Are these warmer days making you think about adding some new plants to your landscaping? Are you having a hard time choosing among the tempting offerings in the catalogs you have spread before you? Do you wince when you scan through the pages and see that many nurseries are still offering invasive non-native plants such as burning bush, Japanese barberry and autumn olive—and many more—often with an icon indicating that they are "deer resistant?" Local nurseries often are no better.
With a bit of research and due diligence, it is possible to find sources of plants native to our own region, some of which are being overwhelmed in their wild habitat by invasive plants. The caveat is that native plants tend to be more attractive to deer than non-native ones and you may have to invest in deer protection strategies, such as fencing, netting and sprays or inter-planting with less tasty plants. But it's worth the effort and you will be doing a good deed by helping to halt the loss of New Jersey's biodiversity. And our native trees and shrubs are better providers of nutritional sustenance for birds than alien ones.
Some regional sources of native plants are:
- Toadshade Wildflower Farm, Frenchtown, NJ
www.toadshade.com (includes planting guide for our area)
- Earth First Native Plant Nursery and Gifts, Egg Harbor Twp., NJ
earthfirstnatives.com (list of bird and butterfly attracters)
- Bowmanís Hill Wildflower Preserve
www.bhwp.org (mail order seeds; spring and fall plant sales)
Native plant sale days (watch websites for sale days):