Green Scene - Native Plant Landscaping
Why Use Native Plants
Native plants have several advantages over non-native cultivated varieties. In addition to their variety of shapes, colours, and seasonal beauty, they are also pest resistant, winter and drought hardy, and need less maintenance.
Yellow and black butterfly on plant © Parks Canada
Although plants native to where you live require the same care and attention as non-native plants during the first couple of years, once established, native plants should survive and thrive for many years with little maintenance.
Everyone can include native plants in their landscaping; from a small native flower patch on an urban residential lot, to a full-scale replication of a plant community for those with large expanses of land, to the protection of a pristine ecosystem during a construction project.
Plan your landscaping to take advantage of the wide variety of native plants that may be available. Landscaping with native trees, shrubs, wildflowers and grasses may also attract a variety of native birds, butterflies and other animals.
Landscaping at Home
A common approach to landscaping is to gradually convert small areas of your property. Consider replacing part of your lawn with a small wildflower garden. With this gradual approach to landscaping comes the delight of experimentation with native plants and their habitats. Alternatively, you could consider a one-time project using a professional landscape designer.
Many plant nurseries sell native plants. Try to get native plant seeds or plants that have been grown locally, as they are more likely to survive and thrive.
Where Do I Get Information on Native Plants?
There are many helpful sources of information on native plants, from local libraries and bookstores to community gardening organizations. Many community colleges, universities and government offices offer resources. The internet is also a widely used source of information.
A plant nursery that sells native plants or a professional landscape company that specializes in natural landscaping can be excellent references.
Join us at Waterton Lakes National Park and view the natural splendour of native plants used in our demonstration gardens.
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