I am very concerned with your recommendations in "Featured Plants"...
I am very concerned with your recommendations in "Featured Plants" section. I only recently found this web site, was hoping for authoritative info on native plants; then find you "featuring" Spigelia marilandica, native to southeast US, Koelreuteria bipinnata an invasive China import..? Why are you not recommending and featuring Maryland area native plants? Isn't that Golden Rain Tree on the DNR's Do Not Plant List? (along with Buddelia Davidii - spelling may be wrong but you know I mean that invasive bitterfly bush). Foeniculum vulgare Pupureum is another introduced species. The only native in the list I saw was Baccharis halimifolia. Why is that?
We are glad that you have found us, and are happy that you are asking this question.
You will find that we are in fact very sensitive to the subject of both native and invasive plant and pest species. We have on our staff a well-known expert within Maryland native plant circles whose job is to teach Master Gardeners about Sustainable Horticulture and Native Plants.
That said, when we write our 'Featured Plants', which is produced also for publication in the Baltimore Sun on a weekly basis, we strive to feature natives, (and say so when we do) but also feature other plants as long as they are not invasive. If they have a tendency to self-seed, we will note that it should not be planted near wild areas so that invasive tendencies can be held in check. Please go back further in time and you will see many natives. (they are listed to the left by plant type- Butterfly bush is not featured)
In regards to Spigelia marilandica, please take a look at this link to the USDA page for this plant, which shows it mapped as a Maryland native.: http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/plant-of-the-week/spigelia_marilandica.shtml
As far as what not to plant, one of the best publications to use is 'Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas published by the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. You can find it for sale at this link from the MD Native Plant Society: http://www.mdflora.org/publications/forsale/plantinvaders.html, which in itself is a great group for info on natives: www.mdflora.org
If you are interested in finding more Maryland natives, arguably the best reference is
found here: http://www.mdflora.org/publications/forsale/nativeplants.html, which we use often.
We are not sure what you mean by Maryland 'DNR -do not plant list', but this list of Invasive Species of Concern is a link from their website: http://www.mdinvasivesp.org/list_terrestrial_plants.html (but the Plant Invaders publication above has been updated more recently).
We hope this helps to addresses your concerns.
Please check back periodically as we hope to add a Natives section to the website in the near future.