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Explaining WHY natives?!

Posted by terryr z5a IL (My Page) on
Sun, Aug 14, 05 at 22:10

Hi everyone,

I'm hoping a lot of people will chime in here. I've got some friends that don't understand the WHY (as in why I'm planting natives and being extremly picky) natives approach. I try to explain, but they still don't seem to get it. Today I was talking to a friend (on the phone) that was telling me of all the butterflies on her butterfly bush. I was trying to explain the benefit of planting something that is native. Host plant, nectar etc. I'm still learning myself, so that probably doesn't help me...and I'm not a native nazi and am not preaching, not just trying to explain:)

Would you like to help me explain it?

Thanks all,

Terry


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

The trick is to treat yourself as a nutty collector and to resist the urge to convert others. After all, no one asks stamp collectors or model train collectors or yellow cornflower depression glass collectors why and the collectors do not try to get others to become collectors unless the other has expressed interest.

If someone shows me their non native garden, I admire it. If they offer me cuttings, I politely refuse and tell them I only garden with natives, I don't explain why unless they ask. If they ask why, I tell them because natives are drought and pest tolerant, that I like to garden ecologically and because it gives discipline and boundaries to my plant buying. Only if they actually ask how to get started in natives or to recommend natives suited to their yard or to explain ecological gardening do I get into detail.

If someone has a problem area with plants not doing well, I will recommend natives suited to their site, I do tell them they are natives, why they will grow better, how they will attract birds and butterflies and do point out any shortcomings the plant might have.

The common shortcomings of native plants compared to horticultural plants are the smaller blooms, shorter bloom times, less vibrant colours, rangier growth -- and some people do not want seeds, berries, birds or bugs in their gardens. I don't think it is fair to expect someone used to horticultural plants to embrace natives unless they truly understand how different their garden will look.


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

Judy has offered some excellent advice.

Our friends and neighbors have the right to have a turf grass lawn or any other any gardening style that they like (as long as they stay away from invasives). Just as we have the right to choose our native gardening style. We need to appreciate non-native gardens and hope that they do the same for ours.

I love some non-native plants and think they are very pretty. So i do enjoy seeing them in other people's garden. I also enjoy planting vegetables, many of which are not native.

We have found something (native landscaping) that we know is great and its natural to want to get other people to join in our enthusiasm.

If someone asks me about my plants, i tell them where it came from. And i do emphasis that i dont need to water and i dont need to fertilize. I share bouquets of native flowers from my yard with friends and relatives. I like to point out to my neighbors the six to ten monarch caterpillars on my red milkweed. Or the yellow swallowtail that sticks to the purple coneflowers.

I also work with a group that offers introduction to landscaping with natives workshops. In addition to the obvious benefits of reduced use of water and fertilizer, we also discuss the root systems of the plants. And how in certain areas like drainage ways, lake shores, and water features, natives are an effective tool to control soil erosion, filter water runoff and improve water quality. (For those people who have waterfront property).

Gardening with natives also gives one a sense of place and a connection with the area that you live in. In order to select natives, it often involves learning about the history of the local area and helps gives one a connection to the local ecology.


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

It is tricky isnt it, because it is such a big sugject you can get lost trying to explain it. The concept is so new it takes a long time to settle in. I have had people convince me of something I totally disagreed with, by making gentle suggestions to me, that came back again and again into my thoughts until finally, I convinced myself, thanks to the seeds planted.

One technique is to brag about your natives. You are so happy you are converting to native plants because -
1. they are so beautiful. Most people think native plants are the weeds they see in vacant lots, but those are usually invasives from other lands. The fabulous natives have been crowded out, and local nurseries dont sell them, so people dont know their beauty. Look at pictures of blue lobelia, cardinal flower, queen of the prairie, asters, woodland phlox ...
2. They are so much fun. Moving native plants in is a blast. They are so different from other plants and the variety is astounding. Once established they are less work, yet they lure in birds, butterflies including the higher class birds and butterflies rarely seen in traditional gardens
3. They are economical - natives are designed to live here. They dont require mulch and fertilizer. Oftentimes, they are free, delivered by a bird or squirrel. Some are rare, endangered and therefore priceless
3. it makes you cool - it is like playing a giant chess game. You stake out areas and move in the players. Many surprise you, some let you down, but in the long run you gain a complex paradise that will one day run itself


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

The posters above have already given a multitude of good suggested explanations, so I hesitate to add my own two cents:

I say a lot of the same things, when questioned: easier to maintain once established; cheaper in the long run; food for wildlife; more pest resistant (? - not sure about this one). I also try to point out natives that are already part of the garden trade: dogwoods, viburnums, mountain laurel -- so natives don't seem so unfamiliar as garden plants.

I do think some people may respond positively to hearing about the positive biological/ecological aspects of growing native plants, particularly in the context of natural landscaping. Plant communities that evolved alongside animals, insects and pests to reach a sustainable balance have been disrupted by human activity, especially the introduction of invasive plants from elsewhere. It's like taking a complex machine and removing parts -- or taking the perfect recipe, changing the proportions of the ingredients or making random substitutions. You don't know what you'll end up with, but you're almost certainly going to lose what good was in the original. By growing natives (and suppressing invasives), you are playing a small role in maintaining that richly diverse biological community in the face of tremendous pressures from invasives, habitat loss, etc.

For those of us who have decided to use natural plant communities as the basis for landscaping (in contrast to growing native plants in a traditional garden), there is a real paradigm shift that almost certainly will be too much information for the casual "why natives?" questioner. As mentioned above, this approach requires changing the way we think a garden should look -- from a highly controlled environment that looks nothing like any wild place on earth to (on a continuum) something that attempts to suggest places where obvious human intervention is minimal.

DS likes to tell people, "He wants to make it look like it was 500 years ago." Except the houses will have to stay. And the fences. And the utility lines. And the sewers. Etc. And the American Indian peoples who lived here then are long gone. This explanation seems to appease those who already have me pegged as eccentric.

Another point: with invasives reducing the diversity of native species in many environments, it may be that the native plants -- even with their smaller blooms and shorter bloom times -- are becoming the real exotics.

-- wd (sorry, more like 25 cents)


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

Thanks for the replies so far...I'm not sure I'm expressing myself very good here! :)

I'm thinking some are misunderstanding me? I'm not trying to get any of my friends to "convert" to planting natives, they ask me why am I doing it. They want to give me lots of cuttings from their gardens and I do politely tell them no, I want to do natives. One friend, the one I was talking on the phone with, gets really exasperated with me. We've been friends for over 20 yrs, and gardening for longer. We've always helped to design each other gardens, what plant would look good here, which one there etc. Now, she sees I have shade and automatically wants me to have hostas. I explain no, I want natives...and the question comes up again. Why? Perhaps I need to do some research and email all the links I come up with pertaining to the benefits. All of us love watching the birds, want them in our yard. Butterflies too. I explain how much the birds benefit from my plantings instead of her birdseed, she just doesn't seem to get it, even though last night she was remarkig on how the gold finchs were all over her purple coneflowers instead of the birdfeeder...and I explained how they'd prefer eating the seeds of her flowers, instead of the store bought kind.

flowerkitty, I think you hit the nail on the head! Most of my friends think of the weeds as being some sort of wildflower. I don't know about many of them, but the ones in their lawn I'd say are not of the wildflower variety...but it doesn't stop them from thinking it. And then I talk about how I've got to get some more Joe Pye weed (new in this house and I wasn't able to bring any with me) and some butterfly weed...lol...all they hear is weed!

Thank you all for your thoughts....please keep them coming,

Terry


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

Maybe part of the confusion is that different people have different reasons for going native. What I tell people when they ask me 'why natives?' may be very different from what another person might say, not because one of us isn't saying the right things but because we actually have different reasons for doing what we're doing. (Not to mention that 'doing natives' can mean everything from planting native plants in a traditional garden to attempting a restoration of a natural landscape, and everything in between.)

So, when you ask, What do I say?, my response is, (1) What is your particular version of 'doing natives'? and (2) What are your reasons for using natives? Your answers to the questions of your friends and neighbors must be tailored to your actual garden/landscape and your reasons for going native instead of all the other options. We can fashion answers based on our reasons, but it is not likely that they will match yours identically. Which is a good thing, I think.

Not sure if that helps,

-- wd


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

Well...I'm not sure I understand your first question.."my particular version". I live right smack dab in the middle of town...literaly. I'm 1 block east of Main and 1 block south of Central, which is the middle. I've only got a lot that's 64 x 130 (thought it was 134, but recently saw the plat for the lot)...so, I can't really have a forest type environment, but I want it natural. Natural to me is trees that natively grow here, both as shade and understory trees. With woodland type plants under. In the sunny area, I'm going for a meadow type look. I don't want any "lawn" grass. I'm doing it because I love the looks of native plants compared to non-native, not to say that they aren't some lovely non-native plants...it's just not want I want. I have never like fussy, froo froo plants. I want plants that will take care of themselves, they don't need me to keep the bugs away or have to be treated for diseases. I like that they were here long before this was ever "my" town. With some plants, thinking of the franklinia tree, I love the history. I am looking for plants that are for my county, or were found in this area. Also as long as they're native to my state, or if I like something, if it's zone is in sync with mine (again the franklinia). Thinking more of the NE than the PNW.

I don't expect anyones defintion to match mine...lol...I am my own person, with my own thoughts. We are all unique. Which, you are correct, is a very good thing. I just want some input on giving good sound reasons. Learning more myself on the importance of natives.

I hope I explained that in a way that sounds half way intelligent! :)

Terry


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

Well, since almost NONE of the natives i plant are the least bit drought tolerant, I cant use that excuse.

Is simply say some people like roses, some people like rhododendrons. I like native plants.


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

in my short summary, and probably repetitious:

1. local natives are better adapted to your area, rather than fussing and nursing a plant all the time, my hydrangea for instance that needs constant watering even in the shade.

2. natives provide food, shelter, nesting material...

3. most people who like natives also want to attract wildlife. with this, you have to expect pests b/c the birds, etc, need protein too. this also usually means that the native gardener does not want to use chemicals and distrupt the ecosytem. this leads to:

4. native gardeners are trying to replace the ever-dwindling natural areas that support the wildlife, support of amphibians, etc.

5. hybrid plants bred for showiness lose a majority of wildlife value nutritionally (nectar, etc.)


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

Apcohrs, I understand what you're saying regarding what some people like and all that, but it isn't the explanation that they're looking for. Kinda like when I was a kid and couldn't do something or was told to do something that made no sense to me, I was told "because I said so". No other explanation, just because. It annoyed me to no end...lol...and I know it would equally annoy my friends.

fairy toadmother, your explanations make a lot of sense. Those are the words I'm looking for. But of course, then it will be why do natives have more nutritional value than non-natives. :) My exasperated friend already asked me once why the berries of a elderberry were better for a bird than one from a crabapple. I had no answer...I don't really know the answer myself...anyone want to educate me?

Oh, and on the ecosystem, could someone explain that to me in really simple laymen terms?

I'm hoping everyone here was once a beginner on natives and don't think of my questions as stupid! I was told along time ago that there are no stupid questions, just stupid answers...so be kind! :)

Thanks :)

Terry


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

For me, using natives means I dont feel I need research whether or not a plant is invasive since it is much less likely to be. Animals in my yard will be spreading seeds, and Im much happier with the idea that these wont be invading natural areas. In some cases but not all, the native plants are better for animals. In my opinion, the fact that they're not destroying habitat makes them better for the animals than something they find tastier but is invasive. Then there are cases like monarch butterflies needing milkweeds and only milkweeds as a host plant. (not all milkweeds are native to the US, and which are native vary by state).

Below is an explanation of the issue that I like. It's an excerpt from an online nurserys page.

http://www.easywildflowers.com/invasive.htm)

"Invasive plants reproduce rapidly crowding out native species, damaging natural areas, and altering ecosystems. Many were brought into the U.S. as landscaping plants and have escaped cultivation. Most produce large numbers of seeds that are dispersed over large areas by the wind or birds and other wildlife making them difficult to control."

By the way, Im glad when people start asking the type of questions youre asking.


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

loris, thank you for the link, I'm emailing that one out!

I guess I didn'know they were more varieties of milkweed than the native one. My experience in that is just thru the couple nurseries locally that I've looked at. One has butterfly weed, but now you've got me wondering if it's native or not. Will do some research on that. And correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't milkweed and butterfly weed the same? Except milkweed likes moist or wet soil and butterfly weed doesn't?

Again thanks for the link...although I knew of some, I didn't know them all! What an eye opener!

Terry


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

  • Posted by KWoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 17, 05 at 10:30

Doesn't native gardening take the axiom "right plant, right place" to it's ultimate conclusion?

To my mind throwing in nursery cultivars and hybrids wherever you "need" them for color, texture, whatever makes gardening a little too "easy". Native gardening imposes a criterea for plant selection that is limiting, thus more challenging.

I don't garden with natives exclusively but mix in many species plants from all over the world. I try to stay away from any hybrids or cultivars. The challenge I've created for myself is to synthesize the ultimate hometown boys and girls with the ultimate strangers. Marrying the familiar with other is a challenge and a game in my garden for ME. Everyone creates their own challenges and goals for their own reasons in gardening and you are still finding yours. I think gardening, and plant selection especially, is a really personal thing and you really don't have to justify your choices to anyone other than yourself.

When you are satisfied with your garden you will probably have your answer.


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RE: natives?!

KWoods, I personally don't feel natives are limited. Even if I went with those only to IL, I've got quite a list. Flowers, now, I'm having a hard time finding what they are.

I don't need to "justify" my selections, but I do want to have a conversation as to why, like they ask. These are my close friends, we also talk gardening amid many other topics. We talk about why we like a paticualar plant and why we don't. I'm finding I'm saying, I like the plant, it's beautiful, but it isn't native and therefore I'm not interested. I inherited plants when we bought this house. I've gotten rid of some, but others will stay. One I really need to get rid of purple loosestrife. 1 friend and my sister, both want a piece...and I don't want to give it to them because of its invasive qualities. THEY don't care...and I want them to care, without being a preacher!

