For those who are members of the Xerces Society, you already saw this article by Doug Tallamy entitled “Aliens,” in their publication Wings. For those who haven’t seen it, it’s a great article that talks about landscaping.
It’s been posted online and I wanted to share it here: http://www.xerces.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/Wings_sp11_alien-plants.pdf
I remember when we first moved to Loudoun, we had to get a landscape plan for our house. This was a first for me. At the same time though, I was going through the National Wildlife Federation’s Habitat Steward Class and had just learned about native plants versus non-native.
I remember getting the landscape plan back from the designer and looking at it wide-eyed at all the non-native plants he planned for us.
The layout of the landscaping was great and we went with that, but that was as far as it went. It was our choice — to plant natives or to plant aliens (ornamentals). I’m sure you can guess the path we chose. I bought books, created a native plant list, and tracked down native plants at every local nursery I could find and we planted our gardens with native plants.
It’s not all milkweed and goldenrod though, we do have a few non-natives and invasives like japanese stiltgrass, multiflora rose and others keep showing up throughout our property such that while I go off to work they get busy spreading.
It’s tough to keep the non-natives at bay but what we can do is make the choice to plant natives in our landscape, to replace the ornamentals that maybe came with our houses or that landscape designers who didn’t know better selected.
Later today (or sometime this weekend), after pulling a very aggressive but so far unestablished stock of mile-a-minute from our garden, I’ll post some shots and stories about butterfly caterpillars I’ve been encountering on native plants in our yard. It’s good fun! (not the part about pulling mile-a-minute, but the part about the caterpillars)