Just outside of Tara Lodge, we established a demonstration native plant garden, with the help and guidance of Audubon’s Gardens Specialist, Kristin Lamberson.
Native plants attract and feed native wildlife, including butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees. They also provide places for wildlife to nest and roost. Often these plants are easier to grow, require less maintenance, and many produce beautiful blooms.
We made sure to include a variety of plants for food sources at different times of the year, a variety of heights for the requirements of different animal and bird species, and both evergreen and deciduous plants.
Here is a sampling of some of the plants we have in the garden.
In the spring and early summer, we have hummingbirds flying through the garden feeding on the flowers of the red buckeye (Aesculus pavia). Read more about the red buckeye.
In the late summer and early fall, Beautyberry (Callicarpis spp.) produces vibrant purple berries that is a food source for many bird species including bobwhite quail, mockingbirds, robins, towhees, and brown thrashers (Source: http://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/cs_caam2.pdf).
Not only do milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) and scarlet milkweed (Asclepias currasavica) produce beautiful orange/yellow or orange/red flowers, but it is an important host plant for the larvae of the monarch butterfly.
This deciduous shrub provides roosting places and nesting places for small mammals and birds. The blooms are made of clusters of white flowers and are very pretty, especially in a part shade environment. Oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) can grow to be 6 to 8 feet tall and wide. Read more about oakleaf hydrangea.
This perennial shrub produces unique red and orange fruits that resemble a strawberry, hence the name. Strawberry bush (Euonomys americana) is not an important food source for wildlife, but the seeds are fed upon by some birds and deer like the leaves. We like its unique fruits as an addition to the garden.
The common pawpaw (Asimina triloba) is the largest native fruit tree in north American and is native to the eastern U.S. This tree is host to the larvae of the Zebra Swallowtail butterfly. At least two plants are required for cross-pollination. Read more about the common pawpaw.
This perennial plant is known as woodland pinkroot or Indian pink (Spigelia marilandica). It blooms in March through June, but if you remove spent flowers after the initial bloom, it will continue to bloom well into summer. It grows best in part-shade and prefers moist but well-drained soil. Read more about Indian pink.
Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) is usually found in wet soils, such as swamps or the soil adjacent to the edge of a pond or stream. Starting in June and continuing through September, you can find 1-inch diameter round, spiky-looking blooms all over this shrub. Read more about buttonbush.