I recently ran across a list entitled Plant This, Not That on the Garden Club of Virginia website that was created for their 2011 annual meeting. A paragraph at the top of the list explained how the list was compiled.
Garden club members from around the state were asked for suggestions for native plants that had wildlife value, but not in the traditional sense of providing seeds or berries for wildlife. Instead, they were asked to list plants that attract butterflies, which in turn, produce caterpillars which are used as food for many native bird species.
For our GCV Annual Meeting we are focusing on good garden practices that encourage the growth cycle of our native birds and butterflies. Many of you may know that our native birds are in decline because of loss of native habitat for the specific caterpillars that feed our young birds. Non-native plants do not offer breeding ground for any native butterflies, and 97% of our birds require insects-not seeds-to feed their young. Therefore we are asking each club to bring in a cutting or small plant that is native and attracts butterflies, and a picture of a non-native landscape plant that may be replaced by your specimen in a backyard landscape. The display will be titled "Plant this, not that!"
It’s a great list, because it helps us “think outside the box” when recognizing the wildlife value of native plants. I mentioned many of the plants on the list, including paw paw, sweet bay, milkweed and passion vine, in a post that I did on butterfly gardening. But from now on, I’ll remember to mention their value for attracting birds, as well.
Plant This, Not That – complete list (pdf format)
Here are some Favorite Native Plant Lists from our archives:
- Favorite Native Plants ~ Nature Friendly Gardener Marlene A. Condon
- Favorite Native Plants ~ Kathy Jentz, editor of Washington Gardener Magazine
- Favorite Native Plants ~ Thomas Rainer
- Favorite Native Plants ~ Alex Dencker
- Favorite Native Plants ~ Steve Bates
- Favorite Native Plants ~ Alison Gillespie