For myself, it's always been easy to see and explain the beauty of our native plants. However, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and many are missing the big picture. The word "weed" gets thrown around quite often without a second thought. If those folks new the definition they would come to find those pretty plants they are buying from the majority of your greenhouses are actually "weeds" to our country. 

Many of them are harmless and die off after one season. But there are a large number that reproduce themselves in force by seed or rhizomes and take up very important space for our native wildflowers which are beneficial to our local insects. 

Why do we still sell invasive species at greenhouses across the country? We may never know. Killing off our natural species for something that has little to no beneficial use is never a great trade. Our insect numbers have been plumetting for the last 40 years and we have less than that to correct the problem or we are extinct as a species. 

Educate yourself on local plants before making crucial purchases. Find out which annuals are fine to plant from alien regions and also educate yourself on the problematic species to watch out for. Don't forget that 95% of the industry still uses deadly chemicals on their plants and that is one big part of the insect problem we are facing. Plants are supposed to feed insects, not kill them.

Our native plants are so breathtaking. I don't think words can express their beauty, so I'll set you up with a pictorial instead.

Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)

Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)

American Pasque Flower (Anemone patens)

Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor)

Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata)

Tall Bellflower (Campanula americana)

Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Blanketflower (Gaillardia aristata)

Wild Lupine (Lupinus perennis)

Meadow Blazing Star (Liatris ligulistylis)

Obedient Plant (Physostegia virginiana)

New England Aster (Symphyotrichum Novae-angliae

Orange Coneflower (Rudbeckia fulgida)

Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

Plains Coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria)

Scarlet Bee Balm (Monarda didyma)

Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)

IronWeed (Vernonia fasciculata)

Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis)

I hope some of these help you see the beauty that grows around us throughout the season. Don't forget to take time out of your hectic schedule to stop and smell the wildflowers. 

Written by: Matthew Swank, Owner, Lupine Gardens, LLC