The Transylvania Times -

By Maryann Mickewicz
Transylvania Extension Master Gardener 

Spring Planting? Consider Going Native – Brevard NC


Last updated 3/23/2015 at 12:01pm

For those of us who are anxious to get back to work in our gardens as soon as the holidays are over, the end of winter weather cannot come soon enough. And now that spring is officially here, it is finally time to head outside.

One of my all-time favorite activities, and one that I share with fellow gardening enthusiasts, is visiting the local nurseries, plant sales, public gardens and the North Carolina Arboretum. I can’t get enough of all the fabulous plants that I’d love to have right outside my door. But with all of the gorgeous plants and flowers available, how are you supposed to decide what goes home with you and what waits for another day? And sadly, on the practical side, there is only so much garden space, time, energy and money available, so some tough decisions must be made.

When making these tough decisions, one thing you might consider for the benefit of the local natural environment and for keeping your landscape maintenance labor to a minimum, is to steer clear of the plants that have earned the label of non-native invasives and focusing on adding native plants to your landscape instead.

Some of the benefits of focusing on native plants are that they:

• Attract wildlife, as native animals are best adapted to native plants for food and cover;

• Reduce maintenance, as the plants native to an area are well suited to the local soils and climate and require relatively little upkeep once established on an appropriate site;

• Balance habitat losses to development and encro-achment by invasive non-native plants;

• Showcase the beauty of our native landscape.

By knowing which plants are native and which are the non-native thugs, you can choose plants to add to your landscape that will work in harmony with the natural environment, provide a haven for native wildlife and look beautiful in any landscape. And keep in mind that not all non-native plants are invasive; I would never discourage anyone from planting my beloved peonies and daphnes.

For those of us who are looking for information and inspiration to use more native plants in our landscape, the Extension Master Gardeners are offering a workshop appropriately entitled Gardening with Native Plants” on Saturday, March 28, from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. in the Rogow Room of the Transylvania County Library.

Dr. Larry Mellichamp, professor of botany and horticulture and director of the UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens will educate us on the benefits of using native plants in the landscape and provide recommendations for specific plants that will thrive in our Transylvania climate. He will also be available to sign his comprehensive book “Native Plants of the Southeast: A Comprehensive Guide to the Best 460 Species for the Garden.”

Local plant ecologist Owen Carson will also speak to the group on the identification and eradication of non-native invasive plants in our landscapes so we will know what to look for when adding to our gardens and what to remove and replace with an attractive and beneficial native plant.

For detailed information on Saturday’s presentations, call the Cooperative Extension Service at 884-3109.


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