Matching Native Plants to Your Yard’s Needs


We’re at the home of Jim Hewitt now. He has a
lovely yard with both sun, shade in a wetland in the back. But Jim now we’re down by the mailbox,
it’s a long ways away from the from the hose and the house so what’s
what’s on your thoughts here with the plants were standing near? We put this in because it was, like you say,
a long ways from the house. It was hard to get anything to grow here without a lot of water, it was just kind of ragged area, so I tore out what little grass there was and put in mostly an assortment of native plants
that, I didn’t want them too tall, so more medium and short species that could take a lot of heat and could do fine without water. So
there’s a number of species in here and it’s very popular with pollinators. Yes we can see there’s
some bees, etc., checking the plants out right now. Here we have a bed that’s quite a bit
taller and tell us some of your thoughts about starting up this bed. OK. This is more of a mesic native prairie type plant area. It’s got pretty much full sun and the plants here are much taller
than the ones out by the mailbox. OK. There’s, uh, I wanted to grow some prairie plants
and this seems like the best spot even though it is right in the middle the
yard. Right. But I like it, and it’s just kind of a long stretch of plants that includes a variety of
species, a lot of them quite tall like the pale Indian plantain and the big
blue stem grass. There’s three species of silphium in here and right now in this time of year a lot of things are in bloom and it looks
its best and you see a lot of insects on these plants. This is a shade garden mostly spring ephemerals in the spring where there’s Triliums and hepatica and
bloodroot. Now in August, they’re just more mature the
spring ephemoerals have you know subsided, died back in many
cases, but still we have some interest in color with the bean berries, both red bean berry and white bean berry, the doll’s eyes. There’s some blue
cohosh that has blueberries right now. Some jack-in-the-pulpits have some fruit.
There’s maidenhair fern, Christmas fern and soon there’ll be a couple of shade
goldenrods that’ll start to bloom in this area. Nice, nice
foliage, berries and like you say some late bloom will come in here too. Yes, great. So everybody always wonders
about deer damage, and what to do there’s no simple solution to that, but what’s your
experience with native plants and native shrubs, Jim? Well, pretty good, I mean there are lot of deer around here as there are most places, and they do nibble on things. Some
shrubs have to be you know, kind of corralled until they get more
mature, but some species they don’t like like this Hypericum here, shrubby St. Johns wort,
they pretty much leave this alone. This is a nice plant as a shrub with
nice little flowers at this time of year. Down here is a New Jersey tea that bloomed
earlier in the season. They leave that alone. So there are some
shrubs you can select that deer don’t prefer. So here in the back, Jim, you have another challenge or
opportunity a a lovely wetland that comes right up to
your lawn so what are some of the plants and the thoughts
behind why you need native plants back here by the wetland? I see, yes, this is
a what I call a swamp edge wetland, backs up
to a shrub swamp, and so in this area I put in native plants
that can take a lot of moisture and but still can can dry out and do well. So
there’s a lot of species back here that are taller like the joe pye weeds and the cup plant, ironweed. Blooming mostly in mid-summer, and this whole
swath here attracts a great number of
bumblebees, different kinds of native bees, butterflies. It’s a place I like to
come out, and sit and watch the insects in the summer. Jim,
we’ve talked about intermingling plants; the natives with
the non-natives, and here in this particular bed you have a
daylily bed, and there are some milk weeds in there. Tell some of the thinking going on there.
Well, it is a daylily bed, so obviously not native, but milkweeds have just come in on
their own, and I pretty much let them stay because I
like to see the Monarchs come through and they do find these milkweeds right here. I’ve seen them on here this year, and they support, they’re critical for
monarchs, and a lot of plants are critical for
certain species of caterpillars and the butterflies. And that’s why I like to plant native
plants because of their importance for the overall ecosystem for
biodiversity. Jim, thanks for sharing your yard with us.
You’re welcome. Thanks for coming out. I really enjoy native plants, and gardening with them. They’ve got a number
of advantages over non-native plants; they’re hardier, they don’t need to be pampered, they don’t need
fertilizer, they don’t need extra water. Those are all good advantages, but for me the main reason I grow them is
for biodiversity. To increase biodiversity, more plants — a
wide range of plants throughout the blooming season — to attract insects and help insects
thrive throughout their season and that’s what really I find most interesting about native plants. A good way to
make a difference. Indeed.

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4 thoughts on “Matching Native Plants to Your Yard’s Needs

  1. Just a suggestion.  Your subtitles were apparently done by someone who doesn't know plants and tried to do it phonetically.  "Bean berries" should be banebarries, just as an example.  Go thru and proof the text – otherwise, some folks will be looking for plants based on names that are non-existent.  🙂

  2. Glad to help. I know that if captions are done electronically one can end up with some very interesting sentences (like when I use the "dictaphone" option on my cell phone – "must dash – Ellen" ends up "Mustache Ellen"), which can result in either mass confusion or utter hilarity!

  3. Great video and a beautiful garden. I also grow native plants and would recommend them for all the reasons Jim stated.

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