NCC: Native gardening 101

Prairie rose (Photo by Karol Dabbs)

Prairie rose (Photo by Karol Dabbs)

Support biodiversity by naturalizing your garden with native plants

By introducing native plants and some strategic design features to your garden, you can provide patches of natural habitat for many species. A well-designed backyard offers birds and pollinatorslike butterflies more living space, feeding opportunities and cover from predators.

By enhancing and restoring natural elements in your garden, you’ll make the urban landscape more wildlife-friendly.

Shield fern and fringed dicentra (Photo by NCC)

Shield fern and fringed dicentra (Photo by NCC)

Where to begin?

Before you start, find out what kind of soil you have and which plants are native to your area. Consult a guidebook to native plants for your region, or one of many of good websites to help you determine native plants in your area. Visit local nurseries or seed suppliers to determine what native plants are available; this will give you a better idea of what to put in your garden. Consider a combination of plants that will flower from spring through fall, as they provide pollen and nectar for wildlife throughout these seasons.

Also, think about the desired long-term look and feel of your backyard. Are you drawn more toward an open, sunny space filled with a meadow or prairie garden? Or is a shaded woodland garden more to your liking?


Check out this plant database to find out plants that may be suitable for your area.

Find out more about selecting plants for pollinators in these ecological planting guide.

Visit the North American Native Plant Society’s directory to learn more.

Painted trillium (Photo by Jacques Ranger, CC BY-NC 4.0)

Painted trillium (Photo by Jacques Ranger, CC BY-NC 4.0)

A native

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