Terry


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

  • Posted by KWoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 17, 05 at 11:14

I apologize for my post being unclear. I guess what I was trying to say was another reason for choosing natives is for the unique set of callenges it presents for a gardener. Native gardening is usually an attempt to create an ecosystem which is much more difficult than just planting flowers and having them"work" as a garden.

It sounds like you are choosing natives for ethical considerations which is admirable. I think that's a hard thing to explain to other gardeners.


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

Maybe what your friends really want to know is, "Why don't you grow non-natives?" The answer would probably have to have three parts. The easiest part would be why you don't grow invasive plants -- you can even point to the many invasives lists put out by various organizations and governments in the U.S. Purple loosestrife is on them all, I would bet. The next step would be explaining why you don't grow non-natives that require lots of water, fertilizer, etc. Why try to make something grow where it obviously doesn't want to? The hardest part of the answer, it seems to me, is explaining why you don't grow non-native, non-invasive plants that are adapted to your climate and site conditions. It sounds like your woodland garden would support hostas pretty well -- low maintenance, non-invasive, but not natives. Here is where the more complicated answers are required (especially if you want to avoid "Because I said so"). This means talking about ecosystems,which just means all the living things in an area, their relationships with each other and with the geology, chemistry, climate and other aspects of the environment. Before the population and technology explosion of the past 500 years, the ecosystem in your area (and mine) had been growing and changing at a relatively slow rate -- the various living things had adapted themselves to each other and the non-living aspects of the environment. The important fact is that ecosystems don't consist of individual species, but of complex webs of species that interact with each other. So when you declare 'nothing but natives' you are saying that there is some benefit to making your yard look more like the formerly balanced ecosystem.

If not, then why not a hosta or two, or, if you want a wildlife garden, a non-native, non-invasive plant that provides food for pollinators or birds? You've chosen to say no to this option (so have I, but many respectable and well-informed native plant enthusiasts are perfectly comfortable with mixing natives and non-natives). Why not a hosta, then? Is it a matter of personal preference, consistency or personal idea of beauty? I think these are fine reasons to go native, but I think you'd probably put them in the "Because I said so" category.

And that brings us back to the biology -- the big picture. If you try to fight back your overly generous friends plant by plant, you will lose. This one provides food and shelter for wildlife, too, they will say. This one is low maintenance too. These plants aren't invasive, etc.

The best explanation for the natives-only choice I can think of is that a natives-only garden consisting of plants from the same ecological community goes a little way toward restoring the balance that had taken many thousands of years to evolve and that our modern civilization is threatening. Since the building blocks of ecosystems are not species but multi-species communities, you can't just pick and choose the plants -- a native here, a non-native there. Instead, your whole woodland garden consists of natives that evolved to thrive together with the other living things in the woodlands in your region. Same with your meadow. Think of each such living community as a wheel -- the shape and size have been determined by evolution; each species (from bacteria and slime mold to oak and eagle) occupies a space on the tire or the hub; the spokes are the relationships between the plants, animals and other elements. Now it is clear why the hosta doesn't work -- it belongs on another wheel. There's nowhere for it to go.

-- wd

Here are some links with answers to the "why natives" question (mostly repeating answers you've already gotten).

http://www.cnps.org/activities/grow.htm
http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/gardens/nativeplants/benefits.html

Here is a link that might be useful: why grow natives?


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

KWoods, I'd say growing natives is unique, because in my area any way, I'm having a really hard time finding them! It would appear mail order is going to work the best.

wd, I like your explaination with the wheel alot. I'm going to edit it and send it on. I'll just say a very wise person explained in a way I couldn't:) I've also forwarded those links on. There were hostas here when we bought the house...lol...I've kept them only because they take up the space for now.

Terry


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

i think i get what you are asking now... what to tell someone when they offer you plants and you refuse...and they ask why?

my answer: "I am working to establish a natural landscape in my yard using ALL natives. I appreciate your offer and xxx plant is lovely (or would work well in that spot) but it doesnt fit in with my garden plan to have all natives. (and/or I am planning to grow some xxx in that spot instead) (and/or xxx plant will look out of place next to the xxx that I am planning to put near there.)

you could go on to say some people do mix natives with non-natives in their landscape and that is fine but its not what I am planning to do...

when i first moved in to this house, my next door neighbor was constantly offering me plants. She also potted up plants and cuttings for me and left them on my doorstep, insisting that i take them, even after i had told her what that i was only planting natives. So I gave the plants that were force fed to me to friends and coworkers who wanted them.

there are many garden styles, ie. "cottage gardens", "japanese gardens", "xeriscape gardens", the list goes on... you have picked a style and that is really all you need to tell someone.

you could also use an example "Its similar to someone who is doing a japanese garden does not want to plant sunflowers." that might not be a good example because i have no idea what would be out of place in a japanese garden.


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

"My exasperated friend already asked me once why the berries of a elderberry were better for a bird than one from a crabapple"--- i can certainly appreciate that question and relate to your friend! i have that same need to know, especially particulars.

i am glad what i posted made sense. however, i AM still a beginner and will always consider myself so. for one thing, i can remember pieces but not the whole story. for instance, there is "a" butterfly whose plant host is the native passionflower vine. "somewhere" i read that they will mistake a tropical one someone grows for the native and starve to death. perhaps someone can back this up, and perhaps it isn't hearsay or native legend.

also, on the nutritional value: many nursery stock plants have been hybridized so much for larger bloom, formal appearance, etc that the loose the adequate function of nectar production. natives just aren't that pretty to some people, too straggly, etc. however, the natives in most cases have the best and produce the most nectar. nectar is the source of nutrition for hummers, butterflies, beneficial insects such as native ladybugs and for lacewings, bees, drone flies (sweat bees), beneficial wasps, etc. these beneficial insects prey on those that "attack" plants, such as aphids, whiteflies, thrips... SO, without adequate nectar source, the lacewing/ladybug or whatever will not be present to feed on the "bad guys" and people resort to chemicals. it is a horrible circle to fall into, imo, like falling off a cliff (however, i will admit to using chemical means, but have only recently been trying to get aaway from it) but i now digress...

as a comparison, do you know that brocolli has more vit c than an orange? ( http://www.exopet.com/lit/ro-vitC.htm). so, using the analogy that the broccoli is a native and the orange an introduced or hybridized plant, lets say that this passionflwer eating butterfly needs 65 mg of vit c that it can consume from "native" broccoli, but the orange is all that is available, it is lacking 15mg of vit c. with inadequate amounts of nutrition, poor development and breeding result, creating a weaker organism.

is this example a bit extreme? i think that should help explain to a friend, IF the analogy is close in accuracy.


kwoods, very good point!

wd, that is the best explanation of an ecosystem i have ever heard!
and, joepyeweed, i also like your analogy of the japanese garden and sunflowers. very easy to understand.


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

ft, even if that analogy isn't quite accurate (which I have no idea), it still makes for a good point. I'm going to her house tomorrow, so I'm certainly armed with lots of good and useful information.

Another thing I'm finding (I've been doing alot of searching for IL native plants and I can't believe the list!), is that the list is HUGE, but I was at a local homegrown nursery yesterday and maybe they have 1 thing off the list. Why is that? I mean this place has trees, shrubs, flowers, grasses (oh yea, make that 2), perennials, hosta's, iris's, daylilies...man, they have alot! But native flowers or trees or shrubs, nothing! It's so frustrating. They don't even have serviceberries! I understand people want all these exotic fancy shmansy stuff, but still. Makes me want to go into the business! Anybody in IL know of place that has a lot of native plants?

Thanks tons,

Terry


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

i think one the hardest part of converting to natives is the nursery shopping thing... when spring rolls around and the nurseries and big box stores have tons of plants and your gardening thumb is really really itchy to buy something and you look and look and there is nothing in that nursery or store that fits your landscaping... its quite frustrating.

i think as landscaping with natives becomes more popular demand will increase availablity.


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

A few listings to start with:

Here is a link that might be useful: Illinois sources of native plants


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

i was going to provide a link for that too.
mine is a bit different but i bet alot of the same places are on the list....

Here is a link that might be useful: illinois native plant nurseries


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

Thanks you two for the links. I'm a little surprised by the one in Walnut. Walnut? That's about a 10 minute drive...but then I see wholesale only. I've never been a big one on seeds...tried them (not native ones), and I never had any luck with anything sprouting. Unless the seed was a vegetable, then it did well. I was at a place in Joliet a couple weeks ago and plucked a pod off a Baptisia, do I just stick them in the ground? Do they need to be chilled first? Or stratified? What are the two called...scarified and stratified? Do I need to pot them up first or just stick them in the ground? Any help on this will be soooo appreciated!

Thanks again,
Terry


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RE: natives?!

WOW!! I found a great place in NIL...but a question...what's a mesic?

Terry


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

Regarding milkweed & butterfly weed mentioned a good bit above--milkweed is a general name for anything in the genus Asclepias, which contains a large number of different species. Many of those species are native, many aren't; of the non-natives, the only one I know of offhand that's invasive in the US is Asclepias curassavica, which is only invasive in subtropical places like Florida. In any case the gist is that milkweed is a name that applies to many plants with different characteristics. Butterflyweed usually only applies to one milkweed species, Asclepias tuberosa. That species, also called butterfly milkweed, is one of the few orange or red ones (most being white, pink, or purple), and does like drier sites than most others. It is native in most of the US.

Regarding "mesic"--mesic is a word that refers to the amount of moisture in an area, used to describe areas that are relatively wet. It's heavily context dependent... what you'd call "mesic" in New Mexico you'd consider pretty dry in Indiana, for instance.

Anyways, there's also a reason for growing natives that I haven't seen anyone mention yet (though I may have missed it)--it's part of getting to know and appreciate the place you live. For instance, here in New Mexico I get the impression most people don't really know much about New Mexico or have any real appreciation for it... their lawns & mulberry trees & whatnot indicate a lack of connection or interest in the land they find themselves inhabiting. Personally, I find a sense of place very important and growing native plants can be a major part of establishing a sense of place, of coming to understand and appreciate your area. As another example, the state of Indiana's state flower is the peony, a plant introduced to the area from China. This's always made me think that a lot of Hoosiers think Indiana has nothing to offer, that in order to get a decent plant they have to get something imported in from another continent. I guess growing native plants is a sort of ecological patriotism, a way of saying, "This is my home and I'm proud of it!" Growing exotics, on the other hand, is a way of saying that you don't like the US and wish you were somewhere else. It's really rather rude when you think about it...

Patrick Alexander


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

patrick, you SOOOO hit it on the head with that explanation! thank you for being so perceptive. that is usually my subconscious reason, but never put it to words.

i have seen annual native sales announced. these just do not work for me. seems you have to live in a highly populated area or travel to one.


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

I did mention something breifly similar to what patrick posted early on in the discussion. of course, patrick explained it alot better than i did...


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

Late chiming in as I was on holiday, what an interesting thread.

Terryr, the problem is not with you, it is with your friend. She is not respecting you and your choices by insisting that you explain "why". Why do people indulge in bonsai? Why are some people vegans? Why does my neighbour collect muscle cars from the '60s. Why does my husband like to play country music but not hip hop? These are personal choices, period.

We all have our reasons for growing natives, mine are establishing a mini ecosystem, including animals and insects in my yard and not using pesticides, fertilizer or supplemental water. But the why doesn't really matter, it's a choice I and you have made and our friends should respect that choice, not make us justify it and not be upset if we won't accept their non native plant cuttings.


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

Patrick, thank you for the response and answering my question. See, I learned something new today! I too, thought I had said what you said, you just are far more eloquent!

fairy toadmother, I'm not in a highly populated area and I never see annual native plant sales. While living in TN I went to one, OMG, how cool! Why isn't there something like that in my neck of the woods? sigh

Judy B, as fairy toadmother said above " i can certainly appreciate that question and relate to your friend! i have that same need to know, especially particulars." She's not "insisting" that I explain, we're very good friends and I WANT to explain. I'm sorry if I gave the impression that she doesn't respect me and is "insisting" that I take her plants. She isn't. She just wants to understand why "I" fell in love with natives...all of it. She wants the paticulars. Her yard is beautiful (after all I created most of it!) But it isn't what "I" want to do NOW. After being there yesterday, I couldn't help thinking to MYSELF, never saying it to her, but how this area would look so much more like she wants it to look, and do what she wants it to do, if only she'd use natives. What I need to ask her is why she wants all the non-natives? What does she think the non-natives are providing? She loves wildlife of all kinds, just like me. We are so alike in so many ways..she's a very dear friend and I am so sorry if I ever gave the impression she wasn't respecting me or my choices. Or that she was upset in any way for not wanting her plant cuttings. She wants to know why natives are better. Why does using them DECREASE your need for pestside, fertilizer and supplemental water? I used the ananlogy provided by ftm on the broccoli and the oranges, and she got that. She understood it. So now it's got her to thinking, which is what I want. :-)


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

why does using them decrease your need for pesticide, fetilizer and supplemental water?

here goes a very long post:

the plants evolved here. They have adapted through evolution and selection of the fittest to be the right vegetation for the soil, water, climate and insects that exist here. The insects evolved, right here, along with the plants. The plants were naturally selected to withstand insect eating and browsing by buffalo and elk (which isnt necessarily damage but pruning) Some native plants and native insects have a symbiotic relationship and need each other to survive. Pesticides will harm the caterpillars and butterflys and bees that the plants need for pollination.

Many of our traditional garden plants come from our primarily European heritage. The climate in the midwestern united states is sooo different. If we learn about the climate in Great Britain or Western Europe, its much milder in temperature extremes. And there is more moisture spread evenly throughout the seasons.

