Native Plants for New
England Landscape

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Choose Native Plants for
Your New England Landscape
Choose Native Plants for Your New England Landscape

According to New England Wild Flower Society (NEWFS), the oldest plant
conservation institution in America, the term “wildflower” can be misleading
because it implies that those plants will grow with much less care than non-
native plants. While this is true in some cases, native plants, like all plants, will
thrive if some attention is given to their needs during planting time, and beyond.
While “low maintenance” has been a marketing term used by some companies
to promote sales, there are other, more important reasons, to choose native
plants for your garden. Plants that are native to an area have evolved
relationships to many other organisms in that area. For example Sugar Maple,
(Acer saccharum), is not only an important native structural component of
mature New England Forests, but also provides food in the form of nuts,
leaves, and wood for a variety of animals, plants, and insects that have come to
depend on it over many generations. These organisms interact with each other,
keeping the system in balance.

When certain exotic species like the Norway maple (Acer platanoides) are
introduced, they often upset this balance and become invasive-displacing the
native plants and the organisms that depend on them.

“We began making native plants available at (the New England Wildlife
Society's) Garden in the Woods more than 30 years ago” says renowned garden
author and Nursery Director, William Cullina. “We wished to offer an
alternative to what was then a nursery industry heavily invested in exotic
species. In recent years we have been gratified to see a growing interest in
native plants by nurseries and the public as well. There is still much to be done,
and we will continue to offer a large selection of native plants, many generally
unavailable elsewhere”.

Do you need help with your native garden? Learn to design your own garden
by visiting for a great list of garden designers
and landscape architects focusing on native plants and ecological gardening
practice. Each state has a different list, based on climate and conditions, but
New Englanders can find a simple and complete list at the site. Included are
inspiring lists of beautiful substitutes that are safe for the environment.
Unfortunately many invasive plants that are dangerous for the natural
landscape, such as burning bush, Japanese barberry, and Norway maples are
still being sold throughout the nursery trade. Next to development,
invasive species are the most frequent cause of species loss all over the world.
With all the glorious native plants, and non-invasive exotic species available to
select from, eliminating invasives from your plant shopping list is easy! Instead
of the invasive Norway maple, a stunning yellowwood, red maple, or sugar
maple is not only healthier but more beautiful in the landscape. Instead of the
ubiquitous burning bush, high bush blueberries, Virginia sweetspires, and
dozens of other lovely native shrubs will beautify your property, and bring out
the individuality of your landscape.

The New England Wild Flower Society is dedicated to promoting the conservation of
native flora through education, research, horticulture, habitat preservation, and advocacy.
Membership in the Society supports the conservation programs and helps to maintain
Garden in the Woods, Nasami Farm, and the sanctuaries of the Society. To join visit or call 508-877-7630 x 3802.
The Heart of New England
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