Knowledge To Grow – Using Native Plants in the Garden and Landscape

Plants that have lived naturally in our area for hundreds of years are adapted to our climate and landscape.  These plants are called natives and have existed for such a long time because of a complex set of checks and balances in our ecosystem.

Some of the plants we see in our landscapes are brought in from other areas where there are natural controls to keep them inbounds.  When they are transplanted in our area, with no natural controls, they have the tendency to romp through our woodlands, shading and thus choking out our native plants.  By planting natives in our gardens and landscapes we can help to protect and restore the habitats that are lost to human development.

Gardening with native plants is easier because they are not finicky about growing here.  They do not need excessive watering or fertilization and they add to the resources that support our wildlife, such as no milkweed=no monarch butterflies. Using natives to plant a rain garden enables s rain water to percolate safely into the soil rather than running into rivers and streams and taking with it whatever pollutants in comes across on its way.

There are lists of well behaved, reliable native plants that can be used to attract wildlife, restore the balance of nature and to decorate the landscape and garden on the internet.  The Indiana Native Plants and Wildflowers Society-  www.inpaws.org is a website I like to refer to which has tons of information.   This website also lists what NOT to plant (invasives).  The Interpretive Naturalists at Pokagon State Park are also a great resource for information.  Their email address is [email protected] and phone number is 260-833-2012.

A few of the sun-loving native flowers are Yellow Coneflower (Ratibida pinnata), Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), Dense Blazing Star (Liatris spicata) and Obedient Plant (Physostegia virginiana). Serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis), Black Chokeberry (Photinia melanocarpa) and Nannyberry (Viburnum lentago) are a few native bushes that can be used for bird habitats.  They offer dense cover for shelter and berries to feed our feathered friends.

If you are in need of some fall color in your garden plant some Spicebush (Lindera benzoin), Winged sumac (Rhus copallinum) or Arrowwood viburnum (Viburnum dentatum).  To bring some winter interest to the landscape Sideoats gramma (Bouteloua curtipendula), Northern sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) and Winterberry holly (Ilex verticillata) are a few natives that can be used.

By the way I just saw some Monarch butterflies flitting about the milkweed in my garden last week…love it!  Go ahead and tuck some natives into your landscape and garden and make a bug happy.

As always, Happy Gardening!

More information about gardening and related subjects is available online. The Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service can be reached at 499-6334 in LaGrange Co., 636-2111 in Noble Co., 925-2562 in DeKalb Co. and 668-1000 in Steuben Co.

Scenic Fall Drive in Shipshewana, Indiana

Typically when you roll into Shipshewana, you’re greeted by endless farms and open fields. It might be surprising to hear of the beautiful fall foliage that can be seen this time of year. The natural beauty here in LaGrange County can often be underappreciated, many people not knowing about hidden gems like the Pigeon River …

Read More >

15 Best Things to Do in Shipshewana, Indiana

This blog was originally posted on shipshewanatradingplace.com  By Anna Camburn Shipshewana brings simple living, Amish hospitality, amazing shopping, and fun activities to Northern Indiana. Take in the area’s best attractions including shopping the Midwest’s Largest Flea Market, catching a musical at the Blue Gate Theatre,  or eating a home-cooked Amish meal. (All group-friendly!) You’ll want to spend …

Read More >

Best Tours in Amish Country, Indiana

You’re in Amish Country, so what better way to immerse yourself in the culture than a tour? Whether you’d rather travel by buggy or bus, there’s a tour to satisfy your curiosity. Get Up Close and Personal with the Amish Way of Living Hop on board the bus and join your tour guide for a …

Read More >

Get your official copy of our

Destination Guide

Request Printed Guide

View E-Guide

Stay informed and sign up for the

EMAIL-Newsletter

Sign Up