Native or not?

Today it was warm enough to feel that spring might have reached Maryland, and I spent some time in the backyard tugging at leftover daylily leaves and sedum stems in the spirit of spring cleaning. The crocuses are already blooming nicely in the sunniest spots.  The daffodils and tulips are coming up. The forsythia’s buds are faintly yellow. The bronze fennel is starting to put up new growth near the back door.

What’s wrong with this picture?

From one standpoint, nothing. Plants that I enjoy and that grow well in my yard are coming up. Many of them also bring memories of an enthusiasm shared with my mother; those tulip bulbs were one of her last birthday gifts to me. The daffodils remind me of visits to my grandmother. The bronze fennel attracts black swallowtail butterflies every year, providing room and board for their handsome caterpillars. The sedum’s leaves are nibbled by house finches, while its blooms draw several kinds of bees and butterflies.

On the other hand, none of these plants are native to Maryland. They are not even native to North America. So if I want to do my best to support my local pollinators and visiting butterflies, while not making myself miserable, what should I do?

I’ll be exploring this question in future posts.Image

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