Mock Orange Native to USA in my back yard ( read more here)– she is a beauty !Everyone knows, I mix-it-up in my garden with natives and non-natives.In my posts, I mix-it-up often…. for I never follow the rules + this is a post that mixes up a lot of stuff….Two bloggers I admire…A great native bush in my garden which if you love fragrance you just have to find a place for her!!!She is BIG and perfect for a privacy screen. + Why you should be careful what natives you put on a small city lot.
Something Chloris said, from The blooming Garden/ Ideas from a Suffolk Garden stuck in my head today after reading her comment. I have been reading for a couple of days about “Native plants vs. Non Native” plants. She has a beautiful garden on acreage in England, and she honored me the other day by nominating me for One Lovely Blog Award. I hope she does not mind, if I change-up the award stuff for I tend to do my “own thing” and those who read my blog, know, I do!
She said in response to my last post about biodiversity on city lots “You have a much richer flora than we do here. Ours is the poorest in Europe. We only have 32 species of trees. I do believe in planting native flowers, and indeed I have wildflowers in my orchard. But I plant exotic trees and shrubs and just have native ones in my hedge. I agree that biodiversity is vital though I hope your message gets across and that The Great American Lawn and all its chemical care will become a thing of the past.,It made me think, she is “spot on!!! I admire Chlrois when it comes to knowing everything about plants! I am waiting for her to write a gardening book! I will be the first to buy it since she has a great blog that covers a wide variety of gardening topics. I consider her an expert!
She also is right about us and “The Great America Lawn” obsession. It is a PROBLEM in America, if we would just ALL decrease their size + MIX in more native plants, we might find we argue less about this subject. The lawn is a non-native plant but WHY can’t it share its space with some native plants. Possibly Rudbeckia hirta, commonly called black-eyed susan or Annise hyssop/Agastache foeniculum, would be a nice mix-up addition. These changes are not that hard to do and by just MIXING it up, we can live with nature. It does not mean we can’t have other non-natives, but we can’t make them the entire growing area. I found Kentucky Blue Grass on the invasive list!(check it out here)
Since my last post, I have been reading from many sources about this debate, for I am a person that does not follow extremes, but tries to find a balance.
They are usually defined as plants recorded as growing wild in an area at the time that scientific collection began in that area. Other plants are considered introduced. The scope of Wildflowers covers several Midwestern states (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin). Plants included on the website are native to one or more of those states (some may also be native to states outside the scope of this website).
From a more subjective viewpoint, gardeners need to consider what native means to them. Some people are satisfied as long as the plant is considered native to North America or the United States. Others may feel that they only want to use plants native to the state in which they live. Yet others may want plants to be native to their immediate area (the region or county in which they live). Each gardener must decide what they will accept as native (read more here)…..
I feel that is where I stand with this “argument” about native vs non-native going on between gardeners. I will decide what I consider a native plant. I will not try to tell you what to believe since it is up to you. One of my favorite plants, I use in my “rotating” beds is “cosmos” and it is NOW on the Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States. (check it out here-I bet you have a few on this list) I have found the bees cover this flower from mid-summer to early fall as much as they do our native asters. I have many more asters on my city lot, but the cosmos I use in my garden beds to provide for native pollinators. This plant is native to Mexico, which borders the USA. They also have many more annuals on the list that I use for food in our small garden. There are herbs that escape and become problems in nature. I have been reading about this debate for the past few days + come to the conclusion; I will sit myself in the “gray” area. I will not align myself with either extreme but evaluate my site based on what I observe from growing season to growing season. For example, I have observed that “shiso” Perilla frutescens (L.) Britton beefsteak plant is now on USA invasive list-check it out (here). YIKES- I had no idea at the time I planted it. I enjoyed using it for tea the past few years, but it has become VERY invasive in MY garden. It spreads too rapidly. I started to become concerned this summer when I “observed” it was spreading too rapidly outside the original place I planted it. Which means it has the potential, in my opinion, to be invasive, and I don’t need a long list to tell me that, I just need to take care of it! I won’t share seed + I won’t continue to plant it in my garden. It may not be invasive in another place/country, but in my urban potager/ Modern Day Kitchen Garden it is more than invasive it is on garden steroids!!!!
Native Plants can have the same problems with becoming invasive in our small gardens
check this out from the University of Illinois-Extension Office
The interest in native plants is growing, but a plant’s nativity does not make it automatically a great garden plant. Every native plant will not be a good match for every garden. Some native plants can be aggressive in their growth, so that factor must be considered, especially if the plant will be placed in a small garden. If naturalizing is the goal, however, plants that are aggressive growers or self-sowers could be considered desirable.
