For most homeowners, curb appeal begins with beautiful landscaping. But just as important is the preservation of the natural ecosystem around us. With the use of native plant species in yards and gardens, homeowners can integrate the two goals, to great success.
NATIVE PLANT KNOW-HOW
Native species of plants occur naturally, without human introduction or intervention. Over time, they have built up physical and biological characteristics specific to regional elements – things like climate, soil type, moisture, and other local plants, animals and insects. They are hardy, environmentally friendly, and help to restore regional landscapes that may be compromised in rapidly developing areas. In short, they are perfectly adapted to their home.
When landscaping with native plants, the best research is simply looking around to get an idea of what grows near your home naturally and beautifully. In the Asheville area, it’s easy to maximize your success by matching the right plants with the right site conditions. To do this, assess the type of light and amount of moisture your planting site receives throughout the day, as well as throughout each growing season. The direction your garden faces, the amount of horizontal and vertical working space you have, and your altitude also figure prominently in native landscaping success. Having your soil pH tested is helpful, and will indicate whether the soil needs to be amended.
A RANGE OF CHOICES FOR LANDSCAPING WITH NATIVES
From wispy wildflowers to low-growing groundcovers, native options in the Asheville area are diverse enough to suit any weekend landscaper’s tastes.
A lot of native planting depends on your landscaping goals:
· Looking to provide a lush wildlife habitat? Start by creating layers: Plant low-growing plants and shrubs under taller ones, and create an environment where birds can nest and feed.
· For a punch of color that attracts an array of pollinators, nothing beats wildflowers. Popular in the Asheville area and surrounding region, and targeted to specific seasons, are eastern bluestar, butterfly weed and cardinal flower.
· For a natural way to stem erosion and minimize maintenance, groundcovers are the way to go. Some popular Western N.C. natives include the multi-season showstopper partridgeberry (white flowers in the spring, red berries in the fall); and green and gold, perfect for populating a rock garden.
· Ferns and tall grasses provide the ideal habitat for a range of songbirds, butterflies and small animals. Shade garden favorites include cinnamon and Christmas ferns. Grasses are a low-maintenance option, with cloud-like switchgrass and year-round little bluestem popular picks.
Asheville is replete with local nurseries well-versed in all aspects of native landscaping. In addition, there are local educational resources galore to get you started on your way to an ecosystem-supporting yard. For more information and guidance on regional native landscaping, visit the following:
And if you’re looking for the perfect house to go with that native-populated yard, please contact Mike Figura at Mike@MyMosaicRealty.com or call him anytime at (828) 337-8190.