Twilight found me in the gardens outside of Kottman Hall at The Ohio State University last evening. The Central Ohio Native Plant Society had graciously asked me to speak about native plants and their relationships with native fauna, and it was a great gathering of people. Some friends from OOS and Master Gardeners, many members of the Central Ohio Native Plant Society warmly greeted me there.
The gardens at Chadwick Arboretum utilize many unusual hybrids, exotic species and rare dramatic looking plants. But right in the mix are some standard old-favorites from Ohio's native prairies: Purple Coneflower, Cup-plant, New England Aster. There is a place in great landscapes for these important species on which our native insects, birds and mammals rely. As native plants enthusiasts we need to ask our local purveyors of plants to stock Ohio natives. Landscape, like everything else, is all supply and demand. If we keep demanding native plants - they will eventually get the picture and supply them.
And just as we need to ask for native plants in the stores, let's start asking landscape designers to incorporate plants that feed biodiversity in their designs. OSU is the largest landscape/ horticulture school in Ohio and "ground" zero for learning about plants. Let's make sure they understand we want native plants that feed our food chain and create pockets of habitat in our own backyards.