Don’t worry, go native

Flowers in a forestThe weirdly early May Long has come and gone. The temps are up and staying up. We can all exhale. It’s safe to go plant shopping.

This year, natives are going to be on the top of my list. And, no, I haven’t gone all crunchy-granola on you. Native plants can save you lots of time, money and effort. And what they add to a garden goes way beyond their own gorgeousness. Here are the reasons I’m sold:

1. They attract wildlife. I don’t mean adding to the exploding squirrel population. Birds, bees and butterflies, for instance, depend on native plants for shelter and food.

2. They already like it here. This is going to sound like a soundbite from Captain Obvious but it does bear mentioning: If you buy plants native to your area, they’re fine with the local soil and climate. So no worries about:

• whether it’s hardy or not

• needing to fertilize

• hovering over them with a watering can

• or otherwise micro-managing their existence.

They just get on with looking good because that’s what they’ve been doing around here since forever.

3. You’re helping to protect the natural assets of the area. Here, in Southern Ontario, we’ve already started to reduce the diversity of plant species because of urbanization. Planting native plants in your garden helps to conserve our plant heritage. So you’re doing a good thing.

4. It’s easier than ever to buy native plants for your garden. Most garden centres have a section devoted to native plants these days. Even the pop-up garden centres offered by major grocery stores now carry branded native plants. If you’re shopping for something a little different, and want to work in a fun day trip, too, check out the listing of nurseries specializing in Ontario native plants on the Find Native Plants website.

2 thoughts on “Don’t worry, go native

  1. Where can I buy bog myrtle (myrica gale)? I would like half a dozen bushes. I’ve tried everything online but can’t seem to find a supplier except for the dried leaves. thank you.

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    • I did a search, too, and didn’t come up with much except that it seems propagating bog myrtle is best done by seed. http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Myrica+gale
      There are bog myrtle seed retailers but it seems very expensive. The seed is more commonly available in the UK than here in Canada. It’s a long shot but I’d try asking a micro-brewery like Beau’s in Vankleek Hill, ON. They wild harvest bog myrtle for use in one of their brews. Maybe they can share some of their harvest with you when the plants have set seed.

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