Beautiful and useful, native plants can provide a brilliant pop of color and are essential for Ohio’s wildlife.
April is the time to celebrate and appreciate the more than 1,800 native trees, shrubs, perennials, vines and grasses as it is the first Ohio Native Plant Month. The importance of these plants cannot be overstated.
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“The top reason they are so important is definitely to support wildlife with food and habitat,” said Meredith Cobb, Five Rivers MetroParks conservation supervisor. “They also help clean and filter the water and air. Flowers provide food for insects, which adult and baby birds, in turn, eat.”
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Native plants are not just for wooded trails, they can also make a nice addition to your yard.
“They require less care and, therefore, save people time and money,” Cobb said. “They are adapted to our climate so they survive better to the cold, heat, rain or lack thereof. And they are aesthetically pleasing as well.”
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Want to incorporate some native plants into your landscaping? Ohio Native Plant Month, a newly-formed non-profit organization, can help. The organization’s website (www.ohionativeplantmonth.org/) has a variety of resources, including an extensive list of where to buy native plants.
Need some inspiration? Take a hike as local parks have plenty of springtime blooms to check out.
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Five Rivers MetroParks education coordinator Betty Hoevel emphasizes the importance of planning before purchasing. Research the plants – what they look like, when they bloom, whether they need sun or shade.
“You’ll want to create variety in your beds,” Hoevel said. “This is also a great time to go outside and do a mini landscape plan.”
While most planting should wait for warmer temperatures, it’s a good time to cut back things like roses and some hydrangeas. Edging beds and weeding will also keep avid gardeners busy.
NEED A WHAT’S-IN-BLOOM BREAK?
Meredith Cobb, Five Rivers MetroParks conservation supervisor, suggests the following MetroParks
Aullwood Garden MetroPark
Hills & Dales MetroPark
Possum Creek MetroPark
Englewood MetroPark (avoid crowds by heading to Englewood South Park)
Twin Creek MetroPark
Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark (avoid crowds by walking the Marie Aull Trail)
Medlar Conservation Area
Dull Woods Conservation Area
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