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Native Plants: Pollinating Gardeners & Gardens

Unity Gardens is growing a community of native gardens across Anne Arundel County!

native plant mosaic
Native Plants

I first learned of Unity Gardens when I started posting pictures of native plants on Instagram as a way to entice others to become as nutsy as I am about them. Unity Gardens, a non-profit, has "seeded" hundreds of native plant gardens at churches, schools and more!

Last week, I had a chance to talk with a Unity Gardens volunteer extraordinaire. Karen Royer, a retired systems engineer, is a bright ray of sunshine on a cloudy day! Her enthusiasm literally jumped through the zoom screen. Karen explained how her garden, which she thoroughly enjoyed, was, just four years ago, mostly lawn and ornamental plants. In 2017, she was stunned to learn ornamental plants were not supporting the birds and wildlife she loved nor were they the best environmental choice. Her garden then, 90% lawn and 10% garden beds.

native plant garden in winter
Karen's Winter Garden

Today, 90% beds and 10% lawn! In four years! The photo above is of Karen's garden now. Not only that, she is brimming with facts and stats about the benefits of native plants. Karen has generously agreed to share her garden with us once spring arrives and I can't wait!

common ornamental plants
Common Ornamental Plants

Karen's story about the light bulb that goes off when you realize the value of native plants compared to ornamental plants is certainly my story, and very likely could be yours as well. Ornamental plants have been the norm for a long time.

That's why I am really excited to volunteer with Unity Gardens to talk about fifty of the most common ornamental plants and some of the best native substitutes for those! Each year, Unity Gardens hosts a spring event to gather gardeners, and gardeners to be, together to talk native plants, have fun and raise money for their community projects. We will gather virtually on March 12th at 9:30. Tickets are $40 and proceeds go to those Unity Gardens grantees for projects.

I so hope you are able to join us! Grab a cup of coffee, cozy up to your computer, and we will talk native plants and maybe you will win one of the many door prizes too!

Thank you for gardening for the Chesapeake.


We want you to be as excited about planting Chesapeake natives as we are. “Plant This or That” gives you a native alternative to popular plants. Other posts highlight really fabulous fauna native to the Chesapeake.

Nuts for Natives, avid gardener, Baltimore City admirer, Chesapeake Bay Watershed restoration enthusiast, and public service fan.

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