How often do you plant something in your garden simply because it looks pretty and/or smells nice. In this modern age, we are offered selections of flowers and plants that our ancestors never even dreamed would ever grow in this climate. But just because something is able to grow in Buffalo doesn’t mean that it was intended to grow here.
Much of the invasive species that we see today were planted due to their ability to adapt to hardy conditions, yet the repercussions to our natural environment were never considered. Over the years we have been accustomed to planting anything we want, anywhere we want. Unfortunately that’s not the best practice, especially when we consider our waterways and the insects that we rely on to pollinate our flowers. Not to mention the indigenous plants that actually help with pest control.
In order to help us understand the importance of indigenous plants, an invaluable guide has been published that shows us the importance of planting the flora that was intended to be here all along. Did you know that native plants need less water?
According to Jill Jedlicka, Executive Director of Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, “Landowners can play a significant role in the stewardship of our local waters, especially in the way they design, plant and care for their properties. With this guide we really wanted to help Western New Yorkers create more sustainable landscapes, improving habitat and requiring less maintenance, while also fostering water conservation and pollutant reduction”.
Gardens planted with native plants are more sustainable and resilient. They also help to support the local wildlife that relies on the plants to grow. Did you know that milkweed, while not being the most attractive plant, is the nutritious lifeline for Monarch butterfly? For years we have been removing the milkweed (urban sprawl, prettier flowers, etc.) while inadvertently helping to decimate the once flourishing population of Monarchs. Not just the Monarchs, but the pollinators that also depend on native plants and flowers.
“Protecting water quality is a top priority for this administration. The County is happy to partner with the Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper to help print this important guide so that citizens can plan beautiful native gardens that will reduce pesticide use and also provide habitat for pollinators,” said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.
*Beautifully illustrated, the hard cover Guide outlines over 90 different plants native to Western New York, including old favorites like Purple Cone Flower and Redosier Dogwood, to the horticulturally significant Paw Paw or American Cranberry Bush. Everything from groundcovers and vines to grasses and trees are represented. The guide is available at select locations throughout the region, and is also obtainable via digital download by clicking here.