In 1992, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, created the program that is now nationally known as BayScapes. The vision was to create an educated citizenry dedicated to the use of native, non-invasive plants in their landscapes to attract wildlife and reduce the amount of pollutants going into the Chesapeake Bay.There is a ton of information on the Bayscapes website, including information about why, how and where to choose native plants. They even have some great lists of native plants for the Chesapeake Bay area, you just have to hunt around a little bit to find them.
You can find lists here in pdf format. Unfortunately, the pdf lists provide limited information and no photos. If you dig a little further, you can find plant information pages for ferns, grasses, herbaceous plants, herbaceous emergents, shrubs, trees, and vines. (Yes, I wish I had found those before I went to all of the work to create my lists of native, drought tolerant trees and shrubs, and perennials.)
But wait! I kept looking and I found this online list of 422 plants that they have created on the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower website to go along with Bayscapes! Oh joy, joy! Online, clickable links to 422 Bay friendly plants!
And if that isn't exciting enough, it looks like they are in the process of putting their guide, "Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping: Chesapeake Bay Watershed"(by Britt E. Slattery, Kathryn Reshetiloff and Susan M. Zwicker. 2003, 2005, 2009) online.
I recently received an email that said:
The Alliance and the Service BayScape partnership is back at work with the creation of an online version of this guide. The current prototype includes:
a searchable database of the native plants of the region;
a geo-locator feature to identify plants that are suited to a precise site;
an online network to interact with other BayScape enthusiasts; and
a design feature that will allow users to create a personal virtual garden is in the works.
Although the full version will not be available until 2012, the initial phase should be on the street in late spring or early summer 2011.
I just LOVE all the great eco-friendly information that is finding its way online. Kudos to the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.