In Illinois, our climate goes from minus 10 degree freezing winters with winds and snow; to cool very wet springs; to hot dry humid summers with temperatures up to and in excess of 100 degrees, with no rain for a week or two or more; and then to a cool moist fall; and then back to subzero again.

The plants that are native have developed specific traits that allow them to survive in the wildly varying temperature and moisture extremes of the midwest. This year of severe drought in Illinois has really been a great experience to see the actual resistance and abilities of the natives to keep growing and blooming despite the lack of rainfall.

some of the native plant traits that set them apart from non-natives is that many natives have rough or fuzzy leaves and deep, extensive, fibrous root systems.

The hairy leaves and rough surfaces make it much harder for water to evaporate out of the plant making it more drought resistant.

The deep extensive fibrous root systems provide many benefits... the root depths can go as much as 10 feet or more. This depth allows the plants to tap into subsurface moisture and shallow water tables. The mature plants dont rely heavily on surface moisture (seedlings need some surface moisture to develop those roots). The massive root systems make up a majority of the living plant. When winter comes the top dies off (which becomes organic matter to feed the soil) but the majority of the plantis deep in the ground protected from the freezing wind and snow. It is estimated that about 30% of the fibrous matt of the root systems dies off each year and decays into the soil, thus feeding the soil creating the plants own fertilizer. (browsing animals provide fertilizer too)

If we think about the evolution and history of of these plants, they grew out of the rock that was left behind after the glaciers scraped all the surface material away. so these plants basically know how to build their own soil.

i hope thats not too long or boring...


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

joepyeweed, NO! NOT boring! Not in the least! I knew some of that, my question was directed as coming from my friend. You explained it in a way I certainly couldn't! I will need to copy and paste your answer and study it and remember it. My brain is so full of useful knowledge (sure), but it tends to get mixed up. This last spring I was so busy rehabing an old house, when this friend would ask me gardending questions..lol...I'd sit there with a very dumb look on my face and she laughed and told me I needed to get this house done, so I'd remember! LOL! The house isn't done, it's too hot to be working indoors, so my brain has retrieved all that info and I can again pass it on to her...lol...but like I said earlier, I'm am so a beginner and trying to wrap my brain around all this....I really am having fun!

Another question, I'm interested in the spicebush (the latin name escapes me..lol...starts with an L?), do I need two of them to get berries? Are there male and female?

I've got lots of questions...lol...

Terry


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

You are thinking of Lindera benzoin. It has male or female plants, so you will need at least two plants to get berries.

There is another shrub with similarly scented leaves and similar growth habit: Carolina All Spice (Calcanthus floridus) aka Sweet Shrub which does not need two plants to fruit

http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/Plant.asp?code=B820

Here is a link that might be useful: Spice Bush


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

Yes Judy, that's the one. How do I know if one is male or female, if the sales people don't even know? I was sure I had a calycanthus and I do, it's Calycanthus fertilis, sweetshrub. Is this plant alot different from the calycanthus, carolina all spice? If so, how?

Thanks,
Terry


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

Regarding less use of pesticides, fertilizers, etc.--in addition to what joepyeweed said, a lot of it is exactly the same process mentioned by fairy toadmother above in regard to nutritional value. If you come through every generation and select the plants with the largest flowers, and ignore all the other traits, you're going to be selecting a lot of undesirable traits along with the large flower size. In the wild, pest resistance is necessary for survival and any plants with poor pest resistance aren't going to produce any offspring, so high pest resistance is maintained. In cultivation we'll remove the pests for them, and so plants with poor pest resistance survive right alongside the ones with good pest resistance, and the trait gradually degrades because without a strong force maintaining it any complicated and physiologically expensive trait like pest resistance isn't going to last long. With fertilization, well, if you want a plant that grows quickly and produces lots and lots of huge flowers there's just no way to do that without increasing the nutrient requirements of the plant. All that extra growth requires extra nutrients, and so you've got to do a lot of fertilizing.

Great examples of all this can be found if you compare wild roses, older cultivated varieties, and new hybrid tea roses. The wild roses, especially if you look at invasive species like Rosa multiflora, clearly can do very well without any fertilization, pesticides, etc. The older cultivated forms aren't quite as robust as the wild forms, but have reasonably low fertilizer needs and good pest resistance. The modern hybrid tea roses are subject to hundreds of debilitating pests and look flat-out pathetic if you don't fertilize them heavily and prepare exactly the right soil. So you've got a nice series where the more artificial selection for flower traits the plants have been through, the more dependent they become on fertilization and pesticide use to make up for all the deficiencies that got carried in along with the desirable traits of flower color and size.

It's also important to keep in mind that these processes are the result of differences between cultivated forms and wild plants, rather than between native and non-native plants. Wild versions of non-native plants will generally have the same sorts of low fertilizer use and high pest resistance that you'll see in native plants, and in that case things like different climates, different soils, different insects, etc., tend to be of primary importance...

Patrick Alexander


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

fairy_toadmother, I believe you're thinking of the Gulf Fritillary butterfly; it's the most common and widespread butterfly in the USA that uses passionflowers for host plants. I've read conflicting things on this subject. Some people claim that if the caterpillars eat red-flowering species of Passiflora, it kills the cats. Some people say that the cats die or don't develop as quickly if they eat tropical species. I've grown passionflowers in pots for several years; the past three years, I've had hoardes of fritillary cats devour my passionflowers - all of them. Even as I type this, there are an average of five cats on every single species of passiflora I own: native and non-native, red-, green-, orange-, yellow-, blue-, and purple-flowering, species and hybrids alike. In fact, last year I grew a red-flowering hybrid that they greatly preferred over the native species (they liked that hybrid so much that they killed it! The GFs wouldn't stop laying eggs on it, and after about the 20th round of hungry cats, the plant didn't have enough energy to keep replacing the leaves the cats ate). I always see the caterpillars on all of the plants of all the different species and hybrids growing rapidly, and I've seen many chrysalises (is that a word?) every year. The cats on the non-native species and hybrids I grow don't seem to develop any slower or less successfully than the ones on the native species. I started growing the tropical species and hybrids for myself; they're in pots, and I've never gotten any fruit off them so I don't have to worry about them spreading (although that's not really a concern anyway, since none of them can survive in this zone and they're rather finicky about flowering and fruiting). I grow one native species for the cats already and I'm trying to get some starts of the other native species for them. But the cats don't know they're only supposed to eat the native ones - they'll eat any kind of passionflower they come across and it doesn't seem to harm them.

Patrick, I've had that same thought about gardening patriotism of sorts - in promoting native gardening, maybe native plants could be touted as "made in the USA!" like so many other things are advertised now.

I think a lot of people would be receptive to gardening with natives, and at the very least not using invasive exotics, if they better understood the way the ecosystem works, particularly if they saw pictures of the invasives carpeting areas that used to contain a rich variety of plants and animals. I think most people just don't understand what they're doing. For example, I tried to explain what an invasive plant is to a small nursery owner who I know. His thinking of "invasive" was totally different than my thinking of "invasive." What he considers invasive are plants that spread to fill in an area - things like chameleon plant, obedient plant, etc - a definition that is only in the context of one individual's garden space. I tried to explain to him that my definition of invasive is in the ecological context, not the individual garden context; I tried to explain to him that when I say a plant is invasive, I mean that it might be not-too-bad/controllable in an individual garden but when it escapes that one garden via seed dispersal from wind or wildlife, it invades natural areas, outcompetes native plants, which in turn forces native wildlife to find food/shelter/nesting materials elsewhere, and thereby that one invasive plant disrupts the entire ecosystem of an area. I don't think he quite followed me all the way through that explanation, but he did at least throw out a lot (not all, but a lot) of gooseneck loosestrife after that, and he's considering growing some natives next year. I'm going to offer him cuttings of some of my natives for starts, since I doubt most of them are offered in the Proven Winners and other common plant supply catalogs. He likes to grow unusual plants, so perhaps he'll take me up on propogating and selling some of the natives I have.

terryr & joepyeweed, I'm really surprised at the difficulty of finding native plants, too. I bought a Clethra alnifolia at what used to be a natives only place 20 minutes from here (I was very upset to see they're now selling Eleagnus, tree-of-heaven, and porcelain vine, to name a few of the worst). Anyway, it set buds in the beginning of July and it FINALLY started blooming this week. I love it!!! I'm going to get another one if I can figure out where to put it. I'm very surprised that such a lovely shrub with a wonderful scent is not offered in more plant nurseries. Same thing with beauty berries - I cannot for the life of me figure out why most of the nurseries that carry beautyberries carry Callicarpa dichotoma (Japanese, according to most sources including the USDA) instead of C. americana (native). This is not just a matter of nativity - I've seen both plants in bloom and I've seen the berries of both plants. The flowers of C. americana are more noticable, brighter pink, and larger if memory serves (I haven't seen one in a while - I think I'm going to have to break down and go buy one at Lowes) than the flowers of C. dichotoma which are a drab pale pink, smaller, and far less numerous. The berries of C. americana are larger, and they're a much deeper, brighter purple. The berries of C. dichotoma are smaller, a paler, less vivid purple, and since the flowers are less numerous the berries are, too. To me, there's no contest; I don't understand why C. dichotoma is so much more readily available than C. americana. But that's just one of the many natives that I think would be highly marketable if people saw it for sale in plant nurseries. There are so many great, unusual natives that would probably sell well if nurseries stocked them.


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

I totally agree with what Patrick last posted about cultivation versus natural selection. I was going to describe that with my last post, but i thought it was already getting too long .... and Patrick explained it very well...


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

garden4wildlife, when you said "particularly if they saw pictures of the invasives carpeting areas that used to contain a rich variety of plants and animals." My first image was all the kudzu found growing along our neck of the woods down there in TN! At first it was like "wow...that's kinda cool how it does...OMG! It's covering any and every thing!" The longer we were there, which wasn't very long, just 17 months, the more I became so disgusted with it. And all the Bradford Pears growing in the mountains...etc. I've seen it, my girlfriend saw it while visiting...it just did't sink in for her. I just wish more people/places would offer the natives, so like you said, people could see them instead of the super hybridized stuff that sells. If people were educated on the benefits, the pesticide, the irrigation, people would be foolish to plant anything else. Yesterday my girlfriend was upset because her Rose of Sharon was covered in Japanese beetles. And again I wondered if she had NATIVE stuff, if they would be so prolific in her yard....BTW, they have something native at a Lowe's?

Patrick, I couldn't agree more...

joepyeweed, make it as long as you want! I'm listening!

Could someone explain the difference between the male and female of spicebush? How do I know if the sales person doesn't? Is there a mail order place that I can guarantee to receive a male and a female?

You guys have so much knowledge on this! I'm so glad you're willing to share it with me. One day my brain will absorb it all, and I can help someone like you've all helped me!

BIG THANKS!!!

Terry


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

i am certainly enjoying this stimulating conversation and everyones unique perspectives!

joepw: i apologize for missing the point you made early in the thread. i was rushing through the beginning. also, about your explanation on adaptation- applause! so descriptive, i had mental pictures.

paalexan, thank you for expanding on that topic of "selective breeding" and its results. i wish i had half the eloquence as everyone here. i am always in a rush and short on words :)

garden4wildlife, yes, the g.f. butterfly! i thought that was it, but i didn't want to say w/o being absolutely sure. your experiences are very interesting. it is another demonstration of how you just never know! for instance, golden marguerite. it is non-native to this country but according to the "experts" it attracts the most variety (and maybe numbers) of beneficial insects. unfortunately, there are so many grey areas. i prefer things in black and white, besides, it matches my cat(feline variety). now, if we could get tomato_worm to chime in here, we could read about the moths and native nightshades vs. tomatoes!

if nurseries are going to sell non-native varieties, well no "if," i wish they would list country of origin. i find it difficult to remember latin names. i may remember the species name, but not remember family to differentiate natives and non-natives. so, unintentionally i end up purchasing the one that i don't want as a spontaneous purchase- all the better for the nursery.

dh an i were having a discussion yesterday. autumn or russian olive have littered the woods. bees and flies like the blooms, i think it smells awful. this spring i couldn't get to the creek b/c the olive was so thick. in comes dh. he wants a bush to shade the c/a unit. he keeps pointing at the olives b/c it meets his idea of shade and thickness. i keep telling him "no, that is an olive, i will NOT have on of those in my vicinity!" he just doesn't get the invasiveness of them even though they are everywhere, and i explained to him the olive issue. he more understands the fact that i refuse to have one. this demonstrates that many people, including me, just do not know the cause and effect, nor are they advised b/c landscapers and nurseries still push the invasives. another thing- olives are not even listed for illinois as an ivasives list. our dept. ofnatural resources is underfunded and understaffed. not to mention priorities: it seems the main focus is hunting programs.


