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Mr. Smarty Plants - Native wildflower garden for Pennsylvania

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Wednesday - May 21, 2008

From: McVeytown, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Transplants, Wildflowers
Title: Native wildflower garden for Pennsylvania
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hello, I am interested in making a garden, and I would like to use only or mostly native wildflowers in it. Do you have any good suggestions for wildflowers that I can transplant from places where they are apt to get destroyed?

ANSWER:

Let's start at the very beginning with this How-To Article on Using Native Plants. Next on your reading list is A Guide to Native Plant Gardening.

Now, on to your idea for transplanting native wildflowers from places where they are apt to be destroyed. Since you're in Pennsylvania and we're in Texas, we have no idea where land is about to be developed, destroying native plants. Also, this is a sensitive subject; often developers will make arrangements to have rare or especially important plants removed as a gesture to conservation. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center has done this, here in the Austin area. Some Master Gardeners, which are a part of county extension services, will seek to save threatened plants. No doubt there are local Native Plant Societies doing the same thing. The point is, these are all by pre-arrangement. The groups are invited onto the land, and special provisions are made for the plants. For you to go onto private property and remove plants, native or not, threatened or not, could constitute criminal trespass, and could get you in a whole lot of trouble. Especially if the plants are considered threatened or endangered, there is a protocol for their removal and care. Very rarely are the plants designated for personal gardens, and sometimes they will be returned to the site after the building is complete.

We would suggest you contact the Penn State Cooperative Extension office for Mifflin County; the webpage has contact information. They may be working with Master Gardeners or local developers on just such a project. Check out the Pennsylvania Native Plant Society for possible projects; they also have plant sales. In the final analysis, we suggest you're a whole lot better off planning your garden for your own specific site and space, purchasing seeds and plants, and caring for them properly. Go to our Recommended Species section, and click on the state of Pennsylvania. That will give you a list of native plants of your area, and each plant has its own webpage with information on culture, bloom time, etc. For more specific lists, click on "Narrow Your Search", and you can specify state, habit, duration, sun exposure, and moisture of soil. Finally, go to Suppliers, and, on the line "Enter Search Location", type in the name of your town and state, and you will get a list of native plant and seed suppliers in your general area.

 

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