Lehigh and Northampton Master Gardeners Sell Native Plant Kits

Introduce the color and beauty of native perennial plants into your garden to attract beneficial pollinators. Orders must be placed by May 25, 2018.

Today’s gardeners are presented with many choices and opportunities for “making a difference” not just in their own yards but also to the ecological well-being of their communities and the entire bio-sphere.  The National Wildlife Federation’s Backyard Habitat and the Penn State Extension Pollinator garden certification are just two of the programs offering guidance for gardeners who decide to enhance the bio-diversity of their landscapes.   It’s no surprise that many Master Gardeners throughout PA and the country have embraced this goal of gardening not just for beauty but also for wildlife. Last year the Master Gardeners of Lehigh and Northampton County offered native plant kits and themed design plans. This year their native plant sale features 3 selections – “Welcome Spring,” “Sensational Summer,” and “The Big Finish Fall.” 

Order form

According to the Wild Ones website, “a native plant species is one that occurs naturally in a particular region, ecosystem and /or habitat and was present prior to European settlement.” While there can be some quibbling about this statement, it’s a good starting point for discussing the reasons for including these plants in your garden:

  1. The biodiversity and health of your backyard wildlife habitat depend on plants.  If you want to attract butterflies and birds to your garden, add some natives.  While the monarch butterfly’s dependence on milkweed is celebrated, it is only one example of the many relationships between native flora and fauna that we can support in our own small nature preserves.  Caterpillars need “host” plants to munch as they metamorphose into adults. Birds need large numbers of caterpillars to provide their nestlings with protein. Your bird feeder isn’t enough.  Moreover, the pollinators you attract with native plants can help with your vegetable and soft fruit production too.  In short, the plant species you choose determine the kinds of wildlife that your garden attracts.
  2. You can minimize site development and maintenance.  There are native plants for just about every kind of soil and light condition. Try to find one suited to your yard’s conditions rather than changing the conditions to suit a needy exotic.  If sited well, natives will thrive and cover an area in a short amount of time.  There’s no need to buy bags of fertilizer, mulch, and herbicides.
  3. If you have not yet fully explored the world of native plants, you will be delighted to learn about their under- utilized aesthetic qualities. Their unique blooms, berries, and foliage offer a new design palate.
  4. Native plants can help you “re-think” the amount of yard you devote to the maintenance of a lawn.  Lawns are relative “dead zones” in a landscape. They provide few ecosystem services and often require a great deal of energy and additives to “keep up with the Joneses.”  Convert some of your lawn to garden beds and fill them with a diversity of colorful and useful plants.

~Written by Master Gardener Linda Frederick