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

terryr, the Lowes near me has lots of natives, actually. Most of them are cultivars of natives, but at least they have that much - that's more than a lot of places. I've been pretty impressed with the plants my local Lowes sells, actually. Very few invasives, and for what it's worth, the invasives I have seen there are not rampantly invasive such as tea olive or English ivy - Japanese maples and butterfly bushes are the worst I've seen there that I can remember. In the past I've seen native viburnum species, Passiflora incarnata, butterfly weed, buttonbush, American beautyberry, Lonicera sempervirens (coral honeysuckle, a well-behaved Eastern US native), rudbeckias and echinaceas, lots of native hardwood trees including some you don't see for sale too often, rhodendrons (I think they were native, but I know very little about rhodendrons), and more. They also sell a lot of prairie natives that are true species, not hybrids. And they sell a lot of spring ephemerals like Jack-in-the-Pulpit, trout lily, two or three species of trillium, Virginia blue bells, dutchman's breeches, and bog plants like pitcher plants and Venus fly traps, but all of those plants' origins are questionable and highly debated. I've read debates on where Lowes gets their spring ephemerals and bog plants on gardenweb forums (I believe it was either in the natives forum or in the wildlife forum) that would reach the limit of the number of responses a post can have because people would get so heated on the subject. I don't really know what to believe, but I haven't bought any of those at Lowes and I don't intend to after reading those arguments. The shrubs and perennials I don't have a problem with, because those can be much more easily and quickly propogated than spring ephemerals and bog plants, but I don't want to buy anything from Lowes if they are indeed selling wild-collected plants; then again, if they're only collecting from areas doomed to be paved over, then that's not so bad, is it? But how can you tell if the plants were yanked from a nature preserve or plucked out of the path of a bulldozer? The debates I've read said to pay close attention to what's written on the package - "nursery propogated" is not the same as "nursery grown." That's why I've hesitated to buy a beautyberry at Lowes - not because I think the beautyberry itself was wild collected (they're easy and quick to propogate) but because I don't want to support them in any way if they are indeed practicing wild collection.

fairy_toadmother, up until a few years ago I had no idea what native gardening was. I'm still learning. I've noticed I'm shifting more and more towards growing only (or mostly) natives, but at the present time I've still got quite a few non-native non-invasive plants that have some wildlife value. For example, I've got heirloom hollyhocks. These plants have been grown for so long in this country that it's pretty safe to say they're non-invasive and well-behaved garden plants. And they are bumblebee magnets! Nothing else in my yard, native plants included, attracts anywhere close to the number of bumblebees. So I continue to grow them. I've also got non-native plants that have little wildlife value left over from before I started learning about native gardening, mostly daylily hybrids. I know that the "ditch lily" daylily is considered minorly invasive in the southeast, but I don't have those. My daylilies very rarely produce seed pods, and what few pods they produce I don't allow to develop. So there's no threat of them being invasive, but they are taking up a chunk of space where I could plant something more wildlife friendly. They do provide cover and foraging area for ground-foraging birds like brown thrashers, wrens, and towhees, so it's not as though they're completely without benefit, but I don't think I'm going to devote any more space in the garden to new daylilies. But I don't want to get rid of them (at least not yet). Some of them are actually taken from my great-grandmother's farm in southern GA, too, so there's sentimental value there. So you're right - it's all grey area; I'm careful not to support invasives and I pull them up wherever I see them and encourage others to do the same. I try to get mostly wildlife-friendly plants now, although I do get the occasional plant "for myself," such as my passionflowers and some fruit plants, but I make sure that I don't get anything invasive. And I'm doing political things, such as writing to my senators and the people who will be running for the head of the GA Department of Agriculture to ask them to ban invasive plants and to encourage landscapers and businesses to plant natives. I try to improve the yard of each house I live in so that even after I've moved, it will hopefully still support wildlife and be in better shape than it was when I got there. As I learn more and I change, as we all do, I'll probably continue to alter the way I garden and what I do for native plants, but right now I'm doing the best I can do for native plants and wildlife - I think that doing what we can and educating others is all any of us can be expected to do. We all have our own small part in improving things.


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

I'm finding I make sure I have a list of native plants in my hand. I've found native on the tag a few times, but never have I read where it originated from, and some stuff I know is native, it doesn't say that. I don't know about any of you, but even with my lists, I get so confused when I'm there! I can remember the common name, sometimes the latin, but the sales people don't know the common name, or so I'm finding. And the people that work there are not helping me at all. They always look at me when I say I'm looking specifically for native plants, always pointing to a hybrid and saying that one started as a native. I don't want the one that started as a native, I want the native one.

fairy toadmother, I'm in North central IL also...mind sharing with me where you're getting the native plants?

Terry


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

garden4wildlife...I guess we were posting on top of each other! I did notice while living in TN (just north of Chattanooga), that the HD there sold alot of native stuff. I remember buying a couple of virginia pines at Lowe's, but not much else. I know I didn't see the others, because that's where the native bug bit me. Speaking of places and our gardens...

I talked to the 1 friend I made while living there. I've been asking him about going by my house to see if they've left it, or dug it all out, just what did they do. I left them this very long note about the plants, where alot of them were bought and if they needed to id the plants to go see this friend. Told them where he works, his day off, lol..that was my blood sweat and tears in that yard. I probably did what most people do in 20 yrs, in 17 months. Oh, I had fun! And did it look cool. Well, last Thurs, he was on a consulting call not far from our old house. He decided to drive by. He said he was so disgusted. It was a disgrace. It was a shame. Called them idiots..lol...he was so mad. If anyone knew, other than my husband, what went into that yard, it was him. He said the weeds are taller than the plants. You can't see the plants for all the weeds. The path that hubby and I built, is covered with all the weeds. He said he drove by slowly and went up the road to turn around (we lived in a new subdivision which is being expanded, meaning ole Roy is taking more timber out), he remembered that there were some new houses in there, but couldn't remember anything else. He said he was just so in shock. He wondered if the people never moved in, or if they'd moved out already (we sold it last Dec.). But, when he drove by for the second time, he could tell that there were people living there. I asked him if he went to the door...lol...he said he was way to p!ssed. So...all those NATIVE plants that I had planted are now being choked out by non-native weeds (I know they're non-native because he id'ed them for me). I bought so many of them at that Reflection Riding place...they have a native plant sale twice a year...they've got one coming up next month and I am sooooo tempted to take a drive. I have no where to stay...lol...but at least I can get some NATIVES!!!

I to, am enjoying this conversation and learning TONS!!

Terry


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

terry, where i get native plants is a huge problem- nowhere! i have found a couple of mail order catalogs that have them for sale. there again, who knows? i have salvaged a few from work when they were developing a trail or just plain driving through the woods and they were going to die anyway. i also have received a couple in trades through gardenweb. a nursery here sometimes has spring ephemerals which are gone immediately. i transplanted some dutchman's breeches and spring beauties from my gram's yard that she and my grandfather accidently transplanted 40+ years ago when they wanted some woodland/loose soil under the trees they planted. so, for me, it is all scratch and claw while the one or two of each variety i have can colonize. i probably, no-i know- i have far more cultivated plants and decorative ones than natives. one can dream, though.


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

there is a local chapter of wild ones in Rockford, IL, they probably have a fall seed exchange and a spring plant sale.

check out www.for-wild.org


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

I find mass market garden centres sometimes mislabel plants as native when they aren't. I stick my Newcomb's in my purse or backpack to check the species name.

Terryr

Calycanthus fertilis is a synomyn for calycanthus florida, they are the same plant.

The only way to tell if you have a male or female Lindera bensoin is to examine the plant while flowering and inspect the flowers to see if a pistal and ovary are present. Even then, it will be difficult. If you can find a large specimen with berries, you will know for sure that it is female. Sometimes, if the plant is a clone, the nursery will be able to label it male or female.

Here is a link that might be useful: USDA database for Sweet shrub


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

Spicebush is such a nice plant, put in three or more and you're guaranteed a nice smelling patch of dense shrubbery and hopefully some berries! The plant is also a larval host for the spicebush swallowtail, not sure of its range but our spicebush certainly attract them here. The birds love the berries (we seldom actually see the berries, at least ripe) and catbirds and cardinals seem to prefer spicebush thickets to nest in, especially if you let a native vine grow over them (I have virgin's bower in mine...)

I've been enjoying this thread, by the way :)


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

joepyeweed, very interesting site! i am glad there is an organized "movement." do you know if you have to be a member to participate in the sales? it is too far from me, otherwise. thanks!


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

joepyeweed, thanks for the link. I too, wish they were closer! It talks about having seed sales in Nov. and plants in the spring that have been rescued.

It would appear fairy toadmother, that you do have to be a member.

Judy B, I didn't take a book with me when looking at the box stores down in TN. My friend (that I mentioned earlier), worked a block away, so I'd drive over there and ask him. I was able to get some native rhodos and native viburnam. But he isn't here...so, I take catalogues with natives, or stuff I've printed off. Hate to say this, but I wouldn't know a pistal or an ovary if my life depended on it! I have seen pictures of a spicebush blooming, but it was a picture and it wasn't really clear to me the difference. What I need is someone knowledgeable!

Jill, Spicebush is officially on my list of must-haves! Only if I'm assured of the sex though. My luck would be 3 females or 3 males.

How long or how big does a spicebush need to be in order for it to bloom?

I'm providing a link to the place down in TN. Go and take a look. I was, and still am, very impressed with place. I've never seen an arboretum like this one!

And gosh, I keep forgetting! I don't have only natives. I've got stuff here that was here, but I took out a bunch. I've got some stuff that my friend down in TN gave me and I had planted in TN. Mostly his asters, which are native (they were there anyway. I can't remember which ones they are :(. I also have a very big soft spot for viburnams. I've got almost all the native ones, but a few that were introduced. We ripped out 4 spirea's Sat. and I planted a Redwing Viburnam...of course who's latin name escapes me now, but from what I've read, it is considered a native. I've got more of those awful spirea's to take out...and I've got 3 more viburnams coming from TN. My husband doesn't know it, but I really want the privet hedge gone. We've already removed 4 of them. They really don't do a whole lot for me....But a mixed hedge of spicebush and what else?? Gray dogwood? And? Bout' 40 ft. long....and oh! with lilacs after the privets. 3 huge ones. I don't care if there's any grass left...lol...I want a jungle out there! Right smack dab in the middle of town...lol...peoples gonna love me...lol!

Thanks everyone...I am enjoying this conversation ALOT!

Terry

Here is a link that might be useful: Reflection Riding


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

Hi, Rock River Valley Wild One here. Seed exchange is at our member potluck. Both the spring plant sale (definitely some good prices) and fall shrub sale are open to the public.
I think you can be a member-at-large if there are no chapters close enough. Just the info you get from the national newsletter is worth the membership. But better yet, maybe there's enough people in your area that you could start a new chapter! I love these forums, but it's nothing compared to the knowledge and moral support you can get from a bunch of native plant enthusiasts person-to-person! Good luck!


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

thanks for checking in here! and for the info!


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

If you are near McHenry County, the Defenders (WPCC? Wildflower Propogation and Conservation Committee?) has a big native plant sale every spring, late April at McHenry County College. Not too expensive, all locally grown. I have had good success with them this year, my first venture this side of the Mississippi.

Also, there are a number of nurseries here, Flowerwood in Crystal Lake, Walkup Farms in Crystal Lake, Kolze's and Perricone in Woodstock that stock natives. Sometimes you have to look for the "Illinois Native" table, but they have them.

Also, I got good bare root from "Prairie Moon Nursery" on line.

TL


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

Terryr, Spicebush is worth growing even if you don't get berries. Both sexes flower in early Spring, before leaving out, so you will have flowers in March. It is a nice sized bush for the understory or a shady site with attractive, pleasantly scented leaves. The berries, if you get any, are largely hidden by the foliage and/or eaten by birds anyway.

Dogwood, PawPaw, Magnolia and Viburnum could be combined with Spicebush.


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

My daughter deleted the last few emails! Darn...I'm sorry! Rock River...in the Quad Cities? And McHenry County...not sure where that is. Can I assume the Chicago area because of the other places you suggested?

I ordered 4 spicebush last night...along with 3 New Jersey Tea, an ironweed and a physocarpus opulifolius (which of course I can't remember the common name for)! Can't wait to get them...lol...my husband told me we have enough plants...can you hear him??? LOL!! Just wait till he hears I ordered some wildflowers a little while ago...hehe...

Terry


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terry, i sneak out and dig up another spot in the yard while dh isn't home :)

i am trying to decide on a lot of shrubs for specific places right now, while also trying to make the "formal" dh happy. well, things just remain bare. however, there is good news, dh wants somethng to shade the c/a unit. i have gained some ground! literally! now, trying to decide on what is another story. somebody shoot me: a piece of me still wants that shrub rose, old english/ david austin style.


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We're talking 8 holes, not including the others I ordered tonight! Actually, he's into all the digging and planting just like I am. It's the fact of spending money that we really don't have...he took a huge paycut when he left his job (that moved us in the first place to TN) to come "home". He goes along with whatever I want, where ever I want. He does however, like to have whatever grass I leave, green and weed free. Sooo, my quest is no grass! We had none (well, 2 ity, bity patchs to appease the builder) in TN and I think he kinda liked it that way...lol.

I love roses! I keep seeing how there's some native roses...are they neat? I know the feeling...I want to go native, all native, but a part of me just loves some things that aren't (think viburnams). I want to plant a naked lady, coz they belonged to my grandma. I dug them up and replanted them at my moms and my house. I took what I could find down to TN, but I couldn't bring them up here....we moved back in Dec. Sooo, I want to go out to my parents and dig em up and bring some here. I am fighting the urge...after all, I can enjoy them at their house. And the lady across the street has them also.

I have a native viburnam...wild raisin (don't ask the latin name!)...planted to screen my ac unit. They get more short than tall if I remember correctly. I'm buying, I guess, for specific areas, but mostly I just buy (can you say addicted?) and figure it out later.. :)

Terry


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Ooo, I got a Physocarpus opulifolius in spring this year! So far it hasn't done much, but it's been in a pot. I'm getting a little worried about it - the leaves started turning yellow with brown edges in July, but I think that's probably from getting dried out or getting too much direct sun. I'm sure being in the pot doesn't help. I have so many plants that need to get in the ground this fall...I'm going to have to spend an entire weekend one week just to get everything planted! My front walkway looks like a nursery...lined with pots from one end to the other, four or five pots deep the whole way. And then there are all the plants that I need to dig up and put back in after amending the soil (heavy clay where rainwater runs and pools - not a good combination). I'm not going to have a minute to spare this fall between doing all that and battling all the invasives that were left to run rampant in this yard before we moved here in June.

