This spring, Allisonville Nursery, Garden & Home can help to make sure your home garden is not only aesthetically pleasing but also environmentally beneficial at the same time. Throughout the season, you’ll find a special area in the store’s annual and perennial plant section designated for native and pollinator plants, which provide vital food sources for many butterfly, bee and bird species.
“Pollinators are so important for our flowers and our food, and that cycle works its way up the food chain all the way to humans, so it’s crucial to have those pollinator-friendly species growing whenever we can,” says Beth Billheimer, Allisonville Nursery’s annual and perennial plant buyer.
The nursery is offering a range of nativar plant species, which are crossbred to achieve certain colors or sizes, including asclepias, a crucial food source for the distinctive orange and black monarch butterfly, as well as baptisias and monardas, both of which put forth bold colors and are also used as nectar sources for pollinator species.
“A lot of people think of natives as being big, messy plants, so many breeders are working to make them a little smaller and neater, and they’re still useful to the pollinators,” Billheimer says. “One of the other great things about native plants is that since they grew up here they’re very acclimated to where we live and don’t require a lot of care.”
Plants native to the Hoosier state are also typically drought-resistant, which means you won’t have to stand outside with a hose day after day to keep them flourishing if spring showers are in short supply. Billheimer says natives should be left out for the winter and can provide benefits even in the cold months.
“A lot of the seedheads from those native plants are eaten by birds in the wintertime, so you can attract birds without having to put up a feeder in your yard,” she says, adding that garden herbs like dill, fennel, basil and parsley are also advantageous to pollinator insects, including the swallowtail butterfly. “Another benefit is that you’re not looking out your window at a flat landscape in January, and they provide some visual interest and attraction.”