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Gardening with Natives
Pennsylvania natives excel, offering a wealth of color and texture
by Bowmans' Hill Wildflower Preserve - 7/4/2011
Native plants make beautiful, functional and environmentally smart additions to any garden. By planting native plant gardens, you can help to preserve the native plants that are disappearing from our natural areas as well as create small oases for native wildlife.
Native plants can provide a sense of place, for the garden and for the gardener. A landscape rooted in native plants creates a regional imprint; a sense that it belongs here, not just anywhere.
From an aesthetic standpoint, Pennsylvania natives excel, offering a wealth of color and texture, from buds to blooms to bark to berries. The native plant palette encompasses groundcovers, grand trees and everything in between.
Quite naturally, you may associate native plants and wildflowers with an informal landscape style, but many native plants fit in a more formal setting as well. As you learn more about native plants communities, you'll get plenty of "design" ideas from nature.
You'll need to begin by choosing the right native plants for your site, buying healthy ones and planting them properly. Once you do so, you'll find that natives are well-adapted to our climate, with built-in resilience to temperature and rainfall fluctuations. When planted in the proper situation, native plants require minimal maintenance.
Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve offers a wide range of native gardenening programs and workshops including the identification, ecology, and biodiversity of native plants; basics of botany; and how to use native plants, trees & shrubs in gardening and landscaping.
We feature a seasonal series of classes called Knowing Native Plants, in which learners of all backgrounds discover both the aesthetic and scientific aspects of our native flora through presentations and field hikes around our grounds.
Knowing Native Plants classes are held on Saturdays in the Preserve Auditorium. The fee for members is $10 and for non-members is $15. Pre-registration is suggested.
This column was reprinted from Bowmans' Hill Wildflower Preserve website
For additional information and class descriptions, visit Greater Philadelphia Gardens Calendar of Events, and be sure to look for great native plants in Greater Philadelphia Gardens' annual Fall Plant Sale Guide this autumn!