Incidentally, I just "rescued" some more Passiflora incarnata that came up from seed on the edge of a golf cart path. It was going to either be sprayed, pulled, or run over, so I took it home with me. The plant had only come up in the last three days and it already had 7 gulf fritillary caterpillars and a variegated fritillary cat on it! Anyway, I'm considering planting this passi near my back fence, which is chainlink, 6' tall, far wider than the passi could spread, and currently covered in ivy, Jap honeysuckle, and some other vines I haven't IDed. I'm wondering if a P. incarnata can outcompete all or most of those. It'd be great if it could take over that fence and spread, because then I'd have a passi large enough to feed the ravenous hoardes of gulf frit cats that eat literally every available source of passionflowers in the area (read: my potted & therefore rather small plants) and subsequently starve to death if I can't find somebody who has a passionflower they can be relocated to. I know they can be rather obnoxious when planted in the ground, to put it nicely, but my neighbors behind us have nothing but lawn that they mow once in a while and my dogs would trample down any plants that pop up from underground runners in the middle of my own yard. My neighbors don't seem to really care all that much about the Jap honeysuckle and other vines that keep trying to spread into their yard, so I guess a passi wouldn't be that much different to deal with. Hm, I'll have to think about it some more...


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

  • Posted by spmimi z6 (brooklyn) (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 30, 05 at 12:02

very interesting thread, that has only grown more interesting as it gets longer. i only have two quick comments....

all your ideas about what to say when people offer you non-natives are great. however, what do you say when it is your insistent mother in law???? :)

also, i am always extremely amazed at the lack of natives available for sale in my area. yes, i am in new york city, and gardening isn't high on everyone's list. but, it's true when one says "if you can think about it, you can find and buy it here in the city" - everything exists here for sale downright to the most obscure thing you could ever want. sadly, except for native plants. even at the botanical gardens, zilch. oh okay, maybe i'm being too mean, i'm sure they might have a rudbeckia or echinachea. but who doesn't?? even at their huge annual member sale with thousands of plants. i scoured it over and i could count on one hand the number of native species for sale. if the botanical gardens cannot support natives, then who will? yes, i know the whole point of botanical gardens is to promote species from around the world (a zoo for botany). but at the sake of promoting native plants? it can be quite depressing.


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g4w...the Physocarpus opulifolius is the ninebark, isn't it? I'm all mixed up...lol..I had a passion vine once upon a time. I had an annual one that the bunnies chewed down to nothing and in talking with a friend, she told me that there was one that would survive an IL winter. She also had another friend who happened to have one and both of us could have a sprout. You'd have thought them growing all over in her front yard would have been a clue, but noooo, I had to plant the thing at my house. I spent years digging and finally spraying it with round-up to get rid of it! Those things are not nice. I never saw it "get" anything that would cause me to think it would reseed...everywhere. What a nighmare. I'm not so sure if it's aggressive enough to compete with the jap honeysuckle and the other vines...wouldn't hurt to try!

spmimi...not sure I'm in any position to tell one of what to tell their MIL. I haven't talked to mine in almost a year....23 yrs of back stabbing and insults finally got to me and I just can't and won't deal with her anymore. I'd probably do what I'm doing with my friends...explaining like I was advised above....course if it really was my MIL, I'd tell her none to politely to go $#@&* herself! That was so not nice, but really, think about it. I've been belittled, degraded, talked about, lied about...you name it, the woman has done it to me. Used to just slide off my back...consider the source and all...but after what she did last year....enough. I hear you on the lack of natives being sold locally. I guess that's why I've become a mail order junkie. And if they have rudbeckia or echinachea, are they the native ones for your area? I can't find a pale purple coneflower to save my soul. I can find tons of hybrids, but not the native. What really kills me is the place I used to go to. I didn't pay any attention to what they really are selling. Until I move back here and want natives. Then, it was like a smack in the face. Really disappointing. They live on acreas and acreas...all natural...but then they stick all the hostas, astilbes and other shady plants in the timber. And the sunny beds have just a bunch of your run of the mill sunny plants. Ones you can find anywhere. Their claim to fame is the hostas and daylilies they grow. Oh and the iris's. Any michigan lilies, canada lilies or wood lilies? Nope. A native iris? Not a one. What a great place to promote natives, yet they don't. When I filled out my card to get on the mailing list, I made my own box and checked it. With NATIVES written beside it. Think they'll get the hint? Nah, me neither. Every where I've been going, when someone asks if they can help me, I say point me in the direction of your natives. If they say they don't have any, or try to say a hybird (if that isn't the right word, you know what I mean) is a native, then I leave (unless of course they point out yet another species of viburnam...I'm a sucker for them). People look at me like I've suddenly grown another head, but hey, they've looked at me my whole life like that :) Rebel and proud of it! I'm that preverbial middle child...can ya tell? lol....

Terry


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I came across this page below on the weekend. Maybe some of the nurseries it has for Illinois and New York will help people. Ive been happy with mail-order from http://www.toadshade.com/ which has perennials etc, and is located in NJ. They say to ask about plants you want but don't see listed in their catalogue.

While I was surfing on enature.com, http://www.edgeofthewoods.biz/ was advertising there. They wont ship to you people much further west, but they looked interesting although I have no idea of whether they are good or not. If anybodys used them, Id be interested to hear. Otherwise I'll probably give them a try next time I can't find a tree or shrub at a local nursery.

spmimi, if the link doesn't help, maybe try asking just for good local nurseries from either neighbors or a regional forum. I've found some of the better ones around here do carry natives (and unfortunately a good number of invasives)

Here is a link that might be useful: Lady Bird Johnson Supplier Directory


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i tell ya, if passi incarnata doesn't sound like an urban/suburban legend nothing does! terry, you answered a question of mine. i was just soooo sure that it was reseeding unnoticed and not roots going haywire. iam going to try it in a pot in the ground. well, it will probably show me- just won't come back at all.

to mil: that's nice, but i'd rather not.

hey girl, pale purple coneflower? check out high country gardens! it is pallida right? or is it angustifolia? they ahve a few, and i also saw it somewhere else recently but i can't remember where (what a shock). whenever i go anywhere, i am sooo particular that i decline the help. otherwise, my time is wasted. they are trying to help, but i have this goosechase! i would rather browse b/c i know i will enjoy that.

loris, thanks for htose links! toadshade.com is like my namesake!

praire moon nursery lists echinacea pallida (pale pcf) available. hgih country has several different types. one they don't have, yellow prairie coneflower. seriously consider that one! also known as grey headed (Ratibida pinnata) and definitely native to my area. i have seen it called also yellow prairie coneflower, not to be confused with the western undr the same common name. it is a much more delicate looking coneflower in leaf and bloom.

Here is a link that might be useful: hmmmm, no pale. i was sure they had it!


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  • Posted by KWoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 31, 05 at 10:43

Spimmi I can relate to your MIL predicament and I have to say I'm w/ Terry on that one, appease or say nothing is what I've learned to do over the years, and I actually like my MIL in spite of her incessant needling..

Maybe in Brooklyn you can look to nature preserves more than Botanical gardens for resources on natives? Did you know Prospect Park was originally designed by Vaux and Olmstead to be a nature preserve? It still contains a preserve today.
Also try and visit the Audubon Center at the Prospect Park Boathouse. It is another great resource, the people are really nice and they often have nature walks and discussions where you can get a lot of good info. They may have some good ideas on where to find natives in your area.

Other preserves I know of in Brooklyn are all salt marsh habitats. They still might be good resources for information on native plants. Four Sparrow Marsh, Fresh Creek Park, Marine Park, Paerdegat Basin. You could also try Alley Pond Environmental Center in Queens for info.

Most of my native plant purchases are made via mail-order in early spring and are dormant bareroot plants. I like RockIsland Wildflowers because they have small, inexpensive, healthy plants but I'll try anywhere that is reputable and has what I want (need).

I have really been enjoying the discussion on this thread and have learned a lot about why different people choose to select native plants. Never realized it could be considered an "odd" choice. Guess most of my plant selections are kinda "out there" anyway so people just say "hmmmm......" and leave me alone


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

  • Posted by spmimi z6 (brooklyn) (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 31, 05 at 13:22

actually my mil is on the nicer side of the spectrum and i know she is all well meaning. she knows we're doing only natives but she still can't help herself.

and as for buying natives. i actually drive the 4 hours up to mass to the newfs to purchase the majority of my plants. the rest is through mail order and i've found a couple that have been helpful and with nice healthy plants. it's just sad that there's no place local to buy these plants. and the brooklyn botanical gardens actually does have a very nice native flora woodland area that i go to all the time. they just don't really support the woodland area at the cash register if you know what i mean. and the local farmers markets are nice, and sometimes they do have natives, but only for common ones like heuchera or tiarella. if someone opened up a native nursery here in any of the five boroughs, i'd be the first in line and i know there would be many people behind me.


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When shopping for natives, I usually just have to mail-order, although I'm lucky to have two really great nurseries within driving distance. Plant Delights and Niche Gardens sell beautiful plants by mail-order, and I usually also visit them once or twice a year.

I don't know how many other states have this, but the NC Botanical Garden has a program in which, if you're a member ($35 for individual, $50 for family, etc), you get 9 free packs of seeds every year. You can choose from 50 species, some of which are probably hard to get anywhere else. Non-members can also buy the seeds. It's a great program, and I have grown dozens of plants from these seeds. Institutions and programs like that are great. In fact,the NC Botanical Garden's display gardens turned me towards natives in the first place. So you might want to check with your state's Botanical Garden to see if it has a similar seed program.


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Alicia, Ohh!! Niche Gardens is where I ordered by first batch of plants from! I'm sooo glad to hear that they have nice plants!

spmimi, I wish I could say my MIL is on the nicer side of the spectrum...and was well meaning....watched Monster In-Law last night with my daughter...couldn't help wishing she were my MIL...lol...Jane Fonda's character was pretty pale in comparison...

KWoods, where is rockisland wildflowers? Sounds like a couple counties over from me...if I could get that lucky!

ft, Echinacea pallida, yep, that's the pale purple coneflower. I ordered it from Prairie Nursery. I only ordered 1, hopefully it'll reseed? If not, I'll get more. I've got the natives for here in my documents part, I'll check to see if the gray headed coneflower is native here. I haven't heard of high country before..I'm going to check them out.

loris, thanks for the info, I'm going to check out the nurseries you talked about.

I'm going to agree with KWoods...I'm loving this conversation. I feel like we're all just sitting around outside, surrounded by the plants we love (native and non-native) and having a really good discussion....


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terry, it would interest me to see your list! i am very curious.

where i work, it is essentially undeveloped. Ratibida pinnata is everwhere. there are others i have photos of waiting to get on disk so ican post them here to verify my identification.

more tea, dear? oooh, and try the scones! or, if you are more "native", how about some pemmican?


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  • Posted by KWoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Fri, Sep 2, 05 at 12:06

Rock Island Wildflowers is in Tennessee. As I said at these prices they do send small bareroot plants that are very healthy. I have found that early spring is the best time to order. I notice on their front page they have a little explanation of "Why Natives?" as well.

In my experience, along with proper site selection and preparation, small starts is the second best way to establish healthy native perennials next to starting from seed.


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Ya know, I remember whilst driving "home" (that would be to IL from TN), I do remember there being a Rock Island something...can't remember if that was a town, or a county. I'm afraid I don't have much experience with starting from seed...not much patience? As long as they're healthy, I don't care how small. Small seems to be the best way for me to go, the price fits my budget! I'll check them out!

fairy,

http://www.mortonarb.org/plantinfo/plantclinic/Selection_NativeShrubsMidwestHomeLandscape.pdf

http://www.mortonarb.org/plantinfo/plantclinic/Selection_NativeTreesMidwestHomeLandscape.pdf

http://www.inhs.uiuc.edu/~kenr/prairietable1.html

This one shows native or natural

http://www.inhs.uiuc.edu/~kenr/woody.html

I think that's all I've got...

Why dahling, yes I'll have a scone, and my tea does need refreshed.....

Terry


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you have certainly done your homework! i am going to save this list of sources. thanks!

milk?


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I told you fairy! lol...I'm becoming "obsessed" with it! This is the type of stuff I love to learn...forget math or history...lol....give me horticulture, and I'm eager to learn all I can. Like I said somewhere above, I'm a very paticular, want the specifics, want to know why, kind of girl..(which reminds me...coz I need to know these kinds of things and you know my name..do you have one? or do I just keep referring to you as fairy? yea, yea, my dad calls me nosy too, nothing new..) :)

milk? only if you want to see me toss my cookies..or in this case, my scone....

Terry


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you sound so much like me it isn't even funny (and your friend, no wonder you are friends)! dh and i argue constantly about trivial info i just have to know. it takes him 10 minutes jsut to START to relate something to me b/c i want/need to know time of day, what day, where it happened, rain-sun-snow, and according to dh, what kind/color of underwear he was wearing (he has quite a sarcastic and facetious sense of humor). he thinks it has nothing at all to do with what he is talking about, however, i NEED to know all the details so that i can accurately picture the situation in my mind as he tells it to me. it is that motion picture imagination thing.

you can call me ftm, or you can call me d. most here refer to me as ftm. oh, and honey, you don't have to have milk in your tea. you can drink it black if you prefer. this lemon curd is to diiiiie for !
and back on topic, sort of, is there a native mint to use in our juleps?


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Monarda's in the mont family, but I'm not sure I'd want it in a julep. Then again, I wouldn't drink a julep anyway.

Just had to chime in on the MIL - mine is a complete pain in the behind but has lately tried cultivating an interest in birding, another passion my DH and I share. I know I should appreciate that she is trying to find things to do with us, but she holds us back so much I'm almost getting more frustrated with her (and now it's another excuse for her to visit, too). I wish she would go back to buying me completely inappropriate Christmas gifts and accidentally (on purpose?) weeding out my favorite plants when she visits...


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Well darn, I don't drink (no I'm not a recovering alcoholic, it's because of meds)...so I don't even know what a julep is!? I don't even like tea...lol....I'm as picky as a 2 yr old. No really, a 2 yr old eats more than I do....lol...My sister makes fun of me ALL the time, because when I'm telling a story, I tell the STORY. It doesn't make sense if I leave something out....Yep, color of underwear DOES matter!

