Looking to fill some holes in your garden? Want to attract more birds and butterflies? Check out the annual Native Plant Sale: For The Birds, Butterflies, & Bees hosted May 20 and 21, 2017 by the National Audubon Society in Greenwich, Connecticut.
Sale & pick up hours: May 20 and May 21 (10 a.m. - 5 p.m.)
Pre-orders are due by Sunday, April 30, 2017.
Native plants are not only beautiful but also tremendously benefincial—serving as important food and shelter sources for birds, insects, and other wildlife. Audubon recognizes that encouraging native plants in the landscape is an essential part of conservation in the United States. By adding native plants to your plantings, you are helping to re-establish vital wildlife-friendly habitats that beautify your property and support local conservation.
Together we can make a great impact, one garden at a time.
Why Native Plants?
Douglass Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home, wrote about how plants and wildlife share a complex evolutionary history that was developed over thousands (or millions) of years. Plants form the base of the food pyramid and other animals either eat the plants or eat the things that eat the plants (ex: caterpillars eat plants and birds eat caterpillars). Over time, many plants and animals developed specialized relationships (ex: milkweed and Monarch butterflies – Monarch butterflies lay the eggs on milkweed plants). This created greater species diversity and more complex ecosystems. By planting a broad variety of native plants, you are fostering a healthier ecosystem and supporting many levels of wildlife.
Right Plant, Right Place
The key to planting success is to match plants to the types of environments that they grow best in. It’s hard to grow a plant that likes lots of moisture on a dry hillside or sun-loving perennial in deep shade. By planting plants that like the conditions you have, you are working with nature and will have greater success with less effort and expense.
There are many factors that determine the right place. The following are some of the most important:
|Climate or Hardiness Zone: Greenwich/Stamford is within USDA Hardiness Zone 6B|
|Hours of sunlight: 6 hours or more = full sun; 3-6 hours = partial sun; less than 3 hours = shade|
|Soil type: pH is the most important factor with soil, but there are other factors that are important such as the amount of nutrients available and structure or components. A soil test will tell you these things. Soil tests are available through UCONN, www.soiltest.uconn.edu, and are not very expensive.|
|Soil moisture: typically dry, wet, or somewhere in between, the level of moisture in your soil matters too|
Guidelines for Enhancing Your Backyard Habitat for Wildlife: a booklet available online by CT DEEP that gives a good overview of why and how you can create habitat around your home
Native Plant Center at Westchester Community College: a great place to find information on native plants and where to plant them. Includes some suggestion for plants in different areas (shade, wet, dry, etc.)
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: information on native plants, good search functions, and searchable by plants native to a state
Missouri Botanical Center: more information on native plants, good search functions, has a Missouri bias although most plants that grow there will grow in CT, not searchable by plants native to a state, but is searchable by plant Hardiness Zone
UCONN Plant Database: an information resource for landscape plants for CT (trees, shrubs, and vines) both native and non-native plants
New England Wild Flower Society, Go Botany: plant identification tools, information, and a teaching resource for plants native to New England
Plants for Specific Birds: a website that tells you what plants a type of bird likes or what kind of birds like the plant you have
Sample Plant Lists for This Area: compiled by Carolyn Summers for the Native Plant Center at Westchester Community College
Xerces Society: pollinator resources for the United States and Canada, includes plant lists
Native Plant Brochure & Plant List: a helpful resource by Westchester.gov
Douglass Tallamy Bringing Nature Home: various helpful plant lists, including one for the Mid-Atlantic Region that ranks plants by number of moth and butterfly species that feed on it (soon to be customized for each region of the country), a short list of top plants for butterflies and moths, and a spreadsheet with a more comprehensive list of plants and their ranks
- The Living Landscape (Darke & Tallamy)
- Attracting Native Pollinators (Xerces Society)
- Audubon Guide to Attracting Birds (Kress)
- Bringing Nature Home (Tallamy)