Need an overall 'natives' strategy (Michigan)
Hi, y'all. I've visited before, but now I have a question.
I'm probably over-excited and just need to calm down, but I have been reading a book lately (Bringing Nature Home by Douglas W. Tallamy) that has me re-thinking some of my garden plans. According to this book, even "nice" aliens are a problem, because they don't feed the insects that in turn feed the birds and amphibians.
Our house is in a very sandy area that has been disturbed by agriculture in the past. I think it would be called an "oak savannah" or "oak opening," because we have the tallgrass prairie (with non-native grasses) and the oak trees (Quercus coccinea) grow in abundance.
The day we moved in, we started battling the alien invasives, and have been making a bit of progress.
After five years of living here, I know what ornamentals will do well in our sandy soil. But some of them are not native. Perhaps most. Rather than insist on natives, I would like to put together a list of plants that will (1) grow on our acidic sand without irrigation (2) support the insects and other animal life. For example, I am letting the Queen Anne's Lace grow, because it "supports beneficials." I am pulling out the hoary allysum (Berteroa incana) because it is so darn invasive. Hairy Vetch (Vicia villosa) can stay, because bees love it, but Crown Vetch (Coronilla varia) has got to go, because it would take over if it were not for Roundup.
There is probably someone on this list who can point me to books, webpages and other resources that will help me develop a list of natives and select aliens that will reach my goal of minimal irrigation and maximum beneficial insect life. Any ideas for me?
MaryLiz in SE lower Michigan