And there are monarda's that are native. I want one! I love bee balm....

jill...I wish my MIL was just a pain in the behind..she's a pain on all parts of my body :( If she's at all like mine, she's got some ulterior motive for suddenly liking birding...I'm glad mine never visits (and I ain't going there, no way, no how)....she doesn't like our home...she thinks it "uncomfortable". Course she's never been to this one (I'm sure she'd hate it because it's so old).


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"And there are monarda's that are native. I want one!"--- i don't have the "bee balm" but i have the monarda!!! : Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) to me, its foliage smells like oregano.

hey, i don't know what a julep is either! jsut know it can be mint julep.

well, i guess i better stop ignoring the mil discussion. my first (yeah, i know) got along wonderfullly. she was my mom away from home!
current and last one, started out wiht an open mind and we were getting along rather well. some things she does just grates me. but i am trying! it all started when i tried to tell her i no longer wanted to discuss something (new i would become emotionally out of my control) would she stop? no, just had to keep going until i was soooo p****ed and i couldn't go anywhere b/c we were at their house! actually, that was the second time. the first time we were in the car and i just shut down. dh told me next time to just tell her i didn't want to talk about it. knew it wouldn't work. after that i had had no compassion. but,, i really am trying! she may not be Christian but i am, so I AM TRYING!!!

luckily, she doesn't push plants on me. if anything, she is interested in what i have out there.


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Since Rock Island Wildflowers was mentioned, I just wanted to warn people that if you plan on buying something from them you're not familiar with, please do your homework since they've listed exotic plants as natives. Under native groundcovers they list Vinca minor (periwinkle) and under native perennials they list Hemerocallis fulva (daylily). These were the ones that jumped out at me. I don't know if there are more.

A while back when I ran across the site I was thinking of ordering some plants that I know are being harmed by wild collection, and couldn't find anything on their site about their collection practices. I sent an email asking where they got their plants from and pointing out the site inaccuracies and I never received an email in return.


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Isn't bee balm just another name or common name for monarda? Clue me in if I'm wrong!
My MIL likes drama. She isn't happy without it so she creates it herself. I won't be drawn in, but 2 of her children are easily drawn in...my husband being one who is not. I can't tell how many times we've left because of her drama. It's grating. I tried for 23 years and she isn't changing and I don't need nor want that in my life.

loris, thanks for the heads up on Rock Island flowers. I think that is really a big thing when ordering mailorder. Some people aren't doing their homework, they see it SAYS it's native so it must be. Would you be willing to tell us who the site was that didn't email you back? I know when I've been looking for native plants, some places have non-natives mixed in with the native. It gets confusing unless you do your homework. And then sometimes it's still confusing!


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terry, you are right on the bee balm, but since i think there are differences is the bee balms and wild bergamot, i call them differently even though both are monarda. wb it s light purple bloom. most people likely picture bee balm as a red or pink.

yes, loris, thank you for forwarning us. to add to that, tripplebrookfarm.com has natives. however, be careful. they have plants from other countries as well listed as native. BUT, for the most part, it looks like those listings also give what country it is native to. still need to be careful. for example, there are so many of the same genus growing elsewhere but different species, ie. trout lilies (not sure of latin name).


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Well, whatever it's latin name, I still want some. Did you find it locally or mail order? Close to Bureau County here in good ole ncentral IL? For the record..at our old house up here, I had a blue bee balm....not sure what the color was (blue or more purple?), because we had to move :( Then like I've said before...the lady was confused on what I'd told her to kill off, or pull up...I said gooseneck loosestrife (don't ask) and she thought I meant the beebalm...so there's no bee balm there at all.

I'm going to start paying more attention to places I visit on the web. I hadn't heard of tripplebrookfarm.com...gonna have to check them out also.

Hey fairy, check out nichegardens.com if you haven't already.

My plants should start arriving next week....lol...I can't wait...it's better than Christmas!

I think my husband is getting annoyed....lol...he keeps wanting my attention and I keep typing...lol...

Terry


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I've never had a mint julep, but you can make an excellent mint tea from Hedeoma pulegioides. In Indiana the stuff was common on steep slopes near a couple of lakes where I lived. Better even than the true mints (genus Mentha), if you ask me. I've never tried drinking anything made from Monarda, though... the smell at least is hugely variable, some smell like something I might want to drink, others don't smell particularly desirable from a culinary viewpoint.

Patrick Alexander


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niche gardens: oooo, oooo! garden art! i jsut opened it up and saw that. now, i will definitely have to browse. i have a metal art hanging bug something or other. h/her name is "mergatroid." very adorable with glass marble eyes.

patrick, thank you for sharing. i would have never thought of that! i keep forgetting, also, that there is a native pennyroyal. i always think of the creeper. it does appear pretty "iffy" on internal use. then again, it isn't a concentrated dose. at your own risk. also, i have never had "oswego tea" myself.

i have a couple of orders for natives pending arrival around the 15th.(yes! yellow star grass and blue cohosh- had to jump on the cohosh when i read info about visits from the "early" bees). it should coincide with vacation. i had planned on redoing my veggie garden, but i realize now it will be too early for that. i have enough of others to move anyway. oh yeah, terry. i forgot about answering your question on where my bergamot came from. it was another one of those trails at work. it is very abundant here, so i figured my garden would be a better place than the tire rut. would you like me to send you some seeds if they didn't all fall to my ground? there may only be a few b/c i only had 2 blooms this year. not enough sun and being moved from the other spot i had it in. also, just like cultivated bee balms, it is very prone to downy mildew.

Here is a link that might be useful: wild bergamot


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Well, hmmm...since no ones had a mint julep, maybe we could make an alcohol free grasshopper? Using perhaps Patricks advise? We can just pretend "drunk"...lol...

I have some garden art too fairy. When you were describing your bug, it reminds me of my spider. With marble eyes and all...mine doesn't hang, it sits on a copper pole that you stick in the ground. And yes, I'd be interested in some seed! I love the picture in the link you provided. I've never heard of yellow star grass, blue eyed (now I'm questioning the name) grass yes. I need some...maybe I can go to my old house and dig up some? Wonder if she'd let me dig up my viburnams....lol...probably too much to ask?

For those of you have you have alot of native flowers, what all do you have?

I keep forgetting to ask anyone....it seems everytime I come to this site, be it the same day or the next, I always have to log in every time. I've got it checked to remember my user name and password but it doesn't obviously...and it's done this on my last 3 computers, so I'm thinking not my computer....anyone?

Terry


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oooooo, i love edible grasshoppers! the ice cream is the best part :) non-alc even better. oh great, now i am picturing an ice cream scoop with grasshoppers sprinkled on top!

i have noticed a few glitches here this last couple of weeks. "done with error on page"; bottom of page not loading and you have to click "search" at the top; i used to be able to type, scroll up, open a link, then hit the back button on the window with my text still there. now, it erases it. that really burned my hide! then again, i get aggravated easily which is why gardening is soooo important to me. think about it: taking you aggressions out on a weed. i mean, pulling a weed- that really is a bit aggressive :) oh, lets not forget the maniacal laughter heard coming from my backyard late at night every time i squirt an earwig... neighbors have chains on their door and bars on their windows. just kidding,, really (not so sure about me now, are you?). i do tend to grumble at the lttle suckers under my breath, though.

i think i would just adore your spider, terry. mergatroid is also lacquered. natural copper in some places adn greenish tealblue or red in others. eyes are blue, like mine. quite a long "beak" also. so, with that resemblance to a mosquito, i now have it hanging from my porch light. it used to have an 18" copper stake to hang by. you know i misplaced that when hibernation came due!

as for my natives, which i am still working on, here goes. unfortuately, i don't have enough to trade! also, i am guessing from my field guide on most of my stuff. i can't guarantee i am right, obviously:

* previously mentioned Monarda fistulosa (as opposed to Monarda didyma, http://plants.usda.gov/cgi_bin/topics.cgi?earl=plant_profile.cgi&symbol=MODI
) 1. echinacea purpurea, actually, seed from a magnus, which likely is reverted to native. ?

2. died when i moved it, but i still have some old seed-Ratibida pinnata , grey headed coneflower. to demonstrate confusion with common name, this also is referred to as yellow prairie coneflower.
http://www.lib.ksu.edu/wildflower/grayhead.html

3. from a seed swap- Ratibida columnaris, the western common name is yellow prairie coneflower. http://www.wildflowerinformation.org/Wildflower.asp?ID=63 ps on this link- i initially liked it, but when it list chicory as a wildflower, not being native, be warned as i warn myself. oops, i just saw where "indigineous to europe" was advised. sorry. i saw this on "catchfly" which is growing in one of my beds. this seed sprouted from a freebie wildflower seed pack." i have since learned different.

4. dutchman's breeches, Dicentra cucullaria
http://www.ct-botanical-society.org/galleries/dicentracucu.html

5. jacob's ladder, i am finding all kinds on my search so ihave no clue which i have! here is a comparison photo. it didn't come from anothr state as far as i know, if so, decades past. Polemonium reptans? ok, i didn't post a pic link for this one. i like photos of the bloom, but it just drives me nuts without the foliage visible! i need to see foliage or i misidentify!!!!!

6. toadshade (my preferred common name, wonder why?), Trillium sessile
http://www.daviessaudubon.org/toad_trillium.htm

7. spring beauty: holy cow, which one!-http://plants.usda.gov/cgi_bin/topics.cgi?earl=plant_profile.cgi&symbol=TROH....illinois sites list Claytonia virginica, mine are more white than these and slightly striped in pink, http://www.vnps.org/claytonia.html

8. rec'c on trade- sharp-lobed hepatica,Hepatica acutiloba, bloom color seems to vary so i can't wait to see it! http://chicagowildernessmag.org/issues/spring2002/hepatica.html

9. rec'd on trade, dormant, we will see if it survived me- bloodroot,Sanguinaria canadensis, correct me if i am wrong, but i believe this is on illinois threatened and endangered list. http://2bnthewild.com/plants/H261.htm

10. same as above on source and dormancy, red trillium,guessing here: Trillium erectum,
http://plants.usda.gov/cgi_bin/topics.cgi?earl=plant_profile.cgi&symbol=TRER3

11. optunia, prickly pear, unsure of which one but an illinois native all the same

12. cimifuga racemosa, unsure, purchased at a nursery 3-4 years ago, my bloom spike arches, one spike per plant, so i probably have a cultivar. http://www.ct-botanical-society.org/galleries/cimicifugarace.html

13. spiderwort, i used to think it was virginiana, Tradescantia ohiensis
http://plants.usda.gov/cgi_bin/topics.cgi?earl=plant_profile.cgi&symbol=TROH

14. as yet, unid'd fern

15. cutleaf toothwort- was in a wildflower packet, didn't come back. species?
http://www.lima.ohio-state.edu/wildflowers/cutleaf.html

16. virginia bluebells, Mertensia virginica. btw, i also saw a naturally occuring white bloomed one in the woods at work!(not just an old flower, it was white)
http://www.grownative.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=plants.plantDetail&plant_id=143

17. apache plume, not an illinois native and it shows, poor thing! Fallugia paradoxa
http://www.highcountrygardens.com/51450.html

18. blue-eyed grass,not sure which on i have. there is both narrow-leaved-Sisyrinchium angustifolium, and praire-Sisyrinchium campestre -listed for illinois. maybe more!
http://plants.usda.gov/cgi_bin/topics.cgi?earl=plant_profile.cgi&symbol=SIAN3
http://www.missouriplants.com/Bluealt/Sisyrinchium_campestre_page.html

19. this was new this spring, hope to see it again: rue anemone,Anemonella thalictroides (?), http://www.possibilityplace.com/Perennial/detail.asp_Q_CatID_E_3_A_SubCatID_E_5_A_ProductID_E_25#
pending arrival and survival:
1. Hypoxis hirsuta - Yellow Star Grass
https://www.prairiemoon.com/store/template/product_detail.php?SID=68f486dc133cd9b042dc9102e66bc92b&IID=1077

2. Geum triflorum - Prairie Smoke
https://www.prairiemoon.com/store/template/product_detail.php?SID=68f486dc133cd9b042dc9102e66bc92b&IID=1071

3. Filipendula rubra - Queen of the Prairie
https://www.prairiemoon.com/store/template/product_detail.php?SID=68f486dc133cd9b042dc9102e66bc92b&IID=1068

4. Caulophyllum thalictroides - Blue Cohosh
http://plants.usda.gov/cgi_bin/topics.cgi?earl=plant_profile.cgi&symbol=CATH2

5. Corydalis sempervirens / Pale Corydalis
http://www.sunlightgardens.com/pages/1337.html
http://www.rook.org/earl/bwca/nature/herbs/corydalis.html

6. Dicentra eximia / Wild Bleeding Heart
http://www.sunlightgardens.com/pages/1074.html

7. Dicentra eximia 'alba' / White Wild Bleeding Heart
http://www.sunlightgardens.com/pages/1075.html

8. Echinacea tennesseensis / Tennessee Coneflower
http://www.sunlightgardens.com/pages/1087.html

9. Lilium philadelphicum / Wood Lily
http://www.sunlightgardens.com/pages/1376.html
i want canada lily too, i must have been trying to behave.

10. Spigelia marilandica / Indian Pink great, i see it is listed as zone 6!
http://www.sunlightgardens.com/pages/1208.html

terry, how far are you from monee? http://www.possibilityplace.com/About/

also, sunlight gardens has echinacea pallida that you are looking for. i did find maybe 10 seeds today (fistulosa)! may still be good. i will send them to you if you email me your address using the link on my homepage!. since there are so few and questionable, i will mail at my expense.

wow, that was time consuming! didn't need to do the links, but i tend to make things harder than necessary! i am sure i forgot some, too.

Here is a link that might be useful: here is an intersting link.


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

FTM-- thoughts on a few of your plants...

