| Story by Meghan McMahon |
As you get starry-eyed with visions of how to spruce up your home landscape this year, take some time to consider adding native plants to your yard. Native plants are the trees, shrubs, flowers and grasses that grow naturally in the region in which they evolved. These are the plants that are adapted to our climate and soil and are meant to grow here because they have historically, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
Why are native plants best? Because they are easy to care for — requiring less water and maintenance than many non-native plants — and they support all manner of wildlife, including the much-needed pollinators that are on the decline like butterflies, bees and other insects.
Native wildflowers include dozens of species in a rainbow of colors, so there’s sure to be something that will fit well in your yard. Once native plants become established, they won’t just provide a splash of color, they’ll also attract all sorts of beneficial insects and birds.
Just like with any other gardening project, the key to adding native plants to your yard is planning — finding the right plants for the right spots. In addition to soil type, space and light exposure, another factor to consider when planting natives is bloom time. If you want pops of color in your yard from spring to fall, make sure to consider when the flowers bloom to achieve your desired look. Some native flowers, like moss phlox, bloom in early spring, while others, like New England aster, don’t bloom until late summer and linger into fall.
Below is just a sampling of the native wildflowers you can include in your yard. If you need inspiration or planting ideas, visit Isle a la Cache Museum to check out the pollinator garden.