This is my personal collection of findings and discoveries in gardening with plants that are native to the Eastern United States.  Because I’m not formally trained in botany/ecosystems, my primary use for this website is more like a memory-bank to help me recall specific plants, scientific names and some field notes.  I’m making this public so that you may also learn from my discoveries.  I have added a brief page of invasive plants that should never be included in a garden/yard, and I plan to add a few things about non-native, non-invasive plants (if you really want to plant something non-beneficial, there are options that won’t invade/destroy your surrounding ecosystem).

Some benefits of native plants include:

  • Native plants provide much needed food and shelter for native wildlife. Since local animals and insect-life have co-evolved with native plants to feed and support each other. Invasive or introduced species provide little benefit to wildlife and can starve entire populations when used en masse.
  • Reduction of pests and ticks. Some species of popular non-native/invasive plants (such as Japanese Barberry, Berberis thunbergii), provides optimal protection for large communities of white-footed mice (a known tick vector).
  • Native plants reduce erosion. Fast-growing invasives tend to have many shallow root systems and outcompete most of everything in their path (including many other species with deeper, soil-stabilizing root systems such as trees). In many instances, this creates a monoculture of medium to shallow-rooted plants which in turn leads to water runoff and flooding.
  • Reduction of air pollution from mowing (natives require less mowing).
  • Reduced water use (a native plant in its “happy place” will thrive better with little watering, fertilizer and care compared to standard invasive lawn-grass).
  • No need for pesticide. With native plants, one of your goals will be to feed all the nature. If there are holes in your leaves that just means you’ve given some animal or insect a meal. Good job!
  • It’s rewarding to plant and manage natives knowing that you’re restoring natural habitat, and helping local birds, insects, and animals.
  • Native plants are both versatile and beautiful

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