After I horrified you last week with the invasive plants that have taken over, I want to happily orient you this week with the native plant species that grace our land - or as I call them, the ones that are supposed to be here. There’s many definitions surrounding the word “native”, however most can agree that it refers to a plant that occurs naturally in the place where it evolved without any human intervention, those that evolved naturally in North America. Native plants vary from the East coast to the South to the West coast, the mountains and the Midwest. These plants have all adapted to their climate and soil conditions making them super hardy requiring no pesticides, fertilizers, or watering.
In Connecticut, we have our own unique list of trees, shrubs, grasses, ferns, and flowers that thrive naturally and wildly and hopefully will gain your appreciation as you make the connection with them being native to our area. Many can be seen around our beautiful town, even in the winter months.
by Leah Allen
The word invasive means to spread prolifically, undesirably, and/or harmfully. And that’s exactly what some non-native plant species have done throughout our land. This time of the year, invasive plant species are more obvious to the eye, especially along our highways, roads, open fields, and forests. All those heavy vines strangling trees that you see are invasive plant species, brought to the US in the 1800’s from other countries as ornamental plants to help build our growing landscape. Unfortunately, they’ve spread their seeds far and wide and have naturalized over much of our terrain wrapping themselves around trees, smothering vegetation, monopolizing nutrients, and becoming a serious threat to our native environments.
Welcome to “In the Garden with Leah ,” a weekly column I’ll be curating and writing in the Milltown Monitor. I’m Leah Allen, and I’ll be concentrating on all gardening matters local. More than a column, it’s an organic niche where one can get inspired by your neighbors North Stonington gardens and the hard-working gardeners behind them.
You’ll find a niche where being mindful about what’s blooming around our town is encouraged, a niche offering ideas and suggestions for our area and answering your questions. I want it to be a niche where gardening is celebrated and positive gardening practices are promoted amongst beginner gardeners and advanced gardeners alike.
North Stonington has some of the most beautiful and abundant gardens in Connecticut, and we can all gain inspiration and learn from their beauty. Gardeners are some of the most optimistic and hard-working people on this planet and should be recognized for their efforts, whether its a beginner veggie garden or a collection of magnificent Knock Out rose bushes. Gardening is for everyone and we can all truly make the world a better place with gardens.
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