Do you support protecting nature and the environment? Most of us will answer yes. Many of us even give money to environmental causes, and many perform volunteer work at local parks and preserves.
But do the things in our everyday life reflect our environmentalism? For example, landscaping with non-native plants and non-native lawns wastes large amounts of ever more precious water, and increases dangerous pesticide and herbicide use which kills beneficial insects and pollutes our water sources. Lawns usually involve mowers, trimmers, and leaf blowers, which emit air and noise pollution. Non-native plants do not reflect our home area, and are not the plants butterflies and hummingbirds are searching for.
Native plant landscaping is much more environmental than traditional exotic landscaping. Native plants and native lawn grasses in general require little to no supplemental watering, and are resistant to diseases and insects and thus reduce use of and pollution from pesticides and herbicides. Native plants also increase our sense of place, making our home area unique and different from those in different parts of the country.
Butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds are looking for the native plants. By creating a backyard wildlife habitat, we can have a beautiful garden and attract the critters that we enjoy watching. We can even reduce or eliminate your lawn, reducing yard work while reducing pollution and increasing the number of attractive plants and critters around our homes.
Not only is native plant and wildlife landscaping attractive and enjoyable, but it is also a moral imperative in today’s world of increased environmental damage and habitat destruction.
For more information, see the following:
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
- Backyard Wildlife Habitats at the National Wildlife Federation
- Your local Native Plant Society, like the Austin Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas
- Texas Wildscapes at Texas Parks and Wildlife