Lots of us look for native plants that support pollinators and birds, but need those plants to be deer-resistant and tolerant to annual summer droughts. In my latest article, I nominate some selections that meet all three criteria—native, deer-resistant, and drought-tolerant. In my experience, these are the best natural bargains you can buy.
We all know that dandelions, clover, and buttercups grow in lawns. Unfortunately, none of them are native. It’s important to understand that lawns nurture native plants, too. They are “hidden in plain sight.” The upshot: We don’t have to visit a garden center to find native plants. We can protect what we have.
Why protect and promote native plants?
I vividly recall watching my first marigolds and zinnias sprout, grow, and flower once upon a long-ago summer. As summers came along, I had further easy victories with cosmos, poppies, bachelor’s buttons, nasturtiums, sunflowers, and morning glories. The adults in my life wisely gave me easy seeds. Success bred confidence and good memories.
But looking back, I can’t ignore the facts: None were native plants. Plants with regional roots were simply not part of the conversation.
I've heard them called ephemerals. Indeed, they tend to be small, bright, and short-lived. Aside from providing us with a pop of color in the still-brown landscape, spring ephemerals provide sustenance to early insects such as queen bumblebees. Ephemerals sprout in unlikely places, peaking out from beneath leaf litter, between tree roots, along streamsides, and in vernal pools. Here are some that greeted me from April 20 -22.
See more articles on spring ephemerals:
Got parks in your community? Increased information about native plants and more commercial availability are opening new possibilities for these ecological powerhouses in the municipal realm. Read about new developments in my article for the fall 2013 newsletter of the Connecticut Association of Conservation and Inland Wetlands Commissions. Download the PDF below. Lots of good links and references at the end! Happy reading.
Waterside buffer gardens offer more than summer blooms (though they surely do offer those). They help sequester stormwater and road runoff, and keep unwanted nitrogen and road pollutants from public water bodies. Through the joint efforts of several organizations, a new buffer garden was installed at Lake Hayward, East Haddam, CT in 2013-2014.