I’m in Russellville, Arkansas. I would love to support our native wildflowers and help pollinator populations. If you have advice for access to flowers, which flowers, when or how to plant them please let me know!! I’m really excited to learn more :))
Thanks!! I’ll look into it :D
I recommend if you’re able to, walk around or find public “hiking” trails, and look for what native flowers are growing! Usually it’s pretty easy to learn how to collect seeds and cuttings, so you can get some for free!
This is a nice list for plant genera that are keystones of the eastern US temperate forests. You’d have to figure out from other sources what species would be good for for your specific location but this gives a nice starting point
As someone who lives on the other side of the continent from you I won’t recommend specific plants but as a former conventional gardener and an all too often failed ‘wildlife gardener’ here is what I would recommend:
- Start by surveying your property. You want to know where the sunny, shady, wet, dry, and various other spots are on your property.
- Identify the native plants you still have and determine the exotics you don’t want.
- Check your local municipal and HOA regulations. ‘Weedy’ native plants are often frowned upon by both.
- Check local resources for native plants and seeds that suit your area. There are an increasing number of very knowledgeable nurseries that specialize in native plants.
- Ignore the vast majority of popular so-called native plant seed mixes. Far too often ‘native’ just means a plant that grows in North America.
- Make a plan. Be realistic but aim for 70% native plants.
- Use traditional hard landscape features to disguise your wildlife garden. A nice flagstone path and a small fountain could well keep your neighbors from complaining to the HOA.
- Revise your plan.
- Revise it again.
- Once you have your plan implement it slowly. Experiment so you learn what works on your property.
- Get a sign and put it in your front yard. A sign that identifies your yard as a butterfly, bee, pollinator, or wildlife garden will help keep the HOA Karens at bay.
Ah yes… That form of karen is the worst enemy to gardeners!
That is a great starting list. One or two white oak (Quercus alba), or black oak (Quercus velutina) in your yard can make a huge difference.
Whatever you do, be aware that the commonly-available, so-called “wildflower” seed packets should not be assumed to contain the seeds of plants that are native to your area. They usually consist of annual species from California and Eurasia, sometimes including species that are on the invasive plant lists for various areas. If you intend to grow species that are actually native to your area, it’s necessary to research those (simply to know what they are, their habits, requirements, etc.) and it’s best to find local native plant specialist suppliers to purchase plugs, plants or seed from. As a beginner, you’d be better off buying plugs or plants in order to get started. Seed starting takes experience and frequently causes much disappointment for newbies who jump into it cold and expect great and rapid results.
Lots of good tips here already. Definitely get in touch with your local Native Plant Society! Chances are those folks will be a great resource for info as well as plants and seeds. Here in NC, we have plant sales and seed exchanges, as well as plant rescues and other opportunities to get involved and obtain some hard-to-find native plants while doing so.
Also, the NC Botanical Garden has a focus on native plants and a seed program for members, as well as plant sales. The one in Charlotte has a display of native plants in a formal setting to inspire homeowners to consider landscaping with native plants. Maybe you can find gardens near you that offer similar inspiration as well as seeds/plants to start with? Here are a few I could find in a quick search that look promising, there may be others:
There is a place near you, in London, Ar. called ‘Pine Ridge Gardens’ that sells native plants and wildflowers, if she’s still in business. MaryAnn is very knowledgeable.
Great advice above. My addition is
- don’t be afraid of failure
- don’t worry about spacing
- be patient
Plants die all the time and occasionally a tiny bush turns into a monster. In nature, plants often grow in clumps, so you don’t need to perfectly space everything in your garden.
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