The only native Polemonium in Illinois is Polemonium reptans; so if yours is native, that's what it'd have to be. FWIW, here's a slightly blurry picture including foliage of Polemonium reptans in southern Indiana:

http://boechera.nmsu.edu/~paalexan/inplants2/pages/Polemon_rept_4-2204_5529.htm

With spring beauty, likewise there is only one native species in Illinois, Claytonia virginica. Flower color is very variable, from pure white, to white with pink lines, to pure pink. Flower color is related to resistance to a rust fungus, but I don't recall the whole story offhand.

When it comes to Opuntia, there are three native in Illinois but the one you'd be most likely to see is Opuntia humifusa... of the other two, one (Opuntia fragilis, which I've seen here in New Mexico) has more cylindrical joints rather than the flat pads of the prickly pears; I'm not sure how the other (Opuntia macrorhiza) is distinguished.

On toothwort... all the species that were in Dentaria are now in Cardamine. In Illinois there are three Cardamines that used to be in Dentaria: Cardamine concatenata (was Dentaria laciniata), Cardamine diphylla (was Dentaria diphylla), and Cardamine heterophylla (was Dentaria heterophylla; USDA lists it as Cardamine angustata, though I haven't seen it under that name elsewhere). Cardamine diphylla doesn't have any leaves with the narrow, highly dissected segments like the picture you link. Cardamine heterophylla has a couple of lower leaves that are wide and with three large toothed leaflets and a couple of narrowly dissected upper leaves, and Cardamine concatenata has just the narrowly dissected upper leaves... Cardamine concatenata is also the most common one in southern Indiana, but I don't know about Illinois...

Post pictures of the fern and I could probably tell you what that is...

Patrick Alexander


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

thank you SO MUCH! patrick. first, i would say, off hand, that Cardamine concatenata sounds most like what i see around here. if and when i get a photo of the fern, i hope you find my post! my camera can only be rated as "starter" quality, so the pics won't be good. it will also take me until next spring, b/c i wait until my memory card is full or close. i have a card reader, but i can't install it on the cpu i use. also, i just love "miscellaneous" information! (color related to resitance to rust). i use the term miscellaneous but not in a way to discount its importance.
finally (though probably not, b/c you have me so excited to learn all of these bits), thanks for the tip on Opuntia fragilis! i don't think that is what i have, but it is listed as endangered on the threatened/endangered list for illinois. i would just die if i had it and killed it. "macrorhiza" sounds like it would have a larger rhizomatic (is that a word?) structure than the others. sometimes, there is one little bit of info that I CAN understand. for example, i recently learned that oriental bittersweet is a bit thorny. now there is an obvious trait i can pick out! berries along stem just doesn't do it for me, unless i see both next to each other IN PERSON.

i have got to save this thread as a file!

terry, look what i found:

Here is a link that might be useful: threatened and end. species by county


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for those in illinois

terry, i believe this is in will county. i like it for the pictures and names!

Here is a link that might be useful: fermilab


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

Patrick, How do you know all this??!! Can you come here for a little while and teach me all this? I am horrible at identifing plants. Or trees, or shrubs...lol...Ya know how ones brain is only so big and store only so much info, then it has to "purge" out some stuff in order to learn more. I'm afraid if I "purged" my brain, I'd no longer know my name. I just saw a smallish sunflower in the ditch on my parents lane. I think I'll get a picture and you can id it for me. I'm probably the stereotypical girl that makes reference to plants or car noises...with a chunk, bunk, belump...or it's this little purple flower...foliage? or I didn't notice that except it was green....

fairy, the more you talk (or write), I think you're talking about me :) And my eyes are blue also...lol...mergatroid sounds like my spider, with the exception that mines a spider. On the USDA site you provided with some of the plants, when I click on them, it's not in this county. There were 2 that were actually found here. I know 1 was the cohash, but I can't remember the other 1 :) I can't figure out where Monee is. I think it's way north of Chicago? A map would be nice...
I've got the TN coneflower...lol...everyone keeps asking me why I have to have THAT one when I didn't like TN...it's a reminder of the time when I wasn't "home". OT..do you know the song by Jim Croce "New York Ain't My Home"? I would sing that at the top of my lungs..."TN Ain't My Home"...I have never been so homesick in all my life...:(
I followed the link for the threatened species...the bald eagle and a boltonia. The boltonia is along the IL river...I don't think it would suvive at someones house, unless they watered it with muddy stinky water...ick.

I was typing and had another email....from here....fairy you'll never believe where my girlfriend lives...lol....

Terry


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

"fairy, the more you talk (or write), I think you're talking about me"----terry, i should say the same! i almost asked patrick the same thing also. AND, if that description of yourself didn't have me rolling, and unfortunately, sounding familiar...such creativity you have!

crete/monee: it is north from kankakee up I-57. i couldn't tell you from where i am. south of joliet, so I-80 to I-57...you would do better with mapquest than with me and my memory :) i jsut remember passing when going to "the mall" which, btw, i can't even remember which one. it isn't joliet...right off I-57. actually, i don't even know if it is still there. but, we are talking natives here aren't we. a mall is NOT a native :)

"some of the plants, when I click on them, it's not in this county."---i am not quite as an***, oops, pecu***, oops, particular. :)

ftm, a.k.a. porky pig


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

FTM-- you're welcome! Yeah, I'd expect Cardamine concatenata to be the main one of those guys in Illinois, too. I hadn't realized Opuntia fragilis was on the threatened/endangered list in Illinois... it's common here in New Mexico, doesn't occur at all back in Indiana. From the name of it, yeah, I'd assume macrorhiza has a nice big rhizome (rhizomatous being the usualy adjectival form, though rhizomatic gets the job dones just as well), but I've never seen it.

Terry-- well, I'm a graduate student in botany... actually am teaching the lab section of a plant taxonomy class this semester. Apart from having a lot of experience with plants, though, the amount you can look up online is pretty incredible. For instance, plants.usda.gov will tell you state-level distributions for anything in the US, and has some of the older synonymous species names listed, too. Some states now have online herbarium websites (Arizona's is at http://seinet.asu.edu/collections/selection.jsp?cat=plantae for instance)that let you search what they've had collected where that are very useful, too. How useful that is depends a lot on how well-represented your area is in the herbariums, but it'll usually give a good idea of within-state distributions and often tell you something about habitat, too. There are also a bunch of web pages coming up with pictures of the plants of an area. www.missouriplants.com is excellent, for instance. I've also got pictures of Indiana plants through my website (boechera.nmsu.edu/~paalexan), but the interface on my Indiana stuff is still kind of a mess...

Patrick Alexander


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

Terry, it was Rock Island Wildflowers that didnt really respond back. What they ended up doing was send me a hardcopy catalog.

I wont list all the native flowers I have, but I will mention Ive really been enjoying Lobelia cardinalis (red cardinal flower) and L. siphilitica (blue cardinal flower). They're both quite showy and yesterday I saw a hummingbird in my yard for the first time in 10 years at the red cardinal flower.

ftm, thanks for the link to Tripple Brook Farm. They have some interesting plants, and it's especially useful since I like ordering from places relatively close to NJ, especially if the climate's not warmer than mine.

spmimi, since you mentioned you drive out to the sales at Garden in the Woods, you might also be interested in the sale coming up very soon at Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve which is in New Hope PA. It had been recommended to me as a place to try by somebody on one of the GardenWeb forums. Ive never gone, but was interested enough that I had entered the dates into my calendar. I may make it this time, but not sure.

Here is a link that might be useful: Info on Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve fall sale


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

HUH??? Malls aren't native??? Oh no...my day is ruined :)

I only go as far as I-55..do I go even further up I-80 to get to 57?

AND, I was so tired last night that I forgot to thank you for all the work you put into giving me the names and links to all your plants! Thank you!! I notice alot of them look to be really shade loving plants? Yes? Oh and porky? I'm not that particlar either, it was just an observation. According to that website and one for butterflies, this county is pretty much barren with no wildlife to speak of....:)

Patrick, you can come here and teach botony. I'm sure fairy and I would make excellent students! You can look up plants online, for sure, its what I'm looking at or for that gets me confused. And then to try and figure out the male and female parts? Come on...lol...I won't say it! :)
The plants USDA site, you have to know the name of plants to see if it's in your area, right? Or is there something else I can click on to just pull up what all is in my county or surrounding counties? Have you moved to New Mexico? Or just teaching for a year there? I know, none of my business :)

Terry


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RE: WHY natives?!

Sorry loris, I must have been typing before your response was there. Or in my email...

I don't like that they (Rock Island) did that. To me, it's enough to just stay away from them. If they can't answer your question, what else are they hiding? Course, if they are getting the plants from the wild, that's probably enough right there! Did the hard copy answer your question?

I had the cardinal flower at our other house in IL, but it didn't do very good at all, and died during the season. I keep seeing it can take full sun, and this one was in full sun. So I don't know. They are pretty. I think I'll try one again...and they have a blue one also? Speaking of hummingbirds....I saw the first one in this yard day before yesterday. And of all things, it was at the purple loosestrife...yet another reason I haven't yanked that darn thing out yet :)

Terry


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

"Patrick, you can come here and teach botony. I'm sure fairy and I would make excellent students! You can look up plants online, for sure, its what I'm looking at or for that gets me confused. And then to try and figure out the male and female parts? Come on...lol...I won't say it! :)"

Yeah, that's where a botany course comes in handy... I'd go up there, but, well, you guys have winters. :)

FWIW, the Field Museum in Chicago offers a couple of course in local botany for the general public; apart from wandering around their website (http://www.lactarius.com/courses/) a little bit, though I don't know anything about them.
"The plants USDA site, you have to know the name of plants to see if it's in your area, right? Or is there something else I can click on to just pull up what all is in my county or surrounding counties?"

The USDA site won't tell you anything at the county level, and you have to have at least some idea of the name, unfortunately. Some of the herbarium websites will give you a list of stuff recorded from your county, but the only states I know of with that kind of site online are in the southwest.

"Have you moved to New Mexico? Or just teaching for a year there? I know, none of my business :)"

Well, I was born in Bloomington, IN, and went to IU for my undergrad degree. Now I'm pursuing a PhD at NMSU; moved here last year, probably be here another 4 or 5 years... after that, who knows. I'd go back to the midwest if it weren't for the weather... too humid in the summer, too cold in the winter, and spring & fall seem to only make up a month between them!

Patrick Alexander


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

Why Patrick! You chicken! What is life without winter? That was the biggest thing for me down in TN (just north of Chatty). We got one dusting the whole time..17 months. Add to that, I'd never lived anywhere but Bureau County USA. I'm just a sentimental fool...lol...Have you ever been in the SouthEast? You wanna talk humid...Great for my hair, but that was about it :) Think of all the fun things to do, skating, sledding...join the Polar Bear club and go swimming in the freezing water..lol...

Wasn't it the USDA site I went to? You scroll down and see a map, then click on your state, then your county? I thought it was them...have to check again.

Chicago is a little too far for me to go take some classes, but I'll check out the website. I'm telling you though, if I learn how to tell the difference between all these plants, I'll forget my name...

How do you remember it all? And what is "herbarium"?

Terry


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

loris, you are welcome! i am finding all kinds of nurseries over the net. i have to restrain myself on requesting catalogs! i am one of those who like to peruse every one of them during late night "foragings" while creating wishlists. i really am trying to cut back on "paper" stuff, but it is so much easier for me. oh, but this has opened a whole new world! L. cardinalis has been on my want list for a long time. i just seem to grab the woodland plants first. i have just the spot, if i ever get it finished!

patrick, sometimes i fee like i need a graduate course just to read the usda sites. hey, i am dense! i will eventually take the time to figure it out, WHEN i force myself to stop rushing through everything. i think it is cool that you keep indiana of the cornbelt with you there in new mexico!

terry, "I only go as far as I-55..do I go even further up I-80 to get to 57? "--- i love it, you are just to much like my brain! i would say you would go further "across" I-80, meaning east, to get to I-57. seriusly though, don't rely on me, use mapquest. oh, and terry, while we are on mapquest, when you are thinking of rock island, are you thinking of the one in tennessee or illinois? just for more confusion :)

i was rather disappointed when i checked the links on some of those i posted with my plants. that was a waste. i thought it would load right to the pic since it had its own "address." sorry about that. and yes, shade loving. as i slipped earlier (not in doo or on wet rock this time) i tend to gravitate toward woodlands. good thing, too, since i have few spots in full sun and not much yard to work with.

"too humid in the summer, too cold in the winter, and spring & fall seem to only make up a month between them!"---here, here!!! but i will take the cold part over high summer with the humidity any day! i keep trying to get dh to move to minnesota. i can't even believe it myself as i get cold easy. but, north near canada- no poison ivy!!! when i was there and they were complaining about the humidity, i couldn't believe my ears. i believe i missed the horrible black fly session, though. AND, the best part, i would feel perfectly at home to get a "canadian eskimo dog"- actual breed. i would feel horrible having one in our weather. also, i spent 3 days in georgia may 2004. nope, no thanks. uugh! it wasn't even summer yet! it isn't like i can live in a tank top and shorts, my preferred attire.

my college bio 2 course mainly focused on plants. i could not pay attention being totally bored with all the particulars. that is why i have a problem now. stamen,pistil- whatever. i have since developed my gardening tastes, though, so it would be different. focus, ftm, focus.

for those in illinois: http://raingarden.il.gov/initiative.htm

and:

Here is a link that might be useful: rain garden links


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

fairy, If I go across 80, won't I be in the wrong lane? :)
When I first saw Rock Island mentioned here, yea, I though Rock Island IL. Then when she said in TN, I remembered driving up 24 (I think!) and seeing a sign that said Rock Island. Can't remember if it was a town or what though. Are you rural? with so much shade, just wondering :) lol....

People talk about stamens and pistils and I think of the song from Grease II.....:) showing my age....lol...


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

Terry, I looked for the information on where their flowers came from in the hardcopy catalog, but couldnt find it there either.

