Welcome back from the weekend! I had grand plans to paint our new bifold door for the master bath, do my Shoot Fly Shoot video, and do my Craftsy video but instead cooked all day Saturday, had some good friends over, slept till 11 on Sunday (haven’t done that in years!), and caught up on some blogging. Although I didn’t get anything done, the lack of doing anything serious was glorious!
When we overhauled our backyard three years ago, we used almost all native Texas plants so that we could conserve water, not have to treat for pests too often, and not have to replace plants every year or so. I have always been a proponent of using native plants as much as possible and these last three years have proven exactly why. We are currently on Stage 2 water restrictions here, as we usually are every summer, which means we can only water our yard once a week. We are in Zone 9b (find your planting zone here), are on almost complete sand, super hot sun, and salty wind. Not for the faint-of-heart plants! I used the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center’s Native Plant Database to research what natives would work for us in our environment. After they got established that first year, they rarely receive no direct watering (even on our designated day), never get treated for pests, and when they do get bugs they are super hardy and come right back after treatment. I had all kinds of issues with pests and general hardiness on our non-natives; hibiscus, Ti plants, palm trees, and Mexican oleanders, and most have long been gonners. This goes for our pond as well, it too contains native plants that we don’t have to do anything to. We have all kinds of wildlife in our little backyard (toads, good bugs, and all kinds of birds…you should see migration here!) that I contribute to providing their natural forage and cover plants.
**Click on each for plant profile***
These are the native aquatic plant species we have in our pond. Some of the worst invasive species are aquatic plants and many of them were introduced through the ornamental pond trade. But we have a slew of really cool native aquatic plants to choose from that look very similar, if not prettier, than those invasives. Again, google a species before purchasing it and seek out garden clubs and local groups for what is native. Heck, I have to thin mine out ever few months they do so well so hit me up and I’ll mail you some! We have a handful of Gulf Coast toads that serenade us every night here, usually leaving us with thousands of tadpoles :)
This is just an overview of the natives that have done amazing for our us, of course they won’t work for everyone everywhere, but I encourage y’all to find local groups and use online resources to find what native plants work well in your area too. Ask your local nursery about what natives they carry and recommend, and if they don’t have one, ask them to order it. This worked great for me and they were more than willing to help! There are a number of invasive species to be aware of and avoid during any landscaping project. I use TexasInvasives to look questionable species up but there are many online databases for these too and your state wildlife department should have plenty of information.
I am just so happy we went native and can imagine just how much money we have saved in doing so. Every little bit of conservation helps! Plus they are just as pretty, if not prettier, than alot of the species I see at nurseries in my opinion.
Have any of you guys started using more native species in your landscape? Which ones do well in your area?