One of the major reasons to invest time and money in cultivating native plants is to support the animals that need those plants for food and shelter. Plants are the foundation of the food web that supports all animal life, from the tiny soil microbes to insects to birds to mammals and even fish. Native plants co-evolved with the local animal species over countless generations and are therefore better at meeting their needs than exotic cultivars from foreign lands. By keeping this simple fact in mind we can transform the landscape into a shared habitat that meets not only our needs but the needs of all the creatures that call it home.
The following list contains links to resources with information on native plants and their role in wildlife support:
- Gardening For Life – An excerpt from Dr. Douglas Tallamy’s excellent book Bringing Nature Home that outlines the dire need for native plants in the suburban and urban landscape.
- Create Wildlife Habitat – The National Wildlife Federation’s guide to creating and maintaining wildlife habitat in your neighborhood.
- Pollinator Planting Guide – The Pollinator Partnership’s free and very thorough region-specific guide to pollinators, why they’re important and lists of native plant species to grow in order to support them. Their List of Resources for gardeners is also a great source of information.
- Gardening For Wildlife – A collection of articles from the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens
- Audubon At Home – The Audubon Society’s guide to making your yard and neighborhood more bird-friendly.
- Plants That Attract Butterflies – A vast list of North American native plants that attract butterflies and moths. The ‘Narrow Your Search’ sidebar on the right side will help you refine the list to plant species appropriate to your state and specific environmental niche. This list is a collaboration of Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA) and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center which are both wonderful, informative websites in their own right.
- Wildlife In Your Backyard – The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ collection of articles about caring for Georgia’s wildlife.