What is a Native Garden?

Micki Elizabeth
Micki Elizabeth
Woman with a flower
Woman with a flower

A native garden is a kind of landscaping technique. It requires the use of a collection of indigenous, local plants used in lieu of foreign vegetation that has been introduced into an area. Native gardens can have many advantages due to the fact that they are made up of plant life that has already adapted to a locale's specific habitat. Several organizations throughout the world support native gardens and can help individuals cultivate their own.

Native gardening may also be referred to as native landscaping. Several different types of plants may be used in this type of garden, from grass to shrubs to decorative flowers and trees. As long as the plants are indigenous, any number of combinations can be created to personalize a native garden.

There are many plant nurseries and associations that are specifically geared toward promoting the use of native gardens. These groups typically help individuals decide which plants are local and assist in finding, and even planting, these species. Many clubs offer free or cheap options and organize swaps during which gardeners can trade plants.

Proponents of the native garden have pointed out many potential benefits. Indigenous plants are those that already grow naturally in a particular environment, and they should not need much if any water, fertilizer, or maintenance. In this way, the gardens are considered fairly easy to take care of year-round.

Furthermore, a native garden may be an economical choice in the long run. When less tools, care, and materials are necessary to sustain a garden, homeowners tend to spend less money. Only occasional, light pruning and mowing may be required, freeing up more time for work and other endeavors.

Water consumption can become an issue in many places, especially during summer months when foreign plants begin to suffer and turn brown. In some locations, laws prohibit the amount of water each home can use during droughts. A native garden should be able to withstand such weather conditions because the species has been bred over countless generations to acclimate to its environment.

While some people might consider curious wildlife to be an unwanted intrusion, others believe this is another advantage to keeping a native garden. Local animals have fed on indigenous vegetation for a long time, and butterflies or other creatures might be attracted to native plants. Indigenous plants are also less likely to succumb to pests or diseases that affect flora.

There are a few disadvantages some cite regarding native gardens, however. There are those who prefer the traditional look of a grassy lawn rimmed with colorful, exotic flowers. Others like to use yards for recreational games, which could prove difficult in a native garden. Finally, some gardeners enjoy the challenge and art of cultivating and caring for non-indigenous plants.

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