The group at Garden Rant as usual are trying to keep us thinking. I would like to add my two cents worth for your consideration.
Many of the conclusions stated at the links provided in the subject of the day are from respected professionals with plenty of experience. They have sifted data and spent their lives working with plants and so deserve a listen.
But as with all information a person draws conclusions based on ones own particular slant. So many times we are fed information assumed to be accurate but later adjusted. New data...new conclusions. Many may look at the same set of 'facts' and come to slightly different conclusions. I don't believe this always means that someone is wrong, it only means that a different priority has prompted a different perspective.
Rather than trying to return to some utopian past,we are moving into a future that requires our best efforts to deal with the changes taking place.
I live and garden in an urban area,quite successfully, with many native plants chosen for the specific site and purpose.
And so I am surprised only by the persistence of some to try and discourage the use of natives.As if we should make all our choices from the natives of another place or those plants cultivated by an industry geared to make the most profit, however good their intentions.
It is my opinion that native plants are often the best choice for a given purpose.
Not every native is for every space.They must be chosen with soil and climate in mind as with any plant. While the native nodding onions of swampy Chicago may not do well on the slope along the sidewalk out front in full sun, I can guess that it will thrive in the low spot where the water pools after a rain. Will it be there in a hundred years? I don't know but at least I will not need worry about it in my time.Could any choice do better?
Native plants are proving to increase the numbers of native insects in an area which results in a biological control of pests (balance rather than an elimination).
Local governments are concerned about storm water run off.Keeping rainfall at or near where it falls keeps the rainwater away from the pollution of sewers,restores ground water levels,and slows the movement of run off into water ways thus preventing flash floods. Native plants with deep roots and a tolerance for intermittently wet soil are working well (in man made systems) to achieve these results.
Rain Garden Network
Even though some non- natives have proven to work on roof top gardens with existing rainfall amounts,some chose to use a watering system on occassion and grow a more diverse group of plants so as to accomplish the dual purpose of encouraging wildlife and reducing heat islands.
Of course using native plants in gardens changes the evolutional direction of the gene pool. Gardeners amend soil and water, which slows the developement of deep root systems and we plant in areas protected somewhat from the harsh environment of the wild.
This is why native diversity is important.Areas should be left undeveloped and the plants allowed to evolve.
Natives can be successful. Many natives have been found surviving along abandoned railways in the heart of the city. In heavily polluted areas such as Calumet, here in the Chicagoland area, surprises abound yearly as reclaimed areas not yet subject to recovery efforts none the less offer up natives thought long gone.
Whatever we do the earth will out. Acid rain, heat,cold, drought, violent weather patterns,whatever changes occur, it is up to us to adapt or perish,we have no control.
But the more choices we have the more likely some will come through.
I choose to follow a path that encourages diversity in thought and action as well as life.
A light that shines from only one direction merely lengthens the shadow.