“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” – John Muir

There is no end to the information available on the adverse effects of our landscape practices on the environment, and it's not just pesticides. Did you know that when we rake up all our leaves in the fall we destroy overwintering habitat for things like lightning bugs and Luna moths?  Or that when we opt for large showy lupines from Asia that the endangered Karner Blue butterfly languishes for want of our own lovely native Lupinus perennis, the only plant that feeds its young?  Each of our actions, from the plants we buy to the mulch we use, has a chain impact on the wildlife around us. It is, literally, a Butterfly Effect.

The plants, insects, and animals in our environment evolved together. Like pieces in a puzzle, they have adapted to fit together in a complex pattern of coexistence and sustenance. By using native plants (or introduced plants that contribute and play well), we help maintain the food and habitat that is necessary for insects, birds, and animals to survive. In addition to asking, "Is it pretty? Will it do well in my yard?" we should also ask, "What does it feed?"

Below is a short list of resources for those wondering what all the Native Plant hullaballoo is about. I highly recommend watching Doug Tallamy's video as a primer, which is fascinating and informative.

Organizations

Books

  • Bringing Nature Home - Doug Tallamy

  • Nature's Best Hope - Doug Tallamy

  • Planting in a Post-Wild World - Thomas Rainer and Claudia West

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