I’m starting to jump on the native plant bandwagon recently. I’m inspired by the idea of creating a mini-habitat in my backyard by growing plants that nurture wildlife. So where to begin? Trees of course!
Trees are the backbone of any garden. And in the Southeastern United States there are many familiar trees that are native to our region, including magnolias, tulip poplars, and red maples, and dogwood trees. Proclaiming yourself a “native plant” gardener may sound elitist, but these native trees certainly aren’t out of the ordinary. You probably already have countless native trees in your backyard!
So why plant some more native trees? Let’s use the native maple trees as an example. The red maple (Acer rubrum), native to the Eastern United States, gets its name from its brilliant fall foliage. Wildlife find it attractive, too! Birds like to nest in its branches and eat the fruits. Deer also like to chomp on the leaves of the red maple. Therefore, the red maple is not only beautiful; it’s also useful to many types of wildlife.
Thinking this way about your garden may be a completely different mindset. At least it was for me. Instead of just planting what I like to look at, I’m also starting to think about what the birds, butterflies, and other critters are going to think about it, too. Luckily, we can all agree that native trees like the red maple are worth growing. They’re beautiful and delicious. (Well I’m taking the deer’s word on that.)