Native Plants & Sustainability
Why should I grow native plants in my garden?
Native plants are uniquely beautiful, creating a distinctive "sense of place" and a "WOW!" factor in the garden. New England Wild Flower Society displays over 1,000 native plant species at it botanic garden, Garden in the Woods, and grows more than 450 species for sun or shade, moist or dry conditions, at the Society's Nasami Farm. Many of these plants are very easy to grow, like the umbrella-shaped mayapple that spreads freely in the shade. Or try hardy native lady-slipper orchids with long periods of spectacular bloom.
Two points to plant and live by: Be sure to purchase nursery propagated and grown plants and never remove plants from the wild.
Can growing native plants help me be more GREEN?
Using native plants is the ultimate environmentally-friendly garden practice. Wildflowers use fewer resources because they are adapted to tolerate normal regional conditions like drought and severe cold, and, when properly sited and planted, don’t require as much intervention with pesticides and fertilizers. By using native plants, we can avoid invasive plant species like barberries, burning bush, and Norway maples that harm natural areas. Native plants are essential for supporting some local wildlife like butterflies and birds.
Are there native plants I can put in my garden for summer and fall interest?
Try some of the sun-loving meadow plants. How about some tall beauties such as switch grasses, Culvers root and ironweed for moist meadows? Perennial sunflowers like giant sunflower are great in the garden. For fall interest, asters, sea-oat grass, and showy goldenrod (contrary to popular belief they do not stimulate hay fever) are perfect.
How can I learn more about native plants?
Visit New England Wild Flower Society’s Garden in the Woods in Framingham and Nasami Farm in Whately, Massachusetts. At the Garden, be sure to stop by The Idea Garden, which presents gardeners with innovative ways for using native plants. Join the Society to support plant conservation and to receive free Garden admission, publications, and discounts on nursery plant purchases. The Society offers excellent native plant education programs, with inspiring classes in botany and horticulture for everyone from beginners through professionals, plus wonderful family programs and eye-opening field trips.