GARDEN WITH NATIVES
Attracting Birds, Bees and Butterflies
Perhaps most importantly for the home gardener, native plant communities are rich in biodiversity. They attract many different kinds of butterflies, native bees and other beautiful pollinators to their flowers. In turn, birds, amphibians and many other species that survive by eating insects will be attracted to your yard, and many will stay to nest and raise their young. You will have created a habitat that will simply buzz with beauty and life!
Native Plants Are For the Birds
If you want to attract birds to your own backyard, planting native species is the way to go! As they have evolved alongside native plants, birds have adapted to eat their berries and seeds, to use them as cover and nesting sites, and as hotspots to forage for the insects that also rely upon native species. Below is our top 10 list of native trees and shrubs that are great for birds. Many of these species are available for purchase at our nursery:
|Red Chokeberry||Photinia arbutifolia, Aronia arbutifolia|
|Black Cherry||Prunus serotina|
|Flowering Dogwood||Cornus florida|
|Red-Osier Dogwood||Cornus sericea|
|Eastern Red Cedar||Juniperus virginiana|
|Serviceberry||Amelanchier canadensis, laevis|
Pollinators Are All the Buzz
Pollinators are the engine that keeps our ecosystem running. Without pollination plants cannot reproduce, and 80 percent of plants are pollinated by insects. Our pollinators are in serious decline and each native plant that you provide can help them to survive. Although plants can be pollinated by wind, birds, and mammals (bats), the term pollinator is often associated with invertebrates. Bees, butterflies, flies, beetles and wasps provide the bulk of our pollination services, and we welcome their presence in our gardens.
Many gardeners worry that insects will destroy their plants, but it would be counterproductive for our native insects to destroy the plants on which they depend. Damage by native insects to native plants is minor and life giving.
When planting for pollinators, we try to provide blooms throughout the growing season. Following is a list of plants that bloom in succession, from spring through fall:
|Beard-tongue||Foxglove Penstemon digitalis|
|Bee Balms||Monarda sp.|
|Sunflowers||Rudbeckia sp. Helianthus helianthoides|
|Mountain Mints||Pycanthemum muticum|
For further information: http://xerces.org/
Butterflies Are a Flutter
When searching for butterfly-friendly plants, most of us look for plants where we can observe them sipping on nectar. We tend to forget, however, that before there is a butterfly there must be a caterpillar. Butterflies are very specific about their caterpillar plants—many of them have only one or two plants that allow their caterpillars to survive. Here is a list of common native plants that support butterflies, either as host or nectar plants:
|Black-eyed Susans||Rudbeckia sp|
|Mountain Mints||Pycanthemums, esp. muticum|
|New Jersey Tea||Ceanthus|
For further information:
For more detail on these plants, refer to Native Plant Profiles from A to Z.