Plants that are natural to the area create attractive, sustainable, and low maintenance landscapes. This demonstration garden highlights native plants from southeastern North America, particularly emphasizing plant species endemic to the humid subtropical climate of the Highland Rim, Cumberland Plateau, Valley and Ridge, and Piedmont Upland physiographic regions of northern Alabama. Our goal is to highlight the way plants, soil, pollinators, and birds create distinct communities and interact to form a diverse, ecologically sustainable, and attractive landscape. Planting densely and layering plants vertically (both above and below ground), like a natural meadow, allows the well-adapted native plants to fill all available niches. Once established, environmental stress and competition are assets causing the garden to be resilient and self-healing.
Here are some benefits of meadow-style plantings using
- lower water needs
- higher tolerance of climate conditions
- less need for extra maintenance (compared to non-native plants)
- more resistance to pests and diseases
- resistant to invasive species encroachment
- a beneficial relationship feeding more species of local insects and birds
- better stormwater filtration and toxin removal
The Native Plants Teaching Garden was made possible by a grant from the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust.