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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Native plants make sense for the garden

It’s always made sense to me to garden with as many native plants as possible.  Native plants are accustomed to the climate, soil and pests of the area.  They have already adapted and are strong in the area.

You can often acquire native plants for free, along the side of the road.  Some wild native plants that are considered weeds by some people, if planted in a garden or yard and treated with the attention of cultivated plants become even more beautiful for the care.

queen anne's lace

Queen Anne's lace is everywhere.

Bee balm is a little harder to find but it does grow wild along roadbeds.

 Black-eye Susan is fairly easy to find.

Some Sedums are native to New Jersey.  If you’re lucky, birds will bring some to your property.  

This is Sedum acre.  I found it last summer in my large planter in front of the house.  I didn’t plant it.


The Native Plant Society of New Jersey has more information.

My current yard doesn’t contain much in the way of native plants.  I’ve left things as they were when I bought the house.  I have a large rhododendrum, not a native, and I actually prefer the native varieties that I’ve seen and I have a spot in the yard I’m hoping to plant native varieties at some point.

 I have many purple and blue and white violets that are native and the purple violet is the state flower.  They propagate easily and I’ve moved them around to get them out of the middle of the lawn into planting beds.  I was given 2 trumpet vine plants which I assume were hybridized but they are native to New Jersey as well. 

I have wild clematis growing along 2 fences, these were contributed by the neighborhood birds.  Again, some people don’t like them.  They look a little messy toward the end of the growing season and, if not cut back in late fall and winter, the dried stems are tacky.  But, I love the scent and they cover ugly fencing. 

I prefer a more natural lawn and garden than the large expanses of pristine grass bordered by manicured and edged planting beds. 

One of the very prolific native plants of New Jersey that I wish I didn’t have is another lovely plant donated by birds – poison ivy.  Be sure you know it and get rid of it.  

If you want to add native plants to your garden and don’t have time to run around and look for them, there are nurseries that have them, some specializing in native plants:

RareFind Nursery in Jackson 
D & R Greenway Land Trust in Princeton                 
Toadshade Wildflower Farm in Frenchtown            

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