native plants is their importance to native insects, birds, and other wildlife, which are critical to the survival of our planet. Creating native ecosystems in our landscapes provides a substitute for the natural habitats that are rapidly being destroyed. And why not plant a garden that is attractive to insects, birds, and other types of wildlife rather than repellant to them? Native plants are best choices for these ecosystems. They are recognized by native birds and insects and known to be palatable, unlike nonnative plants, which have not evolved with native fauna. Growing native plants gives you peace of mind that you are not further contributing to the degradation of natural habitats. Many traditional landscape plants have the potential to become invasive and weedy when grown in conditions without the natural checks and balances that keep it under control. When a native species moves into a natural area from a garden bed, it usually just becomes a part of the ecosystem. When an alien species move in, it often grows faster and reproduces more successfully. The result is a monoculture that displaces native species and provides little or no habitat for native fauna. Gardening with native plants will help you create a sense of place rather than just a cookie-cutter landscape. Your yard will be unique among the long line of mown grass and clipped shrubs in your neighborhood, yet still be as attractive or more attractive than other traditional landscapes. You will get an enormous sense of satisfaction from helping re-establish what once grew naturally in your area. You will see an increase in wildlife, including birds, butterflies, and pollinating insects, making your garden a livelier place. On a broader scale, using native plants helps preserve the natural heritage of an area. Genetic diversity promotes the mixing of genes to form new combinations, the key to adaptability and survival of all life. Once a species becomes extinct, it is gone forever, as are its genes and any future contribution that it might have made. A less tangible—but possibly more important—side of using native plants is the connection you make with nature. Gardening with natives instills an understanding of our natural world—its cycles, changes, and history. Communing with nature has a positive, healing effect on human beings. Learning how to work with instead of against nature will do wonders for your spiritual health. By observing native plants throughout the year, a gardener gains insight into seasonal rhythms and life cycles. You will experience intellectual rewards that are somehow missing if you only grow petunias or marigolds. Buy from an Online Retailer US: UK: Learn how to transform your yard into a beautiful landscape using native plants! You don’t have to compromise beauty for natural landscapes with ecological responsibility and sustainability. In master gardener Lynn Steiner’s book Grow Native, you’ll find guidance for planting stunning gardens using native species that support your local ecosystem. Organized in an easily accessible way, the book offers instructions for planting, maintenance instructions, helpful tips about soil, watering and fertilizing as well as gorgeous photography. With guidance about how to weave native plants into your landscape and replacing common ornamentals with natural plants, this book should have a place on every gardener’s bookshelf. Grow Native combines inspirational garden shots of native landscapes with plant specific chapters and photos. Topics covered include: Hardiness Zone Maps Inspiration Gallery: Gardens Full of Native Plants Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.