A Watershed Moment: Native Plants Are Not Weeds

The Bunker Interpretive Center at Calvin College

On this weeks episode we hear about the benefits of raising Michigan native plants and Calvin’s upcoming Native Plant Sale from Jeanette Henderson, Program Manager for the Bunker Interpretive Center, Calvin College’s Ecosystem Preserve.

Henderson made the choice to plant native species in her garden for their ability to attract Michigan birds and butterflies to her garden and for their easy maintenance. Native plants are adapted to Michigan weather and do not require watering once they are established, and they never require fertilization.

According to the Ecosystem Preserve’s website, native plants are an important source of genetic diversity amongst plants and encourage biodiversity for pollinators like the butterflies and birds they attract.

Wild Columbine is one of many plants to be sold at this years Native Plant Sale at Calvin College.

Despite the benefits of native plants, people often resist planting native species in their own gardens. “A lot of people think, ‘oh a native plant, it looks just like a weed,’” said Henderson. But she insists that native plants are beautiful in gardens too, and she gives plenty of examples to back herself up such as Wild Columbine, Wild Strawberry, Carolina Roses, Thimbleweeds and Siliphiums.

All of these plants and more will be sold on Saturday, May 5 from 10-noon at the Bunker Interpretive Center during Calvin’s Seventh Annual Native Plant Sale.  “Our real goal is to get people to try native plants, so we keep them fairly inexpensive. “ Said Henderson, “So you can come try them, and if you like them, then come back next year and get some more plants!”

Learn more about the benefits of native plants by listening to this weeks episode of A Watershed Moment online.

“A Watershed Moment” is a weekly radio program focused on environmental news and happenings in West Michigan, plus solutions for living a greener life.  Broadcast on WYCE-FM 88.1 on Tuesdays at 8:30am and 5:30pm, this program is produced by Grand Rapids Community Media Center and West Michigan Environmental Action Council.

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