MAINE, USA — Gardening with Gutner has met with master gardeners and horticulturists, and all have emphasized the importance of creating a balance in the garden by using native and ornamental plants that provide forage for bees, butterflies, and wildlife, which increase the diversity of wildlife.
Tom Estabrook is the owner of Estabrook's, a garden center in Yarmouth. He showed several examples of native plants to NEWS CENTER Maine Chief Meteorologist Todd Gutner, host of Gardening with Gutner.
"You really need to take the specific spot you have and use the plant that will work well in that environment," Estabrook explained. "We can't just put them in your standard old garden bed."
Estabrook showed sweetfern as an example of this. He said sweetfern would do well in a sandy spot. If you put it in a garden bed with a lot of nutrients, it won't do well.
Lupine is a great plant that spreads by easily sowing the seeds.
"This is a great item to add into a garden. One or two plants. And you sow the seeds out into a field. You know out into your woodland areas and they kind of come up in those moist areas," Estabrook observed.
The garden center owner also suggests blueberries as a great activity for the kids and also as an attraction for birds. Both enjoy the sweet berries. Not the high bush blueberries but the low-growing Maine variety. Both enjoy the sweet berries.
Another kid-friendly plant is butterfly weed. The orange blossoms attract the beautiful insects.
"The butterflies sit right on here, fan their wings. Great for the kids. Great activity and get those butterflies into your yard," Estabrook said.
Marsh marigold was suggested for very wet areas.
"This will come up early spring. Flower. Put it in that drainage ditch. Put it in that wet spot in the back corner of the house. It will just spread anywhere there's moisture," Estabrook suggested.
If you have a shady area, Estabrook recommends bunchberry. "It will have a little dogwood flower on it later the season. This is a ground cover. Understory plant in the woodline."
Another plant that can be planted in a moist area and adds a lot of color is the cardinal flower. "This will be 3 feet tall with red flowers all over it, July and August," Estabrook said.
In conclusion, Estabrook explained there are a lot of choices in native plants but they're not going to fill all your color needs. So that's why balance is very important.