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Learn the importance of native plants

Sunflower

Submitted photo Narrow Leaf Sunflower is a native fall flowering plant.

By Sue Davis

Rowan County Extension Master Gardener Volunteer

Do your keep hearing about native plants and thinking, “What is a native plant?” How can a native plant be more valued than one of the beautiful hybrid plants we find in our garden centers?

Amy-Lynn Albertson, Rowan County Extension director, will unwrap the mysteries and help us understand the benefits of going native in a presentation for the Extension Master Gardener Volunteers on Oct. 10 at 1 p.m. at the Extension Office.

The Master Gardeners invite you to come and enjoy the presentation which will be followed by refreshments and a plant sale.

One of the interesting things about native plants is how many plants native to the Southeastern United States have become mainstream in our landscapes. They are not always easy to find, but when you do find ones that fit into your garden space they will become a colorful favorite which requires little special care.

Native plants are loosely defined as plants that were in the region before European settlement. Most gardeners have settled on a native plant being one that is close to being a native, fits in with the flora of the area and does not become an obnoxious weed.

Albertson will help us understand both the identification and benefit of gardening with native plants. We will explore the plants like Queen Anne’s Lace, which has naturalized into our environment but was actually brought to the area from Europe. What makes it different from a pure native plant? We know of many other examples of native plants that have come from other regions and have adapted to our climate and extreme weather conditions.

Perhaps the most important information we will hear and discuss is the impact that non-native plants can have on the overall environment. Yes, some natives do spread and can become too much for the location you selected for planting. The good thing is they transplant easily and make great pass-along plants you can share.

Far more important is the benefit they have to beneficial insects, native birds and animals. Many butterfly and beetle larvae will only eat native species of plants which are being reduced in unprotected areas by development and elimination of native plant species.

Come and learn with the Master Gardeners. The concept of including native plants in our gardens is as much about their beauty and their belonging in the community as they are beneficial.

Learning the Value of Native Plants in your Garden will be held in the auditorium at the Extension Office, 2727 Old Concord Road, at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 10. It will be necessary to make reservations by calling 704-216-8970 so we can plan for refreshments and seating.

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