With bird and other pollinator populations in steep decline, one of the best things you can do is add native plants to your yard. Native plants are considered those that were present before European colonization, and they have a wide range of benefits. Not only do they support native butterfly, bee, and bird species that rely on them for food and shelter, but because they evolved in this region, they also tend to require less maintenance since they are uniquely adapted to our local conditions.
To get started with native plants:
- Think about what you want to accomplish: Do you want to find one or two beneficial plants to add to your yard, or do you want to go all native? Do you want to bring monarch butterflies or hummingbirds to your yard? Is there a problem area of your yard that a native plant might solve? Do you like a more wild, natural look or something more formal? Whatever your goal, there is a native plant for you.
- Get some inspiration: Check out the Audubon Society’s Native Plant Finder. Enter your zip code, and it will populate your search with native plants that are beneficial for birds and other wildlife. Some local favorites are milkweed, columbine, lobelia, beebalm, highbush blueberry, and native viburnums. Other great resources are the Grow Native MA and Native Plant Trust websites.
- Tune in to our webinar on Thursday, May 26 with renowned expert Doug Tallamy to learn more about native plants, just how important they are to pollinators, and how you can make a difference in your own yard. Click here to register.
If you’re sold and ready to get planting, here are some favorite places to find quality, native plants. Most places can help you find the right plants to select for your yard conditions. You can also check out local plant swaps if you know what you’re looking for.
- Blue Stem Natives – a woman-owned, all-native plant nursery with a ton of great resources (Norwell)
- Native Plant Trust/Garden in the Woods – you can see native plants growing in their natural habitat (Framingham)
- Grow Native MA Plant Sale (June 3-4, Waltham)
- City Natives (Mattapan)
- Many retailers such as Russell’s (Wayland), Volante Farms (Needham), and Mahoney’s (Brighton) carry a wide selection of native plants
- Prairie Nursery is an online retailer that specializes in native plants
The birds and bees will thank you!