Gardening with natives is not without challenges. Steve tells us that the garden "was was totally overrun by aggressive forbs. This bed had been filled with natives for 8-10 years and became an unmanageable, flopping tangle of big aggressive plants. Last year I totally revamped it, adding soil amendments, removing most plants, relocating others, and adding some new ones." He now has a bed dedicated to just the aggressive plants. Steve warns "
Generally, stick to species from NSA or nurseries; there’s a reason some natives aren’t brought into the garden. Or, dedicate an island bed to aggressives, and be prepared to weed them out elsewhere."
Improving the soil is important for success. He gardens in native clay, "I finally bit the bullet and amended substantially with good effect." He tells new gardeners "Amend clay even if you’re a natives gardener with several inches of organic and friable materials."
On maintenance he adds " It is work. Mowing is faster and easier than gardening, but more boring."
|Serviceberry (tree in backround)|
|Coneflower, White False Indigo, Poppy Mallow|
|Prairie Dropseed, Butterfly Milkweed, Liatris, Eupatorium, Helopsis|
|Blue Flax, Little Bluestem, Prairie Dropseed and Primrose|
|Steve's 'Island of Aggressors'|