In Native Gardens, Tania Del Valle has dreams of turning her new backyard into a thriving native garden. Native gardening (or native landscaping) involves making an active choice to use locally found grasses, trees, flowers, and other plant life when planting in order to return the ecosystem in an area to a more natural state.
Native plants specifically are plants that are known to have existed in an area prior to extensive human impact on the environment. Non-native plants are plants that were introduced by humans, either intentionally or accidentally, to a habitat in which they were not naturally found. Invasive plants are not native to an area, and are able to quickly reproduce and spread, taking over the ecosystem and causing detriment to other plants and the environment at large. However, not all non-native plants are invasive.
Invasive Plant – Bauhinia Variegata Orchid Tree
Latin and Common Name of Native Alternative – Acacia Farnesiana Sweet Acacia
Description – Sweet Acacia isn’t often used in landscaping because of the thorns that grow on these trees, but the fragrant yellow blooms are a sweet reward for any gardener willing to give this tree a chance.
Invasive Plant – Locinera Japonica Japanese Honeysuckle
Latin and Common Name of Native Alternative – Lonicera Sempervirens Coral Honeysuckle
Description – The bold red color of coral honeysuckle makes a vibrant, more ecologically friendly addition to any garden. This vine will add a charming touch to any fence or trellis, and may even attract hummingbirds to your garden.
Invasive Plant – Jasminum Dichotomum
Gold Coast Jasmine
Latin and Common Name of Native Alternative – Hymenocallis Latifolia, Mangrove Spiderlily, Perfumed Spiderlily
Description – Mangrove spiderlilies are Florida natives that are known for their stunning, fragrant white blooms. This plant is drought tolerant and handles wet conditions well, so it will thrive in most conditions.