Why Plant a Native Meadow?

Why Plant a Native Meadow?

It may be hard to imagine, but North Carolina’s Piedmont once hosted prairies full of flowing grasses and blooming wildflowers, providing nectar to hundreds of native bees, butterflies, moths and more. Much of these special places have been lost to development and residential mono-culture lawns. Fortunately, many towns, parks and people are re-establishing beautiful prairie by planting meadows, large and small. Meadows support pollinator insects, birds and other wildlife, help address climate change, conserve water, reduce pollution, and are lovely to see!

What’s planted in the NCDNCR meadow? 

Common Name Scientific name Bloom Month

Bloom Color 

Blooming Perennials:       

Sisyrichium

April-May

light blue

Tickseed, Narrowleaf coreopsis  lanceolata April-May  gold 

Penstemon digitalis  'Husker Red'

April-May

white 

Asclepias tuberosa

May-June

orange 

Monarda fistulosa  'Claire Grace'

June-July

pink 

Agastache foeniculum

June-July

purple 

Scutellaria incana

July-August 

purple 

Pycnanthemum muticum

July-Sept

white 

Solidago shortii 'Solar Cascade'

August-Sept

yellow 

aster oblongifolius 'Purple Dome'

October

purple 

 

Common Name  

Scientific name

Bloom Month

Bloom Color 

Grasses & Sedges: 

     

Schizachyrium scoparium 'Prairie Blues'

fall

blue/rust 

Sporobolus heterolepis

summer

green/gold 

Carex cherokeensis

spring

green 

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Provide Food and Homes for Birds and Wildlife

Native trees and plants host caterpillars and insects, berries and nuts that birds and mammals need to eat. Loss of important trees like oaks threatens wildlife habitat and thus the food chain.

Supports our Food Supply by Providing Nectar for Bees

Our human food supply depends on pollination by bees, flies, butterflies and moths. However, bee populations in particular have declined at alarming rates. We can all do our part simply by planting flowers native trees, shrubs and flowers in our gardens that provide the nectar vital to growing food crops. There are actually over 500 native bee species in North Carolina, and they depend on a wide variety of pollinator plants.

Low maintenance: Once established, native plants generally require little maintenance. Beauty: Many native plants offer beautiful showy flowers, produce abundant colorful fruits and seeds, and brilliant seasonal changes in colors from the pale, thin greens of early spring, to the vibrant yellows and reds of autumn. Help the Climate and People: Landscaping with native plants combats climate change. Converting lawn to meadows or plant beds means less mower exhaust and noise. Plus native plants, with their deep roots, store greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

Conserve Water: Because native plants are adapted to local environmental conditions, they require far less water, saving time, money, and perhaps the most valuable natural resource, water.

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Many plants imported from Asia and Europe are harming local environments by taking over. While we are used to seeing plants like nandina, they are harmful to wildlife, and It’s important to not plant and to actually remove invasive plants from your garden. Be wary of what you may see at a nursery!

There are hundreds of beautiful plants native to North Carolina and the Southeast.  Nature needs 60 different plant species to support the majority of pollinators, so plant a variety! 

Check out this extensive list of options: 

 

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So plants, but which to choose?  Entemologists have figured out that a small number of trees, shrubs and flowers provide can provide 90% of the pollinator needs for bees and butterflies.  Check out this list of “Keystone” native plants:

 

There are many nurseries growing native plants here in our state, so search sources on the internet.  Also, ask at your local nurseries to see their selection of native plants.  The more people ask for them, the more will be planted and sold.