Everything is connected
The best way to instill a love for gardening in your children is to help them learn about native plants and species. Insects, birds, pollinators, and humans – everything is reliant upon one another.
Native birds depend on native insects that depend on native trees, shrubs, and perennials. Too many non-natives don’t offer a haven to insects which interrupts the entire interconnectedness of the food web.
Native plants give rise to native insects which give rise to native songbirds. Native plants are important to native pollinators, not just honey bees, but pollinating flies and butterflies. Butterflies and moths depend on native plants in their stages of development and eventual metamorphosis. Monarch butterflies only lay their eggs on Butterfly Weed or Milkweed.
Red Maples are hosts to birds, bees, and caterpillars and, as do most trees and shrubs, they sequester carbon. Oaks are also a large host to many of the same insects, birds, and bees. Eastern Red Cedar, Inkberry, Leucothoe, American Holly, Mountain Laurel, and White Pine are native evergreens that are beneficial in many ways. The list goes on and on … trees, shrubs, perennials, and even ferns.
When in Doubt – Go Native
Basically, all you have to do is remember it’s better if you can plant more native species. Ask your garden center if you are not certain. Consult a reference book. Ask Penn State Extension Service or a master gardener.
The pollinators will thank you. The birds will thank you. The environment will thank you. Plus – your grandchildren and their children will thank you.
Remember – Everything is connected.