Native Plants

Here at the Barefoot Gardeners we are working hard to offer an expanding variety of native flowers and plants. Native plants benefit our neighborhood native pollinators and animals in many ways. More details coming soon!

Why Native Plants

First, let’s start by defining what we mean by what is a native plant as opposed to a non-native and/or invasive plant, and then segue into why we need to discuss with some urgency why we need to emphasize incorporating native plants into our landscapes.

“Native plants should be defined as those that have evolved and adapted to a specific location and have remained genetically unaltered by humans.” – Wasowski in The American Gardener

“A plant that lives or grows naturally in a particular region without direct or indirect human intervention.”   – US National Arboretum

In 2022 the World Wildlife Fund reported that Planet Earth had lost 69% of its wildlife since 1970.  We tend to think of the bigger, exotic animals:  lions, tigers, elephants and bears as what we are losing, but as E.O. Wilson once said, “Insects are the little things that run the world.”  And as you read and learn you realize that native plants are critical to the support of insects.  As ‘the foot bone is connected to the ankle bone, and the ankle bone is connected to the leg bone’ so too is our world of soils, water, plants, insects, bumblebees and other pollinators, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals connected.

On February 6, 2023, “In the first report of its kind, Biodiversity in Focus (USA Edition) revealed an alarming conclusion: 34% of plants and 40% of animals are at risk of extinction and 41% of ecosystems are at risk of range wide collapse.”

So, what can we do?  We can heed the call to action.  We can look at our yards and our properties (85% of the land east of the Mississippi River is privately owned) and start planting ecologically effective plants.  We can do informal inventories of our land to determine how best to become a positive ecological force rather than a negative one.

Here in the United States, we are fortunate, because we have access to good research and studies, online videos and free resources that are available to help us determine our next steps.  To paraphrase Prof. Doug Tallamy on his co-founded, as we are now living in the middle of the 6th Great Extinction, and we (humans) are nature’s best hope.