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Since many classic garden plants originated in Europe or Asia, you may wonder why it would pay to plant native species and varieties instead of such tried and true favorites.

The practical answer is because they work. By selecting types that naturally grow in your area or part of the continent; you’re getting plants that are completely adapted to the climate, soils, pests and diseases that may occur there. This means they need less coddling and spraying (if any!), making for an easier-care, lower maintenance landscape. The birds and butterflies in your yard will thank you too.

Another reason for selecting native plants for your landscape is an ethical one. Many of the widely known exotic landscape favorites have gone wild, often overwhelming indigenous species of plants and unfavorably altering the habitat of many insect and animal species. Anyone living in the southeastern US knows what a plague kudzu, wintercreeper and Japanese honeysuckle have become. In the Northwest, English ivy is a major threat. And Buckthorn and Norway maple are widespread problems. All these came to America as innocent garden plants. By sticking with native plants, you’re not contributing to the problem, and you’re helping native plants hold their ground.

And a third reason for using natives is aesthetic. Native plants give your landscape a unique sense of place. This understanding of the intrinsic value of local plants has been fundamental to the finest and most distinctive garden designs in the world, whether a contemplative Japanese tea garden or English cottage garden. The beauty of native American plants in a well designed garden is unsurpassed.

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