Native plants are your allies. Invasives are the enemy.
My Twitter feed lit up recently with native and invasive plant posts. The morning of our little trip up to the Howard County Conservancy with Neal (the husband), the fantastic Mid-Atlantic Invasive and their Native Look-alikes guide came my way. It’s 68 pages of pdf joy with snappy graphics and stunning resolution – it looks great on my iPhone. (It does not load well on my glitchy computer, but check it out for yourself).
I proclaim no expert knowledge of our local (DC, Maryland and Virginia) native plants. But, I grew up in Florida watching all manor of natural setting get razed and replanted with subdivisions, strip malls, sod, exotic plants and colored mulch. The hammock I grew up in and knew like the back of my hand with its passion fruit and wild berries is slowly disappearing, one 12-acre plot at a time.
Never tired of native plant gardens, whether around DC or afar, the Honors Garden native plants and native plant cultivars pulled me in for some gardenspotting. The short photoset reveals my shallow Maryland native plant knowledge. Once home, I compared my photos with online resources and only included plants who matched their markers. I snapped many more but I lined up the wrong name for the frame.
So, instead of this post being wildly informative, let it inspire you to explore the Howard County Conservancy farmstead, woodland hikes, meadowland hikes and native plant Honors Garden. For those living beyond DC and Baltimore, seek native species gardens and conservancies near you. Nothing beats seeing plants in person.
Even if you have no interest in growing native species in your garden, familiar knowledge helps you decide perhaps to leave a patch of natives growing as you find them around your house. Knowing invasives makes impulse buys at the garden center smarter for your garden and surrounding habitats.
A Few Maryland and Virginia Native Plant Resources:
- The University of Maryland Extension Native Plants brochure is wonderfully detailed and provides written descriptions but does not include specific plant images.
- Maryland Native Plant Society maintains a Native Plant Sources page, including upcoming plant sales.
- Virginia Native Plant Society lists upcoming native plant sales and swaps, more detailed plant information resides within the regional chapter pages (pull down menu under the “Chapters” tab).
A National Resource:
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin, you can view recommended species by state or province and search by light requirements, soil moisture, bloom time, bloom color, height and more.