- Earth-Friendly Landscaping
- Native Plant Sales
- Educational Programs
- Vegetation Surveys
Types of Plants We Grow
Native plants are those that grew in our area before humans brought them here. Many of the plants that grow in our area are not native, they are exotic plants which were brought in either deliberately or accidentally over almost 500 years since Europeans and Africans first reached our shores. Other plants spread on their own from surrounding areas due to the changes made in the land by the settler. Many plants do not survive long outside of cultivation. Others persist but never spread. However over 400 introduced or adventive species have naturalized in Beaufort County alone. Quite a few of them have become invasive, they invade natural areas and replace the native vegetation.
Why Grow Natives?
There are two main reasons we grow natives at Naturescapes.
The first one is conservation. Rapid development has destroyed much of the habitat of our native species. Fire suppression has caused many species to decline on our undeveloped tracts. Native plants are precious and valuable in their own right. Moreover native plants are the foundation of the whole ecosystem. All the other native organisms: birds, butterflies, mammals, etc…were adapted to our native vegetation. For instance, many of our butterflies and moths only lay eggs on a few different larval host plants, if we lose the host plants, we will also lose the butterflies and moths which depend on them. Planting natives is one way to offset the damage caused by development.
The second one is horticultural. Our natives are beautiful. They attract beautiful birds and butterflies to the garden. Many are not just edible but delicious. They survive here without human assistance (although prescribed fire benefits most of them). They are adapted to our climate and our soils. Many gardeners complain that they cannot grow anything because their soil is too wet, too dry, too acidic or too alkaline. They complain that salt water or salt wind kills their plants. There are beautiful native plants for every combination of difficult garden conditions.
Some native plants grow over wide areas. However the plants are best adapted to the areas where the orignal stock material was collected. . So although the species is native to an area, the plants fail to thrive. This is particularly important in the Coastal South. Many plants do not adapt to our hot humid summers especially our high night time temperatures. Lack of chilling hours prevents many plants from breaking dormancy or blooming. So knowing the provenance (where the original source maaterial came from is very important).
Some nurseries which sell natives buy their plants from other nurseries. Other buy stock material from other nurseries or collect it from gardens. They cannot trace the origin of their material. We searched the woods, marshes, swamps and dunes to collect our own stock material. Only a handful of our species were collected from long-established populations in local gardens. We strive to collect our material as close as possible to our nursery. Most of our material came from within or very close to Beaufort County. Some came from nearby counties in SC and GA. One of our plants came from Coastal NC. We test our plants for several years before releasing them. You can be sure it is well-adaped to our local conditions.
We will add more information about our plants soon.