Native plant guru, researcher, professor and author Doug Tallamy recommends that 70% of our gardens be planted with natives. That leaves 30% for non-native plants. You may enjoy his books Bringing Nature Home and Nature’s Best Hope. Native plants and native pollinators evolved together and depend upon each other for their continued existence.
We at PBOG are striving to plant straight native species whenever possible to provide food and habitat for a multitude of native pollinators. However, at times we (or you) may choose to plant a nativar or non-native. This is completely fine, so please don’t feel guilty!
What’s a nativar? This is a selection of a native plant cultivated for particular traits, qualities, or characteristics, such as flower, stem, or leaf color. Heights may also differ, or the plant may be bred for mildew resistance, among other traits. Research by experts has shown that the nativars do not provide as much nutrition for pollinators as straight native species. Yet nativars are worth noting and considering in certain garden situations.
Worthy non-natives with lots of pollen include annuals like Zinnias and Tithonia, newer long-blooming perennial Allium ‘Millenium,’ herbs like fennel and dill, foxgloves, and single daisies.
Who are the pollinators? Not only bees and butterflies, but bats, birds, small wasps, flies, and moths.
The only thing we need to be sure to avoid is allowing the invasive plants to thrive. The usual suspects are Japanese honeysuckle, Japanese knotweed, multiflora rose, bittersweet, and buckthorn. How do you know if you have these plants? Please ask your PBOG Garden Team Leader when they are working in your garden. We can suggest viable, non-invasive or native plant alternatives. In addition, Kim Kuliesis is happy to make an appointment for a site visit with you to ID invasives (or any of your other plants). Contact Kim at email@example.com
I love my non-native roses, irises, and peonies in June! Clematis, too. I love non-native bulbs: daffodils, tulips, and also small native bulbs like Erythroniums (Dog-tooth violet). Non-native viburnums ‘Summer Snowflake’ and ‘Mariesii’ (double file) bloomed for nearly a month this year. And I also love my completely naturalized and native maple leaf viburnum colony that peeks out of a corner at woods’ edge and is a transition from the cultivated to the wild.