Originally published in The Garden Path, Summer 2022. If you would like to get The Garden Path, we invite you to JOIN US as a member.
Are you from around here?
by June Gebhardt
"Where are you from?" or "Are you from around here?" is usually the first question asked when you first meet someone. I had the pleasure of traveling across Ohio in April and May to join many regional meetings. The people I met were sometimes local folks that lived in the area their entire lives. Other times they were transplanted from an entirely different state or region. If you want to know places to visit or the history of an area, the natives are the ones that specialize in that knowledge.
Native plants are now the talk across most garden news. Do you know what plants are native to your area? Of course, we can't ask the plants, but we can find out before we plant something in our garden. Just as local people support the community they live in, native plants support everything around them too.
These important plant species provide vital food for other native animals, insects, birds, and butterflies. This native plant database, www.audubon.org/native-plants will give you every native plant or tree in your area just by inserting your zip code. It shows the birds you may attract by planting from your local list.
Native species of plants, animals, bugs, and birds thrive in an environment that they love. Let's care for our local species by planting a pot, garden, or meadow of native plants that provide crucial habitat. A green lawn supports nothing but every little bit of life that coevolved with native plants can obtain nourishment from a native species. Native plants are the ecological basis upon which life depends.
Be sure the plants you purchase are not treated with chemicals. After you plant the food source, please do not use pesticides, herbicides, or other harmful substances on your plants. It's a death trap for those you are trying to nourish.
"Are you from around here?" takes on a new meaning when it is applied to nature. We are all interconnected by complex systems that sustain our lives. Whether you live close to where you were born or you are a transplant, support your natural community by planting native.