Dont know if itll help, but if you go to the middle of the page below, you can see what is native by state or by Canadian province. I didnt realize, but it seems to include trees and shrubs as well as wildflowers. Its best suited for browsing sequentially and it doesnt give the pictures until you click, but its still one of the best solutions Ive found so far when I want to know all the plants of a genus that are native to here.

http://www.wildflower2.org/NPIN/Plants/plant.html

Below I put a page for Connecticut wildflowers, but this thread is making me realize Illinois has many more natives in common with the east coast than I would have thought. You can browse by flower color, common or scientific name. In order to see the pictures youll need to click, and in this case even page down usually, but I think their descriptions and especially their pictures are extremely clear.

I just checked William Culinas book on wildflowers, and he lists cardinal flower as needing wet to moist soil. If yours wasnt, maybe that was the problem.

Here is a link that might be useful: Connecticut Botanical Soc. Wildflower page


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

thank you loris! What a great link. I thought IL had alot of natives in common with the east coast also. Not really sure why...I have Culina's book on woody plants, and I noticed in it that alot of stuff in the east is also found here. He's got one on wildflowers also?

I received an email from a nursery about 1/2 hour away. They're having a sale! I clicked on their wildflower section and see what I think are more hybrids than just the actual species. For instance, with little bluestem, Schizachyrium scoparium, they have Blaze' and 'The Blues'. Would the native bluestem just be schizachyrium scoparium? I'm getting confused...lol...I think I'll email them and tell them to separate plants that are native. Or list them as such. Does anyone know this plant, Geum triflorum, Prairie Smoke? And this plant is in there, Phlox glaberrima 'Morris Berd'. I don't believe it's a native, is it? Also called smooth phlox. O.k. wait. I just looked and phlox glaberrima is native, but the variety Morris Berd is not. Oh boy, I got some homework to do!

Terry


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

"If I go across 80, won't I be in the wrong lane? "-- oh, you are quick! lol!
i wish i was rural! maybe why i want woodland plants- a little piece of woods in "the city." nope, just a 50's era subdivision loaded with silver maples! if it isn't our tree shading things, it is the neighbors.

thanks for the links, loris!
terry, anything is quotes is a culitvar (right?variety?). so, it has been bred as a sport off the native. there have been natural occurences also, for instance, the white virginia bluebells i found in the woods.

"I'll email them and tell them to separate plants that are native"-- easy! you'll fall victim to reckless eyeballing!Geum triflorum, Prairie Smoke is on my list of future arrivals (this month!!!). it is a native, http://plants.usda.gov/cgi_bin/topics.cgi?earl=plant_profile.cgi&symbol=GETR

Here is a link that might be useful: Geum triflorum, Prairie Smoke


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

Well I would, wouldn't I fairy?

Silver maples...no comment...did I say I took out a quaking aspen? Who in their right mind, on a 64 x 130 lot, would plant such a tree? *^&%&*$%

I did email them. They can roll their eyes all they want. I also told them that I have always loved coming to their establishment. But going all native leaves me not coming there and not spending my money. Hopefully, the name is reconized and they remember the $$$$$$$$$ I've spent there! So I can at least go and get that. I also saw rudbeckia Triloba, ratibida tabernaemontana, eupatorium hyssopifolium. Any of those sound good? They didn't have anything in quotes. I want the species, right? Is that the correct word? And I said they have "hybrids". Is that the correct word? lol...I'm Vinny Barberino and "I'm so confused!"

Fairy, where'd ya say you live? I'm gonna hang in your neighborhood and watch for the UPS guy...lol...

Terry


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

well, i WAS quitting for the day/night.

see link for usda below for Eupatorium hyssopifolium. it appears that illinois "bonesets" are E. perfoliatum and E. sessilifolium. there are varieties here, also. so, i guess what you don't want, terry, are cultivars. now, i wonder which one grows here. i see it, just not sure which one.

patrick, oh patrick...?

you know, i was tempted... just for kicks, to plant a giant redwood :) and be warned, i have a killer attack toad! :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Eupatorium hyssopifolium


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

Boneset--the name's mostly used for Eupatorium perfoliatum, but sometimes gets stuck onto other Eupatoriums that don't really have a common name, usually with some modifier stuck on the front ("tall boneset" = Eupatorium altissimum; "round-leaved boneset" = Eupatorium rotundifolium, &c.). Generally, once you get out of plants that are commonly talked about, the common names you see listed were likely as not made up by a botanist because he had a "common name" field in some document and had to put something in it.

Patrick Alexander


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

I'm pretty much an EXOTIC plant gardener. I've got a few 'natives' (meaning a couple of things that grow in the county) but that's it. My yard is an artificial environment. I don't get much water and the natives that grow on the hillside above me are a fire hazard in summer and the natives that use to grow in the canyon below me are no longer there because the property developer went bankrupt and just left a street and cement trough surrounding it and some artificial stacking block retaining walls.

Actually I'm probably the ONLY person in the immediate neighborhood who gardens so I'm about the only one with hummingbirds, hawks, butterflies, and yes even foxes (I had a fox family in the yard last winter).

I've tried to seed some California poppies that are native a couple of hundred miles up north, to no avail here...not enough water. Most of the exotics do great. They look fine in the summer and I don't have to water much.

The biggest problem I see on some of these gardening sites is that some particularly zealous types get carried away and can be a huge turnoff. Besides, what exactly does constitute 'native'?

I got a couple of different local yuccass, dudleyas, and a nice big clump of Mataliija poppy but that's about it as far as natives are concerned. I've tried Salvia clevelandii in the past but it just got woody and ugly and would die every time I cut them back to encourage new growth.

Just my opinion.

-Ron-


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

Thanks Ron for shedding some light on why one would prefer to grow exotics. I agree that xeriscaping is preferred over fire prone native vegetation. Also, it seems you made a good choice in selecting plant material that attracts wildlife as many cultivated species lack this desirable dimension. But don't be harsh on the zealots, we need to promote more native use in our landscapes because it's necessary to turn the tide. We are up against a huge giant, as most cultivation now-a-days is with either non-natives or native cultivars which have been bred to meet a certain criteria at the expense of some less desirable ideals. As you may know, natives usually require less use of fossil fuels, water and chemicals. Lushly planted native gardens trap moisture by means of slowing down rainwater runoff and evaporation. Consequently, protecting our waters from pollutants, enhancing moisture reserves for vegetative use, and alleviating flooding downstream. Finally, although your yard attracts wildlife, it's simply incomparable to that of a well-designed native garden. As a native landscape enthusiast, I would encourage someone in your situation to include as much native vegetation as is practical and safe for your particular situation.

Natives for me are plants that grew in an specified area pre-European settlement. Often times, it is difficult to determine what grew in any given natural environment, so one has to make an educated assessment.


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

I don't understand it, but there are posts that are missing.

*The biggest problem I see on some of these gardening sites is that some particularly zealous types get carried away and can be a huge turnoff*

Ron, this is a native plants forum. You will get zealous people. I'm like theresa, I'm a native enthusiast. I'm not zealous about only native, I'm not a purist who believes only natives should be planted. Plant what you like.

Artificial sounds like plastic grass and plastic flowers. ☺ If you're interested, this link describes what "native" means.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wild Ones


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

I grow many "natives" but they are mostly cultivars of the species. Still, I figure escapees will likely revert to something close to the original form over time. I tell people I use natives because my lot is very hilly and I like stuff that is low maintenance, and I'm near a large undeveloped area and don't want exotics taking over.

Still, even when we plant natives we impact the environment. Coneflower IS native to PA, but it's a prairie species and rare here. Maples have taken over from oaks as the primary species in mature forests because of fire suppression, and heavy planting of maples in urban settings is also believed to have played a role.


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

The terms "native" and "non-native/exotic" have absolutely NO biological meaning whatsoever. Organisms are constantly moving around this planet, always have, always will.


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

Kangaroos are not native to Australia?


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

I'll bite. Who said that and when? This is an old thread....☺


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

Well, if the term native has no biological meaning than nothing can be native to anywhere. :)

Just pointing out that certain words DO have meaning in the right context.


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

Try again. Marsupials evolved in North America, as is shown by the fossil record. Marsupials began to migrate to Australia and New Zealand from North America in the late Cretaceous or early Tertiary period. The route of migration crossed Antarctica and into Australia. As Australia broke off from Antarctica and moved northwards, its isolation from other landmasses was complete and the independent evolution of marsupials in Australia and New Zealand began.


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

And cyanobacteria evolved in the ocean. The point is that Kangaroos are endemic to Australia regardless of the origins of their ancestors. Same applies to the silverswords of Hawaii or the Cacti of the New World. When starlings by chance give rise to a new species I will accept that new species as native to North America.


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

Good thing that humans were not around in the Tertiary, those marsupials likely would have been killed off by the invasive species kooks, thus no kangaroos. How did those silverswords get to Hawai'i? How did anything get to those islands? None of the flora or fauna of Hawai'i is "native", it ALL came from elsewhere. Endemism is but an accident of geology and evolutionary history. Species do not belong to some particular area of this planet, they move, they evolve, they radiate, they speciate and often go extinct.

The starlings don't give a damn if you accept them as belonging here or not. They will continue (I hope) to occupy whatever part(s) of this planet that suits them.

Most ecologist seem to suffer a profound ignorance concerning the history of life on this planet. The only constant in nature is change. Why is it so difficult to understand that every square inch of this planet has changed, is changing, and will continue to change regardless of what we do or think. Stop worrying about starlings and enjoy your very brief time on this wonderful planet.

*I think I'm gonna find some kangaroos to let loose, and return them to their homeland; North America.
**Camels too.


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

You may have trouble obtaining permits.


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 31, 10 at 10:01

"The starlings don't give a damn if you accept them as belonging here or not. They will continue (I hope) to occupy whatever part(s) of this planet that suits them."

I wish they would not. The point is not whether the starlings give a damn or whether "worrying" about their presence detracts from my enjoyment of the planet. The reality is that I prefer and value the species as well as the diversity that they have displaced. Starlings in the millions or twenty species of songbirds that they've displaced?

That's what conservation is. It's the preservation of the historical record.


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

Which species have gone extinct as a direct result of the introduction of starlings?

What do you mean by the "preservation of the historical record"?


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

Displace, as in the context of interspecific competition, not replace or exterminate. It is not difficult to recognize that an introduced species is naturalized rather than native. Failing to do so indicates a "profound ignorance concerning the history of life on this planet." (your words, not mine)

We can debate costs and benefits of species introductions, but all I have been trying to do is correct an apparent misunderstanding of ecological terms. If someone comes to this forum looking for information on growing native plants and sees someone stating (to put it nicely) that there is no such thing, that is bound to cause confusion.


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

I accept the term "naturalized", clearly some introduced species are living freely and reproducing. What I reject are the terms "native", "nonnative", "exotic", "Alien", "invasive", etc.

All attempts at defining the term "native" rely on some arbitrary, and therefore meaningless, timescale. What defines a species as being native to North America; is it pre-columbian, pre-human, before or after the last ice age, pre-cambrian?

If this causes confusion it is only because some people have accepted unfounded simplistic concepts and terminology to explain natural phenomena


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

I wouldn't call the period of modern human history arbitrary and meaningless. It would only make sense than we would view the time of our existence to be relevant to how we view the natural world. Most floras consider a species to be non-native if there are no historical records of it prior to it being introduced. Many people would find that information to be useful or at least interesting.

For example, people are almost always surprised to learn that the venus flytrap was discovered in a small region near the border of NC and SC. They often assume that such an unusual plant would have to be from an exotic place on some far away continent.


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

Our capacity to understand the long history of life on earth is limited by our relatively short life span, and very short recorded history. If by the "period of modern human history" you mean the last 10,000 years or so, then the list of what would be considered "native" to North America is much longer than it is now, and would include organisms like the Proboscidea and Camelidae. Ten thousand years of history for one primate species is minuscule compared to 3.5 billion years of life on this planet, and is still an arbitrary and meaningless demarcation.

Most floras have been written in the past 100 years, are generally incomplete, and only tell us the species occuring in an area at that time. Still useful information, but is more akin to a photograph, and gives the false impression that the flora of that region is somehow static and unchanging, when in reality it is constantly changing and dynamic.


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

The Manual of the Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada by Gleason & Cronquist is about as comprehensive as you could hope for in a flora. Names may change from time to time but the plants are in there. Along with them is information about habitat and distribution based on thousands (if not millions) of voucher specimens held in herbaria throughout the northeast. Such floras incorporate data that goes back much further than 100 years. Many North American plants were first described by Pehr Kalm, a student of Linnaeus, in the mid 1700's. The mountain laurel genus Kalmia was named in his honor.


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

I imagine Kalm saw a landscape quite different than what exists in the northeast today. Three hundred years forward, and I would think the same area will look somewhat different. In three thousand years it may be unrecognizable, and in three million totally alien.

Kalmia hirsuta grows in the flatwoods around here, it is a beautiful plant. Though I realize that this may not always be a welcome home for this species and it well may move on in time. Just as many of the species now found in the northeast once lived here on the Florida peninsula during the last ice age, your welcome.


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Sun, Apr 4, 10 at 20:20

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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

sure "Terry" because the deer wont bother your native plants or flowers they don't mine some people here got mad because the deer kept eating their store bought flowers had they bought native plants that wouldn't have happened I've been trying for 4 years now telling people to plant and grow native plants and they still do not listen and the same thing happens then they have the nerve to get mad at the deer because they wont plant whats native to here.


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

You're very lucky "Mike"! My parents live outside of town, on 16 acres, and the deer eat their native plants. Not all of them, but a lot of them. What's funny is how they've always stayed away from their Hosta! Never taken a single bite! If you're lucky, your neighbors will see your native plants continue to flourish while theirs continually get eaten, and that alone will make them ask you what it was you had been telling them.


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RE: Explaining WHY natives?!

well i hope so or they'll just keep wasting their money i guess.
i have a few Hosta flowers and they don't bother them neither even at my moms place too i guess they don't taste good to the deer or something.


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