Plan On Native Planting

July 1, 2020 · 3 minute read
Plan On Native Planting

I see a lot of yards. I’d even say I “know” a lot of yards quite well. Many of them are beautiful, each in their own way. It’s strangely one of the things I look forward to most in my day — yards. And not really with any expectations of what I’ll see. (Usually, I’m aware they’ll have trees…) But because I’m always trying to figure out what is an attractive yard to me. I think that’s it, the unknown is enticing.

Beauty, obviously, is a broad term and is certainly all in the “eye of the beholder.” Is it the home in the spring with all of the bright colors from the dogwoods, the redbuds, the cherry trees, the fringe trees? Is it the manicured shrubs and green grass that would probably be more comfortable in my house than any rug that I own? 

And although it’s not as popular, in all of my visits, I think I’ve become aware of something that is at least beautiful to me; I like stuff that is wild and left alone. Or at least appears to be. And I like trees and plants that belong where they are. Once I noticed this, I began to pay more attention to plants and where they’re supposed to be. Native plants seem to move more and have more activity. In fact, there are all kinds of things going on.

So I began to look into why this is, and the logic behind it is really simple. Every living thing knows one another. It has trust that’s been built on many years of cohabitation. It’s easier, it’s safer. That, to me is attractive. These are four benefits of native plants that stick out to me:

  1. Wildlife doesn’t trust what it doesn’t know. Insects won’t eat foreign plants. They don’t even recognize them as food. Frogs and birds as well as other insects that eat the insects that we aren’t fond of (flies, mosquitos, aphids etc.) go away because the insects they rely on aren’t around. Wildlife can’t shelter within foreign plants because of all the chemicals it takes to keep the plants healthy.
  2. Native plants require 10 times less chemical maintenance to survive if any at all. Fewer chemicals are better for the earth and for us. I promise.
  3. They’ve adapted so they don’t need as much water. Another plus for the environment.
  4. This last benefit is probably the most dear to me. Really I could’ve probably listed this one and only reason as enough for myself: Native plants are less work. They’re fine with the dirt they have, the amount of water, light, temperature they receive and the bugs that visit them. They’re more resilient to disease, funguses and our spectrum of weather change. They’re happier!

A wild yard, to me is so much more enjoyable. I don’t care if you walk across my “lawn” after it rains. It’s mostly clover anyway and the bees love it, and I love bees (most of the time). And I know milkweed has a bad rap, but without it we have no butterflies, and I love butterflies too so I have milkweed. My four-legged family isn’t interested in it anyway. 

I get a lot of apologies when I enter “unkept” yards, and I laugh because sometimes an “unkept” yard is quite “kept”. I’m quick to assure someone that I think there’s grace in respecting what’s there without manipulation. 

I don’t think this is the most popular thought out there, yet but newer generations are busier and stressed and native plants are simple and simplicity can mean peace and we can probably all use more of that — even if it’s from a plant.