Why native? Ask a ruby-throated hummingbird, or a monarch caterpillar. Ask the hooded warbler who nests in the spicebush thicket. Ask the Native American ancestors who relied on these plants for food and spiritual medicines. Seek out an intricate old grove in a deep forest, and ask yourself.
Or look around at our generic suburban landscapes, our 46 million acres of lawn, our children growing up in manufactured environments without the subtlety and spontaneity of an intact ecosystem.
Native plants are fundamental to a complex and proud sense of place and belonging. They are fundamental to the wildlife of our area, with whom they have coevolved. They link the realms of human and animal with the sun above and the soil below. They can bridge the gap between “natural” and “developed”, turning yards into beautiful wildlife havens. They transform their gardeners, too. Knowing wild plants offers a path towards intimacy with our natural environments, a way of observation, respect, and interdependence.