Non-Native Plants in Your Garden

Linda Dietrick, Master Gardener, presenter for
Prairie Naturals Gardening Group (PNGG)
January 13/22 – 7 – 8:30pm
Zoom Presentation

Linda Dietrick, PNGG member, Master Gardener, and former editor of The Prairie Garden, including the 2020 issue, Inspired by Nature, will be our guest speaker for our final meeting in January.

Popular projects like Douglas Tallamy’s Homegrown National Park and the David Suzuki Foundation’s Butterflyway call on gardeners to help create habitat for threatened pollinators by planting native plants. While we can and should support these projects’ goals, it is not necessary to dig up all of the non-native plants in our gardens and replace them with natives. In fact, a diverse mix of native and non-native plants can be just as beneficial to wildlife.

Gardens are also meant to be habitat for humans. For millennia, even here on the northern prairies before European settlement, plants have been cultivated by humans for human benefit – for food, medicine, pleasure. Yet it is still possible to garden in a way that meets the specific needs of other living things. Certain native perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees are essential for the survival of invertebrates like butterflies, moths and bees, which in turn support a biodiverse ecosystem.

The talk will focus on high-priority natives that we should incorporate into our garden designs. It will also help identify those non-natives that may have less ecological value. What that leaves are the many plants that, while they may not be native to our region, can still provide multiple ecological benefits.