April 2020 will go down as one for the books- but sadly, not because it’s Ohio’s Inaugural Native Plant Month.
In July 2019, Gov. Mike DeWine signed into law that moving forward, April will be recognized as Native Plant Month, which aims, “to increase public awareness of Ohio’s native plants and the many benefits they provide to pollinators, Ohio’s economy, and the health of Ohio’s environment.”
It seems to be a growing trend for Ohio to be ahead of the curve (not the same curve we’re trying to flatten) as we are one of the first states to dedicate an entire month to our native plants.
The unusual circumstances surrounding the global pandemic and ongoing & after effects of COVID-19 will cast a shadow on this year and likely years to come, but as we’ve seen with Mother Nature: time does march on.
You’ve likely seen signs of spring in your yard and other places you’ve been, although, this year, maybe you’ve seen them on TV or through Facetime or a Zoom conference call with your friends, relatives and colleagues.
Regardless of our social distancing, tests of any kind (or lack thereof), nature has (thank goodness) found a way to continue. Though, we suppose plants do abide by SOME social distancing- who hasn’t seen “space plants xx inches apart,” on tags before 🙂
If you have an established garden of native plants- you’re probably enjoying some of the benefits already- beautiful color, happy bees & birds, and hummingbirds & butterflies coming soon. Native plants are best for pollinators, and we’re learning more and more just how vital sustaining the bee population is, and therefore the perpetuation of essentially all food sources.
If you’d like to incorporate some native plants into your landscape & garden, you won’t regret it! Native plants tend to be lower maintenance, as they’re built to thrive in existing conditions, often great for those of you new to the garden game, or those who want more of a “Set it and Forget it,” approach.
Common violet, trillium, columbine, wild phlox & wild ginger are all beautiful examples of Ohio’s native plants you’ve probably seen so far. These plants, and the rascally dandelions are some of the first pollinators for bees waking up right about now.
We also found this list https://www.ohionativeplantmonth.org/native-plant-list that shows Ohio’s native plants and their bloom times, if you’d like to take a look. Its shows bloom period for the entire year in Ohio, so you can enjoy native plants in your landscape in any season. This list is not all inclusive- there are more than 1,800 species of native trees, shrubs, perennials, grasses and vines in all of Ohio.
The website is another great resource for all things native plants in Ohio. You’ll find education, activities and tips to follow during our quarantine and beyond. One important piece of advice to assist and encourage native plant growth is to take this time to remove & eradicate any invasive plant species you may find in your yard. Some of the bigger culprits are Lesser Celandine or Fig buttercup (not to be confused with Celandine Poppy) and Bush Honeysuckle (there are 3 types in Ohio) If you have any of these invasive plants in your yard, now is a great time to remove them, and allow native plants to return in their place.
As with any planting, we recommend doing your due diligence when selecting the right plant for your space. Be sure to consider conditions like the amount of sunlight and growth medium- native plants typically won’t need too much in terms of soil amendments, but that’s not to say you wouldn’t benefit from knowing what type of soil you’re planting in and whether it’s well-draining, or holds a lot of moisture. It’s always best to have all the information you can gather in order to set your plants (and you) up for the best rate of success.
Though this April hasn’t started off like we’d hoped or planned, we’re all making the best of it and know you are, too. We’re learning to adjust to and navigate a new normal, and we’re grateful to be able to look at plants as a constant. We look forward to helping you start your native plant garden this year, it’s not too late to celebrate our first Native Plant Month!
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