Why Native Plant Communities are Important Models for Landscape Design
– philosophy statement by Michael Jameson, native plant grower and founding member of FANN
When children are nurtured and raised into adulthood, the ideal is that these people will then be able to take care of themselves and may provide benefit to local society and the world. Some benefits are easily recognized, while others cannot be grasped by common perceptions. Each person is a member of the larger community and plays a part, whether as a president or as a janitor (the janitor could be more important). Each is important and their presence and effect are undeniable, however minor they may seem.
A plant community is no different. There are plants that have pretty flowers and large trees that provide expanses of shade, some plants that provide nectar for bees and other plants that, well, I don’t know … The list goes on and on. Some plants may seem more important than others, but each provides some specific ingredient, provokes a reaction, and through their interaction with other community members, makes up a beautiful and complicated “painting” that we can refer to as a “plant community.”
Let’s take this one step further. As conscious as we can be of planting (together) components of a plant community, we must be equally thoughtful of where we plant. The plants making up a community that we refer to as a “fresh water wetland” will most likely not thrive on the top of dry hill, and most won’t live on a wind-blown salty beachfront.
If we can be more thoughtful of following nature’s guidelines, we will minimize the amount of energy, water and work needed to maintain our landscapes.