Several new initiatives have sprung up to promote the use of native plants: a northern Virginia native plant campaign, a new online version of a well-loved native plant guide and a statewide campaign to plant more plants.
What is a Native Plant?
Native species are those that occur in the region in which they evolved. Plants evolve over geologic time, adapting to the climate, soils, timing of rainfall, drought, frost and complex interactions with other species. In North America, plant species are generally described as native if they grew here before European settlement. (Definition courtesy of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.) Learn more about native plants from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.
Plant NoVA Natives
Plant Northern Virginia Natives is a new campaign that brings together the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, local chapters of the Virginia Native Plant Society, nurseries, and other groups, creating a website, guidebook and displays for local garden stores.
A survey conducted by the campaign showed that while 8 in 10 Northern Virginia residents can give a pretty good definition of what a native plant is, less than 10% felt knowledgable about native plants. A guide highlighting locally native species that add beauty to a home garden landscape will be created and distributed to help fill that gap.
Northern Virginian native plant novices and experts alike have long relied on the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's excellent guide, Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Now this guide is available in an online searchable form.
NativePlantCenter.net allows users to search by physiographic region and plant type; sun, soil and moisture conditions; flower, fruit and fall color; and blooming and fruiting times. Homeowners can use the information to provide year-round interest both for their home's beauty and to provide habitat for songbirds, butterflies and other wildlife.
Plant More Plants
Grow Some Good - Plant More Plants - is the message of a regional campaign to encourage homeowners to beautify their property, reduce runoff and protect the Chesapeake Bay by simply putting more plants in the ground. The campaign recommends choosing native plants that fit the soil and planting conditions, and using clusters and combinations that create a habitat type. Planting plans are offered for a variety of conditions. Learn why planting more plants helps protect the Chesapeake Bay and how to do it.
Landscape for Life
Work with nature in your garden. Landscape for Life is a new program of the U.S. Botanical Garden and others providing resources and materials for creating a sustainable wildlife-friendly landscape at home. Learn how to landscape for life.
Native Seedling Sale
NVSWCD's popular Native Tree and Shrub Seedling Sale features native plants. It has been recognized by the Fairfax County Tree Commission with a Friends of Trees Award, and we aim to continue that commitment to providing a low-cost source for native trees and shrubs to restore the tree canopy, reduce runoff and protect our urban streams.