ROSWELL, Ga. – Let your garden GO GREEN! Remember, how you maintain your garden or lawn impacts the health of the soil, air, water and the habitats for native wildlife – as well as the human community nearby. When you plant native plants, you’ll be able to reduce your chemical use and save money on water. You’ll be taking important steps to greener gardening, which is better both for animals and your family.
“Native plants are easy to grow,” said Lisa Cole, horticulture manager with the Chattahoochee Nature Center. “They are aesthetically pleasing, promote biodiversity, need less water and are already adapted to the climate and are drought tolerant.”
That means they need less care, water and chemicals, leading, ultimately, to a better plant. If the plant is a herb or vegetable, the benefits are multiple.
“By growing food in your backyard you can monitor how organic you want it to be. With food at the grocery store, you never know what you’re getting, even if it says it’s organic. And being truly farm-to-table, they taste better. There are higher nutrients in these crops that are lost in shipping to stores.”
Beyond people, wild animals need to eat as well. Planting native shrubs, flowers and trees is the easiest way to provide the foliage, nectar, pollen, berries, seeds and nuts that many wildlife species need to survive and thrive.
“Hawthorn, Viburnum, Beauty Berry and Holly shrubs are great for adding color to attract our feathered friends,” said Cole. “To attract pollinators and butterflies, remember to have something blooming through long seasons. Remember to plant host plants such as milkweed for Monarch Butterflies.”film Sleepless 2017
And now is a perfect time to plant. A long, cold winter enables plants to develop dense root systems for strong healthy growth in the spring. Native plants adapt easily, require less maintenance, and exhibit lower pest loads.
Don’t know what plants are native to your area? Ask local specialists or check online sources.
A great way to learn more about native plants, and to grab some of your own, is to visit the Fall Native Plant Sale, Sept. 23 and 24, at Roswell’s Chattahoochee Nature Center. A members-only preview sale is Sept. 22. For information on that, including hours and varieties of plants, visit chattnaturecenter.org.