Need help choosing the right native plants for my garden

Asked June 3, 2016, 9:23 AM EDT

I have an flower garden (10 x14 ft.) that I recently had cleared because it was getting run over by grass and weeds. Now I am looking to replant with native flowers and native plants in an attractive manner that will attract birds, bees, butterflies and dragonflies. There is also a 3/4 acre pond that is about 40 feet from garden area. There is so much information accessible that I am overwhelmed. I was thinking of planting a ground cover until the fall but even that is many choices. I went to a Garden Center and was told that this is a specialty that they don't have. Hoping that there is someone that has that special skill that can guide me. Thank you, Theresa

Lackawanna County Pennsylvania

1 Response

There is a website called I conserve PA that has a native plant database. They also have a list of native plant nurseries. Penn State has a residential program to get your garden certified pollinator friendly. They have a list of plants you need to be certified. Those plants are natives that grow in Pennsylvania. Native plants are site specific meaning they grow well under specific conditions. Many popular garden plants are flexible, but natives evolved to grow under certain conditions. Before you begin, get a soil test kit from your local Penn State extension, and add a note that you are starting a native plant garden. They will tell you if you need to amend your soil. I have a certified pollinator garden, and I find it useful to add well behaved plants that are not natives to keep the structure of the garden going when the natives stop blooming. Some of my natives don't come up until summer. Some go to seed like a dandelion, Some have foliage that looks like hay after they are done blooming. It's good to visit a native plant nursery or an botanical garden and look at the plants in their various stages of growth so you choose knowing you will like the plant.