As May approaches, many of us get excited about the possibility of planting in our backyards, containers or even window sills. Many follow the rule to plant after Mother’s Day and we often choose what to plant based on zones, the type of soil we have, our favorite colors and what complements other existing plants around our homes. Something to also consider are plants that help the environment. Choosing plants that are native to the area are low maintenance, encourage sustainability, low use of resources (i.e., water and pesticides) and attract pollinators.
The best way to support the local ecosystem is to plant native wildlife. Native plants have formed a mutually beneficial relationship with native wildlife over many years, therefore they offer the most sustainable habitat. A plant is considered native if it has occurred naturally in a particular region, ecosystem, or habitat without human introduction.
“Native plants help the environment the most when planted in places that match their growing requirements. They will thrive in the soils, moisture and weather of your region. That means less supplemental watering, which can be wasteful, and pest problems that require toxic chemicals. Native plants also assist in managing rain water runoff and maintain healthy soil as their root systems are deep and keep soil from being compacted” (According to native wildlife.com).
Pollinator gardens have become popular in the last few years for their efforts to reverse the alarming rates of decline among insects, such as bees, that are crucial to our ecosystem. Pollinators such as bees are an essential part of the cycle of life, pollinating needed for everything from fruit to chocolate, but they are dying at alarming rates. Pollination by wild and managed insects is critical for most crops, including those providing essential micronutrients, and is essential for food security, according to a study in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. The study notes that in the U.S., “the production of crops that depend on pollinators generates more than $50 billion a year. Crop yields for fruits such as apples, cherries and blueberries across the U.S. are being reduced by a lack of pollinators, according to Rutgers-led research”. In an effort to reverse these trends, many universities have encouraged the implementation of pollinator gardens, both commercially and locally. Pollinator gardens attract these insects to feed and pollinate. There are a few things we can do to support the life of the pollinator. Below are 10 garden herbs that you can plant in your garden, or in a pot, to support the pollinator and ultimately the environment. Plant a few this year and do your part to make Bordentown a more sustainable place to live.
Below are 10 wildflowers native to NJ. Many more can be found at: https://uswildflowers.com/wfquery.php?State=NJ and https://www.nwf.org/NativePlantFinder/. Search by zip code to locate those best suited to our area. Those listed below are easy to grow, easy to find at your local nurseries and require minimal resources to thrive.
- Black Eyed Susan
- Common Daylily
- Evening Primrose
- Wild Hydrangea
- Joe Pye Weed