We get many requests for native plant gardens. Often this is based on environmental concerns, or is a request from a municipality. Native plantings have some very important features. Because these plants are local to the area in which they are planted; they are very hardy and often have a better success rate than do some exotic or imported plant materials. They tend to require little or no watering after they have established their root systems. Natives also do not need very much in the way of ongoing maintenance and tend to be resistant to local diseases and pests. Native plants tend to settle in and grow quickly, as they are adapted to local conditions and climate. This quicker growth leads to improved privacy and screening for the homeowner.
In many cases the native plant communities provide necessary habitat, homes and food for butterflies, birds and other forms of wildlife. Viewing birds and wildlife creates additional enjoyment for the homeowner; as well as adding to the diversity of both plants and wildlife in the area. Over the years we have lost a great deal of our natural, native plantings, to the detriment of the environment. With decreased diversity of plants, we open the door to more problems with insect and disease infestations doing large scale damage to plant species. An example of this would be the Dutch Elm disease which devastated the City streetscapes many years ago, as Elms were the street tree of choice and made up a large percentage of the street tree species.
It is not always possible to have a totally native plant garden, but even the addition of a few of our native trees, shrubs and perennials will have a beneficial effect on the environment and in your garden. Some of our favourites natives include: Canadian Hemlock (Tsuga Canadensis), Sugar Maple (Acer saccharin), Downy Serviceberry (Amelanchier Canadensis), Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia), Redbud (Cercis Canadensis), Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina), Common Witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), Flowering Raspberry (Rubus odoratus), Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris) and Sweet Woodruff (gallium odoratum). All are great additions to your Native plant garden or any other part of your residential landscape.