Diamonds, emeralds, rubies? No thanks, Dahlink, what I prefer is plants. Native plants, Dahlink. My treasures are not found in any jewelry store or at the nearest mall. No, no. My favorite gems are on display in the rapidly diminishing wild areas here and there across our land. And I keep some in my secret jewelry box: my garden.

Native plant gardens support many interesting animals. A hummingbird clearwing moth, Hemaris thysbe, feeds on the nectar of the pollinator magnet wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa).
A garden jewel. A hummingbird clearwing moth (Hemaris thysbe) feeds on the nectar
of wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa).

Yes, I could be charmed with much more expensive, sparkly — but ultimately useless — stuff. “You know it could be much worse,” I tell my sweetie, my arms cradling freshly purchased perennials. And he agrees. He knows a tiara would rest uneasily on my head. I am no princess. I’m a fierce warrior woman when it comes to conservation.

Native plant gardens attract interesting insects like this damselfly.
More gems. This damselfly rests on a stalk of little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), a pretty fall-blooming native grass.

Quite Affordable

Native plants are necessary for our survival. It’s a fact. Science says so. And considering what natives provide, they’re surprisingly affordable. Bank accounts need not be bled dry to add these essentials to any landscape. But wait, there’s more! As a bonus many of our natives give back. They self-sow, sometimes insanely, finding and filling garden space and asking for no more than some time and patience. Sharing the bounty with friends and neighbors is also self-fulfilling.

So go native! Thanks, Dahlink, you’re my BFF.

Planting butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa) attracts beautiful insects like the monarch butterfly.
Planting butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa) brought monarch butterflies to my garden.