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Native Plants: Great Home Garden Starters

by Huckleberry

Not sure how to get started with your home garden? Give native plants a try!

What do you do when you are visiting a new place and need the inside scoop?  Ask a native, of course!  This couldn’t be more true for gardening as well.  Native plants are a great way to start out your home garden:

Right Plant, Right Place:  Native plants have evolved in and are adapted to the area they are found in.  This means that they are able to live in ecological niches that may be a challenge for other plants.  For example, in the Pacific Northwest (PNW), it can be a challenge to get plants to grow in the dry, shaded, slightly acidic ground underneath the most common PNW conifer, Douglas fir.  But not if you select a native plant like snowberry!  It really thrives in this environment, and is especially welcome in the winter when it shows off its white berry fruit.  By being observant of where you see native plants in natural landscapes, you will pick up clues of where they will do the best in your home garden.

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No Muss, No Fuss:  Native plants (in the right place!) aren’t going to require a lot of special care.  Yet they can reward with beautiful flowers or leaves that create points of interest in your home garden.  While perhaps not as fragrant or showy as special cultivars, they instead excel at establishing a mood and enhancing the “natural” vibe of your garden.  A perfect example is Pacific Bleeding Heart, which appears in forgotten shaded areas in late spring, like a gift in a secret hide-away.

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It’s a Wild, Wild Life:  A home garden is not just about the plants!  It can also be a refuge for wildlife.  Native plants are best equipped to provide the food and shelter required by native wildlife.  Your garden can even become an official National Wildlife Foundation Certified Wildlife Habitat (see http://www.nwf.org/get-outside/outdoor-activities/garden-for-wildlife/create-a-habitat.aspx).

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So next time you are out taking a stroll in a natural area, start plant browsing!  You’ll get some fantastic ideas of native plants that will be perfect for your home garden.

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beginning gardens native plants

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