Week 3 Recap: Adding Native Plants to Your Landscape

Following up on last week’s action – Using Sustainable Practices in Your Lawn and Garden – this week we talked about the importance of Adding Native Plants to Your Landscape. One of the highlights of this week was our partnership with Plant SWVA Natives to give away 200 Redbud and Oak saplings! There are many organizations out there that are a great source of information which we talked about on our Facebook page throughout the week. Here’s a quick recap of what we posted:

Virginia Native Plant Society

Find a wealth of resources through the Virginia Native Plant Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of the native plants of Virginia and their habitats, in order to sustain for generations to come the integrity of the Commonwealth’s rich natural heritage of ecosystems and biodiversity for purposes of enjoyment, enlightenment, sustainable use, and our own very survival. The New River Chapter has about 100 members who are active volunteering at local native plant gardens and invasive plant removal projects. The chapter also hosts an annual native plant sale in the fall and is developing a map of local demonstration gardens so you can see plants you may like to add to your landscape. To learn more about the chapter, visit their website or send an email to nrchaptervnps@gmail.com to be added to their listserve.

Need Some Convincing?

If you still need some convincing about the need for native plants, heed the warning from Doug Tallamy, renowned entomologist and author, who noticed a lack of insects on the non-native, invasive plants that were taking over his property. “Ninety percent of the insects that eat plants can develop and reproduce only on the plants with which they share an evolutionary history,” Tallamy says. Without insects, it would be the case that lizards, frogs and toads, birds and mammals, from rodents up through bears, would lose all or a large part of their diets. “The little things that run the world are disappearing,” he says. “This is an ecological crisis that we’re just starting to talk about.”


Plant SWVA Natives

The Plant Virginia Natives campaign is working to increase appreciation for, and availability of, the plants native to Virginia. Regional partnerships have developed native plant guides and resources for areas around the state. The Plant Southwest VA Natives campaign is just getting started and interested in increasing partners and outreach. Planting a native tree is one of the primary actions they suggest, so we were excited to partner with them to distribute 200 Redbud and Oak saplings this week!

The Plant Virginia Natives campaign is currently hosting a fantastic webinar series where you can learn about landscaping with native plants. You can still sign up and receive access to past and future webinars here.

Preparing Redbud and Oak saplings for distribution

Wood Thrush Native Nursery

Finding native plants for your landscape can be a challenge, so we are fortunate to have a native plant nursery just a short distance from us, in Floyd. We have talked a lot about the biological reasons to plant natives, but this is a good time to highlight another great reason to plant natives: they’re beautiful! Daffodils are nice, but they have nothing in terms of beauty on these native Virginia bluebells, which are blooming now too. Adding native plants to your landscape doesn’t mean that all your plants have to be native. Experts recommend that 70% of your plants be native in order to have the best impact for the environment. Wood Thrush Native Nursery is a small nursery dedicated to discovering, growing, and promoting rare and unusual plants that are native to the Appalachian region. Place an order or visit them in Floyd to pick up some of these and many other beautiful native plants. Also ask for natives wherever you buy plants to encourage wider availability.

Milkweed Seeds

Did you pick up one of our milkweed seed kits in the fall? Ann Raridon posted this update on the care for your new seedlings:

“If you picked up one of our milkweed seed kits in the fall and followed our instructions, then you likely have seeds sprouting. The seedlings are tender, but should now be moved out of the shady area we recommended over the winter. So as not to shock them, start with a few hours of sun a day and increase a couple of hours every day until they’re in full sun all day. Just make sure to keep them watered. I keep mine in a saucer so they don’t dry out and wilt. It can happen fast on a hot day since they’re so small. Because they have been outside already, the transition is easier than seedlings grown indoors, but they have been protected in their mini greenhouse. I let mine get several sets of leaves and grow to several inches high before I plant them in the ground. Plant the whole little pot so the top is even with the level of the soil. Once in the ground, be sure to keep them well-watered until they’re established as you would with any new plant. Also, although deer supposedly don’t like milkweed, they have eaten young tender milkweed in my yard so you may need to protect them.”

Coming Up…

Week 4 starts tomorrow! Join us as we talk about Volunteering and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook to see daily updates.

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