Thursday, September 9, 2010


I'm no militant when it comes to native plants versus exotics, but here's my take on it. 
Most garden shops stock all sorts of exotics, because the exotics tend to remain unblemished and un-gnawed upon. But they remain untouched precisely because they're not part of the local ecosystem. Nothing eats them and nothing uses them. I've know I've adjusted my own aesthetics to see beauty not in the plant that stands pristinely aloof, but in the one that shows all the scars of actually being part of it all.
A case in point: I have a small, but slowly growing patch of a fuzzy little native plant, pussytoe, growing in the yard. I've stopped mowing that part of the property so it's been able to flower and go to seed in peace the last couple of years. Well this summer, the most common butterfly around the garden has been a gorgeous little thing I managed to identify as a Pecks Skipper. And according to the field guide the larval foodplants for this skipper are everlastings and pussytoes. So for a few square feet of unmown lawn I get a vigorous population of beautiful and energetic pollinators. Those kinds of inter-relationships are happening invisibly all around, but most intensely with the native plants and their co-evolved creatures.

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