On Thursday, March 12, 2020, Karan Rawlins, recently retired Extension Educator of UGA Tifton, and 60 Georgia Master Gardener Extension Volunteers joined together online for the second Thoughtful Thursday webinar session of 2020. Karan shared about a variety of native plants and the many benefits of including natives in your home landscape. Everyone can add natives, and we are fortunate to have many native species, like 52 native oak tree species, which provide food for hundreds of pollinator and wildlife species. Karan also noted that monarch numbers are increasing and we can support this by adding host plants to our landscapes. There are 24 milkweed species native to Georgia. Master Gardeners caring for the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Garden have noted success with swamp milkweed.
As we move into Spring and many blossoms are adding bright pops of color to a backdrop of greening grass and trees, you may have noticed the purple of wisteria in the mix. You may be seeing invasives species, but remember the native Wisteria frutescens as a plant choice. A Master Gardener shared that this native is doing well in her yard, planted on a shady, slope.
When brainstorming home landscape designs, don’t forget to consider native grasses as these can be ideal for holding in soil on slopes because of their long taproots, as well as adding visual interest and acting as host plants.
For more information on natives, check out these resources:
- Books by University of Delaware professor Doug Tallamy discussing why it is essential for humans to include native plants in their yards
- State Botanical Garden of Georgia
- Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance (GPCA)
- Georgia Native Plant Society (GNPS)
- USDA Plants Database
- Bugwood images (free use for educational purposes including Speakers Bureau presentations)
- Georgia Pollinator Census Facebook Group