There is a new trend in the world of plants – native plant gardening. What is it? Should you care?
Native plant gardening refers to the use of local, native plants which are a part of the natural landscape in a specific area.
“In the past, we have asked one thing of our gardens: that they be pretty. Now they have to support life, sequester carbon, feed pollinators and manage water.”
— DOUG TALLAMY
With the ecological world facing a host of threats from the way humans are living, some scientists and gardeners alike are sharing a glimmer of hope with the movement of native plant gardening. Entomologist Doug Tallamy has written extensively about this topic including in his book “Bringing Nature Home”. In this book, Tallamy refers to an initiative called Homegrown National Park as being park of solution to the widespread insect declines seen in North America in recent decades. Homegrown National Park is an effort to regenerate biodiversity through the planting of native plant gardens in people’s own backyards. The small area of each backyard is combined into a collective large-scale ‘national park’, spread across the country.
While there is a whole host of stressors facing insect populations in North America, habitat loss is only one. Planting a native plant garden won’t entirely save all insects, all the time. But it will ensure that there are safe, suitable sources of food located across the landscape, thus increasing the ability of certain insects to survive.
When faced with the stressors of the modern world, it is a strong show of hope to plant a native plant garden. It shows an understanding of the current state of the world, and a desire to make things better. Native plant gardening is a way to move forward into a new version of the world where humans and nature can co-exist peacefully, right in our own backyards.