Not all native plants are attractive and that should be taken into consideration. This is a subjective decision that each gardener must make. Another subjective choice, but a far more serious one, is the matter of poisonous plants. Among both introduced plants and natives, there are plants that may be harmful to some degree and a few that are deadly. It is not the intent of this website to list which plants are poisonous. In some cases, the poisonous nature of a plant has been noted, if the plant is particularly toxic. However, if a plant is not designated as poisonous, it is not automatically a ‘safe’ plant. Safety should always be a concern in the garden. Don’t select a plant without knowing more about it, whether it is a native or introduced plant.
I mix it up here
I will tell you about one of my Hero’s in life, Mandy
When one gets these awards they are supposed to nominate a list of other bloggers, but I have a hard time picking them so I will suggest one blogger, I have grown to admire + read weekly. Our blogs discuss different subjects, but the common connecting thread, we have, is “our gardens.” She loves to garden. She might not be a blog you visit or find easy to read(subject is difficult), but she provides a voice for those that are unable to speak out. Let me introduce you to, Mandy.Her blog is titled Healing beyond Survival A Blog about Post-Traumatic Growth. She talks about a subject that is hard for me to read about at times since it upsets me greatly that people would hurt children or others to cause them lifelong heartache. She has a book coming out this year ( correct me if I am wrong Mandy on the time) about her abuse. Through her blog, she helps people + she makes a difference in this world. She is my Hero. I tell her all the time how brave she is, and she can handle anything this life throws her way. She is a survivor. It is hard for me at times, to read her blog posts. One time, I told her, “Mandy, I can’t “like” the post you wrote today for it upsets me too much. She said,” I understand but when you like it, you are letting me know you read it not that you like what I am writing about.” Well, she is a brave person + I nominate her for this award for she is a Hero, in my eyes for she is tackling a subject matter that most people would never want to address. Her blog is not all about abuse, but about people trying to piece their life back together after traumatic hardships.Mandy educates us about those things that we don’t want to talk about or read about in this world.Well, because they are difficult. Mandy keeps them “out there” so we can work together to change what is going on in this world. I may discuss things about nature, immunity gardens, or about building community with our gardens….but mine is not as difficult as Mandy’s subject. I admire people like Mandy that take something ‘horrible” that happened to them and instead of giving up on life,hurting themselves or others…she makes a difference! She tackles the tough stuff as the weeds in our gardens!
People need to heal + nature needs to heal + together we can all heal with nature. Mandy stopped by my blog one day to comment about gardening + that is how we have become friends over the cyber fence. Gardens heal us. Gardens connect us. We create them to heal us. When we dig in the soil and grow, we heal for it is that simple. We were created to work in the earth, and it is our responsibility to take care of it….
It is good we have people like Doug Tallamy and others that want to debate the native vs non-native.We ALL need to step back and OBSERVE how we are impacting nature. It is not about “native vs. non-native” but about acting responsibly + caring about how we treat our land and each other. By replacing our chemical driven lawns with more native plants + non-natives, we can help nature heal as well as ourselves. All this fighting among groups of people needs to stop. We need to stop “hating” on each other and find a common place we can work from for when we work together, we accomplish a lot more in this world.
There are some commonly held misconceptions about native plants. It is often stated that native plants have fewer disease and insect problems. This is not necessarily true. Some native plants have few problems while others are constantly plagued. We have higher expectations in a managed landscape. A native plant suffering from a disease or insect in the woods, may go unnoticed. The same plant in a traditional landscape may give a poor appearance.
Another misconception is that native plants are adapted to the area so they will have superior growth. In terms of cold hardiness, this is true. However, when we look at soil conditions we see a different picture. Many of the soils in suburban and urban sites are disturbed; they may be primarily subsoil (which is inadequate for plant growth) or a subsoil/topsoil mix. Mycorrhizal fungi that are found in undisturbed soils may be missing. These fungi help native plants absorb water and nutrients from the soil, leading to better growth. So we may have a native plant in an altered environment. This doesn’t mean that native plants can’t be grown in urban and suburban sites. It means that we must do what we can to make those sites as appropriate as possible. We should expect the possibility that the plant will not reach its full potential (in terms of size and flowering) in these sites.
A third misconception is that native plants are always more desirable than non-native species. Poison ivy and poison sumac are natives, but they are far from desirable. Some natives are aggressive growers, spreading rapidly. They may overwhelm a small yard or may not fit well in a traditional landscape. As with any plant group, careful selections need to be made.( read more here..)