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Use native plants in landscape

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POSTED: September 4, 2013 11:30 p.m.

National Planting Day, sponsored by Keep America Beautiful, is a wonderful way to celebrate the value and power of native species.
Native plants are essential in restoring ecological balance to our environment. Planting them is a natural, healthy way to create greener, more beautiful communities.  
Keep Liberty Beautiful, in conjunction with KAB, encourages everyone to consider planting native species of trees, flowers and plants in their own yards.
To celebrate National Planting Day in September, KLB will host two Native Plants and Friends Giveaway Days. The first will be from 9 a.m.-noon Friday, Sept. 14, at Farmer’s Natural Foods in Hinesville. The second giveaway will be from 9 a.m.-
1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15 at our main quarterly Recycle It! Fair site at the Liberty County Health Department. Supplies will be limited, and they will be first come, first serve. It will be one free plant per household or per business.
To make sure you get a plant, reserve one by Wednesday, Sept. 11.  Reserved plants also will be available for pick up between 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at our two new satellite recycle It! Fair sites, the Midway Fire Department and Walthourville City Hall.
Why should you use natives? They are critical to attracting specialized pollinators and insects, which in turn provide food for birds and, ultimately, many more animals up the food chain. Natives also provide habitat for wildlife and are hardy, lower maintenance and require less water than other ornamentals. If you are looking for a yard or garden that is much easier to maintain, natives should be your go-to plants!  Some online sites to consider are www.plantnative.org — featuring a state-by-state directory of native species, specialized nurseries, and local organizations — and www.abnativeplants.com . The extension service also has several excellent online publications.
We also will have additional information about native species, too. Thanks to our community partners, Farmer’s Natural Foods and the Liberty County 4-Hers, who are working with us to provide these events to encourage the use of native plants in our community.
Here are a few to consider for your own garden paradise:
• Trumpet honeysuckle likes sun or part shade. This native vine grows rapidly. It has gold to scarlet red tubular flowers from spring through summer. It is great to use on a trellis or on a fence.
• The Carolina yellow jessamine is a fast-growing evergreen climbing vine that grows best in moist, well-drained soils in full sun. Its yellow, trumpet-shaped, fragrant flowers cover the vine in February and March. It is useful for growing on trellises, fences or mailboxes.
• The oakleaf hydrangea is a medium-to-fast-growing flowering shrub that grows best in moist, well-drained soils in partial shade. Its large white, fragrant flower clusters are about 12 inches long and occur from May through June. It is recommended to prune these plants after flowering season is over.
• The Southern wax myrtle is a broadleaf evergreen shrub or small tree. It often is multi-trunked with gray-green aromatic foliage and clusters of blue-gray fruits on female plants. It prefers moist, acidic soils but is adaptable to other conditions, including wet sites with poor drainage. The wax myrtle grows best in full sun to light shade and is useful as a tall screen or specimen tree.
• Star and Florida anise are also some of my favorites. They have rich, green foliage with the faint smell of licorice. They bloom in June, prefer moist soil and full sun or light shade and are cold-tolerant. These shrubs are useful for screening or hedges.
• Butterfly bush is a favorite with people and butterflies. This plant has flower clusters in white, pink, red or purple all summer. They work well as accent plants or in large shrub borders. Interested in having a butterfly garden? We will have information at each giveaway site.
These plants and possibly a few native “friends” — plants that have thrived in our area for years — will be available at our giveaways in limited supply, so make sure you reserve.
For a complete list of available plants, go to www.keeplibertybeautfiul.org or email us at klcb@coastalnow.net or check out our Facebook page. Reserve a plant by calling 884-2743.
I hope this free taste of native plants will inspire you to consider natives or some of their close friends for your landscaping needs. Native plants are waiting to create a beautiful garden oasis at your home.

Upcoming KLB events
• Sept. 5 is National Good Neighbor Day — remember that good neighbors keep it clean and keep it green!

 

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