Spring has sprung and that means it’s time to give your yard, regardless of its size, a makeover. Whether you’re looking to list your property soon or simply want to improve its value, consider investing in native plants, trees, and shrubs.
The term ‘native’ simply means that these varieties weren’t introduced to the region by humans, but rather they have naturally existed in the region on their own. Each region of the United States offers different native plants, and fortunately Pennsylvania is blessed with hundreds of beautiful options. Native plants are often less expensive than hybrid or imported varieties and they are better for the environment and its wildlife.
Native wildflowers do much more than add beauty to the landscape; they help conserve water, reduce mowing costs, provide habitat for birds, butterflies and other wildlife, protect the soil and save money on fertilizer and pesticides. If chosen correctly based on soil type and the amount of sun/shade, native plants are hardy, less susceptible to pests and diseases and unlikely to escape and become invasive.
PA’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) dedicates an entire section of its website to native plants: http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/plants/nativeplants/
And this website actually lets homeowners enter their site conditions, type of plant, and even desired color, to find just the right plant, tree, shrub, or flower: http://www.iconservepa.org/plantsmart/plantsdatabase/index.htm
Here are a few examples of native perennials that tend to do very well in Pennsylvania and have the ability to quickly add a variety of color and texture to your yard and garden:
- Wild Columbine
- Black-Eyed Susan
- Common Persimmon
- Wild Geranium
- Little Bluestem
- Bleeding Heart
- Purple Coneflower
- Wild Violet
- Blue Flag Iris
- Cardinal Flower
- Woodland Phlox
If you’re interested in learning more, take some time to visit Bucknell Environmental Center’s native garden. Bucknell has made a Native Plants Garden Guide available to the public here: http://www.bucknell.edu/Documents/EnvironmentalCenter/Native%20Plant%20Garden%20Guide.pdf