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Old 04-04-2009, 10:54 AM   #15
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amelanchier's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Lyme, NH

Originally Posted by Equilibrium View Post
Holy cow! You fell for native plants hook line and sinker. You ARE a poster child for natives. Tell me what got you so motivated? It needs to be bottled and sold what ever it is. You are doing beyond a bang up job with your property. What all exactly have you planted? This is incredible. Did you join a native plant society for your seed or did you find good online sources?
*chuckle* Thanks for the encouragement! Yes, I suppose I have been a man obsessed lately.

It's funny how I got motivated to do this. I was tentatively starting to plant some bulbs & things of that sort to brighten up the yard in front & back, just doing the conventional homeowner thing. This place was really stark & blank when we arrived, apart from the arborvitae, hollies, and two gaudy peonies in the back. So I hopped online & did some reading about proper planting & care of spring bulbs. I read about how you should really divide tulips (or was it daffodils? who knows anymore?) every couple of years, and fertilize them, and basically go to a bunch of trouble because these are not native species and don't tend to survive well in North American climates.

I thought to myself, Well, what about native North American flowers then? They'll be well adapted to the climate and then I can be a lazy gardener, just stick them in the ground & watch them grow. Let me just do a little searching for North+America+native+plants and see what comes up...

It was all downhill from there. A little Googling can be dangerous thing! I discovered and did a bunch of searches to build up a species list for my area. I got the book Natural Landscaping by Diekelmann & Schuster, and the color photos of prairies - especially the early autumn with fiery little bluestem and deep purple blazing stars - blew my mind. On my hikes I started trying to identify plants & discovered just how much of our wildlands have succumbed to alien invaders. Learning about the biology of native plant communities & how they support wildlife was the icing on the cake, and I went from being a lazy gardener looking for a way to stop mowing the lawn & fertilizing the plants to an avid gardener lusting after plants and yearning to get my hands dirty all winter.

I have a spreadsheet with all the species I've planted/sowed & hope to plant/sow in the future & their general locations. I've done most of my seed orders through Prairie Moon (who else?), and also ordered a few plants from them. However, there's a good, though small, native woodland plants nursery about 60 miles from here, and I've traveled out there to buy as much as I can, to get something close to local genotype. Some of the harder-to-find species I've mail-ordered from a variety of nurseries around the country: Seneca Hill Perennials near Syracuse, Shooting Star Nursery in KY, Oikos Tree Crops in MI, etc. There are still some things I haven't been able to find, though.
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