Friday, March 12, 2010

Why Native Plants?

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Thanks to the bloggers at Homemade Wilderness, I was alerted to this article, about how dozens of Cedar Waxwings in Florida died after eating poisonous, non-native Rosary Pea berries.




So, what does this have to do with anything?

Well, native birds have evolved to eat (ahem) native plants. There's a mutually beneficial relationship between plants and animals. Plants provide yummy, nutritious food to animals, who (ahem) spread their seeds, thus producing more plants, and more sources of food.

When gardeners plant non-native plants, the balance of nature is disrupted. The birds and other critters can't find their normal food sources, and eat what they can find. Some of this food suits the birds, and some, like the Rosary Pea berries, are deadly.




And the same goes for insects. The bee keeper's lecture I went to, two months ago, speculated about how genetically modified crops aren't producing enough pollen and nectar to feed bees.

Many of our gardens are food wastelands, for our wildlife.

So, why not plant a few natives, or just leave some in place when you landscape? The birds and the bugs will thank you for it.

7 comments:

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

Why, I wonder, do I tend to write about Cedar Waxwings when I'm home, sick with a cold?

Jim Groble said...

Beautiful pic and post. The Wilmot Nature center, about an hour or so south of us, has a native plant sale every year.It's where we got our swamp mallo and marsh milkweed. jim

greg said...

Deer finally found my meager native plant garden (containing "deer resistant" plants).

But on the same day there was a rafter of 20+ wild turkeys in our front yard. The dominant male was displaying full plumage. I'm sure the turkeys were enjoying the native wildflower seed I spread there earlier in the week.

I love Cedar Waxwings they just look so much like toys.

--greg

Carol said...

Lisa and Robb, Wonderful post for both the stunning portraits of Cedar Waxwings and for your important words! Kudos to you! Did you mention the name of the shrub the birds are eating from? ;>) Carol

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

Carol, those berries were on an urban street planting. I'll bet you that they're non native plants.

Martha said...

So glad to see you talk about native plants. It's such an important topic when it comes to wildlife preservation. Even with all the natural habitat broken up, it is felt that if enough people plant native species in their yards, they can form enough contiguous space to make a real difference for wildlife.

Sharon said...

I stumbled upon your blog from a link someone posted on GardenWeb and I must say I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all the posts here...especially the ones on Composting and Native Plants. Great blog you have here. Thanks.
Sharon AKA Sharbear50

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