Backyard Native flowers


Bee balm and bluebird houseNo aspect of our mission is more important than helping homeowners incorporate native plants into their home landscape designs. There are many resources available to you and we have tried to bring some of those resources together here in one place to make your planning easier. While landscaping projects can range from a small flower bed outside a kitchen window to a project involving many acres, remember that you don’t necessarily have to tackle the entire plan at once. If you’re more comfortable moving slowly, by all means choose one area to focus on at a time. It can be as simple as replacing non-native petunias in a small flowerbed with Bee balm (Monarda didyma)… seen in the image at left. This perennial, which is native to eastern North America, is a cherished source of nectar for hummingbirds, butterflies and many other native species.

So your first step is to jump in the car and head over to the big box store to buy plants, right? Unfortunately 90% of the plants available for sale the big box stores and many nurseries are non-natives. Don’t worry… that’s another education project we’re working on. But don’t despair, there are many excellent sources of plant materials… you just need to know where to look. And don’t hesitate to ask your local nursery to stock native plants… eventually they will get the message.

But before you set out to buy plants, you have to do a little planning. Is the area you’ll be landscaping sunny or in shade? Dry or damp? What type of soil? Will you need plants that grow to different heights to place from front to back in a bed? Once you know the answer to these questions, you’re ready to think about specific plants.

To get you started, take a look at this excellent video produced by NC State University entitled “Going Native: Urban Landscaping for Wildlife with Native Plants”. It’s only 10 minutes long but it is a VERY helpful starting point for any project involving native plants. So sit back, relax, grab a cup of coffee or a cup of Oswego tea made from that Bee balm you planted earlier, and enjoy the video.

These articles will provide you with more information about the use of native plants in the home landscape and include plant lists:

Gardening for Life – Excerpt from Doug Tallamy’s book “Bringing Nature Home” which clearly explains the problem with the rapid decline of native plant habitats and what the homeowner can do to help restore a small portion of what has been lost.

Native alternatives – These native plants are suggested as alternatives to invasive exotic species in Upstate South Carolina. All plants listed, both invasive exotics and natives, are available for sale in the market.

SC Coastal Native Plant List – An extensive native plant list for coastal regions of South Carolina

Native alternatives to lawn turf

Native plants for wildlife – Habitat Essentials for Wildlife: 1) Bio-diversity; 2) Food & Water; 3) Cover; 4) Housing/nesting. All plants listed are available for sale in the market.

Native Plant Sources – South Carolina and Southeast regional native plant and seed sources