Spring is in the air...
...and it's time to start planning out your garden! When you sit down to make your list take time to consider local and native plant life. Planting native species has a range of benefits: they are typically low maintenance and low cost, high performance and high reward. Since they are already adapted to the climate they require less attention to survive. Native species use an amount of water that reflects the ecosystem around them which allows for the growth and production of other species. Native plants can also have a positive impact on pollution reduction. Since they thrive in their local climate there is little to no need for fertilization that may cause issues in water run off and ultimately affect out rivers and streams.
Additionally local pollinators are most attracted the species that they have evolved to utilize. To attract the most pollinators possible include varietals of multiple colors: for bees think yellow, for hummingbirds plant red and for butterflies plant blues and purples. A personal favorite plan of mine for attracting and retaining monarch butterflies is Blue Chip Buddleja, also known as the Butterfly Bush, coupled with milkweed. Milkweed is typically toxic to many insects and animals so its well avoided. The Monarch has evolved to not only tolerate it, but thrive on it. It is the only plant that they will lay their eggs on to maximize the survival rate. The Buddleja attracts them, the milkweed gives them an opportunity to reproduce and the result is beautiful!
(Monarch on a Butterfly Bush)
This May make sure you are prepared with a plan and have your shovels at the ready so we can all enjoy the natural wonders of Virginia while lending them a helping hand!