Why Native Plants?

The Bay

Because native plants are ecologically well-suited to thrive in the soils and climates that exist in Roland Park, they typically require far less fertilization than non-native plants.  In fact, if your soil is healthy they may need no supplemental fertilization at all.  Pesticide and fertilizer runoff from lawns and gardens is a primary source of pollution in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

 

Photo by Susan A. Roth, Copyright Fine Gardening.

Birds and Butterflies

Native plants support much more wildlife than non-native plants do.  Our native beneficial insects are well adapted to our native plants, and having a sufficient quantity and diversity of native plants is essential to the ecology of Roland Park.
This is particularly true when it comes to our butterfly and moth population.  Many butterfly larvae can only survive on particular species of plants (Monarch butterfly larva require milkweed, for example).

Roland Park is full of plants like nandina, which act as host plants for NO species of native lepidoptera.  A similar native plant, like viburnum, supports nearly one hundred different species.
This matters not only to folks who like butterflies, of course. These insects and larva are a critical food source for our native birds, especially when they are young.  Baby birds don’t eat birdseed.

 

Sense of Place

Many gardeners also have less scientific reasons for choosing native plants.  Native plants “belong here” in a very real sense, and a landscape full of native plants reinforces many of the qualities that make Roland Park both special and different.  In addition, native plants quite often reinforce the rhythm of the seasons:  spring looks like Spring, winter like Winter, and so on.  There is no easier place to have an impact on biodiversity and ecological preservation than in your own yard.

 

 

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