Most gardens include a mix of natives, non-natives, and annuals. When we first moved to this lot, more of it was cultivated and tended. By choice and chance, it has evolved into three distinct areas with unique blends of plants.
Area 1, surrounding the house, includes a mix of garden annuals, perennials, vegetables, and shrubs and trees. This is the neatest and most cultivated area of the garden.
Area 2, the middle of the lot behind the house, includes a mix of native and introduced perennials, shrubs, and trees. We don’t plant annuals here, and we clear away native weeds and non-native invasive plants.
Area 3, at the back of the lot, is now a native
. We don’t tend it or cultivate it, except to clear a path and destroy non-native invasives, including Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) and Wild Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa). Oak forest
The Chicago Botanic Garden's invasive plant policy lists these definitions:
- Native (indigenous)—a species that was present in
North Americaprior to European settlement or has arrived since, through natural means of dispersal.
- Non-native (exotic, alien, introduced)—a species that was brought to
North Americaby humans, either deliberately or accidentally.
- Naturalized—a non-native species, or native species from another region of the country, that has become established in disturbed areas and/or native communities.
- Weedy—a species that readily spreads, especially in disturbed areas, but generally does not pose a threat to the integrity of native plant communities.
- Invasive—a species, usually non-native, that is able to establish itself within existing native plant communities and is posing a threat to the integrity of the community.
I’m finding my comfort zone with a mix of natives, annuals, and introduced plants. The