Do native plants sound foreign?

Do you want to help the local wildlife but are afraid that would mean planting a scruffy garden full of strange-looking plants? Have no fear! You can create habitat using familiar plants in traditional landscaping settings.

Shade trees

  • Planting a shade tree provides an enormous amount of habitat. The white oak (Quercus alba) (above) is the hands-down winner in supplying food for the caterpillars that songbirds need to feed their babies.


  • Covered with clusters of white and pink flowers in May, mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) (right) will satisfy your need for old-fashioned foundation plantings.

Ornamental trees

  • What could be more traditional than Virginia’s state tree? The flowering dogwood (Cornus floridus) has berries that feed the birds.


  • Anyone who has gardened – and anyone who has not – looks forward to the profusion of yellow flowers in do-native-plants-sound-foreignlate summer provided by Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida). Add garden phlox (Phlox paniculata) for that English cottage garden look. Turk’s cap lily (Lilium superbum) tops it off in this photo.

Ground cover

  • A carpet of blue in the spring gives way to a carpet of green the rest of the year with creeping phlox (Phlox subulata).

All these gorgeous Northern Virginia native plants attract wildlife and add sound and lively movement to the visual beauty of your yard.

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