Projects for 2020: Replace Non-indigenous Plants with Native Plants

The new year brings new interests — again. This year Bob and I will be redesigning our landscape — again. We’re removing ALL non-indigenous plants then planting ONLY native plants.

Three privets on the driveway side of the house.

This was not an easy decision. After all, we’ve lived here nineteen years and these plants have been growing for at least seventeen years. The three privets on the driveway side of the house are at least twenty-five feet tall and do a marvelous job of shading the hot sun. A few of my honey bees like the privets well enough but hundreds of pollinators literally cover the neighboring red bud tree; the buzz coming from this tree is majestic. While the privets have a delightful fragrance, it’s not quite what the local pollinators need.

Privet (Ligustrum sinense Lour) are small trees from southern and eastern Asia or the Himalayas extending into Australia, hence, not a native plant. When I bought them, I didn’t know they were was invasive nor did I know the grow wild. WILD!!! and I bought four!!! Silly me.

Flame Bush or Burning Bush

The two flame bushes by the well are six feet tall and at least five feet wide and are beautiful about three weeks out of the year when the brilliant red leaves fall and the bright red berries glow in the sun. A few birds have made their nests in the bushes through out the year but seldom do I see anyone eating the berries.

The flame bush, also known as the burning bush, is a species of flowering plant in the family Celastraceae, native to central and northern China, Japan, and Korea — again not native.

Edging needs to be updated.

I became aware of native plants during my Master Gardening class in 2017. Since then I’ve become more intrigued with the habitat that natives offer wildlife. The fact that local wildlife and native plants have evolved together through the millennia only strengthened my resolve.

Yes, I had to get over loving the privets and the flame bushes. Surely, I’ll identify natives that will offer even more benefits … that is as soon as I start looking.

First, I’ve got to cut down these plants. Sigh … . It won’t be easy but I can do it. They’ll go in the hugelkultur bed near our fruit trees.

More later … as progress is made.


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